"The Eye-Popping Perils of the Insect Bandit!": Clifford Rogers was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wind blew his hat off. Chasing his hat into an alleyway, he is attacked by a mechanical bug that gasses him and then makes off with his wallet and keys.
- Yes, darling! Yes, yes, yes!
- — Jean Loring (Upon being proposed to by Ray Palmer)
Appearing in "The Eye-Popping Perils of the Insect Bandit!"
- Bug-Eyed Bandit (First appearance)
- Alice Thayer (Single appearance)
- Clifford Rogers (Single appearance)
- Ed Thayer (Final appearance)
- Jimmy Loring (Jean's Nephew) (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Eye-Popping Perils of the Insect Bandit!"
Clifford Rogers was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wind blew his hat off. Chasing his hat into an alleyway, he is attacked by a mechanical bug that gasses him and then makes off with his wallet and keys.
At that moment, Jean Loring is being visited by her nephew Jimmy who is upset about Jean's insistence that he prepare for the coming school years need for him to do a project on entomology in order to obtain a much needed scholarship. While the young boy is only interested in summertime and baseball, he is soon enthralled in the world of insects when Ray Palmer begins telling the boy all about the different characteristics of insects. Just then the phone rings, when Jean answers it she tells Ray it's the police. Listening to chief Baxter, Ray learns that the police have yet another victim apparently robbed by an insect and have asked him to go an investigate. Learning from the man that his wallet and keys were stolen by what apparently was a Bombardier Beetle. After learning all he can from the victim, Ray leaves the hospital and beings to wonder how the Atom can stop this new menace.
Elsewhere, Bertram Larvan, a genius scientist and the inventor of the robotic bug has used Rogers keys to break into a safe in the Ivy Town business district and rob it of it's money. Escaping with his loot he is witnessed by Ray Palmer who quickly changes into the Atom and attacks. Larvan sends his mechanical bug against the Atom while he makes his escape. Although the Atom manages to break off one of it's blades and cripple one of it's wings, the mechanical bug manages to jolt the Atom with an electric shock stunning the hero long enough for both the crook and his robot bug to make an escape.
Larvan returns to his base of operations where he fumes over the events that led to him becoming a criminal: An ingenious inventor, Bertram studied insects and came up with designs for mechanical bugs to help mankind by eliminating other pests. However, without the money to build a working prototype everyone he went to for funding would deny him. Becoming bitter and fanatical, he would ignore his fiancee Alice Moorse who would eventually leave him.
Meanwhile, Ray Palmer is examining the blade that he removed from the mechanical bug and finds that it gives off some kind of vibration. Changing into the Atom, he allows the blade's vibration to take him to the location of the mechanical bug. He arrives at the scene of yet another robbery attempt, this time Larvan is attempting to steal a valuable jewel. The Atom interrupts the robbery, and after fighting off the robot, it is forced to flee, leaving the Atom with no trace to follow by.
Resuming his civilian guise, Ray and Jean pay a visit to his friend Ed Thayer, who coincidentally is engaged to Alice Moorse. Alice also happens to have a very close resemblance to Jean Loring. When Ray begins talking about his recent case trying to solve the mystery of the mechanical bugs, this gets Alice's attention who tells them all about her ex-fiancee Bert Larvan. As she explains that his neglect caused her to break off her engagement with him, this causes Jean to worry that the same will happen to Ray.
Deciding to check out this lead, Ray takes Jean home, who is even more worried about losing Ray when he doesn't propose to her like he usually does. Ray pays a visit to Bertran's home to ask him some questions and leaves with only the suspicion that Larvan is hiding something. Larvan realizes that Ray Palmer is getting too close to his operation and sends his mechanical bug to attack him. As Ray is driving off the insect is about to go for a lethal dive when Ray is saved at the nick of time when Jean happens to be driving opposite of him and warns him of the swooping insect, allowing Ray to dive out of the way long enough. Rushing to Ray's side the emotional Jean ask Ray to propose to her again, promising that she will not refuse this time. Ray does ask her to marry him and she accepts, the two sharing a kiss. Witnessing this through the insects monitors, Bertran confuses Jean with his ex-fiance Alice and is made even more furious.
Having deduced that Ray Palmer and the Atom are the same person, Bertran has a trap setup for the Atom when he ultimately returns to Larvan's home. Sure enough, when Ray does return as the Atom, he is caught in a metallic net and pulled onto a table. There Larvan reveals himself in a insect inspired costume and sicking his insect robot against the Atom. The Atom ultimately gains the upper hand over the attacking insect. Riding it's back he directs it toward Bertran's face, and when it shoots out a cloud of it's amnesia inducing gas into Larvan's face, it causes him to forget the Atom's secret identity. Bertran is then handed over to the police.
A few months later when Jimmy visits Jean and Ray again, Jimmy thanks Ray for his help in teaching him about insects which allowed him to win the scholarship that he was competing for.
- This book was first published on June 7, 1966.
- Ray Palmer and Jean Loring become engaged in this issue.
- Includes a two-page pin-up feature by Gil Kane titled "A Handful of Wishes".
Ed Thayer was last seen in The Atom #15.
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Links and References
- Atom (comics) at Wikipedia.org
- The Atom series index at Comicbookdb.com
- The Atom series index at the Grand Comics Database
- The Atom series index at Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics