Action 2 – Superman stops a war, Tex Thompson gets a friend, Inspector Donald and Bobby debuts, and Zatara grows a moustache
The degree to which DC was uncertain about Superman is reflected in the covers of this, and the next few issues of Action. Despite appearing on the cover of the first issue, Superman was not featured, or mentioned on the cover of Action 2 (July 1938), which went for a generic image, not tied to any story.
Superman’s tale, by Siegel and Shuster, continues with Superman terrorizing the pro-war lobbyist. His inability to fly is conveyed by his landing, which sends pavement flying in every direction. There is no control to this landing at all.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane both sail to Europe to report on a war brewing between two (fictional) countries. They arrive in San Mateo, after spies push Superman overboard, and he swims the rest of the way. Superman forces the man who had him tossed overboard to join the army, and then joins as well, to make sure he suffers through the life of a soldier in combat.
Clark sends his report back – but not to the Daily Star! For this story only, Clark seems to be working for the Evening News, in Cleveland.
Lois Lane’s investigation of the munitions manufacturers promoting the war gets her arrested as a spy, and once again Superman swoops in to save her.
Tex Thompson returns, by Bernard Bailey, without his stetson, but with a new sidekick, Bob Daley.
They are hunting for the legendary “sealed city,”buried by a volcano, and manage to find it fairly quickly. It is a ruled by the One-Eyed Gorrah, but there is also the “real”Gorrah, who he has overthrown.
Although Bob Daley is short, fat, bald and wears glasses, he is not overtly played for comic relief, as are many of the sidekicks in these days.
The story continues in the next issue.
Inspector Donald and Bobby begins in this issue. This series would only appear in two, non-consecutive, issues of Action Comics. Bobby is the son of Inspector Donald, who is in deep trouble with his superiors as the story begins, having been framed.
Bobby shows himself to be resourceful and fearless, helping his father fight the bad guys and clear his name.
Zatara gains a pencil moustache in his second outing, by Fred Guardineer. This makes him all but identical in appearance to Mandrake.
Still, it’s a fun story, as hoods try to get a woman to sell her farm, making her think that it is haunted. Zatara shows the men what real magic is, though it’s Tong, who disguises himself as a ghost, that really scares them away.