1989: The Crimson Dynamo vs. Detective Rook (A tale of times past guest-starring Norman Bates but not Cat Grant- hated the b*tch!)

Looking back, I guess I’ve always sort of rooted for the second banana.
Case in point, the Crimson Dynamo, who is one of those ubiquitous comicbook super-villains that pop up every other month, and has come through at least a dozen incarnations. So don’t bother keeping the scorecard.
He’s this really cool armored villain, clad entirely in red (hence the name), a foe of Iron Man’s who happens to come from Russia. He was a USSR scientist once, you know, back in the Cold War.

In the tail-end of the Cold War, having your kid’s birthday party at a pizza place was a big thing in my hometown and this was early ’89 or thereabouts, more than two decades after the Crimson Dynamo first appeared.
My mother threw this birthday party at a pizza place for me when I turned nine. She invited family, friends, and neighbors, such as the customs of the time. The restaurant was supposed to be haunted. It became a fried chicken restaurant afterwards, then had another stint as a pizza place, then became a bar, and ended up as a user car dealership, which it remains to this day, even though I haven’t heard any reports of a haunted user car dealership ever since, so I just guess the ghost that haunted its attic moved along the ways of the Berlin Wall and good, solid, readable Iron Man comics.

…Oddly enough there was this half-assed mockup of the Superfriends’ Hall of Justice made of styrofoam, cellophane and glitter atop my birthday cake. There were cardboard cutouts of Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman standing by the side of the Hall of Justice. They were way too big and definitely off-scale. I got to burn down that Hall of Justice a few days later with my friends. The smoke that came out of it was pitch-black and reeked of tar I think because of the styrofoam… But I digress.

Once the kids had all eaten up their pizzas, but before the cake was cut, we all went to play in this little open space in the back of the restaurant. It was directly underneath the attic window, which was haunted, and was where the ghost lived.
We didn’t give it much thought, though, because we were busy playing some silly game in which each of one would pretend to be a fictional character either from the movies or from cartoons or from comic books.
Rambo was pretty popular back then, I don’t have to tell you that. All it took was tying any crap around one’s forehead and wham!, instant Rambo. Megatron from the Transf*rmers was another given, at least for the kids in long sleeves: they would pull out their sleeves over their hands and there appeared Megatron’s hand cannon, which everybody called a b*zooka despite it not being an explosive projectile weap*n but a laser-like energy g*n.

J.P. came over and brought his older brother, whom I hadn’t invited because he was sort of retarded, but gave me a wooden boomerang as a present, which I thought indefinitely cool and was in fact one of the coolest presents I was given that evening. The other one being an A-Ha cassette.
Cool thing about J.P. was, even though he wasn’t really into comic books he had a collection of Mad Magazines I could borrow from, and he also liked old movies. He was, in fact, the only nine year old whom knew who Norman Bates was, and got all mom-related jokes because of that.

J.P. chose not Rambo nor Megatron that night: He was, as usual, a character he’d once created at school while skipping class. It was a Police inspector called Detective Rook, and he was supposed to be this anthropomorphized carrion crow wearing an overcoat and a fedora, but the way J.P. would draw it on his notebooks in class, it lacked wings or beak, and in lieu of the beak Detective Crow sported large closing mandibles like a termite.
That was the character J.P. had chosen that evening. I got to pick the Crimson Dynamo for myself, and as you can probably figure, we sort of decided to play by ourselves once we got tired from explaining to the other kids just who we were supposed to be.

But Detective Rook and the Crimson Dynamo couldn’t really fight each other: Rook was downright outmatched and despite J.P.’s claims to the contrary, eating rotten human flesh was never really considered a tactical leverage in battle… Plus the Crimson Dynamo armor granted its wearer with invulnerability, flight, electric blasts fired from built-in hand-blasters, and undreamed-of strength. I mean, the Crimson Dynamo can lift more than 50 tons (in fact I think he’s in the 60 ton-range if I recall my Marvel Handbook correctly). He’s gone toe-to-toe with heavyweights such as the Hulk and Iron Man.
I’ve never really liked the Hulk, incidentally, because he kind of looks like a homeless person, whereas guys like Iron Man and Batman all have cool suits and big cars and lots of money, and the Hulk doesn’t even have a shirt.

So the Crimson Dynamo was beating the living crap out of Detective Rook: Neither his oversized termite-like mandibles nor the bullets from his .38 wouldn’t break through the armor’s carborundum alloy. Rook was done for, but J.P. still had a trick up his sleeve:
“Whoa. Wait. Waitup,” said J.P., panting. “Isn’t the Crimson Dynamo supposed to be from like, Russia?”
“Yes,” I said, and explained the then-current version of the character. “He’s a special government operative. Ex-KGB. Like a Soviet super-soldier.”
“So what you mean is, he’s a Commie!” J.P. grinned. He knew he’d caught me with that one.
“Well, yeah,” I reasoned. “But his powers all come from his armor, see? Anyone could wear that armor and still be the Crimson Dynamo.”
“Well then how do you feel when somebody else gets to wear Iron Man’s armor?,” asked J.P. victoriously.
“I guess I don’t like it at all…”
“So there,” he boasted. “Detective Rook is a good guy! He’s a police inspector! Which means he’s gotta come from one of the Capitalist countries! Which means he always gets to thwart the plans of Communist spies!”
“I guess…”
“And maybe I oughtta give Detective Rook a superpower, too!”
That would be extremely cool,” I said, then suggested: “Maybe he could grow very tall at will and become a giant! Like Giant-Man!”
“And maybe he could shrink, too, and become real tiny,” J.P. added. “Like that guy with the helmet… Ant-Man!”
And we left it at that.

The moral to this story…

if there’s a moral to this story…

If there’s a moral to this story it’s that all cool kids read Marvel Comics back in the day, and that the post-Crisis John Byrne Superman was a f*cking p*ssy who seemed to get less screen time than that sl*t Cat Grant. God I hated that woman.
…who I think wasn’t even Byrne’s creation by the way but in fact Marv Wolfman’s, but you get the picture anyhow…