"Superman: "The Pirate of Pleasure Island"": The synopsis for this issue has not yet been written.
Action Comics #54 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of November, 1942.
Synopsis for Superman: "The Pirate of Pleasure Island"
Appearing in Superman: "The Pirate of Pleasure Island"
- Captain Ironfist (Only appearance; dies) (Flashback and main story)
- Perry White
- Mr. Finchcomb (Dies in flashback)
- Captain Ironfist's Ship
Synopsis for Vigilante: "The Rookie Who Fought a Ghost"
Young police officer Dan Carmody was skilled at his duty. The problem was, he was always being compared to his late father, who everyone on the force agrees could have done things better. Where Dan might catch two members of Killer Bragg's gang, they say Mike Carmody would have caught all five. While Dan scores 99 out of a hundred at the shooting range, his father would have shot a perfect score. The comparisons make people see Dan as only second best.
One night, as prairie troubadour Greg Sanders and his pal Stuff walk home after a show, a pair of muggers show up to rob them. Before Greg can go into action as his alter ego, the Vigilante, Dan Carmody rushes onto the scene. The muggers put up a fight, but Dan holds up well, beating them into a position where he can safely take them both back to the precinct. After watching it all, Stuff thinks it's a real crime that officer Carmody rarely gets recognized for his own contributions to the force. Greg wonders if they'll get a chance to repay him someday. At the same moment in his hideout, Killer Bragg tells his men that he wants Dan Carmody put "out of circulation". The gang comes up with a plan to discredit the copper, which would force him to quit. At midnight on Carmody's patrol route, a jewelry store has some after-hours intruders. The alarm is tripped. Dan reaches the scene first, but when he enters the shop, he is assaulted and held down by Killer Bragg's men. They put an oxygen mask on him and feed him a tank of laughing gas. Dan Carmody is soon helpless to stop the thugs from robbing the store, and by the time other officers show up, he is doubled over in a fit of laughter! The sergeant is not amused.
The story makes headlines: Son of Toughest Cop Suspended From Force! and Carmody Laughs as Crooks Loot. Greg and Stuff read the story with confusion. This doesn't sound like the officer who helped them the other day. There was something more to this, and the Vigilante was going to find out what it was. He and Stuff hop on the Vig-Cycle and start searching around a shadowy neighborhood that was favored by crooks, seeking Killer Bragg. Elsewhere, Dan Carmody vows to clear his name by bringing Bragg into custody. An anonymous tip leads him to Bragg's hideout, and come redemption or death, Dan is ready to prove himself. He smashes down the door and confronts the gang leader. Bragg is annoyed that Carmody hadn't learned his lesson, and so he peppers the foolhardy ex-cop with machine gun fire! The gunfire is heard by Vig and Stuff. They follow the sound to Bragg's hideout, where they make a crashing entrance! Stuff tackles one of the gangsters while Vigilante disarms the others with his lariat. The game seems won until Bragg holds a pistol on Stuff, daring Vigilante to try something. A thug whacks Vig over the head with the butt of his gun, knocking him out.
When Greg awakens, he finds himself tied to a post under a pier, with Stuff alongside him. Killer Bragg and his boys are leaving on a small boat. They laugh as they leave, shouting back at the Vigilante that as soon as the tide comes in, he would drown. But Greg has an idea. The water was rising, giving him just a few seconds to reach for the trigger on his holstered pistol. There is a muffled explosion as the bullet sears through the rope. He's free! After untying Stuff, the two grab a spare boat and head out. Silhouetted against the horizon was a yacht that the two heroes row towards. On board, the rich socialites have their yacht party interrupted by Bragg and his goons, robbing them of their valuables. They are surprised by the reappearance of Vigilante and Stuff, both of whom were thought to be dead by now. Instead, it's the gangsters who find themselves getting soaked when they are knocked overboard. Unfortunately, Bragg manages to steal the rowboat, giving his gang a huge lead while Vig and Stuff are forced to swim. Back at the boathouse, Dan Carmody, though in absolute agony from the bullets, has followed Killer Bragg's trail and now lies in wait. When the gangsters arrive to moor their boat, Carmody pounces. His anger gives him the extra strength to take down a few of Bragg's boys before the boss himself can aim his gun. His strength now ebbing, Dan can no longer stay conscious. Luckily, Vig and Stuff reach the dock before Bragg can pull the trigger. Vigilante deals with Bragg while Stuff, using a fishing rod he found, catches a few thugs by the belt. The fight is finished after Vigilante wraps their quarry up in a fishing net.
The next day, the commissioner is very impressed with Dan, after he brought in Bragg and crew even after being shot up. On his hospital bed, Dan's told he was being awarded a Sergeant's badge for his work. He was glad he's finally able to live up to his father's legacy. And it wouldn't have been possible without the inspiration given him by the Vigilante!
Appearing in Vigilante: "The Rookie Who Fought a Ghost"
- Killer Bragg (Single appearance)
- Bragg's Gang (Single appearance)
- "Handsome" (Single appearance)
- "Snapper" (Single appearance)
- Dan Carmody (Police officer) (Single appearance)
- Phil (Police officer) (Single appearance)
- Basil (Socialite) (Single appearance)
- Vigilante's Lasso
Synopsis for Three Aces: "Fire Over the Yunnanfu Road"
While acting as a spy in China, Will gets captured by the invading Japanese. He manages to send out a partial message in Morse code before he is found, alerting the headquarters of General Li Chan that Japanese Colonel Taro Imai is planning an airstrike against them. However, the message ends before it mentions what type of planes they'd be flying and which direction they'd strike from. Fog and Gunner tell their commander, Paulson, that they'd like to try freeing their friend so he can tell them the rest of the message. It is a risk, but the commander had faith that Fog and Gunner had the skill to pull it off. All the Army can spare is one English Bomber plane, but it is tough and maneuverable.
Fog Fortune pilots the Blenheim while Gunner scans the area below with binoculars. They reach the Japanese camp, where Gunner spots Will being led to the firing squad! Will is a goner unless they do something crazy. Gunner grabs the aircraft's wing turret while Fog swerves her into a dive. The firing squad find themselves forced to scatter as a wave of bullets rain down. Fog lands the plane long enough for Gunner to untie their pal and help him aboard. They take off just as the Japanese soldiers start their planes' engines. Will tells Fog and Gunner that Colonel Imai was using Nakajima Fighters, known for their maneuverability but not for their speed. This is good news; the American Wildcats could easily outfly and outgun a Nakajima. Fog leads the squadron over towards a rendezvous in the mountains. The Japanese follow until, to their surprise, they are set upon by the Wildcats. Each Japanese fighter is no match, and all are eventually shot down. With Imai's fleet destroyed, the mission is a success. The three Aces fly back to HQ.
Appearing in Three Aces: "Fire Over the Yunnanfu Road"
- Lieutenant Commander Paulson (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Americommando: "Destination, Berlin"
While reading the morning paper, Tex Thomson notices an ad in the personal columns. It's specifically asking for Mr. America, to show up tonight, at "the spot where he defeated the Scarotti gang", claiming that human lives and the future of millions was at stake. This was troubling because the only people that knew of that were the police and whichever gang members who escaped that night. And the police wouldn't advertise by newspaper. Still, people have tried to trap Mr. America before, to no avail. Tex dons his crime-fighter duds and prepares to meet the challenge. Before he goes out, Tex asks Bob to remain home. But Bob won't hear of it! As soon as he's alone, Bob puts on his homemade outfit If his friend insisted on walking into possible danger, then Fatman would be there to back him up!
Mr. America arrives at the old warehouse. He can barely see anything inside due to the pitch blackness. Suddenly, he is roughly shoved from behind into the dark! Voices all around him tell Tex not to fight back because they had him surrounded. At that point, Fatman enters through the door, letting light spill into the room. The men who held Tex were American soldiers! They explained that they had orders to bring Mr. America in for a secret meeting, so they had to lay this trap to get his attention.
Later, after they are led on board a battleship, Mr. America and Fatman are told to go into a cabin where a very important man awaits. They are shocked, then, when it's none other than the President of the United States standing before them. Fatman is taken aside where the President thanks him for his service, and asks Bob if he'll continue the fight against crime on his own for now. It meant that he'd be without his friend and partner, but Bob accepts. He is escorted off the ship, promising to keep the meeting a secret, for the President's next words were for Mr. America's ears alone.
The President needs Mr. America, the Americommando, to be a spy in Berlin. He'd first be trained in the use of every firearm, taught to fly an aircraft and drive a tank, and become the U.S.'s all-around master of warfare. And so, for the next couple of weeks, Mr. America spends his eighteen-hour days in intensive training at a special military camp, mastering advanced theories of aerodynamics and flight, assembling guns in under three minutes while blindfolded, and especially speaking German, fluently, until he sounds like a native speaker. He is taught each and every alley and rathole in Berlin. It's a tiring, never-ending schedule filled with studies and drills, but he keeps it up until, finally, he is ready.
A final uniform change, into that of a Gestapo officer, and a false name of "Hauptmann Riker" to go with it, then Tex boards the plane that will drop him at the edge of Berlin, so he can begin his espionage. A new adventure like never before awaits him, and Mr. America parachutes down to face it!
Appearing in Americommando: "Destination, Berlin"
- Americommando (1st appearance as Hauptmann Riker)
- Fatman (last golden age appearance)
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "Idol of Doom"
In the deep jungle of Central America, an archaeologist, Dr. Willis Pemberton, is being forced to lie upon a stone dais between two large wolf-god statues, while an Indian tribe watches. A large man with his face covered by a wolf-skin hood prepares to drive a dagger into Pemberton's chest, as a sacrifice to the wolf gods. A plane suddenly crashes down in the area, scaring the natives away. Congo Bill emerges from the wreck. He gives Dr. Pemberton a hand.
Bill had been flying back to Washington D.C. with a message, when his plane started having engine troubles. Pemberton, meanwhile, was searching for a lost civilization that was in the area. That's when the tribe's high priest, Mafar, had captured him for a sacrifice. While they are talking, the natives return! They attack Pemberton and Bill, who fight back. The two make a plan to escape into the jungle, but Mafar overhears and has the tribe cut them off. Soon, they are overwhelmed and become captives, thrown into a hut with their hands tied.
The fact that the high priest understood English was very suspicious. Congo Bill tells Doctor Pemberton to bend over so the sunlight hits his glasses. Bill moves his bindings underneath the beam, letting the heat burn through the knot. After Pemberton gets untied, they exit the hut and knock over the guards. Bill reaches Mafar and shoves him against one of the wolf statues, creating a hollow bong noise. This gives Bill an idea, he searches the statue's base, and finds a hidden door. With Pemberton following, Bill enters the hollow interior of the wolf-god statue, explaining he's seen these kind of places before. It was where the shaman or high priest of a tribe would sit inside and speak through the statue's mouth, making their tribe believe it was the words of a god. In this statue, Bill finds a cache of ancient minted gold coins. Far older than when America was discovered, they could only be from the lost civilization Pemberton had come here to find!
Meanwhile, outside, the evil priest hatches a new, sinister scheme. On his command, the natives begin piling up branches in front of the statue. A fire is lit, the smoke starts rising. Soon it will suffocate Bill and Pemberton, killing them without the tribe ever knowing they were inside. Suddenly, a voice booms from the statue's mouth. It tells the natives that Mafar is a false priest, and a wicked man, who must be taken captive! The natives turn on Mafar, chasing him into the second statue. Bill emerges from the mouth of the first, as he and Pemberton climb to escape the smoke. The top of the second statue opens, and an autogyro choppers out, with "Mafar" at the controls. He was no high priest. Bill grabs a vine and swings into the pilot, knocking the false native out cold! Bill guides the gyro-copter to Pemberton and lets him on. Then he pilots it away from the village. As for the phony Mafar, his real name was Martin Farrell, an explorer who vanished years ago. He was secretly loading up the copter with gold and jewels, that he discovered within the statues, and he didn't want to share. The natives made him a high priest because he made the statues tell them to. In the end, it was the god statues that also ended his reign.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "Idol of Doom"
- Mafar/Martin Farrell (Single appearance)
- Dr. Willis Pemberton (Single appearance)
- a cache of ancient minted gold coins
- Farrell's autogyro
Synopsis for Zatara: "Recipe for Robbery"
The Chef of a fashionable restaurant in Gotham town is serving up a special order of soup for a rough looking fellow named "Torchy". Torchy and a companion deliver the steaming bowl to the security guards at the Union Bank, just a hot meal to keep them warm for the watch tonight. But the soup has a hidden ingredient, courtesy of the Chef, and moments later the guards fall to the floor in a stupor. The seedy gents begin phase two of the plan, and take the money out of the vault. It is the perfect racket, all thanks to the Chef's cunning. In the following weeks, similar robberies take place around town, all carefully masterminded by the criminal known only as the Chef.
One day, the master magician Zatara pays a visit to the Chef's restaurant. When some crooks head into the kitchen, Zatara turns himself invisible and follows them. He watches as the chef hands over a wedding cake to be delivered. The criminals don't suspect that they are being followed when they enter their car. The magician shrinks himself down so that he can get a better look at the inside of the cake. He is alarmed by what he finds. Several miniature explosive capsules were sprinkled about within, waiting for an unsuspecting guest to cut into them! When the crooks reach the home of the newlyweds, Zatara becomes normal sized again, surprising everyone in the room. With a magic spell, he brings the little bride and groom figures on top of the cake to life! They tell everyone about the explosives inside the cake. The crooks try to run, but the little groom grabs hold of them by extending its arms. Zatara tells the husband and wife-to-be that there was a safe with a payroll inside it, in the next room, which is why they were targeted. He then turns to the confused crooks and casts a spell that causes them to twirl around and around uncontrollably. in only a few seconds, they are ready to spill the beans about their boss, the Chef. He sends hem out to deliver special orders. When the recipients are a bank or jeweler, or other places with a lot of cash, the Chef adds a little something "extra" to the recipe. Zatara takes the two criminals to the police station, where they are to turn themselves in. Next it's the Chef's turn.
Back at the restaurant, an odd sight is had by the diners. Plates, pots, and pans, all with their own arms and legs, march into the restaurant, past the tables, and through the kitchen. They were all the items that had been loaded with the Chef's "special" meals. They now confront the astonished Chef, calling him a crook. Convinced he had gone ill, the Chef tries to escape, and is tripped by a pot for his trouble. The kitchen utensils begin hurling pies at him, until he shouts for his cronies. He knows this is Zatara's doing, and his only hope of escape is to get out of town. But he'll be sure to take the dinner guests' valuables with him! Following their boss's orders, the thugs go out to the dining room and hold everybody up. Zatara is watching the robbery go down through the window. Another spell is cast, and the dining room comes to life. Chairs, money clips, pearl necklaces, they all attack the Chef's henchmen! Inside the kitchen, the Chef can't take anymore and goes to slip out the back, only to find Zatara waiting for him there. The Chef finds himself being roughly grabbed by the food he's been preparing. The items force him into a cooking pot and set it to boil. Zatara says he'll only help him if he confesses to his crimes. Thee Chef agrees.
In Zatara's opinion, it was just another case of "Too many cooks spoiled the broth."
Appearing in Zatara: "Recipe for Robbery"
- The Chef (Single appearance)
- Torchy (Single appearance)
- This issue marks the end of the team of Americommando and Fatman, with Tex Thomson shifting into his new undercover identity and Bob Daley leaving the strip.
- First issue for Americommando's fake identity as Hauptman Riker.
- Tex's last name was spelled "Thomson" from Action Comics #1, June 1938, to Action Comics #55, Dec 1942.
Links and References
- Action Comics #1
- Action Comics #7
- Superman #3
- Action Comics #23
- Action Comics #26
- Superman #5
- Action Comics #29
- Superman #7
- Action Comics #32
- Superman #8
- Superman #9
- World's Best Comics #1
- Superman #11
- Action Comics #42
- Action Comics #43
- World's Finest #4
- Superman #16
- Action Comics #49
- World's Finest #6
- Action Comics #51
- Superman #18, 2nd story
- Superman #18, 3rd story
- Action Comics #54