"Superman: "Design for Doom"": Superman prevents strange disasters from striking the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and other historic landmarks. Meanwhile Lois Lane pursues an investigation of the Gateson Employment Ag
Action Comics #56 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of January, 1943.
- 1 Synopsis for Superman: "Design for Doom"
- 2 Appearing in Superman: "Design for Doom"
- 3 Synopsis for Vigilante: "Melody of Menace"
- 4 Appearing in Vigilante: "Melody of Menace"
- 5 Synopsis for Three Aces: "War Hawks of Greenland"
- 6 Appearing in Three Aces: "War Hawks of Greenland"
- 7 Synopsis for Americommando: "The Man the Whole World Feared"
- 8 Appearing in Americommando: "The Man the Whole World Feared"
- 9 Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Game for Life"
- 10 Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Game for Life"
- 11 Synopsis for Zatara: "The Case of the Phoney Funny Man"
- 12 Appearing in Zatara: "The Case of the Phoney Funny Man"
- 13 Notes
- 14 See Also
- 15 Links and References
Synopsis for Superman: "Design for Doom"
Superman prevents strange disasters from striking the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and other historic landmarks. Meanwhile Lois Lane pursues an investigation of the Gateson Employment Agency. She is taken prisoner and sent to Africa where she meets the man behind the disasters, Emil Loring. Using slave labor supplied by the employment agency, Loring, a brilliant architect, has constructed an immense tower. His attacks on other monuments were designed to eliminate the competition. Superman traces Lois back to Africa and prevents an attack on the pyramids. He then rescues Lois, while Loring is crushed beneath the wreckage of his own tower.
Appearing in Superman: "Design for Doom"
- Emil Loring (Only appearance; dies)
- Gateson (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Vigilante: "Melody of Menace"
Greg Sanders finds an old hobo, Hummin' Hank Harkness, with a knack for writing song lyrics. He hires him to come up with some songs for his radio show. But Greg's old lyric writer, Pete Sanger, isn't about to give up his paycheck. So he kidnaps Hank and blackmails Greg into continuing to buy the songs he writes. Greg switches to his Vigilante identity, and he and Stuff rescue old Hummin Hank. Sanger is arrested for kidnapping and attempted murder.
Appearing in Vigilante: "Melody of Menace"
- Pete Sanger (Single appearance)
- Biff Balder (Single appearance)
- Hank Harkness (Single appearance)
- Ling (Single appearance)
- Vigilante's Lasso
Synopsis for Three Aces: "War Hawks of Greenland"
The Aces help a young woman rescue her brother from a Nazi camp in Greenland.
Appearing in Three Aces: "War Hawks of Greenland"
- Betty Haines (Single appearance)
- Bobby Haines (Single appearance)
- a Marine Patrol Bomber
- German Fighter Planes
Synopsis for Americommando: "The Man the Whole World Feared"
The Americommando was becoming a problem for the Third Reich. As a potential solution, Hitler himself called upon the prowess of the infamous Dr. Ito, the most dangerous man in the world, to eliminate the problem. Given authority second only to the Fuehrer, Dr. Ito first examined a heavily guarded shipyard, where a top secret U-Boat was about ready to launch. Ito ordered news of the launch to be spread through the public, to hopefully attract the Americommando's attention.
That very night, the yard received many important visitors, with each one getting their ID checked. Tex Thompson, in the undercover disguise as Gestapo Captain Riker, personal representative of Der Fuehrer, arrived to confirm reports of the mighty new U-boat's capabilities. From a higher platform, he was being watched by the malignant Dr. Ito. With a direct line to the Fuehrer, Ito checked the credentials of Hitler's "personal representative", and learned that Hitler had not heard a report from Riker in quite some time.
Back in the secret headquarters of the underground resistance, Tex rallied Gunther and the others to sabotage the U-Boat before it could do any harm. Just as Ito had planned, Tex returned to the dock the next night, as Riker. Tex noticed something was odd. The Nazi officers didn't even question him being there this time, almost as if they were expecting him. As he neared the U-Boat's berth, a gut feeling told him to dodge quickly! Dr. Ito had tried to pierce him with his sword from behind! Tex took advantage of their height difference, giving the smaller Ito a humiliating spanking before using his own sword to pin him by his cape to the dock's post.
Leaping for the wooden frame of a ship under construction, "Captain Riker" ditched his Gestapo uniform and wore his true colors, then tossed a grenade at the supports holding the U-Boat, causing it to slide free, into the water, unmanned. The Fuehrer would not be pleased. Dr. Ito shouted for the Nazi soldiers to open fire on the American! Tex swung down on a rope, knocking over the Nazi gunmen, and once again got face-to-face with Dr. Ito! A swift punch sent the smirking little killer into the water. Mr. America jumped in and swam past him, towards a boat in the harbor, manned by his friends in the resistance.
When the Nazis helped him out of the water, the Doctor was raging. No one had ever humiliated him in such a manner, and he vowed vengeance on Americommando!
Appearing in Americommando: "The Man the Whole World Feared"
- Professor Gunther
- new model U-Boat (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Game for Life"
On a remote island in the south Atlantic, there lived a peaceful indian tribe who remained untouched by the world war. One day, a tribesman looks out to sea and spots some men clinging to the remains of a shipwreck. He alerts the chief, Koro, who leads a few canoes out to rescue the survivors. Little do they know that they just saved a wanted criminal, nicknamed "Bullet", and his gang.
A few days of enjoying the tropical paradise, and Bullet decides the island was too good for a bunch of "savages". He whispers to his gang that he had a plan to take it from them. Tearing a shirt for some thread, a crude baseball is fashioned. For a bat, they find a branch and trim it down to size. The tribe is invited to learn the game, with Bullet encouraging the chief to make some bets with him. However, the criminals don't plan on playing fair. Since the indians never heard of baseball before, they'll never notice that they were being cheated. The bets start out small, but Bullet soon gambles for chief Koro's hut. Suddenly, a small seaplane making an emergency landing near the coast. Congo Bill steps out of the cockpit of his plane to begin some quick repairs. He is greeted by the tribe, while Bullet seems less than welcoming. Bill joins everyone back at the field and watches the game. Right away, he notices how Bullet and his gang are cheating by calling home runs for their team, and foul balls for the natives. Bill then offers to be the umpire for the game. That way the chief and his tribe won't have to worry about the rules and just enjoy playing the game. Bullet doesn't like this idea one bit. Soon, the score switches in the tribe's favor, as it turns out the criminal gang wasn't as good at the game as they had led the natives to believe. Thanks to Bill's honest call-outs, chief Koro's team wins. Bullet and his boys retreat to a private corner of the island to come up with a new plan. They would challenge the natives to one more game, with everything on the line. But before that, the meddling umpire had to go...
Unaware of the plot against him, Congo Bill heads back to his plane by taking a shortcut through the jungle. He's ambushed by Bullet's gang, overwhelmed by their numbers and knocked out. When Bill comes to, he finds himself stranded on a rock just of the coast of the island, with sharks surrounding him. Tearing off strips of his shirt, he creates a makeshift rope, tying his shoe to one end as a weight. With a mighty heave, the shoe catches between two branches of an overhanging tree. Now all that's left to do is to swing to safety. Luckily, his homemade vine holds. The sharks will have to look elsewhere for a snack today! Safely back on shore, Bill makes his way back to the tribe. He stops at the sight of a Guayule shrub, which gives him an idea.
Meanwhile, a tense game has reached the last half of the ninth inning. Bullet is about to toss the "winning" pitch, when all of a sudden, Bill comes scrambling out of the bushes calling for a time-out. Bullet can't believe this; how did this guy escape the sharks? With no choice now, he allows Bill to take up the bat. He'll just throw the ball so fast, the meddler won't even see it coming. At least, that's what he thought would happen. But Congo Bill swings at the ball and sends it flying so far it goes out of sight. That won the game for the chief's team. Now that the game was over, Bill exposes Bullet's gang as cheaters to chief Koro, who has them tied up and says he'll hit them with their own baseball bat. Bill offers up his own bat instead, saying it'll have more bounce to it. that's because it's been coated with sap from the Guayule shrub, which when hardened, becomes rubber. That explains why the ball went so far, as well.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Game for Life"
- Bullet (a criminal) (Single appearance)
- Bullet's gang (Single appearance)
- Chief Koro (Single appearance)
- Congo Bill's Seaplane
Synopsis for Zatara: "The Case of the Phoney Funny Man"
Zatara visits a comedy club where Rob Lenny, local comedian, was performing. He had promised Rob's wife, Grace, that he'd help Rob make it big, so he called on his talent scout friend Mills to meet them there. If Rob was as funny as Zatara mentioned, then Mills was ready to sign him up on a thousand dollar contract for Hollywood. Two notorious characters overhear the conversation in the lobby. Laughing Boy and Joisey Joe, scum of the underworld business, have an idea to get that contract for themselves. Rob was changing outfits in his dressing room, when suddenly his privacy is intruded upon when Laughing Boy and Joe step through the door with guns drawn. He's ordered to turn his next act into an unfunny drama, or else he'll be shot.
Later, Zatara and Grace clap as Rob returns on stage. But instead of telling his jokes, Rob begins reciting lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Mills was not impressed. Grace can't figure out why her husband suddenly changed his act. Something was fishy... The club's host next introduced a newcomer to the stage. Laughing Boy. Behind the scenes, Joisey Joe had a container of laughing gas he was ready to use. As soon as his partner began telling jokes, he sprayed it into the ventilation system. The audience began chuckling, which led to full on laughter. Laughing Boy's jokes weren't even funny, but they couldn't help themselves. Talent agent Mills, through tars of laughter, told Grace that Laughing Boy was sure to be signed up on his contract. Zatara, however, knew there was more to the laughter than just some lame jokes. He had the foresight to cover his face with a handkerchief as soon as the chuckles began. Now he excused himself as he went backstage to investigate. Before he can open the door to Rob Lenny's dressing room, Zatara hears a rough sounding voice behind him. Joisey Joe had a gun pointed at the magician, which quickly becomes a handful of hay with the uttering of a spell. Disarmed, Joe grabs a heavy sandbag and prepares to throw it at Zatara. Another casting, and the seams of the bag come loose, spilling sand all over the crook. When Joe tries to escape, Zatara creates a false exit on the wall, which Joe falls for. He crashes into the brick wall, knocking himself unconscious. Now for the gas; Zatara shouts "sag nruter!", making all the laughing gas return to it's canister.
On stage, Laughing Boy notices the audience had stopped laughing at him. In fact, now they were boo'ing him! Zatara uses magic to make the goon's feet stick to the floor. He then makes fruit and vegetables appear in the audiences hands so they had something to throw. Laughing Boy is hit with tomatoes, cabbages, even pumpkins! A moment goes by, two, before Zatara decides he's had enough. He releases Laughing Boy's feet, allowing him to run off the stage. Maybe now he was humbled enough to tell Zatara what they had done with Rob Lenny.
The closet door in Lenny's dressing room is unlocked, letting Rob and his manager out. Zatara tells Rob about the Hollywood talent scout in the audience, urging him to hurry and put on the laughs.
Free to do his routine, Lenny is soon being applauded with raucous laughter. Mills, the talent scout, agrees to sign him up with a paycheck, much to the joy of Grace.
Appearing in Zatara: "The Case of the Phoney Funny Man"
- Laughing Boy (Single appearance)
- Joisey Joe (Single appearance)
- Rob Lenny (Single appearance)
- Grace Lenny (Single appearance)
- Mills (Single appearance)
- Published by Detective Comics, Inc.
- First issue of this title to be edited by Jack Schiff, replacing Whitney Ellsworth.
- Design for Doom is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 4.
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
- Action Comics #56