Dennis E. Power

    I like the explanation provided by fellow Wold Newtonian researcher Matthew Baugh's study of the origins of Plastic Man and Elongated Man in his Super Powers in the WNU-Explained article  but he forgot to mention other Founder seedlings that may have visited the Earth. A companion article Proto-Types attempted to examine a couple of other cases. In this article we look what happened when a Terrestrial parallel to the Founder's met up with a young Archaeologist, named Rex Mason.

        In X the Unknown, Scotland is threatened by a Blob type creature which feeds on radiation. The creature is believed to have formed millions of years ago and moved inside the crust, feeding off of the energy rising from the molten core. However, radiation in the form of various tests and technical applications attracts the creature back to the surface.  The atomic testing probably caused a geological shift, cracking an opening that allowed the creature to ooze to the surface and seek out this stronger source of radiation on which to feed.  It kills through exuding heat and radiation. It is finally destroyed through a use of an anti-radiation ray.

    While radioactivity of the creature and its appetite for radiation would normally be discounted, we may be able not only to trace its origins or at least point out a creature of a similar origin. In the mid-fifties, Rex Mason, a young adventurous Archaelogist, evidently a graduate of the Jones School of Archaeology, went on a trip to Egypt to discover the whereabouts of the Orb of Ra, a artifact of miraculous powers or so the legend went. He was sponsored by a wealthy scientist and accompanied by the scientist's personal assistant or bodyguard. The scientist, whose identity is still debated was either a false identity used by Lawrence Luthor (Ultrahumanite) or by Marra. The personal bodyguard was purportedly a revived caveman (Neanderthal?). While this may have been the case, he may also been the result of genetic wizardry of sometype. Some have even suggested that this might Jimber Jaw but the personality of Java seems quite different.

    The young archaologist was named Rex Mason, son of Buck Mason, a Sheriff of Comanche County. Rex's brother was the renowned astronaut Major Matthew Mason. The later of course became renown for his feats of space exploration as a Major in the Air Force.  Rex Mason and Java, his Neanderthal companion, found the Orb of Ra after many travails only to discover that it was or at least appeared to be a meteorite exuding high amounts of radiation. To see if there were any death traps around the Orb, Java pushed Mason into the Well of Souls which contained the Orb.

    There were no death traps because there was not a need for them, the Orb exuded a deadly radiation of its own.

    Mason's fall had given him several broken limbs and a compound fractured rib which had perforated one of his lungs and exited through his side. As he lay dying with blood pooling around his body, the Orb took on a glossy sheen. A amphorous creature oozed out of the Orb and slithered to where Mason lay. dying. It absorbed his blood and then began absorbing his flesh. The creature devoured Mason. What happened next is not exactly clear. Whether Mason's strength of will overcame the creatures, whether the underlying sentience of Mason overrode the nascent sentience of the creature or the creature having completely absorbed Mason's mind and memories and have little or none of its own had its blank slate of a mind filled with that of Mason's. Whatever the reason, the creature melded with Mason and in essense became him.

    The creature innate radiation, its shapeshifting powers and alien yet terrestrial cellular structure melded with Mason's in a new and unique manner. (the later depictions of the earlier such events as depicted in hieroglyphics were mere poetic license.)  It may have been Mason's mutant genes as derived from his various family lines or it may have even been something he had eaten that caused this unusual blending.

    Java the caveman saw Mason melt as the radiation of the Orb seemed to died down. Rigging a block and tackled he pulled the Orb from its placed inside the Well. He took the Orb back to his employer, leaving Mason to rot in the Well. Now just what exactly the Orb was has never been authoratatively established since access to the artifact has been denied to scientific study by the Egyptian Government since its subsequent recovery some years later. Speculations abound that it was a meteorite, perhaps the meteorite which radiation transformed organic mud into the creatures known as the X and the Soul of Ra. It may be that this Orb of Ra was merely some sort of gestation chamber for the X type protoplasmic creatures. The later theory has gained some credence in the past  few years, since the Orb of Ra displayed no unusual properties and no extreme amounts of radioactivity after it had been returned to the Egyptian Government. The wealthy scientist who had  obtained it illegally was infuriated when it turn out that Mason had, in his eyes at least, stolen the properties of the Orb.

    Mason was in the unenviable position of having to re-learn how to control his body. He unconsciously formed himself into a crude humanoid shape. He could feel no wounds but his flesh felt odd. Wishing for a torch to light his way, he was shocked to see his hand form into a torch, composed of phosphorous and sulphur. Yet he felt no pain nor any sensation at all. Using the torch he looked at his body, unconscously elongating his arms and neck to get a full view everything but his head. Had he a heart he would have died of a heart attack.  His flesh had become the consistancy of rock, resembling the outside of the Orb of Ra. Envisioning a rope with a grappling hook, Mason formed a crude simalacrum of one from his hand and arm, with greater mental effort he formed a servicable one. He climbed out of the Well of Souls. He was voraciously hungry. He had an odd craving for....... dirt, (you thought I was going to say blood, didnt ya. Come on admit it!) He shoveled handfuls of dirt into his mouth until the craving stopped. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, his sense of taste had disappeared as well as his sense of touch.

    In the next day he was able to see what had happened to him. His body had indeed become rocky as the Orb of Ra, his head was however a lump of rock with eyes, a slit for a nose, (although he did not seem to need to breath) and a slash of a mouth. He formed his head into a more human shape and attempted to recreate his face but only could manage a crude imitation.

    Rex Mason managed to find his way to a friend of his, a scientific genius named Richard Wright, After extensive testing they determined that Mason was no longer human. He could alter any part of his body's shape into what ever he could imagine. What's more he could concentrate molecular components of his body into varous chemical compounds utilizing the basic chemicals of the human body. There were severe limitatons on his abilities however, as stated he was governed by his imagination, and while a competent scientist Mason had very little imagination nor did have any innate artistic abilities, therefore the shapes and items he formed himself into tended to be rather crude and basic. (This may explain why he was never able to form his body into to more humanoid shape or texture.)  He was also limited by the amount of certain chemicals in his body, for example he could form a phosphorous torch but would need to replenish that chemical component when phosphorus was depleted. (The later depictions of his becoming such things an endless fire extinguisher or sophisticated chemical concoctions are mere fantasies. He was also never able to make himself into a competely gaseous or even mostly gaseous state.)

    After learning how to control his abilities, he embarked on a mission of vengeance. He was able to find the Neanderthal Java and bring him to justice and he also recovered the Orb of Ra but was never able to catch up with the wily "Simon Stagg" who disappeared.  Rex Mason's existence while intolerable to him was something he was powerless to change, His attempts at suicide proved to be less than useless, he immediately metabolized poisons, his body automatically reformed after being shattered, etc. Although he tried to return to archaology after returning the Orb of Ra, no schools would hire him because of his appearance, <he would be too much of a distraction> same for most museums and the like. He became a free lance soldier of fortune, working for U.S. Government mostly but usually aiding people in trouble. This gave him some sense of purpose. Unlike the fictionalized accounts of his life, there was no beautiful daughter of the Mad Scientist for him to love. There were friends of course but his love life, if he could have even had one, was casual if not purely commercial.

    While it is true that he did on occasion work with the mysterymen Superman, Batman and Plastic Man, his exploits and abilities, as were those of the mysterymen cited were overly exaggerated, nor did he belong to any fictional organizations such as the Justice League of America or the Outsiders. Really, you must learn to separte reality from fiction.  He is, so far as I know, one of the few mysterymen ever to profit from the sale of comic books based on his "life". Since he was often unemployed, I do not think he should be faulted for this.

    In the mid-eighties Rex Mason disappeared. He was purportedly going to hitch a ride on one of the Jupiter Probes, accompanying his brother Matt,  and then explore space. Some of his more cynical friends believed he was going to try to send himself on a direct course for the sun, hoping to end his existence in this manner.

    I for one hope that he chose the former option.

Works Referenced:
"Stretching Things" by Matthew Baugh 2000
"Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell
Caltiki: The Immortal Monster Allied Artists 1959
The Blob Paramount Pictures 1958
Beware of the Blob Jack Harris Inc. 1972
The Blob Tri-Star 1988
The Quartermass Experiment BBC-Tv
The H-Man Toho 1959
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" Television Series
Legion of Super-Heroes comics DC comics.

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© 2000 Dennis Power