Close this place coppers – but just try and stop me from opening elsewhere again!
The Spectre leaves the JSA meeting. bored to death because there’s no crime to fight, so he goes looking for some. He finds it when he learns that some crooks are trying to frame the Spectre for running an illegal gambling hall. It’s all part of Mr. X’s plan to destroy the Spectre. Baretti, the crook, is carrying it out, because he doesn’t think the Spectre is dead at all. He thinks it’s all a bunch of tricks.
The Spectre infiltrates the new gaming joint and after allowing all the gamblers to win, goes after Baretti and his thugs. He makes short work of them, until a ring that one of the thugs is wearing renders him nearly powerless. They take him out, shoot him and dump him, but of course it doesn’t kill him. Restored to full power, he returns and finishes off the thugs, and then goes in search of Mr. X.
- I was going to gripe about the plot hole of a dead man running a gambling joint, but the story explains that nicely with Baretti not believing the Spectre is a ghost at all.
- Where did the henchman get a ring that neutralized the Spectre? Without knowing about it? I bet Roy Thomas explained it somewhere.
- This is pretty small-scale stuff for the Spectre, honestly. The character feels a little wasted in this plot.
All subtlety goes out the window as Mr. X begins bombing the city and daring Green Lantern to try and stop him. He accepts, and is able to find the plane that was bombing the city with the help of his ring… which is just what X wanted him to do. When he follows the plane back to its base, he’s surprised and disabled by an electric charge. He finds himself held captive, whereupon the thugs shoot him at point blank range, only for his ring to protect him.
Thug: Look! He ain’t dead! He ain’t even bleedin’!
GL: Maybe I’m anemic!
Naturally GL whips the bad guys and then heads for the power plant to stop it from being destroyed. He’s too late, and the entire city is without power. GL is determined to do something, and he consults the lamp of the green flame. Green Lantern manages to repower the entire city, marveling at just how powerful he is, something he never realized before.
- This is much better. A gambling joint is pretty small potatoes for someone like the Spectre, but bombings and city-wide blackouts are good large scale challenges for someone like Green Lantern to take on.
- Having a problem too big for GL to handle, so that he has to go ask the lamp for more power is very interesting. The lamp is mostly unexplained at this point, and since so much Golden Age Green Lantern is unavailable to read, I don’t know how much is ever explained.
- Similiarly, having Alan use his power ring to re-power an entire city is pretty amazing. It reminds me of modern day JSA stories where he really cuts loose and shows just how powerful he can be when circumstances call for it.
The Justice Society return to base, all of them admitting they failed to find Mr. X. Then they spot him heading into the police station, though they still don’t realize it’s him. They all encountered him, so they follow him in, and are shocked to find out that he’s the criminal mastermind.
Mister X: Yes Gentleman, I am Mister X! Just when I had a good living set for myself with incomes from all organized crime, you all had to come along and smash my rackets! You’ve taken my livelihood away! So now I’m going to jail – and live off the state! Good day, gentlemen!
- Living off the state? Are we sure this was written 75 years ago?
- So technically this guy beat the Justice Society… they could not catch him. But he turns around and admits defeat, because they’ve cut off all his sources of income. So it’s an indirect victory for them.