Characters Appearing: Al Laguardia, Basher, Claude (Doc Benson lab assistant), David Bealer, Doc Benson, Don Phipps, Justin Baldwin, Maddie Baldwin, Niels, Speedball, Two-Legged Rat
Issue(s): Speedball #5
The villain of that story is Basher, a rookie cop that "couldn't hack it and dropped out" so now he throws balls at other cops.
And in what is certainly the most awesome part of this three-story issue, Speedball fights a guy in a rat mask who hates cats.
It does turn out to just be a mask, though, and the guy gets away without us learning his identity.
It's also said that the energy that turned Robbie into Speedball could potentially affect every organism differently, so there's really no point in Robbie trying to catch Niels the cat anymore (although he does continue to try).
In the final story, Speedball encounters another "freak of science" named Rico, and helps him escape from the people that are chasing him.
When you find yourself holding a tranq gun and a net and asking "Uh, is what we're doing legal?", it's time to reassess your life.
Whatever the deal is with Rico, we don't find out this issue, and i don't think he ever appears again.
The only clue is that the guys that are after him are named Mr. Huggins and Bliss, so i'm assuming some sort of weird sex cult.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The Two-Legged Rat appears again in New Warriors 66, where Clyde claims to be behind his origin. How? He has no powers, he's just a nut that hates cats.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2014 5:59 PM
And no picture of the Basher? Come on, we also see him again in New Warriors 66, where Clyde also implausibly claims to be behind him.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2014 6:02 PM
And Basher is literally just a guy in a mask that throws stuff at cops. I've added character tags for both and an image of Basher.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 6, 2014 6:09 PM
A rat mask? What is this Hotline Miami now?
Posted by: david banes | September 7, 2014 1:05 PM
Are the 2 guys after Rico supposed to be Stan Lee and Jack Kirby?
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | September 9, 2014 1:03 PM
I can see Bliss as Kirby, but I don't think Mr. Huggins looks anything like Stan Lee (including looking at other panels in the book).
Posted by: fnord12 | September 9, 2014 3:35 PM
I don't know about the rest of.the book, but in the above scan he looks exactly like a 1971 Stan Lee without his wig. In fact, he looks a lot like Funk Flashman, the Stan Lee caricature that Kirby did for DC.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 9, 2014 5:14 PM
Sounds like Wanyas is right, then. I've added another scan of the two of them. I wonder if Mary Jo Duffy, who scripted that part, was in on the joke (and if she or Ditko named them Bliss and Huggins, if that was meant to mean anything).
Posted by: fnord12 | September 9, 2014 5:22 PM
Ditko's later works seem to always have mundane villains. It's actually kind of refreshing, though this is not the first work of his I've seen to feature "Guy in animal mask" as the villain.
Posted by: TCP | April 22, 2015 9:09 AM
The earliest animal mask bad guys I can think of are the obscure Batman villains the Terrible Trio. They actually showed up in an episode or two of the Bruce Timm animated series.
The Rico guy in this issue looks a lot like an ersatz Shade the Changing Man.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 24, 2015 4:30 PM
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