Posts tagged ‘Dr Clever’

More Fun 78 – Green Arrow launches the Arrowcraft, Dr. Fate and the Wax Museum, Aquaman in the Sargasso Sea, Johnny Quick trounces Dr. Clever, and the Spectre helps a haunted magician

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Nice shot of the catapult launch from the Arrowplane (Arrowcar!) on the cover of More Fun 78 (April 1942).

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The story has to do with a modern day pirate, the Black Raider, and introduces Green Arrow’s boat, the Arrowcraft.  The little bit we see of Oliver and Roy’s apartment (the first two panels above) is about all we ever see.  No real context to their lives.

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Again, a decent but largely forgettable story.  I do like the little insert close-up of Speedy’s shot on one page.

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Murders and a Wax Museum make this an entertaining read, for a late Dr. Fate story, by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman.

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The villains are just a gang of thieves, but they dress up as characters from a wax museum to confuse the police and scare people.  Inza and Kent are at a society costume ball that they attack.

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Fate gets captured, and put into a glass chamber to suffocate.  That dratted half-helmet again!  No magic to escape, purely strength and ingenuity.  This series has all but given up on the supernatural.

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Aquaman deals with a self-appointed King of the Sargasso Sea in this story.

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The man has made his kingdom of abandoned boats, and populated it with wanted felons.  It’s really not a bad idea for a recurring villain, but this guy was just a one-shot.

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Still, this one almost didn’t make it into the blog, until I hit the last page.  Aquaman has no problems blowing the king up, and in the last two panels defines his mission, but looks so amazingly happy doing it.

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Dr. Clever has his third outing against Johnny Quick in this story, illustrated by Mort Meskin.

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Johnny’s mask alters in this one as well, gaining some width on the side that really helps define the character’s face.  The story has Dr. Clever calling himself the Man of a Million Murders, but that was the “title” used by Mr. Zero a number of months ago.  As Mr. Zero never appeared again, it would seem that Dr. Clever likely killed him, making him one of the numbered deaths, and then continued his scheme.

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A lot of things happen SUDDENLY in this story, but its fun.

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Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey find an almost comfortable mix with the Spectre and Percival Popp in this story, as they pursue a spirits who emerge to rob the audience during a magician’s show.

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Popp basically just acts as Jim Corrigan’s sidekick through this, off to the side while the Spectre investigates the mystical side to the case.

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Of course, the magician is the real culprit.  They always are.  But the Spectre gets to show off some of his powers at least.

More Fun 76 – Green Arrow battles knights in a castle, Dr. Fate plays chess, Aquaman aids a sinking ship, Dr. Clever returns, Clip Carson ends, and the Spectre fights a headless man

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Dr. Fate gets his last cover on More Fun 76 (Feb 42), but has already lost the lead spot in the book to Green Arrow, who will take over the cover with the following issue, as well.

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An entertaining Green Arrow story opens the issue, as he and Speedy investigate a haunted castle, which is really a hide-out for an international jewel thief.

The story allows the heroes to get into action in a medieval looking setting, fighting against hoodlums dressed up as knights in armour.

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No trick arrows yet, but a great trick shot, as Green Arrow fires off a shaft to hit the controls on the Arrowcar (which is still called the Arrowplane), in order to make it drive on its own.

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The cover for this issue actually reflects the Dr. Fate story inside, a rarity!  Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman pit Kent Nelson against a criminal chess master, but nothing past the splash page is impressive.

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Once again, the story is just a loose framework in which Dr. Fate displays no magical abilities, and runs around beating people up.

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And once again, he gets knocked out by gas.  With that happening so often, you’d think he would change the mask back to something more protective.

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Aquaman deals with a sunken ship in this story.  It’s a fairly run of the mill plot, although not a bad tale.

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Down in the wreckage Aquaman has to deal with a diver in, for the period, very advanced gear, complete with pincer hands.

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And though the fish are not identified, it sure looks like he is able to command sharks at the end of this tale.  Maybe they are meant to be dolphins though.

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Dr. Clever returns to get vengeance on Johnny Quick, as Mort Meskin takes the artistic reins on the series.

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Dr. Clever has developed a machine that gives his henchmen super-speed, and he pits them against Johnny Quick – in a boxing ring.  Clearly humiliating Quick is far more important than getting rich to this villain.

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Johnny defeats Clever’s men simply by reversing the machine, and then using it to steal their speed.  Dr. Clever returns in a few months.

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Clip Carson has his final adventure in this issue.  The last two issues had him in Buenos Aires, and then Montevideo, but this final tale takes him all the way to China.

It’s no more gripping than any of the other generic outings Clip Carson has had, but it does stick him right in the middle of the war, between the Chinese and Japanese.

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Considering that the bombing of Pearl Harbour occurred only a couple of weeks before this issue came out, I have no trouble assuming Clip immediately joined the army, and probably tried to attack Japan single-handed.  And died.

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The Spectre story in this issue is once again largely a Percival Popp tale, as he keeps trying to get on Jim Corrigan’s good side, but is only aided by the Spectre.  As usual, it was written by Jerry Siegel, with art by Bernard Bailey.

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Clarice Winston makes her final appearance in the Spectre series in this story, still trying to figure out her relationship with Jim.  She does make one final appearance a year or so down the road, in an issue of All-Star Comics, but later continuity eliminated her (quite specifically) from that story.  She appears again in All-Star Squadron, largely in flashback, and her real next outing is in the Ostrander/Mandrake run of the Spectre.

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Percival Popp (and Jim and the Spectre) are on the trail of an apparently headless man who goes around kidnapping athletes.

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The Spectre reveals that the Headman in fact has a really really tiny head, hidden down in his shirt.  Could have been a creepy scene, but not with Percival front and centre.

More Fun 74 – The Spectre meets Percival Popp, Green Arrow fights in silence, Aquaman vs Black Jack, Johnny Quick vs Dr. Clever, Dr. Fate vs Mr. Who, again

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Percival Popp, the Super-Cop is introduced in More Fun 74 (Dec 41), by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey.  They seemed to feel that a humourous sidekick was needed for the strip, and went whole hog with this character.

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Jim Corrigan is on the case of some missing men, but discovers Percival in the trunk of his car.  Percival admires Jim, and is following him.

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This adds “humour” to the story, as Jim must keep Percival safe, while taking down the mad scientist.  You’d think the Spectre would be annoyed by this useless tagalong, but it doesn’t seem to bother him that much.  Certainly not as much as it bothers me.

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Green Arrow and Speedy deal with a gang leader called the Voice, who has created a machine that nullifies all sound.

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His men rob banks while the sound is blocked, so no alarms or screams can alert the police.  Green Arrow does not use an actual trick arrow, technically.  He and Speedy shoot flaming arrows into the sky as an alert to the police, but flaming arrows do exist anyway.  Still, it’s a baby step in that direction.

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Aquaman gets his first recurring foe in this story, a modern day pirate named Black Jack.

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Aquaman happens to swim by a ship that Black Jack is robbing, and climbs aboard to fight him.  He subdues Aquaman, but clearly has no idea who he is dealing with, as he has him bound and forced to walk the plank.  May as well shoot at Superman with a sun-powered ray gun.

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Aquaman escapes, rassles a torpedo, and stops Black Jack’s crime spree, but the villain vows vengeance, and in fact will return next issue.

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Johnny Quick also gets his first recurring villain in this issue, Dr. Clever, a mad scientist but a natty dresser.

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Johnny disrupts three different schemes of Dr. Clever in this story – an extortion scheme, poisoning diners and making their skin change colour, a fake machine that draws gold from seawater, which is really a cover to sell stolen gold, and finally just stealing other people’s inventions.

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Johnny’s costume looks a bit more coherent in this story, although fairly generic.  It cries for a chest symbol.

Dr. Clever returns a couple issues down the road.

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Dr. Fate uses his crystal ball, and determines that Mr. Who survived their encounter in the last issue, in this Gardner Fox/Howard Sherman tale.

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We learn that Solution “Z” is eve more potent than thought, as it enabled Mr. Who to grow gills and survive being underwater.  He returns to the city, and goes after the mayor.  Solution “Z” also allows Mr. Who to shape change, and he tales the mayor’s place.

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Once again it is Dr. Fate’s need to breathe that causes him problems, while bullets are no threat.  Fate does expose Mr. Who’s impersonation of the mayor before being taken down.

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The story concludes with Fate capturing Dr. Who, but the narration at the end implies that Mr. Who will escape prison anyway, and be back next issue.  In reality, it took him a few issues to return.  The prison was a bit better than the narrator thought.

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