Thursday, April 12, 2012

June 1940: Detective Comics #41

 Cover by Bob Kane

'Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder' (by Bill Finger and Bob Kane): It's another story with Robin as the star, as he's enrolled in a school to investigate a string of murders. It's set up well, and ticks all the boxes in the conclusion; this is a mystery that plays fair. Even so, I kept wishing for more Batman. Robin has taken over the strip at this point. I wonder if there were kids in 1940 yearning for the Robin-less glory days of just a few months ago?

'Spy' (by Jerry Siegel and Maurice Kashuba): Bart puts a stop to a US military clerk who is selling secret plans to foreign spies. Straightforward and dull.

'Red Logan' (by Ed Winiarski): Criminal Bugsie Goron is sentenced to death, but vows to come back and kill the judge and jury. He's killed, but he has a twin brother that that starts killing disguised as his brother's ghost. The potential is there, but the execution is lacking in excitement.

'The Crimson Avenger' (by Jack Lehti): The Crimson Avengers smashes a ring of people smugglers. It's pretty dull.

'Speed Saunders Ace Investigator and the Railroad Mystery' (by Fred Guardineer): Speed investigates the murder of a telegraph operator, and finds that it is the work of a gang of train saboteurs. Speed certainly enjoys beating the hell out of them, but his exuberance is the only thing of note in this story.

'Theft at the Fair' (by Gardner Fox): This prose story is continued from last issue, but to be honest the first chapter was superfluous. It's about a jewel thief, who is caught because of some curious notion that a real workman never strikes a match on the bottom of his shoe. And if he's not a real workman, by golly he must be a crook! It's a hell of a logical leap, regardless of whether it works.

'Steve Malone, District Attorney' (by Don Lynch): An expert on Incan history and relics murders an academic who has been debunking theories about the Incas. Steve investigates, and catches the killer, and there's not much else to say. This really is a boring issue of Detective Comics.

'Cliff Crosby' (by Chad Grothkopf): Cliff tackles the Invisible Man, a spy who is trying to steal an experimental submarine. Again this is very dull, and the villain's plan doesn't make much sense. I still can't figure out why he was posing as a scientist and working with Cliff.

'Slam Bradley' (by Jerry Siegel and Howard Sherman): Slam helps an heiress who is being swindled and threatened with murder by her guardian. It's a solid enough story, but it's completely lacking in the elements that made Slam Bradley great. Shorty is completely sidelined, there's no humour, and the action scenes are pedestrian. It's very disappointing.

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