Action 47 -Luthor wants the Powerstone, the Three Aces enter the War, Mr America fights living skeletons, and Zatara vs the Brain
Luthor makes his first cover appearance in Action 47 (April 1942). Too bad it’s not in any way flattering. The story, by Jerry Siegel and John Sikela, is officially Luthor’s first appearance since issue 42, but I believe that Luthor is the same person as Lightning Master, and this story follows his appearance in Superman.
Luthor wears the same green robes as Lightning Master, minus the headdress, and has electrical powers. These are not explained in any way. But could be a logical extension of the end of the Lightning Master story. When I reach that Superman story, I will argue this further.
Luthor goes on a mad spree using his new powers. He is able to stun Superman with them, but not kill him. Luthor sets up an entertaining scam, holding a contest for the richest man, in order to award him millions more. The panel I reproduced above is worth reading, for all the different characters who come for the prize. Luthor simply holds them all for ransom.
Superman shows up, and Luthor threatens to kill the men unless Superman retrieves the Powerstone for him, from a buried temple in India.
Superman brings Luthor the Powerstone. The villain is thrilled to have the stone, which will grant him greater powers than even Superman. But the stone is a fake, Superman kept the real one.
Luthor is defeated, but returns, as does the real Powerstone, in the next issue of Superman.
Three Aces undergoes a dramatic change with this issue, written in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
The Three Aces are now part of the US airforce, operating off of the carrier USS Roosevelt. No further mention is made of them being in the First World War.
The magic carpets, lost civilizations and Mongol treasures are shoved to the side as they face the Japanese fleet and airforce. The heroes get shot down a fair bit, being taken prisoner by the Japanese a few times, though they always manage to escape. The stories are neither better or worse than before, really, and the series continues to leave me cold. But the change is notable.
Fitch and Baily bring back Queen Bee for another round with Mr. America and Fat Man.
Although the Queen Bee barely appears in the tale, and once again escapes, the story itself is a good read. She has caused the dead to rise, the skeletons dressed in old armor. Not a deep tale, but visually interesting throughout.
Zatara deals with a twisted genius, master of an underwater city in this story by Fox and Sulman.
The Brain has great mental powers – strong enough to be able to act as a counter to Zatara’s magic.
Sadly, the Brain winds up dying, and his city gets destroyed. I would have easily accepted any excuse for his return. It’s very rare for anyone to be able to challenge Zatara effectively.