This Week in Comics — 2011/04/06

Two sto­ries involv­ing pup­pets this week, one in the col­lo­qui­al sense and one in the lit­er­al sense.

Heroes For Hire #5

Its the final show­down between Misty Knight and the Pup­pet Mas­ter, and he’s brought out the big guns in his defense, in the per­son of the Pun­ish­er! And as is that isn’t enough, when Pal­adin and Iron Fist inves­ti­gate, they’re met with the Black Wid­ow, Fal­con and Moon Knight, all under the con­trol of the Pup­pet Mas­ter. Its two run­ning fights until Misty man­ages to free the con­trolled heroes, but once that is done, the ques­tion of who was pulling the Pup­pet Mas­ter’s strings is left unan­swered. Cer­tain­ly the brain­wave manip­u­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy is a far cry from his usu­al modus operan­di with mak­ing stat­ues of radioac­tive clay. He is even seen talk­ing with some­one he takes orders from. But who is that? He’s not talk­ing, placed in a coma from a bul­let from the Punisher.

The tech­nol­o­gy involved sug­gests a num­ber of peo­ple or orga­ni­za­tions, all with advanced techonol­o­gy. For the past few weeks, Misty was con­tact­ing and direct­ing a num­ber of heroes using a sophis­ti­cat­ed radio sys­tem. Now we learn that the radio devices have anoth­er pur­pose: to record the brain­wave pat­ters of any one who wore them and through the Pup­pet Mas­ter’s tech­nol­o­gy, men­tal­ly manip­u­late them. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for him, the one per­son he should have con­trolled was Misty, because she’s the one who man­aged to free the con­trolled heroes.

While Misty is free and want­i­ng to get back into the hero busi­ness, she still has that ques­tion to answer, and Pal­adin wants to know if she’s for hire to answer that ques­tion. Misty’s answer is to ask Pal­adin the same quesiton.

Zatana #11

Zatan­na is now in the form of a mar­i­onette, the result of Oscar Hemple’s use of a num­ber of mys­ti­cal arti­facts and his desire to break the curse Zatan­na’s father placed on him, return­ing him to human and turn­ing the curse back on Zatan­na. As a mar­i­onette, she dances on her strings to his com­mand, until she final­ly man­ages to use her mag­ic to restore her mind if not her body. She needs some­one who can also pull her strings to help her out to make that a reality.

With all of her friends and asso­ciates, such as her cousin Zachary or any num­ber of oth­er heroes both super­nat­ur­al and oth­er­wise, it is her friend and stage man­ag­er Mikey who real­izes she was miss­ing and notices her per­form­ing on tele­vi­sion, then tracks her and Oscar down. With Mikey’s assis­tance, Zatan­na man­ages to at least become inde­pen­dent of her strings, although she’s still a mar­i­onette. That’s when Oscar decides to fin­ish the trans­for­ma­tion, and add Mikey to his cast of marionettes.

And that is the very last thing he should have tried, as Mikey tried to tell him, as she has a mag­i­cal defense of her own (a “bless­ing” Zatan­na calls it, a very handy thing for some­one who is the friend of a major-league mag­i­cal super­hero) that turns his curse back on him, mak­ing him the mar­i­onette again, while break­ing the curse on Zatan­na. After that, its a sim­ple mat­ter for Zatan­na to cap­ture Oscar, and, at the same time, get over her fear of puppets.

But at the end, anoth­er pup­pet mas­ter might have appeared. Broth­er Night is back, after being defeat­ed by Zatan­na and forced to renounce his Hell­ish pact. The ques­tion is, what is his source of pow­er, and who’s pulling his strings? Hell is not like­ly to give a minor-league los­er like Broth­er Night a sec­ond chance, but his emp­ty body could be a wel­come home for any num­ber of mys­ti­cal entities.

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