Action 46 – Superman vs the Domino, Vigilante vs the Rainbow Man, Mr America vs the Queen Bee, and Zatara vs Adolf Hitler
Hey, the cover of Action 46 (March 1942) reflects the story! Lois and Clark go to a fair, which is being menaced by the Domino, in a story by Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy.
The villain is masked – but it’s not a domino mask. It makes one wonder exactly why he chose that name. His goal is force the fair to allow gambling, so I imagine he must be talking about gambling on dominoes, which would give a reason for that name.
The Domino sets off all sorts of sabotage on the various rides, but Cassidy does not really play this to the hilt. It’s all rather tame in execution. Lois gets captured, and must be rescued. I think I could write that sentence blindfolded.
The Domino is unmasked and defeated, and never returns.
The Vigilante, on the other hand, has his first match against the Rainbow Man, who would become one of his most frequent enemies,in a story by Weisinger and Meskin.
The Rainbow Man looks and acts nastier than his name would imply. He has his men commit crimes according to colour themes.
The Rainbow Man captures Vigilante and Stuff, but his murderous machine is really just a colourful light globe, so it’s not too surprising that they manage to escape, and prevent his “white” crimes, as they pose as doctors.
The Queen Bee returns in this Fitch and Baily story to menace Mr. America and Fat Man.
The Queen Bee and her men have forced an inventor to build a giant robot, which emerges from a volcano as Vol-Kan, and heads through the city on a destructive rampage. Fat Man sprays oil into the robots eyes, and it destroys itself trying to clear its vision. Mr. America doesn’t slack, he takes down the Queen Bee’s men, but she escapes to return next issue.
I haven’t cared much for the Zatara series since Joseph Sulman took over the art, but he and Gardner Fox have a story that definitely merits inclusion. It was released in early January 1942, so must have been written and drawn before the attack on Pearl Harbour, but features Zatara wading right into the war.
It is the Nazis that Zatara is fighting, along with Tong. There is no mention of the Japanese. Zatara makes bombs behave like humans (sort of), in one of Sulman’s better pages.
The story culminates as Zatara faces Hitler. Hitler admits defeat, calls off the war, and heads into exile.
Ok, so as this CLEARLY is not what happened, how to interpret the ending?
Going off of Roy Thomas’ later work, with the Spear of Destiny being used to insulate the Axis against beings with super-powers, I suggest that this story was one used by the German high command as a sort of “it could happen here!,” and to back up the use of the Spear to generals who might be doubting why such magic would be needed.