In the previous couple of issues of World’s Finest announcements had been made that the book was reverting to normal size, with the back-up features moving to a new book, Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular. That was not to be, and this book continued as an anthology. But likely due to the reversal of those plans, it seems schedules got messed up, and the contents of World’s Finest 260 seem to indicate this.
The Superman/Batman team-up, by O’Neil, Buckler and Giordano would not have been affected. The story is basically a re-write of “Fugitive from the Stars,” but played in a far more humourous light. The aliens are not supremely powerful, and have no concept of illusions or deception, but make up for that in sheer arrogance, and an invasion still poses a deadly threat to Earth.
Batman and Superman get rid of them with an entertaining hoax, convincing them that all humans have the same powers as Superman. Batman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen all demonstrate his abilities, but pretend to find it childish and tedious, explaining that Superman uses his powers simply because he is kind of childish. While the aliens would never admit their newfound fear of humans, and pretend to be unimpressed, they flee in terror.
The Atom gets a story, intended for Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular, by Bob Rozakis, Juan Ortiz and Vince Colletta. It does not begin a regular run in this book for him, though.
Coming home, the Atom finds his wife, Jean Loring, being carted away by mechanical bugs. Ray Palmer recognizes these as the creations of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, who he had last faced in his own book, back in the 60s. The Atom detaches Jean, and takes her place.
The Bug-Eyed Bandit had actually intended to kidnap the Atom, so is pleased when he shows up. His mechanical insects had homed in on his energy signature in his apartment. Still, once he has the Atom the Bug-Eyed Bandit is incapable of holding him, and the Atom quickly triumphs.
The Bug-Eyed Bandit returns in a couple of years in the Atom’s back-ups series in Action Comics.
The Black Lightning story in this issue, by O’Neil, Netzer and Colletta, was intended for the 12th issue of his own comic, cancelled with issue 11 due to the DC Implosion. It has far more of the feel of the series, for obvious reasons. We get to see Jefferson Pierce acting as a schoolteacher, dealing with children who have problems at home, as well as his ex-wife, Lynn. The story’s real focus is runaways, although the villain is Dr. Polaris, wearing the odd outfit he was last seen in in DC Super-Stars a couple of years earlier.
It’s an excellent story, gritty and dark. Polaris has a devoted nephew, who ran away from his parents and moved in with Polaris, and is shocked to discover his uncle’s secret identity. There is nothing made of Polaris’ split personality in this issue, all we see is him as a cruel and calculating maniac.
The boy turns against his uncle at a critical time in his fight with Black Lightning, distracting the villain enough to allow Lightning to triumph.
Dr. Polaris returns, in his original costume, a few months down the road in Green Lantern.
Captain Marvel gets the starring role in Bridwell, Newton and Hunt’s Shazam story in this issue.
The story deals with a number of mythological creatures who have taken up residence in the city, to the dismay of their neighbours, who do not like living next to centaurs and harpies and such.
Captain Marvel tries to promote tolerance and acceptance, but it’s only when a flood hits, and the mythological creatures come to the rescue of their tormentors, that they get fully accepted.
Tagged: Atom, Batman, Black Lightning, Bob Rozakis, Bug-Eyed Bandit, Captain Marvel, Dave Hunt, DC Comics, Denny O'Neil, Dick Giordano, Don Newton, Dr Polaris, E Nelson Bridwell, Jean Loring, Jefferson Pierce, Jimmy Olsen, Juan Ortiz, Lois Lane, Lynn Pierce, Mike Netzer, Ray Palmer, Rich Buckler, Superman, Vince Colletta, World's Finest Comics