World’s Finest 248 – Superman and Batman and the Lurkers, Green Arrow and Black Canary vs the Hellgrammite, Vigilante ends, and Wonder Woman meets Sgt. Rock

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Haney, Schaffenberger and Blaisdel are the creative team on the Superman/Batman story in World’s Finest 248 (Dec/Jan 77/78), a good global conspiracy tale.

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The story opens with a scientist refusing to release his cancer drug, and Batman intercepting a terrorist attack.  He does get shot, though, and Alfred tends to him.

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Julie Madison, not seen in the comics since 1940, makes her return in this story.  Or, I guess, the first appearance of the Julie Madison of Earth-1, although there is nothing to differentiate them.  The last time we saw Julie she was off to Hollywood, and renamed Portia Storme.  Now, she is living the Grace Kelly life, having moved from a successful career to becoming the monarch of a small European country.

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But Julie, as well as the scientist from the start, are both duplicates, captured and replaced by the Lurkers, who plot to use their pawns to control the world.  A phony Batman is created, and a phony Superman as well.  Once the heroes have figured out what is going on, they have little trouble beating their doubles and bringing down the Lurkers plot.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary join together for the double-length story, which is also the first half of a two-parter, by Conway, Trevor Von Eeden and Vince Colletta.  The story pits them against Hellgrammite, not seen since his debut outing against Batman and the Creeper in an issue of Brave and the Bold from the late 60s.

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Dinah is the first of the pair to encounter him, getting into battle after he attacks a supply shop she is going to.  Dinah has begun her new career as a designer.  At just the wrong time, it seems.

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The Hellgrammite is involved a a scheme to rejuvenate the wealthy, for a substantial price.  This is wildly different that his past career as a hitman.  But it sort of suits his bug nature, with the cocoon that transforms people.

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Canary falls into Hellgrammite’s hand (or pincers), and Green Arrow is hot on the trail.  The story gets complicated by the use of Dellon, the man who bankrupted Oliver Queen and stole his company. But Dellon has figured out that Oliver is a man with a secret identity, and encourages him to get into costume – as Batman.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Vigilante’s series comes to an end with this story, by Kunkel and Morrow.

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It introduces the son of Stuff, who not only look exactly like his father as a young boy, he even dresses the same.  Down to the hat.  It’s kind of creepy.

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Stuff, Jr helps the Vigilante track down the Dummy, and get vengeance for his father’s death.

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This younger version of Stuff does not appear again.  In fact, this story never really gets referenced again, as Vigilante goes onto the back burners for a number of years, replaced by a newer hero of the same name.  Greg Saunders does return a number of times down the road, beginning in the 90s. But the next time we see Vigilante is in stories set in the 1940s in All-Star Squadron.

The Dummy also returns in All-Star Squadron just in time for Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Wonder Woman meets Sgt. Rock to round out the issue, in a story by Conway, Mike Vosburg and Dick Giordano.

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Sgt. Rock and the men of Easy Company are sent out to destroy a Nazi missile base.  But when Diana Prince inspects the photos taken, she realizes these are no missiles ever made on Earth.

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Dr. Psycho, not seen since the mid-60s, makes a return in this story, working with the Krell, an alien race who appeared in a story in Mystery in Space, also in the 60s.  Dr. Psycho has an enslaved woman with him.  He requires a female psychic under his spell in order to use his mind control powers.

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The Nazis believe Psycho is working with them, but he and the aliens have their own goals.  Still, he has no problem following the Nazi command that he take control of Sgt. Rock’s mind, and  use him to kill Wonder Woman.

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

 

 

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