Friday, September 9, 2016

Action Comics #15

And we come back around to Superman's home title, Action Comic, as we will periodically do, to see what new and exciting stuff Siegel and Shuster have cooked up for us. Here, we're treated to some delightful attention to continuity, as Superman reflects on having saved money earned months earlier in issue #11.

And raising money is the unusual scenario goal in this issue, as Superman has to raise $1 million to save "Kid-Town". For capturing bank robbers, he gets a $3,000 reward from the bank for returning their money, plus $2,000 from the police for capturing the robbers. He saves a rich man's life and gets $10,000 as his reward. Then he receives a plot hook that sends him after sunken treasure worth $1 million by itself.

All of these rewards can be dangled in front of Hideouts & Hoodlums Heroes, though the Editor is discouraged from awarding XP for money that has to be raised for a scenario. Trophy money should be earned on the side while pursuing other goals.

In the course of this adventure, Superman performs the powers Nigh-Invulnerable Skin (but while out of costume!), Raise Car (to lift a massive tree), Hold Breath (said to last for hours!), Get Even Tougher (I presume, since he's able to fight off a dozen sharks!), Hold Train reversed (so he can push a submarine), Super-Tough Skin, and -- of course -- wrecking things.

For some amount under $15,000, Clark Kent is able to rent a steamer ship for two weeks, complete with diving bell. He has to hire his own crew, though.

Another wrinkle in this surprisingly complex Superman tale is rival gangs competing to stop him. One becomes his ship crew, while the other steals a submarine to come after his ship. And Superman has fun with it too, dressing up in a skeleton's conquistador armor to spook the submarine crew.

In Pep Morgan's installment, Pep is given a plot hook by someone he rescued in the previous story -- the start of a series of plot hooks the same character will give him over what is actually a long story arc. He has to catch a combination of gangsters and robbers who are disguising themselves as police officers. Pep disguises himself too, posing as a night watchman and then a policeman himself, to capture the robbers who are using a tricked farmer's farm as their hideout.

Marco Polo shows himself to have some anti-hero leanings in this installment. He knocks out a guard to steal a horse, and then steals a sword from two soldiers (who probably only want to arrest him for horse theft!). I'm not sure how easy it is to snatch a sword from someone else's scabbard, but I'm guessing it's pretty hard and must be a difficult (1 in 6) skill, like picking pockets.

In Clip Carson's adventure, he and his SCM (archaeologist Jim Blake) have been fighting bandits in the Sahara when both sides have to seek shelter from a sandstorm (wandering weather encounter? Editorial fiat?). Jim points out that sandstorms can rip skin to shreds, meaning at least 2-8 points of damage I reckon. Luckily, tents make you automatically immune to the damage. Clip and Jim decide to brave the storm instead; since they emerge unscathed, there must be a save vs. science that lets you avoid the whole damage.

They find a guarded pyramid -- and rightly so, being a national monument. Clip and Jim have a map that will show them where a secret treasure room is inside, but instead of showing it to the Arab guards and offering to share it with them, Clip beats them all up so they can enter and steal the treasure for themselves. The pyramid is the "Pyramid of Cheoks," which clearly means Cheops. While inside, a guard recovers and trains a gun on them from a trapdoor in the ceiling, generously giving them a chance to surrender. But, again, this guy's an Arab, so Clip feels no remorse as he murders the guard. They find the secret door indicated on the map, but run into a mummy at the cliffhanger!

Tex Thompson is taking a break from globe-trotting and is back home in Texas for a change. We see he's an expert dart thrower. He also has an Arab servant named Achmed who never joins him on any adventures and we probably never see again. Tex is asked to find a missing diamond in this story, during which he runs into and adds his second SCM, Gargantua T. Potts. "Gargantua" must be a nickname because Potts is tall, drawn taller than Tex. Other than that, Potts has no special abilities other than being a  horribly drawn racial slur.

Well, well -- Fred Guardineer anticipated global warming! In his Zatara installment this month, "an evil scientist, Berhener, creates a heat ray and uses it to melt a lot of polar ice, causing the oceans to rise, and flooding New York City and many other coastal cities. Zatara is called in, and he figures out where the melting is happening, then tracks the heat ray's creator, Berhener, who turns out to have a mad scheme about extorting the world's governments and banks for a lot of money. Zatara freezes him inside an iceberg, and sinks the heat ray into the ocean." That summary doesn't give me a lot to go on, but apparently Zatara is starting to cast more combat-related spells like Ice Storm or Cone of Cold.

(Superman adventure read in Superman: The Action Comics Archives vol. 1, select pages read at the Babbling about DC Comics blog, summaries of the rest read at DC Wikia.)

No comments:

Post a Comment