World’s Finest 269 – Batman buried alive, Green Arrow on vacation, Hawkgirl returns to Thanagar, Red Tornado needs repairs and Captain Marvel Jr vs Sabbac

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Conway, Buckler and McLaughlin bring Robin back to share an adventure as Batman get buried alive in World’s Finest 269 (June/July 1981).

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The story opens as Batman wakes up in a coffin, already under the ground and running out of air.  Superman is on the case, as Batman has already missed an appointment with him.

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Robin joins the hunt, and though he and Superman track down the man who captured Batman fairly easily – he’s not shy about admitting to his crime – the man blows himself up before revealing where Batman is, injuring Robin in process.

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Superman is left to try to find Batman on his own.  And though he does figure out where Batman is buried, and digs to free him, he finds that Batman has already managed to escape.  We get an explanation of how this was done, even though it’s not really needed.  This is Batman, after all.

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Haney, Von Eeden and Breeding send Green Arrow down to the Caribbean on holiday, where he winds up in the old Spanish Prisoner scam, getting looped into helping a woman bribe a relative to freedom, although none of what she says is true.

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It doesn’t take Green Arrow too long to spot the holes in her story, and turn the tables on her, and the rest of the drug smuggling gang she is a part of.  But the art is very good, and the story remains a fun read.

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Hawgirl shares the title billing with Hawkman on this story, by Rozakis, Saviuk, and Rodriguez, even though she is really getting a solo tale.  Hawkman just lies around, poisoned and dying.

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It’s Hawkgirl who heads back down to her home planet, despite the order of exile.  She finds herself betrayed by friends and hunted down like a criminal, but does manage to get the serum that will cure her husband.

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Even so, it’s a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they find the Thanagarian fleet heading out after them.

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I was always a big fan of the Red Tornado, and with each issue I hoped for a story I could really enjoy.  And while Conway, Delbo and Giella have a decent enough tale, it was never quite was I was hoping for.

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This issue sees Red Tornado needing some repairs for his body.  Presumably Morrow did not treat it well when he was controlling it.  The man he turns to for help is busy being held up by communist terrorists, who clearly chose the wrong man on the wrong day.  Even with his body malfunctioning, the Tornado is able to take them down.

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Bridwell, Newton and Adkins continue with the focus on Captain Marvel Jr as Freddy Freeman faces an enemy not seen since the 1940s, Sabbac.  As the splash page makes clear, he is essentially an evil version of the Marvels, deriving his powers from various demons and devils.

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Captain Marvel Jr makes quick work of him.  He really ought to be a bit more of a challenge.  And though the story appears resolved as the issue ends, there is more to come with Freddy.

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