Strange Adventures #244, November 1973

Yep, it’s the old, old story of a man held captive by giant parakeets. How many times have we seen that one, eh readers?

While investigating the disappearance of an airliner at sea, John Walden, atomic scientist (aren’t they all?), discovers a giant feather. Suddenly he’s scooped up into the air by a giant budgie and carried to a nearby island.

Surrounded by the feathered fiends, Walden is dismayed to find himself placed in a cage and fed coconuts. As the days go by, he comes to realise that the island is the very one where he’d tested an atomic bomb the previous month. Just before the test Walden had found a mysterious meteorite, and he now surmises that the atomised meteorite must be responsible for the parakeet mutation.

The birds mutate further, becoming ever more intelligent. Walden witnesses them building cities and skyscrapers, and is amazed when they quickly learn to speak English. The birds decide to conquer the planet and make all mankind pets!

Walden tells the birds that the very same mutation effect is occurring on another island to the north, and that he means to escape to that island and evolve into a form that can defeat them. Laughing at the silly man for revealing his plan to them, the birds fly off to the new island intent on evolving themselves into even more powerful forms. Just as the birds arrive, the island is blown to smithereens in an atomic blast — the island is actually the location of a second atomic bomb test!

Later, over a cup of tea, a rescued John Walden laughs at his own good fortune.

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Written by John Broome, this story originally appeared in 1955 at around the time most of the world’s powers were using atomics bombs to blow up remote islands. Giant, intelligent budgies, however, have yet to make themselves known to us.

Cover art by Murphy Anderson.

©2008 DC Comics