Monday, March 18, 2019

Karate Kid #7

Karate Kid #7 
"The Gyro-Master Strikes Twice!"
script by David Michelinie writing as Barry Jameson
art by Ric Estrada and Joe Staton
edited by Denny O'Neil
cover by Mike Grell
cover date: April 1977
review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
dedicated affectionately to Glenn "Continuity Kid" Walker

I can't imagine being a kid in the spring of 1977 and seeing this cover and not wanting, nee, NEEDING to pick up this title. Just look at that cover! The Gyro Master is throwing toys at Karate Kid!! And they are twice as deadly

Also, point of order but we're about to find out that the Gyro Master actually does NOT strike twice. He actually strikes once and then just loiters around. So that's kind of a let-down, too. But really, who should be counting?

Let's get right to the action, shall we?

As Karate Kid is being carted off to jail on suspicion of having murdered his land-lady, the city block they are on is suddenly ripped open by a huge drilling device called the Spin-Borer. We know this machine is called a Spin-Borer because at the next moment out pops the Gyro Master, who conveniently tells us that is what it's called. I am not making this up. And after going missing last issue, the double page spread returns this issue. This time we get a centerfold of the Spin-Borer that is off-center and not the most dominant part of the illustration; I'd argue that either the worker on the left or Karate Kid's butt on the right are more prominent than the Spin-Borer, but maybe that's me?

Karate Kid breaks free from the police as Gyro-Master runs into the Metropolitan Museum, leaving his lackeys to use their gyro-guns to make the policemen spin like tops. Again, I am not making this up. Karate Kid breaks free of his hand-cuffs (by breaking them ACROSS HIS KNEE?!?) and then confronts the two Gyro Goons. Him being the star of this story, guess what: he stops them. He then rushes into the museum to stop their boss.

Gyro Master is there to steal the Milan Gyro. We know this because, conveniently, he tells us. As he succeeds in grabbing the historically important piece, he recalls (for our benefit) his Secret Origin. He tells us how he was a simple industrial spy until one night he fell into a huge cyclotron, and the super-plastic mixture that was spinning inside it was absorbed into his skin. Here, read it for yourself.  Good thing he wasn't bitten by a radioactive gyroscope, right?

Is it just me, or would this story have worked better if this Mort had been the Flash's rogue, The Top,  instead? We would have been spared the incredibly stupid origin story, and The Top, being atleast a B-List (C-List?) bad guy would have added a bit of class to these proceedings. Or, again, is that just me?

On the other hand, The Top died in The Flash about a year before this story was published. So never mind.

So anyway, Karate Kid arrives just as the origin reaches its conclusion (nice of him to let us hear it all). He attacks, but Gyro Master spins back at him, knocking him down. Then Gyro Master throws some mini gyros on the floor; when Karate Kid chases after him, they knock him down again. When the police and Iris rush in, Gyro Master decides to retreat, spinning into another room and disappearing.

As the museum curator explains to the police that the Milan Gyro was designed by Leonardo DaVinci and was on loan from Italy and how it is priceless and irreplaceable blah blah blah  Karate Kid and Iris make their escape.

Next we get a complete scene change, as we are shown a stranger to his book, a certain Benjamin Day, enjoying time at home with his family. He receives a phone call, and he now must go out and kill someone!

We now rejoin our Regular Cast, as Karate Kid and Iris return to his apartment building. Karate Kid asks Iris to keep the posted police guard busy so that he can sneak back into his apartment. What, no fire escape? "Fake" action like this really annoys me. It would also be unnecessary if he had kept his Legion Flight Ring.
Karate Kid confronts "the monitor" in his room knowing that it is the only thing in it that could have killed his land-lady. (What, some robber or Nemesis Kid couldn't have killed her to make it look like KK had done it?) It seems like Karate Kid knows to confront the monitor because the writer showed us it was the monitor last issue. Kinda badly written bit, this. Anyway, we do learn that Mrs. Geichman isn't dead at all; she's only stunned with a memory erasing blast. For those of us who know (or have a strong idea) about what the monitor is, this is good news. Irregardless, Karate Kid and the monitor's voices alert the guard, who rush in. Although he had been shown to be downstairs at the front door. Maybe KK was yelling at the monitor? Whatever. Karate Kid stops the police from arresting him.

When Iris sees Karate Kid knock out the policeman, she pleads for things to slow down because they're going too fast. This makes Karate Kid realize that Gyro Master must still be in the museum. They rush back to it, where Gyro Master reveals that he had been spinning so fast that he had become invisible. (All this time?!)

Gyro Master knows that beating Karate Kid would be difficult, so this time, he loosens mini-gyros at Karate Kid that actually animate suits of armor in the museum. Yeah, because that is a type of gyro you can buy.

While Karate Kid is busy defeating the animated suits of armor, Gyro Master uses tear gas to confuse him. He then tosses a grappling hook through the ceiling window in order to finally escape.

Karate Kid grabs a medieval ornament from one of the suits of armor and tosses it at the rope, cutting it. This causes Gyro Master to fall to the floor.

Later, Iris and Karate Kid are walking through Washington Square Park. They don't know it yet, but they are fated to meet Benjamin Day.....the Hunter! To Be Continued!!

I've never seen any Ric Estrada un-inked pencils so I don't *really* know what his style is, but this page below looks to me to be strongly influenced by Joe Staton.

So this is another issue of Karate Kid that didn't really do anything for me. I do like the design of the Hunter for next issue but I do wonder why DC paid for the Gyro Master. Why didn't DC use more established super-villains in this series? Surely Batman and the Flash between them have enough B-Lists and C-Lists villains that could have given the Kid more a run for his money than Japan Hook Man, Commander Blood, and the Gyro Master!?! If the Hunter isn't any good this will be the fourth Mort in a row. I  never thought I would say this but....maybe they should bring back Major Disaster?!?

Fights Per Issue:
The Gyro Goons : 1 page
Gyro Master: 1 1/2 pages
The Police: 1 page
Suits of Armor: 2 pages
Counting from an 18 page story, this is another pretty low FPI (Fights Per Issue) ratio. For a book that sells itself as All Out Action there's not a whole lot of shaking goin' on.

Karate Comments: 

Science Police Notes:  
  • No letterer or colorist was credited for this story.  
  • The Top died in The Flash #243 (Aug 1976)
This issue has not yet been reprinted.


  1. Thanks for the review. I had all these issues back in the day, but I have absolutely no recall of any of these stories.

  2. Actually, the villain here was supposed to be the Top, but the writer, Barry Jameson (AKA David Michelinie) wasn't aware that the Top was dead, so it had to be hurriedly changed into the immortal Gyro-Master.