It’s another generic image on the cover of Action 3 (Aug. 38), and a curious one at that. I wonder what is upsetting the man so much?
Superman appears for only one panel in costume in this story, by Siegel and Shuster, part of the first page of the story. Clark hears about a mine collapse, rushes there as Superman, but then disguises himself as a miner, and stays that way for the bulk of the story.
Unsafe working conditions are the basis of the tale, but once again, the social commentary is integral. The mine owner spends his money on parties, instead of maintaining a safe workplace. He and his friends get lured into moving their party down into the mine itself, and Superman causes a collapse.
The lack of safety features now imperil the owners life, and the wealthy dilettantes have to try to dig their way out. Once Superman hears the owner admit he ought to improve things, he digs a tunnel and frees them all.
Scoop Scanlon heads to check out a murder at a dance hall in this story.
It really doesn’t take much to understand that the dance hall is a prostitution ring, even though that is never stated, or shown explicitly.
The dance hall girl is part of the ring, not merely being used by them, as is common in stories of this kind. She has no trouble pulling a gun on Scoop, but his photographer grabs her and saves the day.
Pep Morgan has more problems with professional gamblers in this issue, as he shows off his skills as a race car driver.
When he refuses to throw the race, the gamblers try to run him off the road. Pep not only wins the race, but also causes the bad guys to crash their car.
Marco Polo’s tale is continuing to adhere to the book. The art is not the greatest, though. The black cat’s night attack is a bit of a waste.
What makes this installment worthy of inclusion is that it relates Polo and family getting trapped in a sandstorm in the desert. This the Desert of Lop, and Neil Gaiman will also handle this episode in Polo’s life in the pages of Sandman.
Bernard Bailey continues his story of Tex and Bob’s encounter with the Gorrah. You may notice that the series itself spells his name Thomson, while I am insistently using Thompson. Later continuity would add the “p” to his surname, and I am simply using it throughout for clarity.
The Gorrah story is a bit confusing, with real and fake ones, and underground tribes. But the Gorrah would be Tex’s main adversary throughout his run.
The Gorrah appears to die, but as I just mentioned his status as an archenemy, you know he will return. Bailey’s art is shockingly poor in this one, compared to his later work.
Guardineer brings back the Tigress in Zatara’s adventure in this issue.
She has been romancing wealthy men, getting them to put her in the will, and then killing them. Not even bothering with the classic black widow marriage step.
In a suggestive panel, Zatara heads to an escort service, and finds that the Tigress is employed by them. They give him her location, probably figuring she could do two dates in one night.
Zatara uses a “hypnotic stare” a few times in this story. He teleports a dance hall girl to her home in this scene, and uses it to make villains see things that are not there later on. With powers like these, it can hardly be a surprise that the Tigress’ plot gets foiled.