J Wilbur Wolfingham, a frequent adversary in the pages of Superman, makes the cover of Action 79 (Dec. 44), the first time he appears in this book.
Sadly, it’s really not one of his better stories. Don Cameron and Ira Yarborough seem to be going through the paces on this one. Wolfingham buys up a lot of land, then convinces the seller that there is gold on the property, so they will buy it back at higher prices.
Superman outwits Wolfingham, and the land owners learn that there is silver, not gold, under their land. And Wolfingham winds up broke, if not in prison.
Wolfingham is always a con artist, but usually a better one. The look of his character is based on W.C. Fields.
Joe Samachson and Mort Meskin also seem a little tired in the Vigilante story. The splash page is great, and the story idea itself is pretty good.
The Fiddler has figured out how to teach birds to sing like humans, and puts his teaching skills on the market. He cases the homes of those who hire him – essentially the same set-up as when he impersonated the music teacher.
From there on, the story is all the usual formula. Vigilante and Stuff fall into his hands. Fiddler puts them in a deathtrap, from which they escape. They defeat him and send him back to prison.
And finally, in this issue I find somewhat disappointing, comes a Zatara story by Fox and White that almost makes me angry.
A man claims to have figured out how to neutralize Zatara’s magic, and sells hoodlums a special box, containing the secret. More amazingly, this winds up working, and the bad guys are indeed immune to Zatara’s spells.
Zatarais mystified, but shows off some other abilities, which he uses to make some deadly dogs turn into friendly and helpful allies.
Where this story gets me is the explanation. The “secret” turns out to be ear plugs – and the idea behind this that if one cannot hear Zatara’s spells, they will have no effect. This makes absolutely no sense. Often his spells are cast an inanimate objects, or on people at a distance, who could not possibly hear him.
Thankfully, this does not become Zatara’s “weakness.”