All-Star Comics #2 concluded

 all star014The Hour-Man

Dr. Morte, supposed psychic reader, is busy conning Mr. Davis out of his money by convincing him that his late wife Clara is speaking to him from beyond the grave. In reality, it’s someone speaking electronically, who has learned enough facts about Clara to be convincing to Mr. Davis. Davis is the brother in law of Rex Tyler’s boss, who complains about the nonsense with the séance. Rex determines that he must get his kid sidekicks known as the Minute Men together and get to the bottom of this. While the kids have some trouble with an ex-convict that Dr. Morte hires as part of the plot, Hourman discovers how the swindle is going to be carried out and puts an end to it, clueing Davis in on what’s being done to him.

  • The Hour-Man now has a group of kids as sidekicks, apparently, known as the “Minute Men of America”. Copying Batman, maybe? The kids have potential, though all they really do is get into trouble so that Hourman has to rescue them.
  • It’s a pretty simple plot. Hourman breaks everything up without much trouble, and it only got as far as it did because Davis is apparently pretty easy to fool, or so desperate to speak to his dead wife that he’s willing to believe anything.

The Flash – the One-Man Newspaper

Jay Garrick goes to visit a friend of his who runs a newspaper, only to find the building deserted. Jay figures the first thing he needs to do is to get the paper for the day out the door, so after changing into his Flash costume , he proceeds to write copy, edit, typeset and print the entire paper. He then distributes it by himself as well, freaking out the various vendors who think it’s the invisible man. Of course this draws the attention of the crooks who kidnapped everyone in the first place. Jay tags along, having fun by scaring the men before following them to their boss, after which he carts them to jail one at a time.

  • all star015In another example of the fun that can be had with a super-fast character, we get to watch Jay be a one man newspaper production company. Awesome.
  • The crooks really are no match for Jay. Once he figures out who they are, it’s dead simple for him to find the boss and put them in jail. This is a case where the plot isn’t based so much on challenging the hero as it is on just watching him have fun with his powers.
  • Joan’s inclusion at the end of the story seems a little convenient, but then she really does know everyone, so why not the daughter of the newspaper owner? Sure, I’ll buy it.

The issue overall: We lose a few features from last issue and gain some new ones, and overall I think it’s an improvement. Biff Bronson was no great loss, though I’d have enjoyed reading more Gary Concord. It’s good to see the Green Lantern make his debut. Less welcome is Johnny Thunder, though he’s going to be around for a long time, so there’s no point in complaining. Otherwise, All-Star #2 again has a good mix of stories and artistic styles, and I enjoyed just about everything it had to offer.

Favorites: I think either Hawkman or Red, White and Blue are my favorites this month.

Least Favorite: Johnny Thunder or The Invisible Star, easily.

End of an era already: We’re done with the only two issues of All-Star Comics to be published following the originally planned format, as Roy Thomas points out in his introduction to the Archive. And I agree with him that it’s a nice glimpse at “what could have been”, but I’m glad that we ended up with the changes that we’ll see next issue since I’m such a big fan of the Justice Society. And honestly, the fact that so many of these characters were associated with that group may be the only reason they’re still around today, instead of being largely forgotten, or only available in back issues.

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