All American Western 112 – Johnny Thunder reveals his identity, and Minstrel Maverick vs the Balloon Bandits

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Johnny Thunder gets a dramatic cover on All American Western 112 (Feb./March 1950), even if the image does not really relate to his story.

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Kanigher and Toth are joined by Joe Giella as Sheriff Tane gives his son John an ultimatum.  Stop teaching and join him as a gunfighter, or he will tell everyone what a coward he is.  The more stories of this I read, the less respect I have for Sheriff Tane.  We get a bit more information on why John feels the Johnny Thunder identity is necessary – he believes its scares the bad guys more than he ever could as himself. That’s a bit odd, it’s not like he is wearing a bat costume or anything.  When the children start deserting his school, Tane decides the time has come for the truth, and reveals his identity to his father.  While Sheriff Tane is skeptical, the scene is viewed by a member of a gang, who does believe it.

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The gang then goes after Tane, who winds up having to try to prove that he is really two different people, while at the same time capturing them.  It’s a fairly impressive feat, and a little more believable than most secret identity stories – excluding the water resistant hair dye.

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The only real problem with the story is that it leaves things very unclear.  John Tane brings in the bad guys, and credits Johnny Thunder with helping him.  This earns his father’s respect, finally.  But does his father now know that he is Johnny Thunder?

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Minstrel Maverick gets a pretty good story in this issue.  Usually I find the stories, and the art, as unappealing as the titular hero, but in this case I was impressed.

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The story deals with thieves who are given the signal that the coast is clear by a balloon operator.  It is Harmony Hayes bad luck to be in the balloon during one of these robberies, singing a really repetitive song to a girl he likes.  He gets suspected of being the one to signal the gang, and has to solve the mystery before he gets strung up.

 

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