Tag Archives: Don Newton

World’s Finest 281 – Superman starts his heart, Green Arrow’s really easy case, Hawkman gets back to his ship, and the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity vs Mr. Mind

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Burkett, Irv Novick and Chiaramonte conclude the army of war storyline in World’s Finest 281 (July 1982).

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As Batman continues his impersonation of Captain Cutlass, setting up many of General Scarr’s men to be captured by the police, Superman escapes the “time bomb” by starting his heart, and using the beat of it to “create” time, the paradox of which frees him.  It’s almost philosophical.

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Major Disaster is the one the plan to take over Metropolis largely relies on, as he keeps other heroes busy by creating a number of disasters across the country. We see the Flash, Firestorm and Wonder Woman all rushing around, dealing with his catastrophes, but Scarr needs him to do even more, and the Major’s powers get overloaded and short out.

Colonel Sulphur is easy to nab, and Scarr is left with no troops at all at the end.  I can’t help but feel that there was a good idea in this story, but it just didn’t come off – likely because of the second rate villains filling up the story. Of the four, only Major Disaster would continue to appear, returning in the pages of Green Lantern in a couple of years.

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Green Arrow gets a case so easy to solve it’s amazing that it takes him the full nine pages, but at least Von Eeden and Mahlstedt keep the art attractive on Cavalieri’s story.

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Arsonists have been burning a number of slums and abandoned buildings.  The very day after one building comes down, a billboard is put up announcing the new building to be constructed on the site.  Gee, maybe they should have just signed their name in the ashes.

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Hawkman makes it back to his own ship in this chapter, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, only to find that another alien from the trapped ship has made it there first.

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So they have a bit of a fight.  Hawkman wins, and gets out of hyperspace, but still has no idea where Hawkwoman is.

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Rounding out this less-than-impressive issue is a story that brings together the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity, as they deal with a giant sized Mr. Mind, thanks to Bridwell, Newton and John Calnan.

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Mr Mind cocoons the Marvels, so Kid Eternity calls up a viking hero to pretend to fight Mr.Mind, but actually cut them free.  He even calls up Puck to short out Mr. Mind’s repeller machine.  Because, you know, no one would be better with technology than a forest spirit.  Captain Marvel reverses the machine that made Mr. Mind a giant, and they take him down easily.

World’s Finest 280 – Superman and Batman and the army of crime, Green Arrow doesn’t care for Harmony, Hawkman thinks of people he hates, and Kid Eternity’s origin

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An excellent cover for World’s Finest 280 (June 1982), as Burkett, Buckler and Smith continue with the army of crime storyline.

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Severely underestimating Batman, Scarr tosses him into a cell and ignores him.  In other words, Batman gets free.  Scarr is more concerned with explaining his plans to the rest of his crew.  An auction is being held for devices left behind by the Weapons Master when he fled.  Colonel Sulphur has managed to secure them in invitation to the auction, which Batman overhears.

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Other villains are bidding as well, but Superman and Batman do their best to bust things up.  The Trickster gets a page of action against Superman, and loses.  No surprise there, but I guess it allows the heroes to win at least a small battle during the course of the tale.  Scarr gets ahold of the Weapons Master’s stuff, and hits Superman with a “time bomb,” which leaves him trapped between seconds, outside of normal time, and as good as dead.

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Batman does manage to take down Captain Cutlass, and takes his place.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Cavalieri, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt conclude the Harmony story, as Green Arrow heads out to the cult’s camp, only to find that a mass marriage is being performed, to tie the members even further to the cult.  The woman Green Arrow is hoping to rescue is one of the brides.

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Von Eeden’s art is just wonderful on this series.  And it’s a really nice touch that it is not Green Arrow who convinces the woman to leave, but the behaviour of the rest of the cultists, turning against her for even thinking of leaving.  She realizes that they could not possibly have really cared about her if they were willing to turn on her so quickly.

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Hawkman spends this chapter fighting against the aliens trapped in the hyperspace whirlpool, thanks to Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte.  The shape shifter is the biggest problem he faces, as the creature is somewhat telepathic, and takes the forms of those Hawkman cares for.  Interestingly, one of those forms in Mavis Trent.  So I guess Hawkman is not completely immune to her charms.

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He beats the creature by thinking only about the people that he hates, and has no trouble beating the crap out of.  But even with this victory, Hawkman is still trapped in hyperspace.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte blend together the origins of Captain Marvel Jr and Kid Eternity in this tale.

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Freddy’s origin had been retold only a few issues earlier, but now we see that he and his brother were split up by their uncles.  Kid Eternity’s origin has some distinct similarities to that of Captain Marvel Jr – once again set on a small boat, with a boy and an older relative who dies.  Though Kid Eternity also gets killed in his origin story.

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But the boy was not meant to, and Mr. Keeper is sent to watch over him as he returns to Earth, as a kind of ghost, able to call up other dead people.

Not much actually happens in this tale, aside from the blending of the two origin stories.  They do work extremely well together, remarkably so as Captain Marvel Jr was a character from Fawcett Comics, and Kid Eternity from Quality Comics.

 

 

World’s Finest 279 – Alfred prefers Superman, Green Arrow and the cult, Hawkman and the hyperspace whirlpool, and the secret brother of Freddy Freeman

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Cary Burkett is joined by Keith Pollard and Mike DeCarlo as they begin a multi-part story in World’s Finest 279 (May 1982).

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The story itself is not bad, but by far my favourite scene comes right at the start, with Superman in the Batcave, complimenting Alfred on his service, and Alfred thinking how much he prefers the considerate Superman to Green Arrow.

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Then we get down to the action, as Batman faces a new villain, Captain Cutlass, complete with pirate themed henchmen.  Numerous wealthy people are being kidnapped, and Cutlass is clearly part of the scheme, but not the only mover involved.

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Superman deals with a localized earthquake, which also seems to be part of the plan, but clearly outside Cutlass’ control.

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It does not take long before we get introduced to the team behind this, who interact according to their names.  Lead by a general, whose identity is not revealed yet, the story brings back Colonel Sulphur, a minor Batman villain last seen a couple years earlier in Brave and the Bold, as well as Green Lantern villain Major Disaster.  Despite the fact that none of these people really hold the ranks they claim, they appear to content to let those ranks determine their status.  This is very odd, considering that Major Disaster is far more powerful than the two men above him.

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Batman attempts to infiltrate the group, allowing himself to be captured as Bruce Wayne, but is exposed by the one in charge – yet another minor villain of his, General Scarr.

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Joey Cavlieri takes over the scripting of the Green Arrow series with this issue, while Von Eeden and Mahlstedt continue on the art.  The story deals with a cult patterned on the Moonies, and the daughter of one of the reporters Oliver Queen works with on the Daily Star has become a member.

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Concerned, Green Arrow seeks out a group dedicated to retrieving kids from the cult.  But he does not quite trust them, and rightly so, as the group is really part of the cult, keeping tabs on those out to shut them down.  By talking to them about the girl, Green Arrow has simply placed her in more danger.

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Hawkman’s story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, follows immediately after the previous issue, and must take place before the Superman/Batman story in this issue, as the heroes are just leaving Thanagar as the tale opens.

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Hawkman continues the search for his wife, finding a whirlpool in hyperspace. Even I know this is completely outside of anything scientifically plausible.  He finds a ship in distress, and goes to help them out.

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The aliens on the ship are far from grateful, more interested in attacking Hawkman than thanking him.  One has to assume that Hawkman is so upset about his missing wife that he falls for a preposterous trick, as a shape shifter takes the form of Hawkwoman, and Hawkman stops fighting, allowing himself to be captured.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte finally bring the subplot about the mysterious ghosts and such to the forefront in this story.  The tale itself is largely irrelevant, dealing with a dying man who threatens to destroy the world if his heart stops beating.  While Captain Marvel deals with the missiles, Freddy ponders the strange appearances that have been happening, going all the way back to an appearance by Sherlock Holmes in a story of his from the 1940s.

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Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, shows up to save the life of the cranky old man, but that is just a prelude to the big revelation.  Kid Eternity, making his second appearance in a DC comic after a small role in the Shazam comic in the mid 70s, is the one who has been calling forth the various historical and fictional characters.  Captain Marvel Jr identifies him as his brother, Kit Freeman.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

World’s Finest 278 – Superman, Batman and Hawkman on Thanagar, Green Arrow solves the murder, Zatanna ends, and the Marvel Family meet the Darkling

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World’s Finest reduces to carrying four stories with issue 278 (April 1982), although that is not immediately apparent, as the Hawkman series crosses over with the Batman/Superman team-up, as all three heroes head to Thanagar in a story by Rozakis, Buckler and Pablo Marcos.

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We follow Superman as he keeps the Thanagarian troops busy, but Batman seems shoved to the side as Hawkman confronts Hyathis.  He has the Gamma Gong, a weapon that once belonged to Kanjar Ro, which has the ability, when rung, to paralyze everyone on the planet.  He threatens to make Hyathis the immobile queen of a world of statues unless she will step down.  Hawkwoman shows up, and is not pleased at all with Hawkman’s threat.  As she starts to fight against her husband, we do get the indication, through Hawkman’s thoughts, that something else is actually going on.

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Batman hasn’t just been forgotten about.  He was off dismantling the major power source for the Thanagarian weaponry.  The gong Hawkman is carrying is not actually the Gamma Gong, it simply resembles it.  His role was simply to distract Hyathis, to prevent her from noticing the warning lights as Batman penetrated the most secure area.  With the weaponry depowered, the Hawks take down Hyathis together.

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Hawkman is offered leadership of Thanagar, but turns it down, insisting that they elect a leader.  The story seems to be coming to a happy ending, until Hawkman notices that Hawkwoman has already left.  Nothing has really been fixed between them, and Hawkwoman is still trying to find and rescue the fleet.

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Barr, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt conclude the Green Arrow story arc, as he finally figures out who killed the mob boss and framed him for it.

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That gang war kept him distracted, as the murder was really not that difficult to solve.  The arrow the man was killed with was missing one of the fletching feathers, and could not have been fired accurately.  So it had to be thrust into the victim by hand, and the only person with the opportunity to do so was the secretary, the one who was also Oliver Queen’s stoolie.  A good ending, if a sad one.

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Zatanna’s series comes to a relatively unimpressive conclusion, as the magician gets involved with a stolen puppy and a dog show.

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Spielge’s art suits the strip, and while Kupperberg’s story is not bad, none of these tales have really added anything to Zatanna’s character, or done much that really challenged her.

Zatanna continues to appear as a member of the Justice League of America.

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Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte introduce another new villain for the Marvel Family, the Darkling, a woman given her mystical darkness powers by Satan himself.

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The visuals for this villain are great, and the magic darkness somehow prevents Shazam’s lightning bolts from being able to make contact with Billy, Freddy and Mary.

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Abruptly, Mary gets carried out of the Darkling’s shadow by Thjalfi, a viking demigod with super-speed, and Shazam is able to power her up to becoming Mary Marvel, and she takes down Darkling.  But neither Mary nor Shazam have any idea where Thjalfi came from.

World’s Finest 277 – Superman and Batman and the plague pets, Green Arrow released, Zatanna battles herself, Hawkman reaches the breaking point, and Captain Marvel Jr and the Moon Tree

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The Superman/Batman tale in World’s Finest 277 (March 1982) is far from the best.  Burkett’s story is nothing special, and the art, by Don Heck and Romeo Tanghal, leaves something to be desired.

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After a reporter on the Daily Planet dies from the plague, Superman and Batman begin to hunt for the source.

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The man behind it plans to reduce the population of Metropolis by releasing a horde of pets, all infected with the plague.  He also kidnaps Lois Lane, who was on the story, trying to find out who killed the other reporter.

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The heroes track them down, and the only one who winds up getting exposed to the plague is the man who wanted it released.  Superman inhales the bacteria gas, and emits it in space.

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On the other hand, the Green Arrow story, by Barr, Von Eeden and Rodriguez, in this issue is excellent.  A mobster gets murdered, found with an arrow in him, which implicates Green Arrow.  But it also causes the release of Oliver Queen.

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We find out that his secret source was the secretary of the mobster, who found out what her boss was really up to, and turned to Oliver Queen for help.  With him dead, she revealed her actions to the police, so there was no longer any reason to hold Queen.

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Green Arrow tries to solve the man’s murder, but gets caught up in the gang war to take the man’s place.

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Zatanna faces her evil half in this story by Kupperberg and Spiegle.  It’s not made clear exactly how this doppleganger was formed, although it would have been easy to tie it to her power reduction.

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She winds up conning her dark half, convincing her that she had the power to draw all the stolen energy back into herself.  And since the shadowy Zatanna believed this, the real Zatanna was able to succeed.  Pretty easy.

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Rozakis, Saviuk and Rodriguez push Hawkman to the limit in this story.

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Still all stressed over Hawkwoman’s departure, Carter is furious when he comes home to find Mavis Trent has moved in with him.  I kind of like Mavis, but this was really too much.  But no sooner has he tossed her out than the police come, still hunting for his wife.

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On top of this, he receives a message from Thanagar, telling him that the planet is in chaos, rebelling against Hyathis, and he is needed back there.  He heads to the Justice League satellite to recruit Superman and Batman to help him.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Captain Marvel Jr gets an entertaining little tale in this issue, by Bridwell, Newton and Chiaramonte.

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Professor Edgewise, the resident absent minded genius, creates a seed from which grows a tree that will go all the way to the Moon, linking it with the Earth, and intends to drive from one to the other.  Freddy has to go into action, as the professor has no considered the destruction the Moon Tree will cause.  Captain Marvel Jr discovers that the tree is already attacking itself to the Moon, and has to remove it as quickly as he can.

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Returning to Earth, he finds that that part of the tree has already been cut down.  By Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk?

Something odd is clearly going on.

World’s Finest 276 – Superman and Batman vs Dr. Double X, Green Arrow in a prison riot, Zatanna faces a demonic audience, Hawkman vs Weather Wizard, and Captain Marvel fights alongside ghosts

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Barr, Buckler and Smith bring back a Batman villain not seen in almost twenty years in World’s Finest 276 (Feb. 82).

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Dr. Ecks has been sitting in Arkham Asylum for many years, until he finally decide to stick a finger in a socket and split off his energy self, Dr. Double X.  Superman tries to prevent his escape, but fails.

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Dr. Double X devises a revenge scheme on both Superman and Batman.  He captures Batman, and hooks him to a chair connected to an energy chamber that he lures Superman into.  Whatever power Superman uses gets channeled into the chair, which Double X intends will kill Batman.  It would work, except of course Batman escapes.

It’s a pretty simple story, but better than many of Dr. Double X’s outings.  He returns a year down the road in Brave and the Bold.

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Excellent art, and a pretty darn good story in this Green Arrow tale by Barr, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt.  Oliver Queen is still in prison when a riot breaks out.

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Oliver has spotted Slingshot, also a prisoner there, heading very determinedly during the riot, and realizes that his former target is also in the prison.  He puts together some rudimentary archery gear, wraps a handkerchief around his face, and goes into action.

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He beats Slingshot, despite being out of practice.  And again, nice that this does not resolve his imprisonment.

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Zatanna has yet another show go wrong thanks to Kupperberg and Spiegle.  So many of her solo stories begin with something going terribly wrong during a performance, it’s a wonder she still gets an audience.

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In this case, demonic creatures emerge, attacking both her and the audience.  An old stage magician is there, and there is a delightful scene as he uses some slight of hand on a little monster.

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But the demons take Jeff through a portal, and Zatanna has no choice but to follow, finding a shadowy version of herself.

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Hawkman continues to hunt for Hawkwoman in this story, by Rozakis, Carmine Infantino and Rodriguez.

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Mavis Trent is still on the make big time, but Carter cares only for Shiera.

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His battle with Weather Wizard, while not bad, feels a bit like filler to round out the story.

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We finally get to meet the mysterious brother of Joan Jameson, Billy Batson’s secretary, in this Bridwell, Newton and Adkins tale.  He has aged, as he was not trapped in the Suspendium, and has been working as a mercenary, to his sister’s dismay.

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But when a horde of magical being attack the city, so many that even with the aid of Captain Marvel Jr and Mary Marvel, they are almost over-matched, the brother goes into action, along with a number of his soldier buddies. It is only when the battle is done and the magic creatures have fled that he realizes that some of the friends that showed up died long ago.

 

World’s Finest 275 – Gotham freezes and Metropolis fries, Dinah does the footwork, Zatanna vs the Shrieker, Hawkman vs Matter Master and Magificus as Captain Marvel

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Paul Kupperberg joins Buckler and McLaughlin for a bit of a mystery in World’s Finest 275 (Jan. 82).

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Gotham has started freezing, and Metropolis is boiling hot. It’s clearly not natural, but Superman and Batman are puzzled as to who is behind it.

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The solution is so obvious to any reader nowadays, but Mr. Freeze is not even one of those suspected in this tale.  He was a minor Batman villain at best during this time, and had last appeared about four years earlier.  It’s not a bad story, so much as a reminder that Freeze was not a big name for a very long time.

It would be over a year before Mr. Freeze would return, and then in a cameo along with many other Batman villains.

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Green Arrow sits in jail while Black Canary takes care of business in this story by Barr, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt.  One of Oliver Queen’s cellmates is a man that Green Arrow caught during a robbery.  Oliver now learns that the man was desperate for money, that his wife and child, all illegal immigrants, were in danger of being turned over to the police by a mob connected slumlord.

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Oliver explains all this to Dinah when she comes to visit, and she goes into action as Black Canary, setting up and taking down the slumlord, and also giving the wife a job in her flower shop, beginning her legal process to become a citizen.

Very nice that, rather than move on directly with the story of Oliver being in jail for not revealing his sources, a different tale plays out during the middle of it.

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Zatanna concludes her battle with the Shrieker in this story by Conway and Dan Spiegle.  The source of the critic’s new powers is never fully explained, but that’s not such a big problem.

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Zatanna finds her enemy more difficult to deal with then one would expect.  But this is the period when her powers had been significantly reduced, and she was only able to manipulate natural forces.  She succeeds, of course, but it’s a shame that her series is running when her powers are in decline.

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Rozakis, Saviuk and Rodriguez continue with Hawkman’s world of troubles in this story.  He tries to complain about his marital problems to the Flash, who points out that at least Hawkwoman is alive, unlike his wife.  Oops.

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The Matter Master thefts have been more clever and complex than it seemed at first.  He would use his matter transforming wand to alter objects, wait until they were removed to an easier location, for examination, and then steal and replace them with copies.  Hawkman does figure out the plan, and capture the thief, but things get worse when Matter Master implicates Shiera Hall as his partner in crime.

Matter Master is next seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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The blackmailing of Billy Batson’s secretary continues in this Bridwell, Newton and Adkins story, as Billy gets kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand that Captain Marvel act as their agent, as ransom.

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The secretary, Joan Jameson, turns to Captain Marvel Jr for help.  He goes to Sivana’s son Magnificus, and with Beautia’s help, they make him resemble Captain Marvel.  Junior covers the powers, while Magnificus tries dealing with the kidnappers, but the hoax gets revealed.

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Fortunately, by that point, Freddy is able to break Billy out of his cage, and he becomes the real Captain Marvel, who the bad guys are none too happy to see at this point.