Action 58 – Superman vs Dr Menace, Vigilante vs the Dummy, Americommando vs Dr Ito, and Congo Bill vs the Nazis
Oh, it’s that infamous “slap a Jap” cover on Action 58 (March 1943).
Jerry Siegel is joined by Sam Citron on pencils and John Sikela on inks for this unusual tale.
An aging actor is approached by Dr. Menace, who insists he can make the actor young again. He undergoes the surgery, only to discover that he has been left with a hideous face, and must wear a mask to appear normal. Although really, what could one expect from a man named Dr. Menace?
Menace forces the man to commit crimes while wearing a leopard skin, and sends notes to the police and the papers, claiming to be the thief, and calling himself Adonis.
Clark and Lois get on the case when the Adonis letters arrive, and eventually Superman corners the two men, who wind up killing each other.
The final panel is such a let-down though, never showing what the man looked like after the operation.
The Dummy is the most enduring villain of the Vigilante. He had been introduced in the pages of Leading Comics, battling the Vigilante as he functioned as one of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. This story, by Don Cameron, Mort Meskin and Charles Paris, was the villain’s second appearance, and first in the pages of Action Comics. Chronologically, this story follows the Dummy’s appearances in All-Star Squadron.
The Dummy breaks out of prison with the help of Bobo, a relatively dumb criminal. He is content to follow the Dummy’s instructions, as he begins a new crime spree.
The Vigilante and Stuff get on the Dummy’s trail. Bobo traps the heroes, but gets tossed into the pit himself by the Dummy, who has tired of him. Bobo quickly switches sides, helping the Vigilante escape. In turn, Vigilante allows Bobo to give the Dummy a spanking before taking him back to prison.
Dr. Ito returns yet again, hunting the Americommando in this Greene and Baily tale.
They are both still in France, and for some reason Ito is also running a concentration camp. Americommando is working with the French Resistance, and this time Ito does not even really get close to catching him. Still, from the next issue, Americommando moves on from France, travelling to other occupied countries.
Congo Bill returns to Africa in this story by Samachson and Smalle.
Bill comes to the aid of Joan Reid, whose father has been killed by an “outlaw” native tribe. Bill discovers that the tribe has been supplied by guns by the Nazis.
This story manages to weave the African adventure and war elements together better than most, as a stampeding herd of elephants trample the Nazi general, as Bill rescues Joan from man and beast.