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 starts revisiting people he's rescued in the past to hit them up for fresh plot hooks. He has to catch robbers who are disguising themselves as police officers. Pep disguises himself too, posing as a night watchman.

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 fights bandits in the Sahara until both sides have to seek shelter from a sandstorm (wandering weather encounter? Editorial fiat?). Clip finds the pyramid he's looking for is guarded by more bandits (hint: you can put mobsters outside the hideout as well as inside). There is no obvious entrance to the hideout (another hint), so Clip has to search for a secret entrance. And inside the pyramid is...an undead mummy!  Not original, but sometimes you just have to go with the cliches because people would be expecting them.

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, summaries of the rest read at DC Wikia.)




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