Action 18 – X-ray vision!, Pep uses his throwing arm, the Gorrah controls Tex Thompson, Three Aces debuts, and Zatara visits Atlantis
An unusual air battle on the cover of Action 18 (Nov. 39), with Superman firmly ensconced in the corner of the page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tex Thompson remains a prisoner of the Gorrah, as Baily continues this storyline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zatara has barely left Ophir when Sepat materializes on his ship in this Guardineer story.
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.
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.