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Why In The World Did Stilt-Man Stop Using His Powerful Z-Ray?

This is "How Can I Explain?", which is a feature spotlighting inexplicable comic book plots.

Today, we look at the bizarre history of Stilt-Man's Z-Ray!

The Stilt-Man was introduced in Daredevil #8, which was by Wallace Wood and Stan Lee (one of the last issues of Daredevil that Wood worked on, as he was sick of not being credited for the fact that he plotted and laid out the entire issue before Lee came in and scripted the book, but the credits - and the payments - were still "Lee, writer. Wood, artist").

Wood introduces the Stilt-Man as a major threat...

In fact, when Daredevil first tangles with Stilt-Man, ol' Hornhead is dealt with very easily...

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We even get a gem later on, when Daredevil loses AGAIN to Stilt-Man, that "How can anyone cope with the power of those hydraulic legs?" and Stilt-Man, himself, noting, "So long as I am a master of my stilts, I'm unbeatable! I'm completely invincible!"

Well, the problem for Stilt-Man is that he stole an experimental shrinking device and he did not know how to work it properly and so he ended up shrinking himself down to basically nothingness...

(Although, Daredevil notes that there is no such thing as shrinking down into literal nothingness, so he knows Stilt-Man is out there somewhere. That might have been Stan Lee just trying to alleviate any fears that readers just saw a villain be killed). That, though, was the basic take on Stilt-Man the rest of his career -a bit of a schmoo who happened to have a powerful suit of armor.

However, that was not the case at all!

In Black Goliath #4 (by Chris Claremont, Rich Buckler and Don Heck), Stilt-Man brags about his new weapon, the Z-Ray. And at the end of the issue, he flat out VANISHES Black Goliath and a couple of his friends...

As it turns out in the next issue (art by Keith Pollard now), the Z-Ray TRANSPORTED THEM TO ANOTHER PLANET!

In Champions #12, the Champions team-up with Black Goliath to get rid of the Z-Ray, with Darkstar destroying it....

However, in that passage, we learn that Stilt-Man invented the Z-Ray WHILE IN PRISON! He said it took some months, but come on, the dude invented it in PRISON! And it can TELEPORT PEOPLE TO OTHER PLANETS!

And yet that is the last we ever saw of the Z-Ray.

Stilt-Man continued to just be a bit of a punching bag the rest of his comic book career, despite the fact that the guy invented an inter-planetary teleportation device WHILE IN PRISON!

It doesn't make sense!

If anyone else can think of a good inexplicable comic book plot, write me at brianc@cbr.com!

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