The Crimson Avenger gets his first cover, although he does not get the lead spot in Detective 22 (Dec 38), remaining buried deep in the middle of the book.
Slam Bradley leads off the issue, as Siegel and Shuster bring back Fui Onyui, who had vowed vengeance against Shorty in the very first issue.
Shorty gets kidnapped, and Slam follows his trail, leading to the almost mandatory opium den.
The story avoids explaining exactly what has happened to Shorty, leaving him in a deathlike trance, but opium would be the obvious answer.
Slam forces Fui to inject something into Shorty that revives him, and Shorty joins in the fight that brings the bad guy to heel again. This was Fui’s last appearance.
Lee Travis, though his paper, begins offering a $5,000 reward for the Crimson Avenger, dead or alive. Life just isn’t providing enough danger and thrills, it seems. He actively wants to encourage people to kill him.
Corrupt cops are at the root of the story in this issue, as the Crimson Avenger has to track down missing papers. By far the best scene is a car chase, with the Avenger shooting out the window. This shot would be used for the issue of Secret Origins that told his story, in the mid-80s.
Bart and Sally are assigned to root out spies and secret info at a foreign embassy in this chapter of Siegel and Shuster’s Spy.
Once again, it is refreshing to see that being married to Bart has not changed the dynamic in the relationship between them. Sally still speaks her mind and goes her own way.
The story gets a bit silly, as they disguise themselves as firefighters after they bomb the embassy, to gain entrance, but it’s all fun.
I haven’t mentioned any of the Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise stories so far because none really grabbed me. Lack of character development is one thing, common to series from this era, but Cosmo’s lack of using or really playing with his central concept just becomes tedious.
In this story, dealing with stolen gems, there is a scene with Cosmo disguised as a farmer. This is the first time in the strip that we do not see Cosmo get into his disguise first, and his identity is sprung on the reader.
Seems like a basic idea, but it took them 22 issues to use it.
Inspector Kent of Scotland Yard has his second, and final, story in Detective Comics, once again pitted against the Raven.
Once again Kent does a less than impressive job. It takes him far too long to realize the Raven is impersonating his partner, Sergeant Willy Wiggbert.
Inspector Kent had one final story, appearing in Adventure Comics the following spring.