World’s Finest 246 – Superman’s hunchback brother, Black Canary goes one way, and Green Arrow goes another, a horrifying death in Vigilante, and the debut of Baron Blitzkrieg

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Another great Neal Adams cover on World’s Finest 246 (Aug/Sept 77).

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Bob Haney, Kurt Schaffenberger and Murphy Anderson begin a 2-part story that pits Superman against the Justice League and popular opinion when the secret gets revealed that he has a hidden, hunchbacked brother.

Batman gets the largest of the supporting roles in what really is a Superman story.  Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman and Wonder Woman all get some screen time though.

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Superman’s brother was ordered killed at birth by Jor-El, and saved secretly by Lara.  While Jor-El shot Kal-El to Earth, Lara sent the other child as well.  He is now sealed in a big kryptonite meteor.

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Everyone hates on Superman big time about this, none of which is his fault.  Nevertheless, he breaks his brother free, even though the exposure to kryptonite could possibly kill him.

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Hunchback Superman comes to Earth and immediately becomes a tyrannical dictator.  Batman is now part of the underground, contacted at the end with news that Superman has been found, alive.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Black Canary’s story, by Conway, Netzer and Austin, has her following the trail of a villain based on H.G. Welles Dr. Moreau, transforming animals into quasi-humans.

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Some good visuals on her canary cry.

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Much of this issue has Canary learning what is going on, and reads as if it could be a set-up for Green Arrow to swoop in and save the day.

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Dinah does call Oliver at the end, but the set-up is for her story in the next issue, a bit of a surprise.

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Green Arrow’s story has him following up on the original attacks, by Rainbow Archer and Slingshot, the latter of whom is in this Conway, Netzer and Austin tale as well.

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Green Arrow proves himself a tail to be reckoned with as he follows Slingshot.

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As before, this villain shows himself surprisingly adept with his weapon of choice, but gets caught in a flashback to earlier days, and is taken down.

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Kunkel and Morrow cut like a knife in this Vigilante tale.  Greg is on the rush as the story opens.

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But he is too late.  The dead body hanging so gruesomely makes this powerful even if the reader has no idea who Stuff is.

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Greg Saunders than has a flashback of his life, his father’s death, which spurred him to become a costumed hero.

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Then we get a brief retelling of Stuff’s first adventure with the Vigilante, and how they became partners.

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The Dummy is also briefly re-introduced, his first appearance since the late 40s, as we see that he was the one who had Stuff murdered.

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One of the best retroactively added World War II villains was Baron Blitzkrieg, who makes his debut in this Wonder Woman story, by Conway, Heck and Colletta.

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It’s really a shame that Don Heck does the art.  The Baron was the commandant at a concentration camp.  One of the inmates scarred his face with acid.  The proud and sadistic Baron all but lost his mind.  Hitler put him through a series of operations which endowed the Baron with super-energy, which he can focus in various ways.

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In this first story, all we really see him use is strength, and Wonder Woman takes him down pretty fast, knocking off his mask.

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The Baron does make a triumphant return for the cliffhanger, having Winston Churchill in his grip.

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