World’s Finest 4 – Superman and the streetcars, the Crimson Avenger vs Methuselah, Young Doc Davis ends, Hop Harrigan guests, Sandman takes on the Society of Six, and Lando hunts for a radium mine

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Superman, Batman and Robin chase a murderous bunny rabbit through the snow on the cover of World’s Finest 4 (Winter 1941).  Maybe that’s not what the artist intended, but you can’t prove me wrong.

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Public transportation is at the core of this Superman story, by Siegel and Nowak.  Streetcar accidents are becoming common, and the owner of the line is rude and argumentative when Clark Kent writes a story on it for the Daily Planet.

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A young red-haired man appears in this story, working for the Planet.  He is not named, but this is one of those cameos that are easy to ascribe to Jimmy Olsen.

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This story is also notable for the brief appearance of the Daily Planet globe.  I find it curious how it significantly failed to grab the interest of artists on the Superman series all the way until the late 50s.

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The streetcar owner, as aggressive as he is, is not actually the villain of the story.  Instead, it’s the man who owns a bus fleet.  He wanted the streetcars to lose the city contract, and get it himself. Kidnapping Lois Lane and throwing her off a cliff is just a standard act for villains in Superman stories.

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Even though Wing is now being played for racist comedy, this story, by Lehti and Paris, has one of the best plots of any Crimson Avenger tales.  He faces a man named Methuselah, who has the ability to rejuvenate old men.

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There is a lot going on in the tale, with Methuselah exploiting the aged dreams of wealthy old men, and getting them to commit crimes for him.  But the real plot, which Lee Travis uncovers, is to steal a man’s identity and wealth.  Methuselah is actually a young man, the nephew of an aging millionaire.  He plotted to kill off and replace his uncle, using the Methuselah potion as an explanation for his “newfound” youth.

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Young Doc Davis has his final adventure, by Henry Boltinoff, in this issue, which opens with a magic trick gone wrong, as a woman gets shot onstage.

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The magician insists there was no bullet in the gun, but the police do not believe him.  Davis looks into this a bit further, and finds proof that the actual shooter was the girl’s greedy fiancee.

So what happened to Young Doc Davis?  Well, after four such impressive criminal cases, I expect he was recruited by the some secret government organization, for his blend of medical and deductive thinking.

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Hop Harrigan gets a one-off tale in this issue, which brings along much of his supporting cast from All-American Comics.  Ikky Tinker and Miss Snap are there, but the important one for the story is his sort-of girlfriend, Geraldine.

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Hop’s feats have earned him a gaggle of adoring females, to Geraldine’s dismay.

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While many stories at this time have Geraldine flirting with other men to make Hop jealous, in this one she fights for her man, even though Hop shows no interest in the other girls.

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The Sandman gets a decent tale in this story, largely because of the creepy art and odd variation of his costume.  Cliff Young does the art as Wesley Dodds and Dian Belmost drive through a fog that makes their skin burn.

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Wesley gets into a rubber sealed Sandman suit, and comes across a gang called the Society of the Six.  Also garbed in costumes to protect them from the deadly fog they release, Sandman finds himself fiighting against all six of them, but still manages to prevail.

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Chad Grothkopf takes over the art on Lando, Man of Magic, and gives a very different look to the series.  Lando is in Mexico in this story, likely heading back north after his adventure in Panama.  He faces a monstrous creature, referred to as a gargoyle, although it looks nothing like one.

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Once again, there is the exploitation of natives, which Lando cares nothing about, and the perils of the mine owner and his daughter, which he does.

 

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