Posts tagged ‘Dick Dillin’

Action 439 – Captain Strong returns, and Atom vs the Two-Dimensional Man

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Bates, Swan and Oskner bring back Captain Strong in Action 439 (Sept. 74).

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The Popeye-like captain now has a girlfriend, Olivia, and a Bluto-like opponent, Carnax.  Captain Strong comes to Clark Kent, asking him to contact Superman for help.  He is sure Carnax is after Olivia.

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Olivia does not much resemble Olive Oyl, but the connection is obvious within the story.

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In an entertaining twist, Carnax turns into a Sweepea like baby.  He was an alien traveller, infected with a gigantism disease when he landed on the planet.

Captain Strong returns in a couple of years.

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Pasko, Dillin and Blaisdel bring back Professor Myles Adrian, and reveal his power to turn two-dimensional, in this follow-up story.

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Myles is still pursuing the Atom, and manages to steal his size-control belt.  But the belt will not work on anyone else.  The Atom gets free, and Mysles turns two-dimensional to escape.  But the Atom simply gets smaller, so even a two-dimensional man is wide enough to hit.

 

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Action 438 – Lois Lane – monster, and the Atom and the shrinking scientist

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Lois Lane has a really bad day in Action 438 (Aug. 74), thanks to Bates, Swan and Bob Oskner.

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Clark Kent gives Lois Lane a necklace as a birthday present.  She happens to have a cold, and the necklace he gives her is an alien gemstone.  The combination of the two turns Lois into a rampaging beast woman.

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This story also marks the first appearance of Lola Barnett in Action Comics.  Recently introduced in the pages of Superman, Lola is an entertainment reporter for WGBS, and her name derived from an actual tv reporter from the time, Rona Barret.  She suspects that the monster people are hunting is really Lois Lane.  Clark tries to cover for Lois, but Lola roots out the story and broadcasts it.

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Superman pretends that he, too, has become a monster, believing that this will draw Lois out, which is does.  A simple ray beam is all that it takes to re tore her, and Lois is left with no memory of the event.

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The Atom faces a new enemy in this story, by Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Tex Blaisdel.

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Professor Myles Adrian has kidnapped Jean Loring to draw out the Atom.  A short scientist, he had been working off of Ray Palmer’s notes on his size ray, in hopes of making himself bigger.  But his experiment went very wrong, and now he finds himself shrinking, with no end in sight.  He wants the Atom to share his growth tech with him, unaware that the Atom is actually Ray Palmer.

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The Atom defeats the man pretty easily, but as the story closes we see that Adrian is not upset by this at all, and is proceeding with the next part of his scheme, which is detailed in the following issue.

 

Action 436 – Perry White’s super-cigars, and the Great Frog debuts

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Action 436 (June 1974) was the first issue of this book that I read, a beat up copy in a barbershop, but it made a strong impression on me.

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It refers back to a story from Superman the previous year, about a mutant “army of tomorrow.”  Perry What has won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the story, and Morgan Edge sends him and Clark on a private jet to accept, to make an even bigger story out of it.  Perry also receives a gift from the two mutant children he had aided, although he does not realize the true nature of the present.

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The plane gets into trouble, and Superman ducks out to save it. Perry, smoking on the plane, which seems weird now, punches his way out of the aircraft, without intending to, and finds that he can fly.

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It takes Perry quite a while to make the connection between the cigars and his new found powers.  But he does make the most of them, both in fighting crime alongside Superman, and humiliating an obnoxious reporter bullying Clark Kent.

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Perry uses his powers to learn the secret behind them, and just in time.  He has only one cigar left, and puts that in his safe.

I waited for years for the return of this cigar.  It took quite a while, but it did happen.

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Elliot Maggin and Dick Dillin are joined by Tex Blaisdel as Green Arrow catches up with Speedy.

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It happens entirely by chance.  Oliver is walking by a park, at which a new band, the Great Frog, are performing.  He sees Roy playing the drums.

This is the first time the characters have been together since the “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” story from Green Lantern, in which Roy’s heroin addiction was revealed.  This story is also Speedy’s only appearance between the cancellation of Teen Titans, just over a year ago, and the revival of that book, a couple of years down the road.

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Green Arrow thinks Roy is undercover, and goes backstage, finding some indications of stolen goods and smuggling.  Roy shows up, and decks Green Arrow, but does leave him a clue as to where he is going.

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He was, indeed, undercover, and the manager was using bands for smuggling.  But he really is a drummer now, for the Great Frog.  There is tension and distance between Roy and his former partner, which is painful and unresolved at the end of the story, making it all the more real.

Action 434 – Superman’s toothache, and Zatanna kisses Green Arrow

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Cary Bates and Curt Swan are joined by Vince Colletta as they bring back a villain not seen in over a decade.

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Candy is left as a present for Clark Kent, but he is amazed to experience pain when he bites into a piece. Lois Lane thinks he is being weak and whiny, not realizing how impossible the toothache is.

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Lois drags Clark to a new dentist’s office next door to the Planet, but is shocked to see that the receptionist is the same woman who dropped off the candy.  That earns her a memory wipe.

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The dentist is really Dr. Xadu, one of the first Phantom Zone villains, who fought Clark as Superboy many years earlier.

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Clark remains unaware of the dentist’s true identity, or that the filling process was actually a brainwashing, programming Superman to go on a destructive rampage.

The story concludes next issue.

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Zatanna causes a lot of problems for Green Arrow in this story by Maggin, Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, as she bursts in, calls him by name and plants a big kiss on him, right in front of Dinah.

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Black Canary is furious, and storms out.  Green Arrow is left with Zatanna, who doesn’t seem to notice anything amiss.  But the more time they spend together, the more Oliver realizes that Zatanna believes that she is Black Canary.  When they run into hoods, she uses martial arts, until the situation gets dire, and she instinctively spouts dome backwards magic.  This breaks the “spell”

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Zatanna explains that she had used her magic to give herself Canary’s fighting skills earlier in the day, and it must have also given her Dinah’s personality.  All is cleared up between the two, although Zatanna plants another kiss before she leaves.

Oliver is left having to try to explain this.

Action 431- the bus ride back, and Green Arrow gets robbed

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Bates, Swan and Anderson conclude Bus Ride to Nowhere in Action 431 (Jan. 74).

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The alien plant life begins attacking the residents of 344 Clinton St.  Superman figures that it is a ruse by the future chameleon to draw him out, as was the entire trip to this planet.  So Clark quite openly reveals his identity as Superman.

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The black martial artist then changes into the chameleon, and they begin to fight.  But the chameleon shows no interest in attacking, and Superman remembers that he was told that the creature also had the ability to change others.

Realizing who the chameleon really is, Superman chases him, and they fight on the bus as it races through time. The chameleon falls out in the distant past.

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I find the ending a bit weak, though.  Superman hypnotizes everyone into forgetting the events, and has Batman impersonate the person the chameleon pretended to be, so that no one notices him gone.

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Wow, I made a mistake. I wrote about this story, in which Green Arrow gets his rent money stolen, when I was writing up Detective Comics.

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This story, by Maggin, Dillin and Giordano, was reprinted in Detective 555, and I didn’t notice that it was a reprint.

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So I’m not going to summarize it again.

Action 427 – a reverse Back to the Future, and the Atom vs Chronos

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Bates, Swan and Anderson spin a really odd story in Action 427 (Sept. 73).

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It opens in the distant future, with a man trained from childhood as a living weapon for assassination. Not wanting to fulfill this, he sends his mental energies into the past, to contact an ancestor.

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This ancestor is a prisoner, who abruptly turns into a flying goblin, getting into a fight with Superman.

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There is a doctor at the hospital, who was falling in love with the guy…oh oh.  Now I see where this is going.

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The guy from the future has turned his ancestor into this monstrous creature, to repulse the woman who was interested in him.  He wants to prevent them from ever falling in love!

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He succeeds, triumphantly ceasing to exist.  A very disturbing story, and such a weird twist on Back to the Future, it’s hard to believe it preceded it by more than a decade.

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Maggin, Dillin and Giordano provide a less than impressive outing for the Atom.  The news alerts him that David Clinton, Chronos, has escaped from prison.  And then Chronos thoughtfully sends the Atom a message alerting him to his crime.

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So the Atom shows up and stops him.  And that’s about it.  No cool time gadgets.  Ray has a brief scene with Jean Loring, but there is absolutely nothing special here.

Action 426 – the evils of moon rocks, Green Arrow does the books, and the Human Target at Niagara Falls

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Action 426 (Aug. 73)also contains three stories, and seems to feature a generic cover, but in fact it does occur during the course of Bates, Swan and Anderson’s story.

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The plane crash is one of a number of disasters taking place, as well as thefts of moon rocks.  This story sees the first appearance of Steve Lombard in this book. He had recently been introduced in Superman, the obnoxious prankster jock sportscaster.

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The moon rocks are being gathered by members of a cult, whose leader blames the disasters, as well as war and poverty and crappy weather, on the contaminating presence of these alien rocks on Earth.

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The leader is actually Terra-Man, also recently introduced in Superman and making his first appearance in this book.  A human raised by an alien, Terra-Man uses advanced weaponry disguised as western gear in his battles with Superman.  The moon rocks are used to charge a gun, which Superman is meant to fire a destructive blast with, but he just throws it into the Earth’s core.

Not one of the better Terra-Man appearances.  It lacks his flying horse!

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Green Arrow’s story, by Maggin, Dillin and Giordano, once again keeps Dinah Lance out of costume, and in girlfriend mode.

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Oliver spots an out of business delivery service making a drop-off. Intrigued, he stumbles upon a plot to steal a young heir’s fortune, which he can totally relate to.

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He catches the bad guys, and helps the young man balance his books and get a grip on his finances, as well as taking some commissions for Dinah.  I do enjoy their conversation in the final scene, as Oliver babbles about his new arrow, and Dinah discovers the orders.

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Wein and Giordano conclude the Human Target’s story from last issue, as he faces down and defeats the angry aerialist he has been hired to impersonate.

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The actual murder attempt happens as he is walking the tightrope over Niagara Falls, and the rope goes slack.  Christopher survives, he was being held up by ropes from the helicopter.  The manager was the only one with access to the tightrope, so that solves that.

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