Posts tagged ‘Sergeant Casey’

Action 53 – Superman vs Night Owl, and the Rainbow Man’s black crimes

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Superman fights the Nazis, but only on the cover of Action 53 (Oct. 42).

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Inside, Jerry Siegel, John Sikela and George Roussos create a new villain for Superman, Night Owl.

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Robberies are being pulled off in complete darkness, although the villains are able to see.  The darkness is not just at night, it moves through the city during the day.  The art on the cloud of darkness is particularly good.

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The man behind it is Night Owl, who keeps control over his gang using a trained and viscous owl.  Sergeant Casey captures one of Night Owl’s men, but he is too afraid of his boss to talk.

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Superman takes the hood to his mountain fortress, the forerunner of the Fortress of Solitude, this had been introduced a couple of months earlier in the pages of Superman.  Superman disguises himself as the bad guy, in order to infiltrate Night Owl’s group.  Lois Lane also has her plans to find Night Owl, which involve hiding in the trunk of a car, a place that usually winds up being discovered.

Superman defeats Night Owl, and saves Lois, after discovering that he cannot see in daylight.  So Night Owl is basically an evil Dr. Mid-Nite.  It’s a shame this was a one-shot villain, as much more could have been done with him later, when it got established that Superman’s powers derive from sunlight.

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Meskin and Roussos bring back the Rainbow Man in this Vigilante story.  He fakes his death during a prisoner transfer by boat, but starts his new crime wave so quickly, the faked death is kind of pointless.

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Possibly because his colour scheme for these crimes is black, the story just doesn’t have much “rainbow” to it, although there is a great page of Vigilante and Stuff suspended over a vat of boiling tar.

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Ultimately, the Rainbow Man is done in this time by one of his own men, who is colour-blind, and lights the wrong spotlight.  The Rainbow Man kills him for his mistake, but why hire a colour-blind hood for colour themed crimes?

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Action 42 – Superman and the city in the sky, the Vigilante debuts, the Black Pirate ends, and Fat Man joins Mr America

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A fairly generic Superman cover for Action 42 (Nov. 41).

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Jerry Siegel and Leo Nowak provide a very non-generic story for Superman on the inside.  A number of prominent men go missing in Metropolis, which Clark covers for the Daily Planet.

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Perry White approves of the series, and Jimmy Olsen makes a small cameo.  Superman has some theories as to who is behind the kidnappings, but the trail keeps ending when his suspects keep getting killed by beams coming down from the sky.  Sergeant Casey is also on the case, with no idea what is going on.

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Things only start to move towards an explanation when Clark Kent gets grabbed, and taken up to a city floating high in the stratosphere, ruled by an alien, Zytal.  Clark’s articles made him worthy of being collected. Zytal’s intention of collecting people from different worlds in a search for knowledge vaguely resembles Brainiac’s motivation, many years down the road.

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But Zytal is really Luthor in disguise.  He manages to use electricity to not only paralyze Superman, but also put him under Luthor’s mental control for a while.  This is when he puts Lois in danger.  Cause Lois always has to be in danger at some point in the tale.  Superman breaks free, and rescues the people from the city, although Luthor seemingly jumps to his death.

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Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin introduce a really successful blend of the western and superhero genres in this issue, with the Vigilante.  A modern day cowboy who fights crime in the big city, his first case centres on a supposedly executed felon, whose death was faked.

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Vigilante’s origin is covered briefly.  Greg Sanders was the soon of a sheriff, who taught him gunslinging and gave him his taste for justice.  After his father was murdered, Greg adopted the guise of the masked Vigilante.  In his everyday life, he is a country music singer.

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Meskin’s art is extremely dynamic, and the story is fun to read.

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Sheldon Moldoff ends the Black Pirate’s run in Action with a really quick, but mediocre tale.

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Jon spots a man adrift, and takes him on board, though Bonnie harbours doubts about him.  Once again, Bonnie is dead on, as the man is working with others to take over Valor’s ship.  The Black Pirate defeats him. From here, the series moves over to join the starting line-up on the new Sensation Comics.

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Sidekicks are popular, right?  So the Mr America series could only be improved by introducing a sidekick, right?

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In this story, by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily,  Bob Daley decides to take on a masked identity of his own.  He puts on long red underwear and a lampshade on his head, and armed with a broom and a squirt gun of ink, takes to the streets as Fat Man.

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Tex has no idea of Fat Man’s identity at first, he has been busy in his secret cabin/laboratory in the woods making his cape function as a flying carpet.  Together they face the Queen Bee, the first of many DC villainesses to use that name.  The Queen Bee returns later in the run.  So does Fat Man.  Sadly.

Action 41 – Superman and the saboteur, Pep Morgan ends, the Black Pirate chooses to forget, and Congo Bill battles for loyalty

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Very nice cover for Action 41 (Oct. 41).  I like the puff of steam at the side of the train, helps convey forward motion.  I can’t draw for the life of me, and spotting those kind of “tricks” always impresses me.

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Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy turn out another story about foreign saboteurs in this issue.  The politics and motivation of those behind it are kept muddy, though.

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Sergeant Casey is featured again.  He is no longer hunting Superman, and they are buddies again.  Casey tracks down the man who planted the bomb which began the tale, and Superman winds up having to protect him, while tracking down his boss, who is trying to have him killed.

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Lois Lane gets captured, and must be saved, but the whole sequence is so quick it seems almost jammed in because it “had” to be there.

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Pep Morgan’s series comes to a close with this issue, which follows from the previous story. Don Alvera brings him to his ranch in the country, where Pep is pitted against the local bandit king, Tuerto, whom he kills.  Don Alvera seems to actively be trying to set up Pep with his daughter, though Pep’s first comments to her are about her father’s wealth.

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The last we see of Pep he is embracing the prone Juanita, as her father Don Alversa looks on approvingly.  After his failed gay relationship, his failed professional baseball career, and his many failed attempts at college, Pep settles down in Chileanos, becoming the muscle behind the powers the run the country.  And after marrying Juanita, and becoming heir to Don Alvera, Pep was sure to rule like a warlord.

I imagine, in the end, Pep was unable to accept the frailties of age, and attempted some fight or daring act when his body was no longer capable of it, and died stupidly.

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The Black Pirate is given a one-issue tale by Moldoff in this issue, which seems derived from Haggard’s novel She.

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Jon docks the ship, and goes ashore, discovering an albino “goddess,” and her giant black slave.  He doesn’t have time to do much more than break a jar and run back to his ship.  He decides to forget about the adventure, and never tell anyone about it.  If it wasn’t for Moldoff’s art, I probably would have forgotten about it, too.

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I probably should have written about Congo Bill’s adventure in the previous issue, as it introduced Sheila Hanlen, who continues as a supporting character.  The story was a silly one, though, about finding a valley of dinosaurs.  I guarantee it is not going to be the only story in which Congo Bill finds dinosaurs, and I’m sure there are better versions than the one by Fred Ray.  But Sheila is back in this story anyway, which deals with World War 2 again.

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Congo Bill and Professor Kent, along with Sheila, return to a British fort, and discover that a German agent is trying to rouse the natives against the British.  Bill goes out to fight the man, as apparently the natives will follow whoever wins.  It’s kind of insulting, really, and ignores the huge reasons the Africans had for not siding with their alien overlords.

Action 38 – Superman gets arrested, Pep Morgan hunts down kidnappers, the Black Pirate runs into an old friend, the Three Aces loot Atlantis, and Mr America vs the Gorrah

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Lots of stories to talk about in Action 38 (July 1941), so I’m not even going to banter about the cover.

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Jerry Siegel, Leo Nowak and Ed Dobrotka dish out a Superman story that gives Sergeant Casey a run for his money.

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People are committing crimes with no memory of having done so.  The police are run ragged, and have no idea what is behind the rash of thefts.  Sergeant Casey and Lois Lane get locked in a bank vault, and though Superman rescues them, his presence at so many crimes scenes prompts Casey to arrest him – or at least try to.

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Superman gets away, but then Casey decides that Clark Kent must be behind it, following similar reasoning.  Although not named, Jimmy Olsen cameos in one panel, looking more like himself.

Both as Clark and Superman, our hero must evade the police, until he figures out that the man behind it all is using radio waves to take over people’s minds.

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George Papp puts Pep Morgan through the ringer in this story, when Slim gets kidnapped. His wealthy uncle whines about not having the cash on hand to pay the ransom, so Pep decides to fake out the kidnappers and rescue his friend himself.

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Pep succeeds, and is reunited with Slim. The final panel shows them back in their college dorm, happily bantering.  Aww.

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After skipping last issue (because of a boring Atlantic crossing), Jon Valor lands to rest and restock before continuing on to Barcelona.  Docked alongside him is the ship of Don De Avila, an old friend of the Black Pirate, who has fallen out of favour with the crown.

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Don and Jon are happy to run into each other, and De Avila invites his friend to a banquet that night. Bonnie has misgivings, fearing that De Avila intends to imprison the Black Pirate, and turn him over for the reward, but Jon trusts in his friend.

He shouldn’t.

Nicely ominous ending, the walls of the castle.  The story continues in the next issue.

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The Three Aces continue their trip into Atlantis in this story.

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It reminds me a bit of Jack and the Beanstalk. Our heroes steal radium from the underground city, attack its leaders and leave the palace in ruins.  Hurrah!  Some triumph.

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Although the Mr America series pits Tex largely against spies and saboteurs right now, the Gorrah makes his final appearance in this issue, working with Nazi agents, in this story by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily. The Gorrah betrays them in the end, preferring to pursue his goal of vengeance over their plot against the army.

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At first Gorrah believes Tex to have died, and is out to kill Bob, but he learns the truth, and the identity of Mr. America, just before perishing in the explosion intended for a educator’s convention.  It’s really odd to see the one-eyed character dressed in an ordinary suit.

Action 37 – Clark Kent, Police Commissioner, the Three Aces head to Atlantis, and Congo Bill begins

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The cover of Action 37 (June 1941) would have been perfectly suitable for last issue’s Superman story.  Ah well.  There is no Black Pirate story in this issue, but it returns next month.  I assume this was because nothing at all happened during the voyage to Spain.

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Crime and city corruption are at the core of this story, by Siegel and Cassidy, as the Police Commissioner is drummed out, but every new one appointed gets murdered by the mob.

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The mayor is in a panic, and decides to appoint Clark Kent as Police Commissioner.  Lois Lane actually backs up the idea, surprisingly, pointing out that, as a reporter, Clark has been a crusader for justice.

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The mobsters attempts to kill Clark fail, because, you know, that whole Superman thing. The mob then go after the mayor, trying to burn him alive, but Superman rescues him.  The former Police Commissioner is revealed as the leader of the mob.  Sergeant Casey has a very small role in this.

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The Three Aces head to the Azores, where they are enlisted by a friend, Ingrid, to explore the lost city of Atlantis.

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She has found a massive hole in the Earth, a “pit” big enough for the Aces to fly down into – and also big enough for cool looking Atlantean rockets to emerge from.  Though aside from flying out to show themselves, the Atlanteans don’t do anything, just fly back down, it seems.  The Three Aces fly down into the pit.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Congo Bill moves over from More Fun Comics, effectively trading places with Clip Carson.  But while Carson would have a short run in his new book, Congo Bill’s run in Action would last almost two decades. Indeed, he would outlast every other series currently running in the book, aside from Superman.  The jungle adventurer made a solid home here.

Frank Long and Fred Ray launch his series, which brings Professor Kent along.

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They stop off at a military post run by a friend of Kent’s, which has been seriously depleted of men due to plague.  They worry about an attack from an enemy post while they are at their weakest, and Congo Bill helpfully leads an attack on the camp, rescuing the major’s daughter and capturing the enemy leader.   It’s a World War II story, frankly, although it avoids specifying who the white rival combatants are in Africa.

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