The Spectre story in More Fun 58 (Aug 40) has little to it, other than violence.
Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey craft this tale, of a warehouse owner victimized by mobsters, although in a way it’s the mobsters that are the victims here, of the Spectre’s wrath.
The betraying butler dies in a burst of fire, caused by the Spectre doing little more than wishing it to be so.
The rest of the gang are hurtled into the sky in their car. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Bailey’s art is not more explicit, I can imagine this series giving children nightmares.
On the other side, there would be no bad dreams caused by the Congo Bill story in the issue. While Professor Kent goes off to examine plants, Bill winds up teaming with a Scotland Yard inspector who is hunting down the Skull. I’m just going to ignore the benevolent Africans who call the hero “Massa Bill.”
There are other, scary, tribesmen, who wear leopard skin robes, and prove more of a danger to Congo Bill, and the inspector, and even to the Skull.
In the end it’s the chimpanzee, O’Toole, who gets the best of the Leopard Men, allowing the others to escape. This is the Skull’s last appearance, which is a good thing. It would be hard to continue to view him as a threat after he promised to buy O’Toole a bunch of bananas as a reward for saving him.
We get to see Dr. Fate’s mysterious tower home in this tale by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, though really only as an inset at the start.
Dr. Fate and Inza discover that an ancient Atlantean book of spells, the Book of Thoth, has fallen into the hands of a British magician, who has been using it irresponsibly. They pursue him, and he uses the book to bring trees and animals under his control, to battle Fate. The climax is a bit of a let-down again, some physical fighting, and Fate grabs the book from the man, who simply falls to his death.
Interesting mention of “atomic power” at the end (remember, this is 1940, long before the first atomic bomb), which Dr. Fate uses to destroy the book. And cause lots of fish to die. I feel really bad about the fish, although neither Fate nor Inza seem much concerned.
Kind of a shame that the book was destroyed, it could have easily served in more stories.