Posts tagged ‘Sepat’

Action 18 – X-ray vision!, Pep uses his throwing arm, the Gorrah controls Tex Thompson, Three Aces debuts, and Zatara visits Atlantis

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An unusual air battle on the cover of Action 18 (Nov. 39), with Superman firmly ensconced in the corner of the page.

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A rival newspaper, the Morning Herald, is introduced in this Siegel and Shuster story.

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While Clark Kent, and to a lesser degree Lois Lane, are always shown to be respectful of those they interview for the Daily Star, the Herald reporter is quickly shown to exploitative.

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Worse than that, the reporter featured also uses the information he gets to set up a politician to be blackmailed.  Clark learns about by using his x-ray vision, and “super-sensitive” hearing, for the first time.  Indeed, it’s curious to see how slow and detailed the first use of the x-ray vision is, explaining how the wall melts away and allows him to see what is going on inside.

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When the editor of the Morning Herald insists on printing the story and pictures, despite evidence of then being faked, Superman takes extreme action,  First he destroys the paper’s entire delivery fleet, including all the paper already printed, and then demolishes their printing press!

I certainly hope Clark got a raise for wiping out the competition.

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Pep Morgan continues to hang out at Mr. Smith’s ranch in this Guardineer story.  It begins with he and Mary taking a ride together, and could easily go towards romance.

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But Pep is far more interested in a local dispute over a watering hole, and an attempt to frame an old loner for murder, to acquire his land rights.

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Pep saves the day, even using his pitching skills to knock out a man escaping on horseback.  I really like that his athletic abilities are actually used in this story.

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Tex Thompson remains a prisoner of the Gorrah, as Baily continues this storyline.

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The Gorrah has constructed obedient robots, which Tex calls “things.”  The Gorrah seems impressed by this clever word, and takes to calling them “things” himself, showing that he has the same lack of creativity as Tex.  On the other hand, his scientific skills seem impressive, as he forces Tex into a mind-control machine, making the hero his slave.

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Tex heads back to the Prime Minister, getting a map of all the ships in the harbour, and then goes around planting bombs on all of them.  Bob Daley and Gargantua T Potts both notice how odd Tex is acting.  Their attempt to follow him simply winds up putting them into the Gorrah’s hands.

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Tex is ordered to kill them, and only then does he reveal he is not really under the Gorrah’s power.  You might have thought he would reveal that before planting dozens of bombs, but no.  The Gorrah appears to kill himself, but will return.  Ali Baba is barely seen in this part.  Three sidekicks are just too many to fit in the story.

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The Three Aces are Fog Fortune, Gunman Bill and Whistler Will,all pilots who bonded while fighting in the Spanish Civil War (which side is not mentioned). They are now US navy reservists, travelling the world in their biplanes, seeking out adventure.

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The first story sees them in Baghdad, where they learn of a number of planes that have gone missing while flying over the desert.  A distraught young woman enlists them in flying over the desert in search of her father, Inspector Higgins of Scotland Yard, who had gone missing while looking into the case.  They fly out, and spot a lost caravan, land, and are ambushed.  Gunner manages to get back in the air, calls for the British airforce, and circles until they arrive to rescue his comrades and the inspector.

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Zatara has barely left Ophir when Sepat materializes on his ship in this Guardineer story.

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They head down to find the lost city of Atlantis.  At first Sepat stays on deck, but pirates threaten her, and Zatara heads back up to save her, and take her with him.  They also bring along Barnacle Bill, who proves more of a menace than a help, as he wants to steal some Atlantean treasure.

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In fact, there is almost just too much going on in this tale.  A giant bizarre looking octopus attacks, giving some focus to the conclusion.  Sepat decides to stay in Atlantis, obviously hoping for a romance with their leader.  It’s a bit surprising how content Zatara is to work with this woman, who was trying to kill him only one issue ago. But he was also content to work with the Tigress, so I guess one shouldn’t judge him too harshly.

 

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Action 17 – The Ultra-Humanite sinks a ship, Pep Morgan on a ranch, Marco Polo ends, the Gorrah returns, and Zatara in Ophir

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It’s hard to tell whether the soldiers are more amazed at Superman, or the really strange looking tank that he is lifting on the cover of Action 17 (Oct. 39).  He not only gets the cover image this month, the bullet with his picture sticks around as well.

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Siegel and Shuster once again save the Ultra-Humanite for the last few pages of this story.  It begins with a ship sinking, and Superman heading out to help.

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Reporting on the disaster as Clark Kent, he learns that sabotage was responsible.

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Skipping ahead to the pay-off, the Ultra-Humanite was behind it.  Superman suspected him when he overheard a phone call, which did not pass through the telephone lines, but was beamed directly to the phone.  Superman actually had to lift up a receiver to listen in, though.  No super-hearing yet.

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It’s questionable whether the Ultra-Humanite ever makes a physical appearance in this story.  The person that talks to Superman is simply a projected image of him.

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Mr. Smith is so pleased with Pep that he asks him to come to the ranch, with him and his daughter.  Is Mr. Smith trying to set them up?  I certainly think so, reading everything I can into these stories.  Arriving at the ranch, they see one of the hands, Pedro, abusing the horses and fire him.  He vows vengeance, which will comprise the rest of the tale.  No time for romance.

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Pep saves Mary from a rattlesnake, shooting it.  Although honestly, Guardineer’s art makes it look like bullet misses the snake.  Maybe it dies of fright.  The Pedro starts shooting at them.  Later, he sets the cabin on fire.  This is one seriously disgruntled ex-exployee.

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Pep finally tackles Pedro.  It’s a good story, marred by the rendering of Pedro’s accent.

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The Adventures of Marco Polo end in this issue, without ever making it to Kublai Khan.

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Marco fled his abusive slave owner in the previous issue, and got lost.  He is rescued in this one, and treated kindly by a powerful man, who turns Polo’s former owner over to him.  The man starts to run, and that’s where the story cuts off.

Now, since we know what happened to Marco Polo, I think he caught the man, extracted the locations of his father and uncle, and they got back together, and figured it was time to move on to China.  They were so humiliated about being sold into slavery that Marco chose to just leave all of this out when he told his story to Rusticello.

Marco Polo appears in a variety of DC comics over the years, but never again gets his own series.

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Tex Thomspon heads to Istanbul in this story by Bernard Baily. He has been called in by the president of Turkey to oversee the safety of the Dardanelles.  Quite an honour!

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With Bob’s help, Tex disguises himself as a Turk, and that actually looks pretty good.  Gargantua is only in the first couple of pages, and that helps the story as well.

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The story then jumps back to the apparent death of the Gorrah a year or so ago, and shows how he survived, vowed vengeance on Tex, and eventually tracked him to Istanbul.  It’s really no surprise that the Gorrah is back, as he is shown by the logo.

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Tex spots the Gorrah, as he walks openly through the streets of Istanbul.  But then, nobody else reacts to seeing the one-eyed creature, so I guess he feels at home.  Tex has found a new sidekick, Ali Baba, who accompanies him as he follows the Gorrah – and walks right into a trap.  Tex’s make-up was not as good as it seemed.

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Zatara comes to aid of a young woman in distress in this tale by Fred Guardineer.  They are all on a ship bound for Europe, where Zatara is going on vacation.  In the late summer of 1939.  Because Zatara either never reads the news, or finds battlefields peaceful.

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Doesn’t much matter, they don’t make it to Europe anyway.  They are taken away to the magical city of Ophir.

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Sepat, the Queen of Ophir, wants the young woman so that she can drain the youth from her and regain hers.

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Zatara is kept from being all-powerful simply by tossing a blinding liquid into his eyes.  He has no eye wash spell, and must wait for a combination of sweat and tears to clear his eyes.  By then, the transformation has already happened.

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Zatara calls upon the power of the flame of Atlantis to reverse Sepat’s aging, and the two women return to their proper ages.

Sepat both flirts with Zatara, and threatens him.  You know they will meet again (because the narration in the last panel says so.)

 

 

 

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