Although Action 16 (Sept. 39) features a generic cover image, the bullet with Superman in it is now firmly in place in the upper left hand corner, where it will remain as it alters over the years, transforming into the DC bullet.
I probably could have skipped over Siegel and Shuster’s Superman story in this issue. It’s not bad, it’s just sort of bland. Superman saves a gambler from killing himself. He talks to George Taylor about it, and is given permission to do a story for the Daily Star on the evils of gambling.
In reality, what this means is that Superman puts on his costume and terrorizes gamblers and bookies, and smashes up gambling parlours.
Pep Morgan impressed Mr. Smith with his previous outing, catching the murderous thieves that had been plaguing his business. So in this issue, by Guardineer, he appoints Pep to be the bodyguard for his daughter, who is being threatened.
Pep moves into their mansion to keep an eye on her, which is a good idea, as the butler is part of the scheme.
Pep catches the bad guys, and sails off with Mr. Smith and his daughter in their yacht. Things are definitely looking up for the lad!
Bob Kane concludes Clip Carson’s first adventure in this issue. Cheops wants to take control of an Arab army that is planning to attack the city. The politics in this story are important, but unclear. Likely, they would not have been at the time, when it was current events. I would think that the government forces, which the Arabs oppose, would be the British.
Cheops turns out to be one of their associates, Sergeant Beatty. He was trying to get the treasure to fund his attacks against the government.
Clip literally throws Beatty to the Arabs, who are happy to kill him. Maybe they can figure out which side they, and the “government” are on. I sure can’t.
Zatara has an alien adventure in this story, courtesy of Fred Guardineer.
A Saturnian comes to Earth as an advance scout before an intended invasion. Zatara rides his transport beam back to the planet. The Saturnians look astoundingly like the Martian Manhunter, even down to the crossed suspenders. Yet there was well over a decade between this story and that character’s introduction.
Zatara uses his powers to make the Satrurnians, and their cities, invisible, to torment them. He shows them visions of what their world could become, if they focus on that instead of invading Earth, and also appears to make Earth grow a giant arm, capable of destroying planets. The Saturnians, as they might, figure that everyone on Earth is as powerful as Zatara, and call off their invasion.