Monday, February 13, 2012

April 1940: Whiz Comics #3b

Cover by C.C. Beck

'Capt. Marvel' (by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck): Captain Marvel flies to Venus with an eccentric scientist, but it turns out that the scientist is really Doctor Sivana. Together with Queen Beautia, he has hatched a plan to strand Marvel on Venus with a horde of ravening monsters, while he returns to conquer Earth with a paralyzing gas. The story is very eventful, and when it's just Captain Marvel smashing monsters it's entertaining. But too much of it goes nowhere; I can't fathom why Sivana has Beautia win a beauty contest. The conclusion is also very anticlimactic, as it amounts to Marvel beating up some thugs while the real villains escape off-panel. There are good moments here, but no story to speak of.

'Golden Arrow' (by Bill Parker and Pete Costanza): Golden Arrow is framed for murder by a gang of stage coach robbers. As expected, he clears his name in a tedious story.

'Spy Smasher' (by Bill Parker and possibly C.C. Beck): Spy Smasher once again tackles the Mask, who is shooting down army planes. The only thing of interest here is the story's vain attempts to make a mystery out of Spy Smasher's true identity, but there's really only one legitimate candidate.

'Death Pass' (by Writer Unknown): An American working with the RAF must single-handedly capture a strategic mountain pass. It's an adequate enough prose action story.

'Ibis the Invincible' (by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck): Ibis must stop a newly-resurrected pharaoh from executing an American archaeologist. The majority of this story involves Ibis stumbling into traps, only to stop them by pointing his Ibistick. The conclusion is similarly weak, as when  Ibis meets the pharaoh he simply asks him to stop the execution, and the pharaoh complies with no argument. There's no drama in it at all.

'Dan Dare in Gem of Doom' (by Bill Parker and Greg Duncan): Dan stops some Hindus from stealing a pair of sacred rubies. This is terribly dull and cliched.

'Scoop Smith' (by Bill Parker and Greg Duncan): Scoop braves the dangers of the Brazilian rain forest and finds the Fountain of Youth. The story is mediocre to begin with, but when the fountain dries up at the end for no reason at all it is dragged down even further.

'Lance O'Casey' (by Bill Parker and possibly Bob Kingett): O'Casey takes on some pirates, in a story that left no impression on me whatsoever.

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