Tuesday, April 12, 2011

January 1939: Action Comics #9

'Superman' (by Siegel and Shuster) really surprised me this time around, because the events here are a direct result of him demolishing a city block last issue.  Superman is a wanted criminal now, so an ace detective (nick-named 100% Reilly because he always gets his man) has been brought in to capture him. This is the first time that Superman's secret identity plays a large part in the story, as Reilly and another rival detective do everything in their power to learn it as they vie for the $5000 reward on offer.  This one is a lot of fun.

'Scoop Scanlon, Five Star Reporter' (by Will Ely) stumbles across the murder of a stool pigeon by the Larraway Gang, who then go on to perform a jailbreak for some buddies. To be continued!  I'm not sure how these plot threads will link up, and I don't really care.

'Pep Morgan' (by Gene Baxter) rescues a professor from an icy pond, then wins an ice boat race. Honestly, this isn't even a story, it's just a bunch of random shit happening.  There is no point to it at all.

'Marco Polo' (by Sven Elven) and his friends are celebrating their victory over the bandits from last issue. It's mostly Marco talking to the girl Shela and her betrothed Karma, followed by a tournament that Marco intrudes into and wins.  In other words, this is a downtime story, but it's heartening to see some characters displaying an actual personality in this series.

'Tex Thomson' (by Bernard Baily) is still dealing with Dr. Kichung and his plan to transplant human brains into apes. While Tex rescues the ubiquitous girl in peril, the regular apes rise up in a revolt and kill Kichung and his servants. I'm all for a good fictional ape riot, and this one was an oddly satisfying conclusion.

'Chuck Dawson' (by Homer Fleming) spends this entire story trying to rescue a girl that his enemies have kidnapped. Remember when this story was about Chuck Dawson trying to get revenge on the men who killed his father? Because Homer Fleming certainly doesn't.

'Zatara, the Master Magician' (by Fred Guardineer) goes up against a mad Tibetan monk, who has gathered a small army of hypnotists to help him conquer the world. As usual this is rollicking good fun, as Zatara fights his way past the various flunkies one by one until engaging in psychic battle with their leader. And the villainous Tigress is there as well, once again teaming up with Zatara even though they're supposed to be mortal enemies.  Those two are so getting married.

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