One of the most underused but coolest (no pun intended) superpowers is that involving ice. I’m not sure why I think this. Perhaps it’s because of the Western New Yorker in me who full knows what it’s like to fall on your butt on a icy day, or maybe it’s because it’s a contrast to all the superpowers that rely upon warm temperatures or fire.
Either way, it’s kind of a bummer that so few heroes seem to have it- it seems to be more of a villain power. There’s Mr. Freeze, for example, and Captain Cold. The only ice-hero I can think of off the top of my head is Iceman from the X-Men.
But there is also one called Sub-Zero, a Venusian who landed on Earth and used his freezing powers to fight crime in stories published by Novelty Press.
…I don’t know why a Venusian would have ice powers either. But he did appear in a baseball story, so he’s now going to be in the rare company of superheroes who have been featured in BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE!
This story, from December 1940 in Blue Bolt Comics #7, can be found here, starting on page 21.
The story was written and drawn by Bill Everett, who is better known for having been the creator of the Sub-Mariner in 1939 and being the co-creator (alongside Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) of Marvel Comics’ Daredevil in the 1960s. With that out of the way, here we go, the first page, where we see a logo that was probably really clever back then but probably would be a cliche now. We also see that Sub-Zero (who apparently doesn’t need a secret identity) watching a game between the Lions and Blue Sox, which they say is a night game, but which looks like a day game to me…
Problem is, though, that, as the manager of the Lions says, they have pitching issues, and, just like in a lot of these old Public Domain comics involving baseball, there are gamblers trying to fix the games! See below:
Of course, this is comics, so they don’t just bribe players, no…they shoot them in broad daylight! Well, I guess nightlight, but it still looks pretty day-time to me.
Also, what’s with the one guy who is running towards him as he is shot? I mean, he either is a mole who knew it was coming, or has super-fast reflexes. Speaking of “super”, want to know who else has super-powers? Sub-Zero. Y’know, the guy without a secret identity who was at the game where this shooting took place? Why, he goes after the sniper, of course! Seriously, it’s one thing to try and pull off a blatant crime in front of a crowd that just so happens to have Clark Kent in it or something, but to do it when there is a superhero there in his costume? How stupid can these crooks be? Probably as stupid as the guy who is so engrossed in his hot dog that he doesn’t even notice the commotion until a stay ice-bolt from Sub-Zero freezes his dog, as you can see to the right.
Of course, the heroes are hardly geniuses either: by the end of this page, Sub-Zero accidentally makes the would-be assassin slip on ice and fall to his death from a stadium cat-walk. Whoops.
Anyway, despite the fact that he was shot, the pitcher from that day is okay, although he’s out for the season. Also, the game goes on, but without the ace on the mound, the Blue Sox make a big rally and beat the Lions. Not only that, but Vernon, the SS of the Lions (despite seeming to be in some sort of pseudo-2B position), is on the take!
So, the next day, Sub-Zero goes to the game again, and he sees that Vernon is probably on the take, running into people and such. So he decides to put an end to it by engaging in superfan interference:
And I thought Jeffrey Maier was bad! And the thing is, this isn’t the only thing Sub-Zero does: he later adds some ice to a pitch so that it drops right into Vernon’s swinging bat, allowing him to hit a game-winning homer.
This brings up many moral questions: Is it right to so blatant interfere with the game if the reasons are for justice? Or are the rules so absolute that to break them would make one as bad as the injustice you are trying to prevent? Truly, these have been pondered for generations and will no doubt continue to be pondered.
Anyway, rain washes out the next day’s game, allowing Lefty- who had started game 2- to rest enough to start. However, the gangsters will have none of that, so they go and try to kidnap Lefty. And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Sub-Zero and his use of an election sign:
So, with the big game coming up, the mobsters decide that they will have to just kidnap Lefty as he enters the stadium, which they do using a crooked cop. They then hide in the scoreboard…
Criminals are dumb. Thankfully for the criminals, Sub-Zero doesn’t just flash-freeze them, instead, he does something more subtle: He blows up lightbulbs on the other side of the stadium:
Next time on the Bizarre Baseball Culture: TELEVISION!
Prologue: “Rockets on the Mound” (short story)
13. Sub-Zero and Blasted Bulbs (you are here)