Monday, November 18, 2019

Karate Kid #14

Karate Kid #14 
"Diamondeth Is Forever!"
script by Bob Rozakis
art by Juan Ortiz and Bruce Patterson
lettered by Milt Snapinn
colored by Mario Sen
edited by Al Milgrom
cover by Rich Buckler (penciller) and Frank Giacoia (inker)
cover date: May/June 1978
review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
dedicated affectionately to Glenn "Continuity Kid" Walker

This comic-book cover screams ACTION. And although Robin's physiology looks a little bit wonky here, and the perspective is a bit weird to accommodate Karate Kid jumping down to Robin's defense, I like the overall "feel" and coloring of it. It made me buy it as a wee lad, so it must have done something right!

Karate Kid returns to "present day" from his adventures in the past with Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes to find that 1977 is now 1978, and that his friend Iris Jacobs has been transformed into a diamond-like creature. As he confronts the police trying to stop her,  Robin the Teen Wonder, who is passing through NYC on his way back to Gotham City, also gets involved. Robin swings in to attack her, calling her "Diamondeth." Karate Kid steps in to stop him because he is afraid that a strong physical blow might damage her. (Although diamonds are some of the strongest natural items on Earth, but okay....).
This starts the fight between Robin and Karate Kid, because Robin has no idea who the Kid is. Luckily for all of us, Karate Kid is able to explain who he is and what he's doing there before either guy gets in too many blows. Robin agrees to help Karate Kid figure out how Iris became Diamondeth. But first, Robin notices the gang members who are following Iris in her path of destruction, looting stores that she is smashing. He insists that they stop the looters. The two teen titans easily defeat the criminals, but Iris gets away.
Carl Teaberry from STAR Labs arrives to explain that Iris was participating in an experiment with hydro-carbons and their effect on human bodies when something went very wrong (ya think?). However, of the several volunteers she is the only one who has been affected. Cue dramatic music.
Elsewhere, Major Disaster and the Lord of Time are still observing Karate Kid, as they are the ones actually responsible for Iris' transformation (as shown last issue). Major Disaster, channeling all Karate Kid readers, asks the Lord of Time for an explanation. All he tells him (and us) is that his plan is very complicated, but extremely well thought out. So he's a genius, got it.
Sometime later, Iris is now with "King Rat," the leader of the gang from several pages ago. She is calm as he talks to two of his local "fences" about using Iris to create a chaotic crime spree similar to what had occurred earlier. Another option would be to just chop Iris up into diamond pieces and sell her! Yikes, these guys don't fool around!
Karate Kid bursts in through the overhead window, and with a timely assist from Robin, takes down the bad guys. Robin was late because he was "running down information," which makes no sense. In fact, we have no idea why Iris is there with King Rat, and how Robin and Karate Kid managed to find her.
Diamondeth sees Karate Kid and seems to recognize him, but only in an angry way. She goes berserk again, so Karate Kid reluctantly agrees that they have to attack her. He and Robin both hit opposite stress points on Iris' body at the same time, knocking her out without smashing her.
Karate Kid decides to take Iris into the 30th Century in order to try to cure her, even though that may anger Princess Projectra's father because he was the one who ordered the Kid to stay in the past. Meanwhile, the Lord of Time cackles gleefully, because Karate Kid heading into the future is exactly what he wants to happen.
To Be Continued!

This seems to be Exhibit A for any Wild Seventies DC Comic. It looks good (thanks to Juan Ortiz and Bruce Patterson art) and moves swiftly from start to finish. But as soon as you put it down, you think, "What did I just read?"
Part of this is the plot-holes. Instead of the full page spread of Karate Kid jumping through the window I would have liked a little bit more information as to how Iris got to where she was, and then how Karate Kid and Robin managed to follow her.

Speaking of things we don't know, why in the world is the Lord of Time going to this much trouble to bother one measly Legionnaire? What could possibly be the pay-off to this much preparation work? If his plot (and this series) hadn't crossed the "silly" line last issue, it definitely does this issue.

Did I say "silly"? Just wait until we see what happens in the next issue!

Fights Per Issue:
Karate Kid vs Robin: 2 pages
Karate Kid & Robin vs. the gang: 2 pages
Karate Kid & Robin vs. the leaders: 2 pages
Karate Kid & Robin vs. Diamondeth: 3 pages
With a story of 17 pages, this is more than half of the pages devoted to fighting. Not bad, although this time out I would have actually preferred a bit more story!

Karate Comments: 

Science Police Notes:  
  • Robin is most likely appearing here between his appearances in Batman Family #17 and #18. 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

Although there had been requests for the Legion to meet the Teen Titans from the very inception of the former group, it never happened during the Silver or Bronze Age of Comics. This meeting between one Legionnaire and one Teen Titan is the closest fans got to their dream teen team-up pre-Crisis. 


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