Action Comics Weekly #602: "Another Fine War" Part 2

Action Comics Weekly #602
"Another Fine War" Part 2

Written By: Mike Grell
Art By: Rick Burchett & Pablo Marcos
Lettered By : Steve Haynie
Colored By: Tom Ziuko
Edited By: Mike Gold

In the Singapore of 1947, Blackhawk has just had his bath interrupted by Zalecki and his three hoods. Fortunately for Janos, Zalecki had brought a knife to a gunfight, and almost lost his little finger in the bargain. As Jan reminds Zalecki that he was about to take something off of him, a female visitor enters the room, and is startled by the size of Blackhawk's "piece". Zalecki takes this opportunity to shove her into the object of her search.

The gunfight has now become a fistfight. WHAM

Janos is seized from behind, but manages to SMASH his attacker into a wooden chair. Another of Zalecki's goons WHACKs Blackhawk with a left to the jaw. The goon's right is cleverly deflected and Janos delivers a solid right to the jaw with a sharp KRAK. The first attacker rises for another round and is BASHed with another wooden chair. Behind Blackhawk, the second attacker charges, and tackles Janos against a dresser with a KA-WHAM. The two men are lost in a flurry of fists and kicks.

Blackhawk draws his right fist back and its firm delivery sends the second attacker CREESHing through the blinds. Janos turns and sees the oncoming figure of Zalecki. Unfortunately for Zalecki, his foot has found the bar of soap. Although he misses Blackhawk's oncoming fist, Zalecki will be seeing stars for a while after his head hits the damp floor. The remaining thug goes for the fallen gun, but is no match for a BASH to his head from a stool wielded by Blackhawk's visitor.

Janos admits she knows how to swing a mean stool. He pauses only to pick up his clothes, Zalecki's spare change, and leaves the girls a nice tip. As Blackhawk and his newfound friend run through an alley, he tells her how Zalecki had wanted him to pay the ten thousand dollars he had lost in last week's poker game. It turns out Zaleck was cheating! Janos knows this because he was cheating and Zalecki still managed to beat him.

Blackhawk will buy the two of them drinks... on Zalecki. Janos Prohaska only drinks whenever he is between wars... which makes him a teetotaller. Cynthia Hastings wants him to fly a mission for her. Before she gives him the details, he tells her he is not flying anywhere until he finds a new magneto, a few thousand gallons of fuel, and a box of Cuban cigars. The cigars are what it's going to cost him to bribe a certain official to look the other way when he takes off. There is also the matter of hangar fees.

She would like to know what he say if she could get him all of those things. He would say she is either very rich.. or she has got something to do with Claire Chenault of Air America. A quick peek shows that she is not wearing any dogtags. This does not mean much when you are dealing with a cloak and dagger group. Now that she has his undivided attention, she has a proposition for him.

It isn't his drink that is going to Janos Prohaska's head but Cynthia Hastings' hard right which sends him to the floor with a FWACK. If he would only start to listen with his ears instead of his groin, he may find what she has to say rather interesting. Right now, he is only interested in looking up her dress. The mission has to do with several million dollars in gold... and it's finders keepers!

Thanks to the Comics Code and the clever placement of his holster, readers are spared the sight of Blackhawk's piece.

Fallen pieces of wood and a carpet keeps the Comic Book Code's peace.

Zalecki hit the skids and one of his men proved to be a "stool pigeon".

Janos tells Cynthia that he owed Zalecki ten thousand dollars, when in the previous installment, Zalecki threatened to do some plumbing for forty thousand.

The Post-Crisis Blackhawk is a man of wine, women, song, and dance.

In certain ways, Janos Prohaska is channeling Guy Gardner rather than his Pre-Crisis self.

Once in the Singapore Sling Bar, Blackhawk is wearing his hat at a rakish angle, and Rick Burchett is channeling Gil Kane and Sid Greene's mastery with expressive facial expressions (especially around the eyes.)

Cynthia Hastings lands the "one punch" approach later employed by Batman against Guy Gardner in Justice League International.

Steve Chung
"Another Fine Review Part 2"

Action Comics Weekly # 601: "Another Fine War"

Action Comics Weekly #601
"Another Fine War"

Mike Grell: Script
Rick Burchett: Pencils
Pablo Marcos: Inks
Steve Haynie: Letters
Tom Ziuko: Colors
Mike Gold: Edits

On August 9, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese City of Hiroshima, and V-J Day saw the unconditional surrender of the Japanese forces...

The warriors knew that peace was a temporary thing. It was only a matter of time before another war came along and they were back to work.

Until then, these soldiers joined the others... and tried to pretend that after Bastogne and Luzon and Normandy and Iwo Jima... life during peacetime was not as boring.

Their boredom lasted almost an entire year until French forces arrived at Haiphong... and their troops marched into Hanoi to secure for their French union the newly-established Republic of Vietnam. The Vietnamese had bitter memories of living under Vichy French rule and careful urging by the Vietminh Coalition soon fanned the embers of dissent into the flames of revolution.

By November of 1946, the French forces withdrew to the safety of their warships in Haiphong Harbor and shelled the city into submission. By December of that year, the Vietminh launched their counter-attack at Hanoi. By February of 1947, the warriors knew things were back to normal, and they headed back to work.

Elsewhere, things were far from normal. Janos Prohaska was reading Stars and Stripes and could not believe the news. Milton Caniff has left Terry And The Pirates to do another strip called Steve Canyon -- about a guy who flies a charter air service! Blackhawk figures reading this new strip will be about as exciting as watching paint dry. He can see it now... Steve spending a thrilling day searching for spare parts, arguing with his mechanic, and trading for fuel on the black market. Oh, and waiting around for the next job!

CRASH A burly visitor and his three men have kicked down Prohaska's door and shoved his two handmaidens aside. Then again, there is something to be said about waiting. Downstairs, a new arrival is looking for a man -- and is told to try the yellow house down the street. Upstairs, Zalecki is tired of waiting for his money. Prohaska owes him forty thousand dollars and he is going to take it out of his wallet... or cut it out from his pants. Downstairs, the new arrival says she is looking for a man called Blackhawk, and was told she could find him here. The owner of the establishment says Blackhawk already has girl. Sometimes he has three. He is probably too tired for her.

Upstairs, Blackhawk points out to Zalecki that only an idiot liek him would bring a knife... to a gun fight! BLAMM

The Blackhawk series in Action Comics Weekly picked up from Howard Chaykin's Prestige Format mini-series about two years later.

Mike Grell was working on his own Prestige Format mini-series at the time.

Rick Burchett had worked earlier at First and Eclipse.

V-J Day was re-enacted in the opening montage of the Watchmen movie.

There are hints of Kubert and Chaykin in the wartime art by Burchett.

Marvel's The 'Nam covered the consequences of what had occurred at Haiphong.

Blackhawk had been a hero, a "junkheap hero," and re-imagined in the Post-Crisis period at DC.

Janos Prohaska was the name of the stuntman whose creative work appeared on The Outer Limits and Star Trek.

Only Mike Grell would bring a clever movie line... to a weekly comic book!

As drawn by Rick Burchett, Blackhawk resembles none other than Cary Grant.

Steve Chung
"Another Fine Review!"

Action Comics #666: "Red Glass: Picking Up The Pieces"

Action Comics #666
"Red Glass: Picking Up The Pieces"
June, 1991

James D. Hudnall: Writer
Ed Hannigan: Penciler
Willie Blyberg: Inker
Bill Oakley: Letterer
Glenn Whitmore: Colorist
Dan Thorsland: Assistant
Mike Carlin: Editor
Superman Created By Jerry Siegel And Joe Shuster

The Man of Steel cradles the Martian Manhunter's body in his hands and refuses to believe it.

As the United States Army advances upon him in the desert, Superman vows that there will be no more killing! As tanks and soldiers open fire, the Man of Steel pleads that there will be no more blood on his hands! Air support is called in to blow the Kryptonian out of the sky!

He needs to get away to someplace quiet before they push him too far! The missiles are locked on target and the kill order is confirmed! Missiles are launched! CHOOM

Superman finds himself falling -- just as a U.S. Army surface-to-air missile is activated. VSSSH The world is spinning as the Man of Steel strives to pull out! More surface-to-air missiles are launched! CHFFF CHFFFFFF Superman falls to earth, just ahead of the missiles overhead --

After the fall

In the middle of a giant crater, the Man of Steel finds himself still alive, and surprised that they hadn't been able to kill him! This remains to be seen, with the arrival of Captain Atom and Firestorm, who turn up the heat!

Their assault causes the rocks and the soil to become molten! There is absolutely no trace because their combined atomic powers must have disintegrated hi-- "AHH!!" The Nuclear Man is seized and pulled down into the bubbling lava!

SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH SHOOM Superman has had enough of the madness and fires his heat-vision at Captain Atom! "YAAH!!" KA-FOOM

Who is going to kill him now -- oww -- AAOOOWW?!? Rebis's negative form passes through him. As Robotman gives thanks, another member smells burning meat, and it makes her hungry!!

The Man of Steel can't take this any more! Why don't they all just go awAAAAAY! Cliff Steele's robotic housing goes to pieces, Rebis' bandages are suddenly woefully inadequate for healing, and the Doom Patrol dies again for the second time!

The Kryptonian continues to scream and an army of men and tanks suddenly cease to exist.

He -- he has killed all of them. Just like he killed a couple of muggers this morning... All of Metropolis, millions of lives are gone! All that he has fought for and believed in... he has betrayed it all! The time has come for payment and Wonder Woman has brought the instrument of his destruction. He doesn't know what to say... in his sorrow, and she reminds him that he should have been aware of the consequences.

One moment, he was flying over Metropolis, and then he found himself killing people! His greatest fear of losing control came true! For him, having super-powers does not make things easier, but makes them harder. He has always been afraid... She knows all of that. He must pay for his actions and put an end to this nightmare. As he holds the green Kryptonite in his hands, there is communication from NASA, Houston Control. Superman had stopped transmitting several times in the past hour. They sent him to --

They sent him to investigate the strange radioactive anomaly on the moon, the mare nublum in the sea of clouds. NASA wanted him to determine what it was. He remembers coming out of orbit and finding himself in Metropolis once more... As they ask if he has found the strange activity, he tells them about the red crystal in the crater. Has that been messing with his head -- making him live out his own anxieties? Answers will have to wait and he goes forth to investigate.

As Houston Control attempts to regain contact, the Man of Steel makes contact with the red crystal, and the call is answered. It/they had come to this solar system looking for suitable planets, finding none.

The third planet was inhabited by carbon-based life forms, making it unsuitable for raising its/their children. Solar activity prevented departure and it/they were shut down for several cycles. It/they were locked into the path of a meteor. It/their protective screens prevented extensive damage, but the collision drove it/them to impact with the moon. Because of the screens, it/they went into the lunar soil and became buried there.

It/they were trapped for ages. Distress signals were sent across the radiation bands, but no aid came. Not for many cycles... until he had arrived. Communication was attempted, but there was no understanding... it/they may have said the wrong things... he had left it/them... Houston had sent him... only he had gone berserk and began tearing up the lunar surface. Realizing its/their language was in contact with his sub-conscious, it/they saw the violent images in his head against other strange beings. It/they mean no harm. All it/they wanted was to be set free. It/they cannot bear children here.

The Man of Steel moves at super-speed and uses his great strength to set it/them free!

It/they helped to set him free by having him face the darkness within his own mind... and renewed his ability to overcome it. It/they gave him the power to survive the bad with the good.

Knowing the future fate of the moon... the Man of Steel feels good to have been able to save a life.

On the cover by Andy Kubert, the Man of Steel finds himself between a moon rock and a lunar surface.

I've enjoyed the writing of James D. Hudnall in Legends of the Dark Knight.

The Red Glass Trilogy was a perfect example of a classic DC Comics story where the reader is asked if they can solve the mystery before the main character does.

I've enjoyed the art of Ed Hannigan on Defenders, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, and Green Arrow.

Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom were members of Justice League International and Europe, respectively.

By the time of this story, Ronnie Raymond was no longer merging with Professor Martin Stein, and adopted a new appearance.

At the time of this story, the Doom Patrol was being written by Grant Morrison.

For once, Houston did not have a problem, and Superman was on the case.

At the time of this story, the Post-Crisis Superman required an oxygen supply to survive in outer space.

Steve Chung
"Red Glass: Picking Up The Review!"

Action Comics #487: "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"

Action Comics #487
"Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"
September, 1978

Script: Bob Rozakis
Artists: Alex Saviuk and Francisco Chiaramonte
Letterer: Milt Snapinn
Colorist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Julius Schwartz

At long last, Jean Loring finally said yes and became Mrs. Ray Palmer! Now sharing her husband's secret, the newlyweds return to Giant Caverns, where the Atom was born. It is a visit fraught with danger, which threatens to turn Ray Palmer, newlywed, into Ray Palmer, widower... a result of the "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"

Ray and Jean can't believe they're really married. Ray is the one who proposed about two hundred times before Jean said yes. Two hundred and fourteen, to be exact. It seems like only yesterday that the Palmers first came here. After all that's happened, it feels like more than a hundred years that they brought the Nature Club on a hike. It was a good opportunity to gather rock samples and explore the underground caves. Ray's suggestion was a bad one when part of the ceiling caved in, blocking the passageway. After he left Jean and the kids trying to dig a way out, Ray found a tiny hole in the cave ceiling. Only an insect could fit through. This gives the scientist an idea. Using the reducing lens he had been experimenting with, which he happened to have in his pocket, Ray reduced himself. Once he was reduced, the scientist was in danger of exploding like the test-objects he was working on.

Using the engagement ring he had bought Jean, which was always in his pocket, Ray is grateful that the diamond is so much harder than the rock, cutting through with ease. Shock waves began rumbling through the scientist's body as he raced back to the beam of sunlight flashing through his reducing lens. Instead of exploding as he feared, Ray returned to normal size. He went back for the rest of them and led them to the escape hatch he made.

Unbeknownst to the Palmers, Varo Lann and Iwin Gann have seen the tall one change his size. With these abilities, they of Elvara could return to the outside world, and rule over all. They are Bat-Knights, members of a race of tiny people who live deep in the Giant Caverns. They were forced to retreat underground centuries ago when the "tall people" hunted them. The inhabitants of Elvara have a deep hatred of their large counterparts, a hatred that drives them to kill the tall ones. Ray warns Jean to avoid the charging Bat-Knights.

Jean recognizes them as the same warriors they fought the last time. She thought that they were her husband's friends. They were friends of the Atom. Perhaps they don't recognize Ray Palmer, but he'll make sure they remember the Atom. By switching on his full 180-pound weight, he'll come down hard and fast on the Bat-Knight, like a bat out of hell.

It's back to flying school for the two of them. With a lance in his hands, the fight has become a bit more even. The Bat-Knight still has the upper hand with his steed, but the Atom can do some flying of his own. Reducing his weight to practically nil, the Mighty Mite is up and at 'em. He doesn't get the Bat-Knight, but what he does hit does bring him down to Earth.

Jean figures it's time she gave the Atom a helping hand. As she grabs one of the Bat-Knights, her husband warns her about the charged lance. BZAP! He'll get the Bat-Knight for that. As the Atom tries to shrink out of sight, he discovers to his horror that the lance blast traveled faster than he could shrink. ZAP! Now the secret of size-change will be theirs.

Some time later in the castle city of Elvara, the Atom awakens, with his captors about to force him to talk. They won't force him to do anything because he'll shrink. They warn the Atom that if he should shrink out of sight, and he'll endanger the life of his wife. They've done nothing to Jean yet, and they will refrain from doing so, provided that he reveal the secret of size-variation to them. They don't want to learn to become smaller or larger.

They wish to change the tall ones. With this power, all outsiders will be reduced to the Atom's current size. They of Elvara will no longer be the hunted. They will be the hunters and exact their revenge. The Atom had thought them to be peace-loving people. Their elders were, but they no longer rule Elvara. The young ones demand their rightful share of the world, and more. Will he cooperate or will he sacrifice his wife's life?

How does he know that Jean is really their prisoner? What proof is there that they haven't already killed her? They present the evidence in the form of Jean's engagement ring. Then they have harmed her, because she would never remove it willingly. They assure him that it was done when she was stunned. She is well but unable to escape their trap. They have sealed the cavern entrance by which he approached Elvara -- imprisoning her. There is no other escape! Visions of Jean running in fear of the flying bats appear for a moment. If he refuses to cooperate, they'll kill her. KLIK! KLIK! The Atom is betting Jean's life that they won't kill her -- because she's already escaped.

SKRIT! SKRIT! The diamond puts their lances out of business. KLIK! KLIK! Now, the Atom takes the easiest way out... up and away! The Mighty Mite is starting to feel like King Kong! The "planes" are coming but he's not waiting to be "shot down". The Atom will make a jump of his own. The dust he kicked up will take care of any aerial pursuit.

Later, Jean is pleased to see that her husband is safe. Together, they manage to seal the doorway, and keep the Bat-Knights confined to their own domain. Jean knows that the world would be helpless if they had her husband's power. She then wonders why Ray risked her life when he escaped from the Bat-Knights. He couldn't have been sure they didn't really have her captive. Ray assures Jean that he was sure. As soon as he saw the engagement ring they'd taken when she was unconscious. He knew they couldn't keep her prisoner when they sealed the cavern's entrance -- because she knew there was another secret way out -- the escape hatch. She was there when he first made it with the ring. This is why he's known as the world's smallest super-hero.

Ray Palmer and Jean Loring became man and wife in Justice League of America #157.

At the time of this story, the Palmers last met the Bat-Knights in The Atom #30.

The splash page of "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!" features various scenes from the Atom's early career, as

depicted by Alex Saviuk (who does Gil Kane proud.)

Bob Rozakis pens this story which is a return to Giant Caverns, first seen in Showcase #34 (by Gardner Fox, Gil

Kane, and Murphy Anderson.)

In addition to the Atom, Rozakis and Saviuk also produced back-ups for Action Comics featuring Aquaman and Air-Wave.

Francisco Chiaramonte was best known for inking Curt Swan on Superman, and for his work on Werewolf By Night at Marvel Comics.

Alex Saviuk has drawn Web of Spider-Man and continues to illustrate the Wall-Crawler's newspaper strip.

For those of us who read DC Comics around the time this issue of Action Comics, Bob Rozakis was also known as The Answer Man, and had his own space on the DC Feature Page.

Among the questions readers asked in this issue:

What does Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince of Earth-1 do for a living?

Answer: Jack C. Harris says that she'll soon be training to be an astronaut.

Does Irv Novick draw for BOYS' LIFE Magazine?

Answer: In addition to his Flash-epics, Irv does work for BOYS' LIFE!

How did Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny become independently wealthy?

Answer: By performing his rubbery feats in shows!

Why is Speedy such a wise guy?

Answer: because people ask him questions like that!

How many issues of THE ATOM, HAWKMAN, SANDMAN, and FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL were there?

Answer: ATOM ran #1-28 and Hawkman #1-27, then they were combined as THE ATOM AND HAWKMAN #39-#45. SANDMAN numbered 1-6 and there were 13 FIRST ISSUE SPECIALS!

Some years ago, there were GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW paperback books. How can I get copies?

Answer: Both of those books are long out of print. You might try a back-issue comics dealer for copies. And by the way, keep an eye out for paperback editions of BATMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUPERMAN, and other DC characters... now on sale.

Are the Wonder Twins going to get their own comic book?

Answer: Not their own book, but a feature in SUPER FRIENDS!

Why does Luthor hate Superman so much?

Answer: They were friends as boys until a lab accident trapped Lex. When Superboy rescued him, his actions caused Lex's hair to fall out... something that Luthor has never forgiven the Man of Steel for.

Who is Uncle Sam?

Answer: The Spirit of America!

What Earth does Captain Marvel live on?

Answer: Earth-S.

How do you find the time to answer all the questions that are sent to you?

Answer: If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know!

Steve Chung
"Miniature Review Of The Bat-Knights!"

Action Comics #469: "Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"

Action Comics #469
"Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"
(March 1977)

Creators: Story: Bob Rozakis Art: John Calnan & Tex Blaisdell

It's Christmas Eve at Galaxy Broadcasting. Morgan Edge has given out the bonuses to the staff. While each one is happy and content, a certain mild-mannered television reporter is dejected. Edge asks Lois why Clark is unhappy. She assures him that she's tried to give her fellow reporter some holiday cheer. Sportscaster Steve Lombard lets his boss know that he hasn't been pulling any pranks on "Ol' Clarkie Boy!" Daily Planet Editor Perry White likes Edge's present and taste in cigars. As the festivities wind down, Lois tells the others that she'll spend the holidays with her folks. Steve will visit his aunt Kaye Daye. Clark Kent, the last one left in the room, sighs, and leaves.

It is a beautiful snowy night in Metropolis. As the WGBS roving reporter walks past a mother and son admiring a store window display featuring Superman, he overhears the boy wishing that the Man of Steel could come over for Christmas dinner. As the mother reassures her son that Superman is probably spending the holidays with his friends, Clark sighs, and continues his walk. A speeding car is out of control on the snowy street, and is about to slam into a brick wall. The mild-mannered television reporter nonchalantly reaches out with one hand, and stops it in its tracks. While Clark continues his walk, the driver gets out of his automobile. He stares first at the receding figure, then at the deep impression on his car's hood. It resembles a hand print. The man stares at the poster of the Man of Steel, who is advising traffic safety, and sighs.

In Smallville, Clark Kent has come home to his foster-parents' home. As he sits in the living room chair, he recalls the Christmases he had spent in years past: Superbaby using his x-ray vision to see his present, and a time when the Kents invited Peter Ross and Lana Lang to sing Christmas carols. For a time, the loneliness is forgotten.

Now, Clark begins to wander the streets of Smallville. On the way, he sees two children standing outside in the chilly weather. When he asks them what they're doing, they tell him that they're waiting for Santa to arrive. When Clark asks if their parents know what they're doing, the two kids tell him that they have no parents. They point to a nearby building as where they live. Clark recognizes the building as Smallville Orphanage. It was his first home when he arrived on Earth. With his x-ray vision, he sees the caretakers, a married couple, who are sad that they haven't much to give the children so they can have a Merry Christmas.

Clark tells the children to go inside because he has a feeling that Santa is on his way. A Christmas bonus is a nice gift, but now at super-speed, the mild-mannered television reporter goes on a shopping spree. The money used to pay for his purchases is left in a startled clerk's outstretched hand.

Inside the orphanage, the elderly couple are surprised to find the stockings are stuffed with toys, and a Christmas tree in their midst. They weep with joy over this wondrous sight. Outside, Clark has seen their reaction to this visit from Santa. He walks away, singing a Christmas carol. Now, Clark Kent is no longer lonely. He is surrounded by a sea of smiling faces.

A special Private Life of Clark Kent tale, and if you ask me, they were all special because they gave readers the chance to see what the mild-mannered reporter did when he wasn't being Superman.

For many, the holidays can be a happy time, while for others, it can be a less than merry occasion.

I could imagine the Man of Steel using his powers for charity during the holiday season, but what was Christmas like for Clark Kent?

He's alone.

In what some would call "Pre-Crisis," Clark lost his parents, then his foster-parents, and devoted his life to helping others.

When the holidays arrive, what would be his reaction?

If there were an emergency, this would be a job for Superman, but for Clark, things are different.

Even in his loneliness, the mild-mannered television reporter can still manage to surreptiously save a motorist and his vehicle from the hazardous holiday weather.

To cope with the time of year is another matter.

He's an orphan twice over, and he can relate to the children, as well as the elderly couple who were their caretakers.

It's a personal thing for Clark, and with the Christmas bonus, he puts it to good use in order to help others than himself.

In six pages, Bob Rozakis managed to cover these themes, and present a holiday story which showed how the Man of Steel's alter-ego could be affected by something other than magic or Kryptonite... the holiday season.

Artists John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell capture Clark's world, whether it's his workplace in Metropolis, or the quiet, tranquil small town setting of Smallville.

These two men gave an Everyman quality to the story, and made it all the more special.

John and Tex also drew one of my favorite story lines in Batman, "Where Were You On The Night The Batman Was Killed?" by David V. Reed.

They are storytellers and certainly excelled in that respect.

This is my favorite Bob Rozakis story because it shows whether in the blue suit with the cape or the blue suit with the glasses, the character is still a Superman and my hero.

This One's For Bob Rozakis, the Answer Man!

Steve Chung
"Clark Kent's Lonely Review!"

Action Comics #458: "Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #458
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"
April, 1976

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Mike Grell
Editor: Julius Schwartz

The getaway copter has landed in the vicinity of Looking Glass Hill, which is barely ten miles from where a speeding police radio car carrying Green Arrow and two police officers is located. The Archer tells them to issue an alert for as many patrol cars as possible to get up there -- fast! G.A. thinks that a little foot-stomping is in order... if not to bail out Black Canary, then to get the kidnappers of the Nutty Kid! Green Arrow has indeed run off on the trail of kidnappers -- but what only Black Canary knows so far is that the kidnappers were merely a cover! They made everyone else believe they abducted Danny Harris, the famous Nutty Kid of Comedy --- but their disguised victim was actually... Lex Luthor?! He finds it good that the super-heroine recognizes him!

The idea of this charade is to engineer a situation where Black Canary murders Green Arrow -- or he kills her! It doesn't much matter who executes whom, but it looks as though she is the lucky one -- the killer! She wonders how he proposes to get her to do that. It will seem natural -- just as it seemed natural for her not to have tried to tear Luthor apart these past few minutes! She's doing nothing but standing catching flies in her mouth because of his hypno-beam! He's already hypnotized her into wanting to kill Green Arrow! He trusts of all the law-enforcers hunting them down -- the Archer will be the first one to reach them! Her psyche will no doubt be kind to him... a good swift hell in his throat should do the job! Black Canary... can't bring herself... to raise a hand against him! If his mental command to kill Ollie is as strong... may Heaven help them both!

As the criminal scientist continues his monologue, the hypnotized heroine adopts an unusual pose... The authorities should arrive after her Green friend to pick her up... as well as his employees, who will receive triple pay for the time they spend in prison! As for his "kidnap" victim, Danny Harris the comic will reappear soon enough! "GUHH!"

She attacks Luthor... against the command of his mental device! He's such a fool! Lex didn't take into account her mental training in the martial arts! Through sheer meditation, she can hypnotize herself -- into seeing Luthor as Green Arrow to get around his command to her! Which means she's now forced to kill him! Heading up a dirt road at the base of Looking Glass Hill... Green Arrow wonders if the patrol car can go any faster. It's a wonder they can move at all on a road that looks like it's built for mountain goats!

The criminal scientist thought to start here -- with Green Arrow and Black Canary as his first victims -- and through treachery and psychological warfare, cause all super-heroes to be incriminated or discredited! As Black Canary closes in for the kill, Luthor desperately dives for cover under the copter... as a deadly karate chop misses its target! CRAACK He has to get away from that madwoman! The Black Canary must find him... must kill him!

Luthor's plan crumbles around him as he flees the hypnotized heroine, and tries to catch his breath long enough to make his escape... She won't stop until she murders him! WHUMP

The patrol car has stalled on a steep upgrade... The officers tell Green Arrow that it would take a helicopter to get up the hill! As he reminds them how the kidnappers got  there, Black Canary continues her attack on the criminal scientist... KLIK He'd better pull a disappearing act... and hope his hypno-beam will still compel her to kill Green Arrow! Now that Luthor is gone, Black Canary loses her compulsion to kill him! As she hears a familiar voice over her shoulder, Black Canary rushes towards the waiting Green Arrow, and they embrace. She wonders whether their meeting will turn into a disaster -- now... or later... For all she knows, Luthor could still be here, invisible!

No doubt, the criminal scientist will turn up again. Green Arrow wonders where Danny Harris is! If Luthor kidnapped the Nutty Kid and swapped places with him while she was fighting his henchman...? TAP TAP They find where the scientist stashed him. Danny Harris greets them both and starts to tell them how a funny thing happened to him on the way to the studio...

Lex Luthor may look like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but he's the man with the golden gun on Black Canary.

The criminal scientist turned up again in The Joker #7 (April-May, 1976) when the Clown Prince of Crime complains --

"Luthor -- You're Driving Me Sane!"

Steve Chung
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Review!"

Action Comics #457: "Flight Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #457
"Flight Of The Nutty Kid!"
March, 1976

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Mike Grell
Editor: Julius Schwartz

He knows why Frankie's voice sounds funny! It's because... their pilot ain't Frankie -- it's the Black Canary! A group of kidnappers disguised as a clown act has infiltrated an on-the-air telethon and abducted its host, Danny Harris -- the famous Nutty Kid! When their getaway pilot is unmasked as the... Black Canary... and their helicopter plummets towards the streets below, the Green Arrow takes to the skies... He sees that Dinah's trapped in the whirlybird!

Now we know as much as Green Arrow -- but what he doesn't know... none of the kidnappers can pilot the helicopter! If they off her, they'll crash into a nearby building! If Green Arrow has figured it right, the copter is tumbling on a line he should intercept -- so he can climb aboard and play cavalry to the rescue! They wonder what the Green Cowboy is trying to do -- ?? Black Canary realizes that he's trying to grab the copter in midair! Her problem is to keep them off the ground till they get out of town -- then her job's... finished! The copter veers away! Green Arrow can't grab it! The crook made the Emerald Archer miss! He'll drop to his death! The crook is confident that he can break his fall -- he's seen him do it on TV!

It's utter bedlam in front of WSTR's west-side studio, where Danny Harris' annual telethon -- is still going on even after the famous comedian has been kidnapped and flown off... to who knows where? There are unconfirmed reports -- that Green Arrow is somewhere on the scene! They have learned that Black Canary's motorcycle has been spotted in a nearby garage! The Emerald Archer is sorry to drop in during the segment -- but this is where gravity brought him!

Green Arrow rushes past bystanders into the TV studio where... more pledges are being made for Danny's ransom! G.A. would like a look at the radio receiver the clowns left behind to give the crew instructions! Now he needs one of the phones! He calls Lieutenant Bolton to get every available radio car tuned into the following frequency... and fan them out west of the city line! He'll explain later...

As Green Arrow starts to trace the source of the kidnappers' radio communications... Black Canary cuts the engine fifty feet up! As she counted on, the clowns don't know much about helicopters! They wanted her to land it so they could dispose of her... but they never heard of autorotation -- the ability of a helicopter to ease down to the ground like a parachute... as the rotors slow to a stop! The crooks get strong and silent when their plans get messed up. The Black Canary prefers her kidnappers... simply silent!

As the last kidnapper voices the opinion that the others are bush league to be stopped by a "ULP!", Black Canary's kick puts an end to his commentary. With any luck, Green Arrow and the police will pick them up before it can walk away... She heads to free the Nutty Kid and hopes that he has something funny to say about all this! What the newly freed Danny Harris has to say isn't very funny -- Black Canary is in big trouble! What she's been through will seem like a picnic, as soon as she catches on... that the man she just "rescued" is Lex Luthor!

Everybody loves a clown, except when they are kidnappers in disguise.

Danny Harris is a take off of Jerry Lewis.

As the rotors come to a stop, Black Canary puts a stop to the kidnappers, and gives them the right to remain silent.

Lex Luthor?

What some super-villains won't do to meet a super-heroine!

Steve Chung
"Review Of The Nutty Kid!"