Thursday, January 19, 2012

April 1940: Zip Comics #5

Cover by Charles Biro

'Steel Sterling' (by Abner Sundell and Charles Biro): Steel tackles a crooked senator and his plan to destroy a munitions factory and steal all of its defense contracts for himself. But even after Steel smashes up the bad guys and gets the senator to confess, he still has to rebuild the destroyed factory in a single day. His knowledge of building leaves a lot to be desired, and involves a lot of tying knots in steel girders. And then the Black Knight, Steel's nemesis and habitual cheater of death, shows up in a cameo to try and destroy the plant; he is promptly and hilariously crushed by a truck full of TNT, but I expect he'll escape somehow.

'The Scarlet Avenger' (by Harry Shorten and Irv Novick): The Scarlet Avenger is still battling against Lexa, Queen of Crime. In this issue she plans to free a whole bunch of criminals for her private army, but the Scarlet Avenger stops her and blows up her dirigible. She escapes, of course, by means of her giant pterodactyls. I cannot hate a story with dirigibles, death rays and dinosaurs.

'Nevada Jones, Quick-Trigger Man' (by Creators Unknown): Nevada Jones takes on a gold miner who has killed his own brother for the gold and disguised himself as an old prospector. It's about as exciting as any of the westerns get (i.e. not very), and I feel like strangling someone every time Jones says "Yippee Yay, Blaze Away!" It's the first unbearable catchphrase in comics.

'Kalthar the Giant Man, King of the Jungle' (by Harry Shorten and Lin Streeter): Kalthar must do battle with a tribe of leopard-men and their chief, who turns out to be a slave trader that Kalthar spared in an earlier story. It all feels pretty tired and uninspiring.

'War Eagles, the Devil's Flying Twins' (by Ed Smalle): Tom and Tim stop a Nazi attack on a supply train, bomb some new Nazi guns into oblivion, and rescue an English spy. It's certainly eventful, but now that the protagonists have stopped being jerks to everybody it's not as much fun to read.

'Captain Valor' (by Abner Sundell and Mort Meskin): Captain Valor and his friends are captured by Yat Sing and his half-sister Tania, who want China's defense plans against the Japanese invaders. As a continuing serial, this is something of a throwback to comics of the mid-1930s. It's not a style that I'm much enamoured with; I'll almost certainly have forgotten what happened by the time I read the next installment.

'Mr. Satan' (by Harry Shorten and possibly Ed Ashe): Mr. Satan and Doris stumble across a counterfeiting operation. This starts promisingly, as a man is killed with some carefully aimed fireworks, but then drifts into some tedious material. Mr. Satan's costume, is noteworthy, though; he looks almost exactly like Daredevil.

'Zambini the Miracle Man' (by Joe Blair and Ed Wexler): Zambini takes on a Voodoo priest. It's not great, but I am amused by Zambini's magic spells. Much like Zatara, his spells are cast by the way he speaks. "Babecabome Pabarabalabyzabed" is one example. I think he just throws an "ab" in at the start of every syllable.

No comments:

Post a Comment