The Maestro (Four Favorites)

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Maestro Four Favorites.png

Supervillain from the Lash Lightning stories in four issues of comic book Four Favorites, #9, #10, #12, and #14 (February 1943, May 1943, November 1943, and May 1944).

The Maestro was Basilo Tosca, "...renowned musical genius and conductor of the concert hall orchestra..." in Metropolitan City. He owns one of only three Houdivarius violins in America. For some reason, he started down a path to crime, checking the reservation list of his concerts and tipping thieves off as to when Metropolitan City's wealthy would not be home. He also experimented for years until he could control swarms of bees with his violin playing, then used them in robbing banks.

Superheroes Lightning and Lightning Girl capture him, but by the next issue, he's somehow escaped, dyed his hair a different color, set up shop in Thunder Valley, gathered a collection of weird green-skinned underlings, and forgotten how to control bees but learned a new musical power: playing music so hypnotic, passing truck drivers drive off cliffs and crash. Then the Maestro's underlings gather the truck cargoes. Apparently it's not the kind of hypnosis that can make truck drivers, you know, just pull over.

Lightning and Lightning Girl stop him, but sheriff French over in Cumberland is in cahoots with The Maestro and lets him escape, so Lightning and Lightning Girl have to stop him and his minions all over again.

In issue #12 (November 1943), he's inexplicably escaped again, changed his hair color again, possibly developed acromegaly, set up a swank new lair, and gathered a new batch of musically hypnotized slaves including a mace-wielding hunchback straight out of the medieval era. Some of his slaves are rich business men including a subway construction mogul he made dig under the bank so he could rob it of a big deposit he had one of his other rich business slaves put in it. Apparently it's not the kind of hypnosis that can make rich people, you know, just hand you the money. Lightning and Lightning Girl defeat him and free his slaves.

In issue #14 (May 1944) the Maestro breaks out of prison with other villain Dark Eyes, and they try to free Madame Death, another former Lightning enemy. They are all quickly recaptured by Lightning and Lightning Girl.

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