Tag Archives: Bruce Wayne

Superman 285 – Whatever happened to Roy Raymond?

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Maggin, Swan and Tex Blaisdel bring back Roy Raymond, TV detective in Superman 285 (March 1975).

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Roy Raymond’s last appearance had been in Detective Comics in 1961, but this story adds a different final appearance, a challenge he made to expose a magician, before disappearing for years.  Superman has been hunting him, and even adopts another identity in his quest.  He can tell he must be getting close, as mysterious forces begin attacking him.

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In an interesting subplot, Lola Barnett is challenged by Perry White to keep a secret for an entire week.  Lois, Clark and Steve Lombard all write down secrets, and Lola randomly grabs Clark’s.

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As the story goes on, we see the evil magician – who is really more of a scientist, in control of Roy Raymond, and using him as a weapon against Superman.

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While at the same time Clark Kent is standing up for himself against Steve Lombard.  How can this be?

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The bad guy has “weaponized” Raymond’s analytical brain, but Superman overrides him with his super-brain, and frees Roy Raymond.

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While Bruce Wayne is revealed, by Lola, to have been impersonating Clark Kent for the past week.  This part isn’t well explained, and doesn’t add much to the story.

Roy Raymond becomes a member of the WGBS staff, but his appearances are infrequent. He pops up next a few months down the road in Action Comics.

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Superman 76 – the 1st Superman/Batman team-up, and Lois gets a new roommate

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Superman and Batman had shared the covers of World’s Finest Comics for years, and even shared an adventure with the Justice Society of America.  Their characters had met and become friends on the Adventures of Superman radio show, but it was not until Superman 76 (May/June 1952) that their characters teamed up in the comics.

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Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and John Fischetti were the creative team on this tale, which opens as Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne discover that they have to share a stateroom on a sea voyage.  Before they even depart, a fire breaks out on shore, and the two men reveal their secrets to each other in a darkened bedroom.  This all happens within the first few pages.

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They stop the fire, and find out that the criminal activity is linked to the ship, so they wind up travelling on the ship in both identities.

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Lois decides to come along, so the boys have to cover their identities with her as well.

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But Lois overhears them plot to keep her decoyed with a phony romance with Batman.  Now we’re into full comic mode, although the crime plot continues, to give an excuse for some action.

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The story even ends on a good laugh.  Superman and Batman are so obsessed with covering themselves that Robin winds up getting the date with Lois.

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Lois Lane has a new roommate in this story, by Woolfolk and Plastino, Lorraine Jennings.

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Lois decides to matchmake Lorraine and Clark Kent, and Clark is polite enough to go along with it.

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This is also one of the earliest uses of a Superman robot to cover his identity, although the Clark Kent robot malfunctions, when the two couples go on a double date, and Superman has to use his powers to cover for it.

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After the double date, Lois becomes convinced that Superman is in love with Lorraine, and does the only rational thing.  She throws Lorraine off of a ship, and jumps as well, to see who Superman will rescue.  No wonder she can’t keep a roommate.

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It is hard to feel sorry for Lois, pulled up with the fishies, and crying for herself.  But Lorraine has fallen for her hairdresser, and gets married.  Probably faster than intended, just to get out of living with Lois.

Superman 20 – Clark Kent impersonates Superman, and the Puzzler returns

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A very World War II cover for Superman 20 (Jan/Feb. 43), but no story inside matches the image.

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Siegel, Sikela and Dobrotka open the issue with a story that spins out into farce.  It begins as Clark Kent sees the cover of the Daily Planet, announcing that he is Superman.

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It turns out to be a mock cover, a joke by Lois Lane.  But the cover winds up getting printed, and the story makes it onto the wire services, and spreads like wildfire.

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Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have a one panel cameo in this story, their first appearances in Superman’s book.  Batman clearly has no idea who Superman really is, but then, the characters had not yet really met or interacted.

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There is also a panel montage of Superman’s villains reacting to the news.  Luthor is shown, as well as the Prankster and Puzzler, both recently introduced in issues of Action Comics.  Hitler is included as one of Superman’s enemies, and indeed, sends some sea creatures after the hero in the second story in this issue.

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Perry White is on the verge of firing Lois for this debacle, but Clark convinces him to play it out as if it were an intentional prank.  His logic escapes me, but some references are made to current events, so I assume things were a bit different in this era.  At any rate, Clark winds up actively pretending to be Superman.

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Things go crazier when thieves discover that Clark is just pretending to be the hero, so they decide to exploit this – so Clark has to stop the thieves while appearing to be Superman, while not appearing to be Superman.

It kind of makes my brain hurt to explain it all, but it made me laugh to read it.

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The Puzzler makes a full-out return in the final story in the issue.  He had survived his first encounter with Superman, and in this story, by Siegel, Sikela and Dobrotka, he seeks vengeance against a variety of card players who defeated him in games.

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The Puzzler makes the methods of murder suit the players themselves: using a fireplace poker on a poker player, poisoned rum for the rummy player, causing a heart attack for the one who beat him in hearts, and so on.

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Superman tracks him down, and there is a brief scene with a big maze, although it doesn’t really get used. Superman falls through a trap door immediately, and the maze just gets ignored.

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Superman captures the Puzzler this time, and though he vows to return for revenge, we never see him again.  So clearly he just rotted away in prison.

There would be another Superman villain to use the name Puzzler, but she would not appear for many decades to come.

World’s Finest 304 – the origin of Null and Void

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Null and Void return in World’s Finest 304 (June 1984), in a story by Kraft, Steve Lightle and Sal Trapani.

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The story begins with the trial of Void, a humiliating affair in which both Superman and Batman are ridiculed on the stand, and the fact that the stolen object was a “worthless” locket combines to make the judge rule in favour of the accused.  We rarely see the trials of Superman’s or Batman’s foes in the comics, and this is likely the reason why, as well as the reason they never seem to serve long prison terms.

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The story delves into the pasts of Null and Void.  Both escaped from a Nazi prison camp, and wound up finding an ancient civilization.  They were forced to undergo a ritual that gave them the tattoos, which endowed them with the powers they have.

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Now, a strange black of ice, apparently containing statues, with the same markings as their tattoos, has been discovered.  Bruce Wayne tosses some funding towards it, and Clark Kent gets assigned to cover the discovery, but Null and Void head down to Costa Rica as well, to see what the connection is.

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Superman heads down under the water to examine the spot the ice was found at, and comes across two more figures, also encased.

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Void “steals” the ice block on the ship, simply by teleporting it away.  He teleports Superman along with it.

The story continues in the next issue.

World’s Finest 255 – Superman and Batman vs the bat-god, Oliver Queen runs for mayor, the Creeper ends and Dreamdancer controls Captain Marvel

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World’s Finest 255 (Feb/March 1979) features another Superman/Batman team-up by Bob Haney, but the art, by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Dan Adkins and Frank Chiaramonte, is such a step up that the story feels much fresher than previous tales.

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Morgan Edge is mad at Clark Kent, and punishes him by sending him on a assignment to a corn festival in a small town.  Superman makes the festival newsworthy, but he also spots the police arresting a man in Batman-type costume.

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Checking on this, he finds the man’s house attacked and defaced by what appear to be Nazi swastikas.

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When he looks at the files in the local paper, he finds mentions of a Batman-garbed man pre-dating Bruce Wayne’s adoption of the disguise.  The newspaper office gets bombed, and Kent gets arrested.  Bruce Wayne comes to bail him out, and Batman joins the investigation.  The swastikas are not Nazi symbols, he notes, but native ones, the direction being reversed.

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They find that the townspeople are all involved in a bat-cult, dating back to before the whites arrived in North America.

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They bring the bat-god to life, and it emerges from underneath the town in an excellent page.

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Superman battles the bat-god, but the magic required to put it down belongs to the family that has kept it buried for generations, the youngest member of which was the boy arrested in the bat-costume near that start of the tale.  Between his magic and Superman’s might, the bat-god is defeated.

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Elliot S Maggin joins Von Eeden and Colletta as Oliver Queen finally decides to run for mayor of Star City.  It was the outgoing mayor, a long time hero of Oliver’s, who convinces him to run.

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The story is really upbeat for the first half.  Oliver and Dinah campaign, and Clark Kent cameos, giving us the newsman’s take on the election.

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It’s a close race, and Oliver pulls out all the stops.  After having Green Lantern use his ring to make him appear as Green Arrow, allowing the two to appear together onstage, putting an end to “rumours” that Oliver is really Green Arrow, he enlists his Justice League buddies for support.  Aside from Black Canary, he gets the endorsements of Aquaman, Batgirl, Flash, Robin, Supergirl and Wonder Woman.

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But then the story takes a dark turn, as the mob gets involved.  Oliver discovers that the mayor he admired for so long had been in the pocket of the mob, blackmailed, since the beginning of his career.  Unless Oliver continues to look the other way, they threaten to expose the mayor’s dark past, and rig the election so that he will lose.

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Although she does not do much as Black Canary, Dinah Lance has the best scene in the story on the last page.  Clark Kent has found evidence of the rigged election, and offers to print it, and get Oliver the seat he rightfully won.  Dinah tells him not to.  To leave the heart-broken man alone.  The mob would have far more reason to hate and go after Oliver if this was all exposed, he is actually safer as Green Arrow.  Oliver knows nothing of this, and even Dinah looks extremely regretful about her choice.  Strong stuff.

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Ditko’s Creeper series comes to an end with this issue, as the Dagger Lady goes after Fran.

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It’s a more complicated tale than it appears at first, with a blackmailed star, and an angry hit-woman.  But part of it is a decoy, as there are stolen jewels mixed in with this.

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Not the best Creeper story from this run, but a fun one nonetheless.

The Creeper appears next a couple of years down the road in a team-up with Batman in Brave and the Bold.

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Bulletman and Bulletgirl appear in this Shazam story, by Bridwell, Newton and Schaffenberger, which introduces an interesting new villain, Dreamdancer.

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Her dances allow her to take control of the minds of men who watch her.  She uses Sterling Morris to get a show on WHIZ, and the broadcast affects both Jim Barr and Billy Batson.  Mary Batson happens to be in the room with Billy as he falls under Dreamdancer’s spell, and she becomes suspicious.

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Changing to Mary Marvel, she sees out Susan Barr, and finds that her husband has fallen under the same spell.  The story also briefly recaps Jim’s discovery of the serum that transformed him into Bulletman, as well as Susan’s discovery of Jim’s secret identity, and her adoption of the Bulletgirl identity.

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Together, Mary Marvel and Bulletgirl attack Dreamdancer during her next broadcast.  They have planned the fight in such a way that it forces Dreamdancer to do her hypnotic moves in reverse, which frees the men from her spell.

I doubt that would actually work, but it’s a good story anyway.

World’s Finest 253 – Bruce Wayne’s royal wedding, Green Arrow and Black Canary meet the Glorn, the Creeper vs the Wrecker and Shazam begins

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Julie Madison makes her final appearance as Haney, Schaffenberger and Chiaramonte put Batman into the Prisoner of Zenda storyline in World’s Finest 253 (Oct/Nov 78).

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Julie is engaged to marry a neighbouring prince, who goes missing just days before the ceremony.  As is usual in these stories, if the prince does not show, that opens the road for a lesser official to take control of the country.  It’s plausible that the prince should resemble Bruce Wayne – Julie must have a type.

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Clark Kent is there, broadcasting the big event.  His x-ray vision reveals Batman’s disguise, but Bruce thinks that he has succeeded in fooling Julie.  He hasn’t.  She just goes along with it.  The page is done very well, flashing back to her last appearance, and the kiss that knocked Bruce out.

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Aside from that, it’s a fairly standard version of the old saw.  Bruce passes a variety of tests, and escapes being kidnapped himself.

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Doc Willard makes another cameo, almost managing to get Bruce’s brain.  He sure does have a lot of connections, in order to be involved in this story in another country, with no professional criminals involved, just scheming officials.

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Black Canary and Green Arrow each get half of this joint story, which introduces them to an extra-dimensional race of faceless creatures, the Glorn, by Conway, Von Eeden and Colletta.

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The Glorn emerge at an airport, scaring the heck out of everyone.  Canary’s cry seems particularly useful against them, as they flee, and vanish, after she uses it.

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Dinah tries to have a discussion with Oliver about her detached feelings, and her continuing desire to head back to Earth-2.  Oliver is an absolute jerk in this scene, dismissing her feelings and admitting that he was just “going along” with her moods when he accompanied her before.

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But before Dinah can actually begin her trip, or even cool down from her fight, the Glorn emerge again, and take her captive.

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While Green Arrow may act like an insensitive ass, he does care.  When he finds Dinah missing, he immediately tries to get help.  He approaches Hawkman and Hawkgirl about traversing dimensions, and they provide him with a machine that will track Dinah.

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Green Arrow heads to the realm of the Glorn, who live in a large, hive-like structure.

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He does find Black Canary, but also discovers that the Glorn are drawn by her sonic cry, and want her to be their queen, whether she wants to or not.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Ditko serves up another entertaining Creeper story, in which the hero saves the day, and Jack Ryder gets hated by all.  Again.  There is some opening banter between Jack and Fran, quarreling over assignments.  Jack gets a plum one, accompanying a movie star.

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Fran and the rest of the staff have to deal with a vengeful inventor and his destructive creation, the Wrecker.  The Wrecker is one of those wonderful creations that Ditko can draw, which just wouldn’t look as good by anyone else.  It’s also a nice touch that the Creeper does not defeat the Wrecker so much as turn it on itself, which also causes the death of its creator.

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The Shazam series moves to World’s Finest after the series gets cancelled in the DC Implosion.  Although Captain Marvel is the star of the series, it encompasses any and all of the Fawcett characters.  This chapter, by E Nelson Bridwell, Don Newton and Schaffenberger, picks up directly from the end of the last issue, as Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior deal with the joined forces of Captain Nazi and King Kull.

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Captain Nazi is off spying on Sivana, as well as two of his children, Magnificus and Beautia.  Sivana has been creating a machine that will sap everyone’s wills, and make them obey any orders they are given.  Captain Nazi knocks Sivana out, and sets off the machine himself.

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This puts everyone under his control, with one exception.  Jim Barr, Bulletman, has a cameo, revealing that he was too preoccupied, his brain too focused, to fall under Captain Nazi’s spell.  Not that it matters, he has no significant role in the story.

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Captain Nazi discovers that King Kull has set off machines that will destroy the Earth, and the Marvel family rush around smashing the machines.  Nazi and Kull are busy fighting each other, so the Marvels have little problem finding them and taking them down as the story ends.

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But not quite the end.  Ebenezer Batson, Billy’s miserly uncle, gets approached by Satan in the final couple of panels, leading into the next story.

 

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.