Action 30 – Superman vs Zolar, Pep Morgan changes schools, the Black Pirate enslaved, Miss X dumps Tex Thompson, and Zatara hunts for a killer
Is he flying? Sure looks like he’s flying on the cover of Action 30 (Nov. 40).
Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley pits Superman against an evil genius, Zolar, in this story. Despite it being summer, Metropolis is stuck in a winter blizzard.
There are little floating balls of glowing heat – but those are more likely to incinerate you than warm you.
Some Arabs appear to be behind the weather madness, and Superman follows them. He falls victim to the glowing balls, although they do not destroy him , simply render Superman unconscious. I actually have my doubts that they even do that. I suspect Superman is feigning, so that the bad guys will take him to their leader – which is exactly what happens.
Zolar looks an awful lot like the Ultra-Humanite – and of course, what Luthor would come to look like as well. Bald geniuses seem to be the biggest threat to Superman. He defeats Zolar, as well as his female accomplice, pretending to be one of his victims. Zolar dies at the end of the story, but with Luthor around, he really was no loss.
There isn’t much to the Pep Morgan story in this issue, by George Papp, aside from the fact that he is now attending Midtown College, instead of Ardale. The story itself deals with the fact that Pep always loses races to one guy, although he overcomes this “jinx” and wins by the end.
The fact that this story makes it clear that Pep has lost many races, in contradiction to what we have seen in his strip so far – backs up my contention that some of Pep’s stories are lies that he tells. I suspect that Pep’s battle with the Cambodian dinosaur last issue was a story he told upon enrolling at Midtown, trying to make himself look special.
Jon Valor is having a really rough time of it in Moldoff’s story this month. The Black Pirate does manage to defeat the raiders who stole his ship last issue, but no longer has a crew to man it.
Jon winds up getting captured by Captain Treble, who makes the Pirate one of his slaves, sending him to work in a phosphate mine.
The story continues next issue.
Miss X makes her final appearance in the Tex Thompson series in this story by Bernard Baily. The villain is a gangster named Dr. Mixxo, who is out to steal a fur shipment.
Tex winds up getting captured by Mixxo, and Bob Daley once again shows himself to be completely useless. It’s Miss X who saves Tex, though she remains stand-offish towards him. She never returns, and neither does Janice/Peggy Maloney. Despite Tex’s comment last issue that he knows who Miss X is, there is never any reveal of her identity. A poorly dropped plot thread.
The Tigress returns, working with another magician to commit a series of murders using a poisonous insect in this story, by Gardner Fox, with art by Joseph Sulman.
The Tigress’ new magician is never named. He is clearly just some dupe she picked up along the way, probably hoping he would serve as a defense against Zatara. There seems little of the comraderie that used to exist between Zatara and the Tigress in this issue. Indeed, Zatara insists she be sent to prison at the end of the story, instead of letting her go, as he often did in the past. Zatara claims that her crime of murder demands punishment, but he let her go once before after she was part of a murder scheme. Nope,this is jealousy on Zatara’s part. How dare the Tigress work with a rival magician?