Showing 11 - 20 of 35 posts found matching keyword: red bee

From the This Whole Damn Court Is Out of Order Department:

This is the 23rd appearance of the Red Bee. Like all comic book characters, the longer they're around, the darker they get. This story could have been written by Frank Miller.

The episode opens with lawyer Rick Raleigh's closing arguments in the murder trial of Joe Phillips. The jury returns a guilty verdict. Hooray! Raleigh has taken another slimeball of the streets. Or has he?

From his prison, Joe tells his girlfriend Jean that he's been framed by the Gordon Gang. Joe claims that the gang wanted him to roll over on some of his wealthy friends, and refused. It was really the Gordon Gang who robbed the bank, committed a murder, planted the money in his home, and told the cops where to find it. This might sound more plausible if Joe had mentioned this to someone, you know, during the trial.

To test the truth, Raleigh does what any good lawyer would do: he puts on a diaphanous blouse and domino mask and enters Fight Club. When that doesn't get results (surprise, surprise), Raleigh next employs the talents of his friend, Mac, the "expert lip reader" to, well, read lips. This somehow works. Because this is a comic book.

Satisfied that Joe is innocent, the Red Bee goes on the warpath. He beats up most of Gordon's goons while his trained bee, Micheal, murders the rest.

Murder Is Spelled with a Bee
Hit Comics #23, August 1942

That bee is going to need a good lawyer.

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From the Bee Something, Say Something Department:

Mobster Casey wants in on Franco's silk-thieving operation, but Franco is having none of it. Under interrogation by the Red Bee, Casey's henchman reveals that Casey blew up the warehouse housing Franco's stolen goods with the intention of framing Franco for blowing up his own ill-gotten gains.

If Casey is guilty of anything here, it's stupidity.

This guy has one trick, so why does the mob keep falling for it?
Hit Comics #22, June 1942

Armed with this knowledge, the Red Bee passes the secret semaphore code to sneak into Franco's hangout where he finds (dun-dun-DUN) silk. Franco catches the Bee in his dirty laundry and knocks his brains out. When the Red Bee wakes up, he calls someone named Clancy and invites him over. Soon Clancy's mob is fighting with Franco's gang.

And thus Superior City is saved. I guess? Except, what happened to Casey, the guy who blew up the warehouse in the first place? And why blow up a warehouse to frame a thief when you could just turn him in for theft?

Maybe a six-page comic book story isn't enough time to actually explain a crime of this magnitude. If solving crime was easy, we wouldn't need the Red Bee!

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From the We've Been Here "Bee"-fore Department:

As America entered WWII, Hit Comics cut back to a bi-monthly schedule. It also cut back on it's villains. In issue Twenty-One, Red Bee shows up to confront yet another in a never-ending string of protection rackets. Apparently, the shops in Superior City were very, very fragile.

Guns don't kill people. They don't kill bees, either.
Hit Comics #21, April 1942

If there is a highlight in this adventure, it's "gun moll" Mae Floss. She doesn't get a lot of time on panel, but she does makes the most of it. Smooching, feigning distress, knocking the hero out with her purse: she squeezes more into her four panels than most Red Bee antagonists get in an entire story!

Because if there's anything the Red Bee doesn't get, it's action

Since Miss Floss isn't seen after the Red Bee steers her getaway car into a brick wall, I like to think she escaped and will return to menace him again in the future. She'd make a good recurring villain for the Red Bee. It takes a special kind of man to train bees to sting on command, and that kind of man has no use for women. Who can blame him? We all know it's impossible to train a woman to do anything on command.

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From the Going Down Department:

I'll give this to Superior City: their criminals are inventive. The mob in Hit Comics #20 focuses their criminal extortion racket exclusively on elevator manufacturers.

Twenty people have died in three elevator failures in ten days, and only the District Attorney suspects foul play. The Red Bee has no intention of getting involved until the owner of the Skinner Elevator Company asks for help. We'll never know why Skinner didn't go to the police, as the "fat little man" soon becomes victim twenty-one.

Only the best henchmen are accepted into the elevator protection racket
Hit Comics #20, February 1942

The Red Bee only has six pages to solve this mystery, so it's a good thing that the elevator cable clipping hoods drive him straight to the palatial home of Albert Twist of the Twist Elevator Company. One punch loosens Twist's tongue, and he confesses to trying to ruin the business of his corporate rival.

Wow. I guess Skinner was right to go to the D.A. The police never would have figured that out. Thanks, Red Bee!

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From the Girls Have Cooties Department:

In this adventure, the Red Bee goes after car thieves. He's joined on this mission by one Valerie Ransome, the latest in a growing trend of plucky young women who are better at the Red Bee's job than he is. Valerie has had her new-to-her used car stolen, and is itching to get into action.

You do remember you have a gun, right?
Hit Comics #19, January 1942

Valerie leads Red Bee to the Acme Garage, where they find the owner cleaning out his own business. His used cars are stolen, and he's willing to murder the District Attorney to ensure no one ever finds out. So far as Red Bee villains go, this is a pretty solid plan.

Our hero foils his plan, steals a motorcycle, and for no apparent reason takes Valerie along on a high-speed chase to capture the oxymoronic no-good used car salesman and his gang. In the big finish, Valerie picks up a stick and wades into the melee, saving the Red Bee's bacon. Does this bit of bravado earn her a peck on the cheek? No, of course not.

Taking a car full of crooks to the cops is woman's work!

"Now scram, Valerie. I've only got eyes for bees!"

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From the Bees Are Colorblind Department:

Michael, "the buzzing, stinging insect pet" bee, is well trained at stinging people holding guns. He's apparently equally adept at stinging people holding oars.

Oars look kind of like big guns if you hold them right
Hit Comics #18, December 1941

The mobsters on that dinghy deserved the stinging of their lifetime. When the boat's owner, Mary Jellcoe, refused to tell them where her imprisoned father hid his fortune, the mobsters decided to loosen her lips by tying her to the boat and sinking it! Not the best plan, but at least they had one. That places these crooks among the smarter of Red Bee's foes.

More importantly than any stupid kidnapping, theft, or carjacking in this story is the first appearance of the Red Bee's autogyro, which as you might expect is painted . . . blue.

Assistant district attorneys get all the perks

Before you get bent out of shape that the Red Bee's secret identity can't be worth much if he keeps an autogyro on the roof of his own apartment, know that it only lasts four panels before he crashes the copter/plane hybrid into the river in front of a boat. Never underestimate the Red Bee's dedication to the job.

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From the Because Red Credit Hog Was Taken Department:

Michael deserves a raise
Hit Comics #17, November 1941

This story starts with a punk assaulting Superior City Assistant District Attorney Rick Raleigh in the showers of the local gym. Believe it or not, the motive of this attack is not explained. It has only the most tangential link to the adventure. Just a random assault on a naked superhero. That Dr. Wertham failed to mention this issue in Seduction of the Innocent must have been a clerical oversight.

Over the course of the rest of the adventure, Red Bee convinces a minor to join the mob, murders a man with a car, and then runs away from the police. Oh, and he's also a Peeping Tom. I've said it before: the Red Bee is my kind of hero.

What can Michael do if you fall off that fire escape?

This story makes it explicit that Michael, the Red Bee's bee, has been "trained to help in any emergency." I guess that means he can put out a fire by flapping his wings, defuse a bomb with his antenna, or dial a rotary phone to call a cab when the boss loses his keys.

Ah, the good old days. If the world of 2015 worked like the world of 1941, every teenager with a smartphone would be a costumed crime fighter. Come on, Siri, we've got work to do.

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From the They're Not Even Trying Anymore Department:

The artist was too lazy to draw 'z's
Hit Comics #16, October 1941

This adventure moves at a breakneck pace, so try to keep up:

Two cops come across two thugs murdering a "Chinese" in Superior City's Chinatown district. Two more thugs knock out the two cops. When the District Attorney hears about this and decides to investigate, someone threatens his life. Being devoted to his job, he visits the crime scene anyway.

Fortunately for the DA — who also happens to be the Red Bee's boss — the Red Bee is also at the crime scene. His trained bee, Michael saves the DA from two hitmen armed with one high-powered rifle. The Red Bee goes through their pockets and discovers that the hitmen have opium. Instead of turning them over to the DA, he decided to wait around and watch them steal a cab.

The hitmen spot the Red Bee following them and decided to throw out the cabby. The Red Bee stops his car to check on the cabby and learns that the hitmen are headed "to a white house." The Red Bee immediately goes to a red house.

The Red Bee breaks into the house, is captured, nearly has his head cut off, breaks free with the help of Michael, and chases the fleeing thugs to an open drawbridge where he finally bests them. The Red Bee departs, but not before leaving a note "telling the police the men are opium smugglers who murdered the Chinese."

It's another open-and-shut case for the Red Bee!

It's too bad that the story doesn't ever tell us what this has to do with a murdered man in Chinatown. Or how the Red Bee figured they were smuggling opium and not just recreational users. Or why anyone felt the need to threaten or murder the DA. If you want answers to those kinds of questions, you're reading the wrong comic.

Open. And. Shut.

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From the Bee's Inhumanity to Man Department:

After Leo Madden is found not guilt of murder, someone kills the lead witness in the trial. It doesn't take the World's Greatest Detective to guess that Madden might be involved (even though Madden was acquitted of the crime and need not worry about being tried for it a second time), so the Red Bee is on the case.

Someone should teach this mook about the birds and the bees
Hit Comics #15, September 1941

And what bloody case it is! Michael, the trained bee, kills the first suspect with a beaker of sulphuric acid. The Red Bee kills another by electrocution, then cleans out a room of mobsters with a gas explosion.

At the end of the issue, the only men left standing are Madden and one former gang member who can pin him to the original witness' murder. The DA calls for a new trial. Wait, isn't that where this issue started? The Red Bee's job is never done!

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From the Great Caesar's Ghost Department:

This panel is only here to justify the Superman reference in the title

Try to keep up with this: the Red Bee stumbles across an assassination attempt by remote controlled boat that he played no part in foiling. The killer gets serious on his second try, using a high-powered rifle to shoot his victim, Bill Baldwin, right between the eyes.

The Red Bee, having failed twice to stop the assassin, should probably just admit that he's been outclassed. But no! Instead he decides to impersonate the victim in the hopes of drawing the assassin out for a third try. That's the Red Bee's motto: if at twice you don't succeed, let them shoot at you instead.

Not shown: Michael the Bee stinging Death
Hit Comics #14, August 1941

The Bee attends a masquerade party disguised as Bill disguised as the Red Bee, and no one notices because a pink muslin blouse hides, um, nothing. Perhaps no one suspects because he is accompanied by Bill's girlfriend, Carol, who has no qualms about hanging around with someone pretending to be her dead lover. That's how dames rolled in 1941.

Within minutes, someone at the party mistakes Bee for Bill and throws an axe at him. The Bee dispatches his attacker (with one punch), then runs away to defend Carol who is being menaced by a man in a grim reaper costume. Red Bee chases the second assailant into a barn where he finds the discarded costume a man who claims the man who had been wearing it went that-a-way. Then this:

Evidence? We don't need no stinking evidence!

Uh, ok? Remember, the Bee is an assistant D.A. when he's not failing to protect people from assassination attempts, so he must have picked up some clues that we didn't. Like why two of Carol's former suitors would team-up to kill Bill. That Carol must have been dynamite in the sack!

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To be continued...

 

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