All-Star Comics #5 continued

ALL STAR 5004Hawkman

I was going to use a little subtlety in this affair, but you spoiled it all. Maybe this is the best answer to your type after all!

With the JSA meeting adjourned, Hawkman flies home to “catch up on my researches”. He’s shown in a laboratory, complete with beakers, vials and test tubes. Meanwhile some underworld thugs plot a trap to catch, kill and frame Hawkman for a jewel robbery. The plan is spoiled when Shiera overhears one of the mobster’s girlfriends looking forward to the new jewelry she’ll soon be wearing after the robbery. Shiera calls Carter to warn him.

He springs the trap and beats the bad guys with his fists, causing them to run, just as Shiera approaches the shop. He berates her for getting into trouble, and then is forced to fly and take her with him as the hidden gunman nearby takes a shot at both of them.

Deciding to try a ploy to fool the gangsters and trap them instead, Hawkman gives Shiera his extra wings and flight harness, dressing her up in a costume similar to his. Shiera’s enjoying it all immensely, but Carter warns her that they have a lot of work to do first. He confronts the crooks in their hideout while Shiera is left on the roof. But sadly for her, the hitman drives up and, thinking she’s Hawkman, shoots her. When he finds out, he stops with his “fun” and just pummels the bad guys until they’re down and out. He checks on Shiera, full of remorse that he’s responsible for her being injured. Thankfully it’s not serious, and he takes her for medical attention before going to look for Mr. X.

  • This is effectively the first appearance of the Golden Age Hawkgirl, though I’m sure having Shiera dress up in costume was meant to just be a plot device for this one story.
  • I’m thinking that Carter rarely shows any signs of being any sort of chemist, so this is one of those “new skills to fit the plot” instances.
  • At this point, it’s fairly obvious that the little guy in the bowler hat is Mister X. How he’s able to find every last JSA member isn’t explained, but in a way it does underline the fact that he is dangerous, despite his harmless appearance. He’s in Jay’s apartment a few chapters ago, meaning he found out the Flash’s secret identity. Why he doesn’t try blackmail or something is hard to say.

ALL STAR 5005Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate returns to his tower to find Inza waiting for him. She has a story about a woman, Mrs. Vera, who has been swindled out of thousands of dollars by a fake magician, named … Magico. Fate is curious about the situation, so he goes with Inza to see Magico. He’s in a suit rather than his Doctor Fate costume, and together they attend the “seance” with Mrs. Vera. Mister X puts in an appearance, and even gets in a dig at Mrs. Vera.

While Magico attempts his seance, a hidden gunman takes a shot at Fate, only for Inza to step in the way. This makes the second story in a row where the hero’s girlfriend is shot! Inza’s wound is far more serious than Shiera’s, and it takes a powerful spell to save her life. Doctor Fate is angry now, and heads out to teach Magico a lesson.

He steps into Magico’s building, only to have the fake magician try to destroy it with explosives. Fate survives of course, and drags Magico off to show him some real magic, freaking Magico out. Fate mocks him, and gets Magico to spill the whole story about the trap set by Mister X. After checking on Inza, Doctor Fate heads out to look for Mister X.

  • Doctor Fate really can’t be harmed in these early stories, though I suppose since Doctor Fate is invulnerable that Inza has a use in that she can be hurt or threatened in a way that he can’t.
  • Shouldn’t Inza know that the bullets won’t harm him?
  • This story gives us a nice mix between mundane swindle plots and weird magic that typifies Doctor Fate tales at this point.

The two page ad-spread featuring all the comics on sale this month appears next. Thanks to reprints, I’ve actually read every issue, or at least the ones featuring the title character. Good stuff.

ALL STAR 5006Hourman

The crooks try to frame Hourman for stealing hubcaps by having one of them dress up in costume, and then allowing the police to see him. The scheme works, and the police put out an alert. In the meantime, the genuine Hourman heads to the scene of the crime to bust the tire theft ring, and is making short work of the crooks until a barrel from the storefront roof knocks him out, and the crooks turn him over to the police.

Hourman easily escapes, since he’s taken his Miraclo pill, and the trails one of the thugs to the gang’s hideout, where he once again overpowers them all. Once he’s scared the truth about Mister X out of them, he turns them over to the police, clearing his name.

  • The art is good, but this isn’t a very compelling story. Not that tire theft wouldn’t have been very topical in the days leading up to World War 2, so I suppose that would be a serious enough crime to merit a hero’s attention.
  • Hourman always seems to be in trouble with the police. It never takes much to get them to believe he’s gone bad.

ALL STAR 5007The Atom

The Atom gets involved in Mister X’s plot when a group of thugs attack him on the street while he’s in his civilian identity of Al Pratt. He beats them, and discovers a note that reveals they were after the Atom, and had just attacked Al because he’s a “shrimp” and they’re not nice. Okay… pretending to have fallen victim to their attack, Al allows them to take him to a gym, where a scheme to bilk would-be bodybuilders out of $500 each is underway. Al humiliates the would be instructor, and then turns up in his Atom costume and proceeds to beat the tar out of the thugs and learn about Mister X’s plans. Mister X gets his usual cameo.

  • The Atom is probably my least favorite JSA character, and this is probably my least favorite story of the issue. At least the writer knows the thugs don’t have half a brain amongst the lot of them, so the whole situation isn’t played too seriously.
  • And of course, watching the bad guys all knit at the end is admittedly pretty funny.
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