All-Star Comics #4 continued

The Spectre

All-Star4-004

Seeing the Spectre smiling happily always seems a little strange.

The Spectre doesn’t need to open his envelope to know what’s inside. He’s directed to Pittsburgh where sabotage is taking place at munitions factories. He quickly locates and exposes the saboteur, but while the man is being taken to be questioned, the car he’s in is rammed and he’s rescued by his confederates, only to be shot to death by his boss Dorgoff because he would have told everything.

The Spectre flies along the telephone lines as the boss calls Klaver, but has to detour to stop the demolition of a vital factory. He stops the bomb by turning back time, and then returns to get the information he needs from Dorgoff. Having learned the name and location of Klaver by exposing Dorgoff’s brain and reading his mind, he heads out….

… only for the story to take a bizarre twist that has nothing to do with saboteurs or fifth columnists as the Spectre is drawn into the occult world and almost killed by some weird colored “vampire” globes, only defeating them thanks to the Ring of Life. He then heads to confront Klaver.

  • Is there anything the Spectre can’t do? How does anyone ever challenge him? And yet he’s almost destroyed by the Vampire globes, so I guess the idea is that while he’s close to all-powerful, he’s not the only one who is.
  • On the other hand, the human opponents are absolutely no match for the Spectre at all, and he easily manipulates them and learns all he needs to know without any real effort at all.
  • It’s interesting that the Spectre uses Ray Palmer’s “traveling along the phone lines” trick twenty years before Ray would adopt it.
  • They must have been a page short on story or something. How else to explain the last page with the “vampire globes” that just comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with the rest of the story? Not that I mind bizarre things happening to the Spectre, but it’s literally just a random attack with no explanation and no motivation.

The Hour-Man

All-Star4-005Hour-Man’s assignment is to prevent the destruction of oil wells in Oklahoma. And he’s right to go, because the grey-shirts are meeting and plotting to destroy as many oil wells as they can. The grey shirts are killing guards and scaring off oil workers, to the point that it’s hard for the owners to find anyone to work for them. Rex arrives and takes a job as an oil worker in order to investigate. He jumps in and attacks the grey-shirts when he finds them, and sends them running, but his hour of Miraclo-provided power runs out just as the grey-shirts are making a getaway. With the last of his extra strength he hurls one of the spies’ bag at the driver of the getaway car, sending them out of control and into one of the oil derricks, killing the spies. Retrieving the bag, he learns the name and location of Fritz Klaver.

  • More grey-shirts in uniform. They really aren’t very subtle, although to be fair they generally dress in uniform only when in their hidden headquarters in this story. They aren’t as open as they are in the Flash storyline.
  • Rex has one of his better outings as Hour-Man this time around. He’s not captured by the villains or chased by police. He infiltrates the area and takes out the bad guys without much of a problem. He barely gets the job done within the hour of power, but he does it.
  • I know he’s not trying to kill the spies, but Hour-Man is responsible for their death at the end of the story. He’s not at all unhappy about it though. “They met a deserving end!” he tells the oil well owners.

Doctor Fate

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Doctor Fate takes the direct approach.

Doctor Fate doesn’t need to open his envelope any more than the Spectre did. He’s headed to New England to stop shipyard sabotage. He sends out a magic cloud to detect evil, which seems like a mighty handy talent for a crime-fighter to possess! He prevents a bombing, traces a radio signal to the spies headquarters, and then scares them into talking by taking their ship under the ocean and freaking them out with “cosmic horrors” that look like sea-monsters. The spies are willing to say anything after that. Doctor Fate captures more spies coming in to land and turns them over to the FBI. Doctor Fate then reads the minds of the spies and learns the location of Fritz Klaver. Unlike everyone else so far he alerts some of his fellow JSA members about what he’s learned, including the Sandman and the Flash.

  • Okay, between the Spectre and Doctor Fate, the Nazis really don’t stand a chance!
  • We’re still in the days where Doctor Fate is a sorceror here, before he goes to the half-mask and loses a lot of his power. I vastly prefer this version of Doctor Fate, even though nothing really poses much of a challenge for him.
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