Action 38 – Superman gets arrested, Pep Morgan hunts down kidnappers, the Black Pirate runs into an old friend, the Three Aces loot Atlantis, and Mr America vs the Gorrah
Lots of stories to talk about in Action 38 (July 1941), so I’m not even going to banter about the cover.
Jerry Siegel, Leo Nowak and Ed Dobrotka dish out a Superman story that gives Sergeant Casey a run for his money.
People are committing crimes with no memory of having done so. The police are run ragged, and have no idea what is behind the rash of thefts. Sergeant Casey and Lois Lane get locked in a bank vault, and though Superman rescues them, his presence at so many crimes scenes prompts Casey to arrest him – or at least try to.
Superman gets away, but then Casey decides that Clark Kent must be behind it, following similar reasoning. Although not named, Jimmy Olsen cameos in one panel, looking more like himself.
Both as Clark and Superman, our hero must evade the police, until he figures out that the man behind it all is using radio waves to take over people’s minds.
George Papp puts Pep Morgan through the ringer in this story, when Slim gets kidnapped. His wealthy uncle whines about not having the cash on hand to pay the ransom, so Pep decides to fake out the kidnappers and rescue his friend himself.
Pep succeeds, and is reunited with Slim. The final panel shows them back in their college dorm, happily bantering. Aww.
After skipping last issue (because of a boring Atlantic crossing), Jon Valor lands to rest and restock before continuing on to Barcelona. Docked alongside him is the ship of Don De Avila, an old friend of the Black Pirate, who has fallen out of favour with the crown.
Don and Jon are happy to run into each other, and De Avila invites his friend to a banquet that night. Bonnie has misgivings, fearing that De Avila intends to imprison the Black Pirate, and turn him over for the reward, but Jon trusts in his friend.
Nicely ominous ending, the walls of the castle. The story continues in the next issue.
The Three Aces continue their trip into Atlantis in this story.
It reminds me a bit of Jack and the Beanstalk. Our heroes steal radium from the underground city, attack its leaders and leave the palace in ruins. Hurrah! Some triumph.
Although the Mr America series pits Tex largely against spies and saboteurs right now, the Gorrah makes his final appearance in this issue, working with Nazi agents, in this story by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily. The Gorrah betrays them in the end, preferring to pursue his goal of vengeance over their plot against the army.
At first Gorrah believes Tex to have died, and is out to kill Bob, but he learns the truth, and the identity of Mr. America, just before perishing in the explosion intended for a educator’s convention. It’s really odd to see the one-eyed character dressed in an ordinary suit.