Kryptonite is at the core of the Superman adventure in Action 141 (Feb. 50), the first, but not the last, time it appears in this book.
Alvin Schwartz, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye start the story off like many others. Lex Luthor kidnaps Lois Lane, yawn, and in order to free her, Superman has to fly around retrieving unusual things that Luthor wants.
But what Luthor winds up making is a synthetic kryptonite. The story briefly flashes back to the destruction of Krypton, and the creation of kryptonite, which had recently been told in more detail in the pages of Superman. Although the stuff created by Luthor in this story is not real kryptonite, it’s close enough to be a major problem for Superman.
Luthor secretly gives Lois a pair of kryptonite laced gloves. When Clark Kent collapses, Luthor believes he has trapped Superman. Because, you know, he did. But Clark uses judo on the bad guy, and he and Lois wind up thinking Clark faked the fall.
A piece of the synthetic kryptonite has gone missing by the end of the story. It’s as if to say, don’t worry! We will be using this again! And again. And again. And again and again and again.
Tommy Tomorrow is sent to spy on some cadets about to complete their training in this Binder/Swan/Fischetti story.
It’s pretty straightforward, but the art is very nice. And the concept of a “training world,” parts of which duplicate the environments of various worlds the Planeteers patrol, is a good one.
Zatara gets Joe Kubert on his final adventure, 141 issues after his series began. Since the introduction of Tommy Tomorrow, his strip had become only an occasional one, and even the end of this story implies there will be more down the line.
He goes out on a really silly little tale. A fight breaks out between two men, and spreads to take in much of the town. Zatara uses his magic to get people to calm the fuck down.
In the end, the fight itself proves to be a simple misunderstanding.
Such an unexciting note to go out on. But really, Zatara’s best days ended way back, when Guardineer left the strip. Zatara would not appear again until the 60s, as the object of a multi-book quest by his daughter, Zatanna, in her introductory storyline. But later down the road, he would have stories set between this point and then, as he was worked into the childhood of Superboy, in the pages of DC Comics Presents, and later, Batman, in his own book and Detective.
Despite the duration of this series, outlasting every other strip that debuted alongside Superman, Zatara would never again get a series, a one-shot, or even a solo story. Anytime his origin is retold, it is done in conjunction with his famous daughter.