Action 43 – Superman and the plane crashes, Vigilante meets Billy Gunn, and Mr America fights giant puppets
Superman fights the Nazis on the cover of Action 43 (Dec. 41). And though one might associate the cover date with the US entry into the war,in fact this book was printed and on sale in mid-October of the year.
The Superman story in this issue, by Jerry Siegel, Leo Nowak and Ed Dobrotka, is average. Lois Lane is sent out to write a story about an airline whose planes keep crashing. Superman follows, to rescue her periodically.
He gets into his Clark Kent clothes, claiming to have followed her. This happens largely so that they can be captured and bound together, to make it difficult for Superman to get away. But the scene ends in a lame cop-out, as Lois knocks herself out, banging her head while trying to escape.
The Vigilante story, by Mort and Mort (Weisinger and Meskin) is much more fun. It introduces a villain, the Shade, who is not the same as the later, and more famous, Flash villain. He does spend most of his time in the dark, and seems to have the power to disappear.
The Shade is pursuing an old man, Billy Gunn, although Gunn has no idea who the Shade is, or why he is after him.
Billy Gunn mets Greg Sanders while appearing on a gong show that he is hosting. Gunn gets gonged fast, and Greg feels sorry for him. That woman next to him is Betty Stuart, Greg’s girlfriend, who was actually introduced in his first story, but I forgot about her.
Although Billy Gunn dresses and talks like a cowboy, he is an easterner, who just admires the west. Still, when Vigilante gets captured by the Shade, it’s Billy who comes to his rescue, and sticks around, becoming his sidekick.
Billy had inherited a mine, and the Shade had been out to kill him and get it.
The Shade returns in the next issue.
Mr. America and Fat Man fight giant puppets in this story by Fitch and Baily. It’s actually quite a bit better than the previous sentence would imply.
Bob learn that Tex knows his identity in this story. Which is good, because Tex is not a total idiot. It is also the final appearance of the flying cape. Tex uses it to escape from German agents who have been sabotaging factories, making it fly while it is still around his neck. Although he does get away, I think it likely caused some major neck strain, probably why he retired it.