World’s Finest 244 – Superman and Batman and a mystery assassin, Black Canary, Green Arrow, the Vigilante and Wonder Woman begin

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World’s Finest becomes a “Dollar Comic,” 80 page anthology with issue 244 (April/May 1977), and though it would lose pages, it would retain this format for 40 issues, until the early 80s.

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A Superman/Batman team-up leads off the issue, by Haney, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Murphy Anderson.

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The excellent art helps cover that this is a typical adventure for these guys.  A mysterious being is killing people using a bizarre weapon.  Superman and Batman discover that he is a time traveller.

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But aside from the art, there is nothing outstanding about this story.

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Black Canary gets her first ongoing series since her two-issue tale in Adventure Comics a few years earlier.  Jack C. Harris, Mike Netzer and Terry Austin give her an impressive outing, even if it does wind up functioning as the lead-in to the Green Arrow story.

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Dinah finds herself pitted against the Rainbow Archer, a one-shot Green Arrow villain from the 60s, who makes his identity known by having a rainbow burst from the arrow that kills his victim.  Awfully nice to make it easy it identify him.

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Once again, I have to admit it is the art that carries this tale.

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Black Canary does not even need to use her sonic cry to take down the Rainbow Archer. But she does get taken down herself as the story ends, by Slingshot.

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And that leads directly into Green Arrow’s story, by Tony Isabella, Netzer and Austin.  Both Green Arrow and Black Canary were regulars in Green Lantern’s book.  Green Arrow had last headlined a series in Action Comics a couple of years earlier.  His series here would outlast all the other back-up features that began in this issue.

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Slingshot has a decent costume, and a very high evaluation of his skills.  He makes an ok opponent for Green Arrow, but not much moreso than the Rainbow Archer.

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The nicest touch of the story occurs when the battle between the two heads into a courtroom.  It’s the very court that Oliver Queen had to declare bankruptcy in, as well as the court where Slingshot was first sentenced years earlier.

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The Vigilante, who had been appearing sporadically in Adventure Comics over the past few years, begins a run here with a story by Bill Kunkel, John Calnan and Robert Smith.

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It’s a good little story.  Vigilante comes across a plot to discredit and replace a young sheriff.  Greg Saunders gets himself put on the bill for a concert that night, using his backstage access to find and prevent a bombing.

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Not really up to par with most of the Vigilante tales from the 70s, and nothing compared to what was to come in the next few issues.

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Wonder Woman begins a series in this issue, by Denny O’Neil, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta.  As with her own comic book, the tales are set during World War II, adventures of the Earth 2 Wonder Woman, to correspond with the Wonder Woman tv show, also set during the war.

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There is a mad bomber in this story as well, a Nazi one who plots to blow up the Lincoln Memorial, and also kill Steve Trevor.

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Wonder Woman sees to it that the bomber only hurts himself.

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