Action 25 – Superman vs a hypnotist, Pep Morgan at sea, the Black Pirate captured, Tex Thompson and the amnesiac, Clip Carson defeats the rebels and Zatara vs Asmodeus
Once again, the cover of Action 25 (June 1940) appears to show Superman in flight, before the stories themselves acknowledge this ability.
Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy helm this tale, which begins with a bank robbery by thieves with no recollection of the events.
Lois Lane mentions a psychic and hypnotist to Clark, Medini, whom she is going to consult, in order to find out Superman’s secret identity. Ironically, that’s the same information Medini is trying to extract from her.
Superman confronts Medini, who uses hypnosis to paralyze him. Once Medini has gone, Superman’s powers begin to return, but he lacks complete control over his abilities until he jumps high into the stratosphere, which removes the effects of the hypnosis. Pondering this sequence, it would seem that Medini must actually possess some degree of mystical powers, as only magic would be able to have such an extended effect on the hero.
Once his powers are back, Superman quickly dispenses of this one-shot villain.
With this issue, Guradineer has Pep travelling to England as a war correspondent, despite having no experience or training in this field whatsoever. But that is only the first odd thing about this tale.
After not only the ship Pep is on gets torpedoed, but the rescue ship as well, the lifeboat capsizes. Pep swims around tirelessly saving people until the sub surfaces and they are brought on board. Despite being an American kid and not in the military, Pep is brought before the sub`s commander, and manages to get his gun from him and single-handedly take over the sub.
The commander of the sub wears a white uniform, which I thought was odd. As they are showing England at war, why would they not depict the Nazis as they appeared?
Then it become clear. The art “error” is our clue to confirm that this story is a preposterous tale – this is the story Pep told people to explain why he left for a while, rather than telling them the truth about his dismal Florida tryout.
Sheldon Moldoff continues the Black Pirate’s adventures, as he falls into the hands of the angry Captain Ruff, who demands to know where Jon Valor hid his treasure.
The Black Pirate breaks free, and sets fire to Captain Ruff’s ship. Everyone winds up in shark-infested waters, ass the Black Pirate heads for a mysterious ship he saw on the horizon.
Gargantua T. Potts makes his final appearance in this Baily story, spending some time with Tex and Bob Daley at Tex’s camp in Maine, Golden Gates.
They encounter a mysterious amnesiac, being pursued by gangsters. For a few panels it looks like Gargantua will be the one to save the day, but again he is reduced to racist comic relief. I’m just so glad this character is being dropped, it’s worth mentioning his final tale.
Moldoff winds up Clip Carson’s Verdania adventure in this issue.
Surprisingly, for the era, the rebels turn out to be financed by an American oil man, trying to manipulate the situation in the country for his own benefit.
The final panel, the hanging of the revolutionaries, is coloured so darkly, it’s almost in silhouette. But it does add a very somber tone.
Zatara faces off against Asmodeus, a powerful villain who uses science and magic against the hero, in this story by Gardner Fox and Fred Guardineer.
The Tigress also returns in this story. She is working for Asmodeus, but winds up being of very little assistance, as Zatara draws the villain’s plans and location from her mind, before shrinking her to doll size to keep her out of trouble.
Asmodeus makes a really good villain for Zatara, and the battle between them easily carries the few pages that it lasts. It’s a shame this villain never made a return.