World’s Finest 58 – the Arrow-tank, and Tom Sparks – Boy Inventor ends


The heroes come to the west coast for the cover of World’s Finest 58 (May/June 1952).


George Papp has some great art on this Green Arrow story that sees him and Speedy deal with a giant, robotic archer-tank.


The story itself is pretty straightforward, with the robotic archer being used to rob banks, and Green Arrow and Speedy struggling to take down the mechanism.  Their arrows just bounce off, and the Arrowcar is outclassed.


So Green Arrow rebuilds the Arrowcar as a tank.  Able to at least keep up with the evil machine, Green Arrow manages to shoot a tear gas arrow into the air slot, gassing out the bad guy.


Tom Sparks strip comes to an end with this story, by Brown and Barry.  This story makes it clear that, despite his world-travelling job, Tom Sparks is also still attending high school in his hometown.


An old eccentric has left money to the school, but only if the students solve a treasure hunt, with clues.  Thieves hear of this, and go after the fortune themselves.


Each Tom Sparks story feels a bit less impressive than the previous one, and it becomes harder and harder to believe in the remarkable inventions the boy is credited with in his debut tale.  In fact, it is plausible to argue, based on this final tale, that all of Tom’s great inventions, job, and wild adventures were simply day dreams by a high school student with a scientific bent.


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