World’s Finest 257 – Superman turned to stone, Black Lightning vs Tobias Whale, Green Arrow vs Clock King, Hawkman faces erasable thieves, and Captain Marvel vs the Invincible Man

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O’Neil and Dillin are joined by Frank McLaughlin on World’s Finest 257 (June/July 1979), another Superman/Batman team up without any real villain.

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In this story the problems are caused by a genetically mutated bird, which has the ability to make wishes come true.  It winds up in the hands of a semi-crazy bag lady, who does not realize the power she now has.

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Her wishes at first are simple and small, but cause enough chaos and problems to draw the attention of the heroes, already on the alert for the wishing bird.

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The lady goes on a kick against “foreigners,” sealing off the city, and then turning to stone any people she feels are not “American” enough.  When she turns Superman to stone, Batman decides it’s time to impersonate a statue himself.  He makes himself look like a statue of George Washington, and does the speech about everyone being immigrants.  She regrets her actions, and turns all the stone people back to normal.  Batman wishes the bird away into space.

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O’Neil also scripts the Black Lightning story, sadly with George Tuska on the art, along with Robert Smith.

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Tobias Whale has a new girlfriend, Tabitha Katt.  But she is no arm candy, she has her own agenda, and betrays Tobias to other mobsters who want him out of the way, so they can take over his territory.  This messes up Black Lightning’s plan to take him in.

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Katt does not hide her betrayal, but with Lightning messing the plans up, she is now in trouble.  Whale proposes a truce, and that he and Black Lightning work together to take her and her cronies down.

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Clock King returns to World’s Finest in a story by Paul Kupperberg, Jose Delbo and McLaughlin.  His last appearance was in Justice League of America, making this only his third time out, and his first in well over a decade.  A recap is given of his first battle with Green Arrow, but we also learn much more about William Tockman, including his name.

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In this story he is seeking vengeance against Green Arrow, and the doctor who had treated his sister.  He had turned to crime in the first place to pay her medical bills, and she died while he was in prison. A good background for the character, and a nice use of the (relatively new) digital clocks.

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Clock King doesn’t get into costume until the last few pages, but that outfit is one where a little does a lot.  He loses to Green Arrow, but comes back within a couple of years.

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Gerry Conway, Rich Buckler and Romeo Tanghal take over the Hawkman series with this issue, pitting him and Hawkgirl against thieves robbing the Midway City Museum, where they both work.

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Mavis Trent appears, for the first time in about 5 years, but is a minor character in the tale, just there to be a museum guise while the Hawks are in action.  They are puzzled by the way parts of the thieves bodies vanish when either of them tries to touch one.  Hawkman looks at the puzzle from a different angle, and realizes that they are simply projections, and the objects they are “taking” were really stolen by other, normal, thieves, using the projections as a decoy.

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Captain Marvel faces an invincible opponent in this outing, by Bridwell, Newton and Schaffenberger.

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He calls himself the Invincible Man, and it’s a good name, as he is able to withstand any and every attack by Captain Marvel.  He relates his origin, but Cap catches some lies in there, and figures he must really be someone else.

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Checking on his usual foes, he finds Captain Nazi, King Kull, Sivana, Black Adam and Mr. Mind all still in prison, though Mr. Mind appears to be dormant.  But if he truly were, he would be in a cocoon!

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Realizing that Mr. Mind is animating the Invincible Man, he seals the body up, allowing Mr. Mind to exit before coating the head.

This is the first time we get the idea of Mr. Mind entering a head to take control of a body, even though it’s only an artificial one.

 

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