If Superman still can’t fly, then he has leaped higher than skyscrapers with the two thugs on the cover of Action 26 (July 1940). No wonder they look so scared.
The story is by Jerry Siegel, but the art is by Paul Cassidy and Paul Lauretta. The story deals with a phony doctor and his Cobalt Clinic. promising a cure for infantile paralysis.
Much of this story has Superman frantically going from place to place. He has been captured as Clark Kent, and keeps heading back to maintain that fiction. Between those times, he frees Lois Lane from Cobalt, takes down the quack and his men, get help for some of his patients, and keeps checking in with George Taylor at the Daily Planet.
Superman also displays a new ability – speed reading, and memorization of what he reads.
Fred Guardineer sends Pep Morgan into “the Saskatchewan district” of Canada for this story. It’s all the same things one sees in Canada stories. Snow, trees, polar bears, guys named Pierre. No Mounties though.
Pep fights off a bear, and performs other heroic acts, but I have deep suspicions about this story. I think it might just be another lie to explain his time in Florida. Aside from the reference to the Saskatchewan district, which makes me think that he has not really been to Saskatchewan, the fact that the story just shakes out all the old expected stereotypes makes it sound even more like something Pep made up.
But there is a reference to a red flag on a cabin signalling a plague. It’s not so much that that adds realism, as that it will pop up again, in this very issue!
Moldoff gives a happy ending to the first adventure of the Black Pirate. The mystery ship is on Jon Valor’s side, and he returns to Savannah.
Jon rides to a small inland town, and stops at an inn. There he finds Jeanne, his love, and friend since childhood. He regales her with his battle against Captain Ruff, and neither sees a cloaked figure enter the inn.
As od this issue, Gargantua is gone. We learn that he has enlisted with the French army as a cook, and that he is of Senegalese descent (meant to explain why he did such a thing). While I was glad to see the last of him, this story was cover-dated July of 1940, meaning Gargantua joined the French army just in time for the Nazi invasion of France.
In this issue Bailey also introduces Special Prosecutor Maloney, who swears Tex and Bob in as agents reporting directly to him, needing their skills to help fight a crime wave. Tex infiltrates the main gang, discovering that their leader is the supposedly honourable Vander Wallace. Tex winds up shooting and killing Vander Wallace as he gives a public address, the audience completely unaware of Wallace’s criminal ties. One would expect this to have some major repercussions, but Maloney is content to keep Tex and Bob as his staff.
This story also introduces Miss X, a woman with knowledge of the mob, who sometimes seems to be working with them, but who also acts to protect or aid Tex. Both Maloney and Miss X will return for the next few issues.
Clip heads to New York City in this Moldoff story, and from there to Canada to help Miss Trent find her missing father. The man had discovered a mine in “Hudson Bay country,” but been captured by evil Metis claim jumper Jacques Frontenac.
Oh, look. Snow, trees, french people and wild animals. It must be Canada. But “Hudson’s Bay country?” In the same issue with “the Saskatchewan district,” nonetheless. Do they actually have any real maps of Canada in the US?
By the time one reaches the Zatara story by Gardner Fox and Fred Guardineer, one has to wonder if there was an attempt by the editor to create a theme issue. Cause Zatara is surrounded by snow, trees, and french people. There’s even a red plague flag on a cabin! But a mention towards the end of the story of the city of Nome makes it clear this gold mine story takes place in Alaska.
It stands above the other two, simply because Zatara turns his own airplane into a battling, flying robot to stop the claim jumpers.