Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Adventure Comics #45
Now, some heroes would just beat up her husband at that point and leave him for the police, but The Sandman has only heard the confession; he has no evidence of it. So he abducts Gloria and tries to force a second confession out of her. It's interesting that she does not recognize The Sandman by his distinctive mask, but only by the handful of sand he shows her as a clue. Mystery men may only be recognized by their calling cards, then, unless the non-Hero makes a save vs. plot.
For the first and only time, The Sandman is seen working with a Japanese servant named Toki (an actual Japanese name too!). It is unclear if Toki is one of Wesley Dodds' many employees (the man is a billionaire, after all) or if he works for, or is simply helping The Sandman. The Sandman's hideout is referred to, but we only see one room of it (it looks like a bedroom).
The Sandman cracks a combination lock, probably as an expert skill. We also see that he wears a wristwatch under his glove.
The story is incredibly confusing, being condensed into too few pages. The husband, Rendle, is up to more than Sandman had first guessed. At Rendle's office, Sandman has to face off against two hoodlums and what appears to be a corrupt beat cop. One of the hoodlums is armed with a Tommy gun; he misses Sandman at close range before succumbing to Sandman's gas gun (evidence of how hard it is for a low-Hit Die mobster to hit a target). Pursuing Rendle to a steamer ship which Rendle plans to use to skip the country, Sandman is briefly stunned by being clubbed over the back of the head, but recovers quickly (something I had to account for in the mechanics of 2nd edition).
Barry O'Neil, in his story, appears to have finally outlived Fang Gow (who is shown on his tombstone to had lived to be 69). Fang Gow's age could be as fake as his death, though, as he had apparently taken a Potion of Feign Death and is revived with an Antidote Potion. Meanwhile, Jean Le Grande has been the victim of an extremely slow-moving deathtrap -- a plant has been given to her that attracts a certain type of bug with a deadly bite. Patient hoodlums have to wait until, via proximity and coincidence, she happens to get bitten while tending the flower (maybe a save vs. plot each time she watered it?).
To search for Fang (after finding out he was still alive), Barry flies over Paris and the surrounding countryside for hours, looking for places that look like hideout cliches -- like old castles -- and spying on them with binoculars. Of course, he's lucky that Fang did not go underground, or simply stayed indoors. Unluckily for Jean, Fang is outside watching three lions in his courtyard play cat and mouse with her. I'm not sure how Barry is going to defeat the lions next issue, but I can hazard a disappointing guess that he's going to shoot them all dead.
In Federal Men, a racketeer named Rutska kills a man and only has to pay $5,000 bail. After he kills again and skips bail, the unnamed city this takes place in offers a reward for $25,000 just for information that will lead to his arrest.
Rutska uses a zip-line to escape from the rear window of his boardinghouse hideout, but dies when the line breaks and he crashes into a telephone pole. This could be a good trick for Heroes, zip-lines that have a 1 or 2 in 6 chance of snapping under a full man's weight.
Socko Strong's story begins with a wrinkle on the amnesia cliche: Socko is hit by a car and gets amnesia, but the gamblers who rescue him don't know it and tell him who he is right away. The gamblers aren't evil, but slick opportunists and convince Socko that he had already promised to take a dive in his next fight, for altruistic reasons (skirting the issue of whether amnesia can alter Alignment nicely).
In a virtually unprecedented move, Biff Bronson from More Fun Comics guest stars in this story. Biff and Socko turn out to be old friends and Biff removes the amnesia by punching Socko unconscious (the story goes to great pains to establish how evenly matched they are in the boxing match until Biff sucker-punches him.
Captain Desmo's adventure in India involves "natives" again, though these well-armed natives defy the traditional stereotype. This scenario is different than usual because the natives are a complication rather than the main adversaries; Desmo has to deliver a serum for cholera to a besieged outpost.
Skip Schuyler, while exploring the Arctic, takes a 20' fall, but because he lands in snow he is "shaken, but unhurt."
(Sandman story read in Golden Age Sandman Archives, the rest read at readcomiconline.to)