"Superman: "The Boy Who Came Back"": John Barnett was a blind old millionaire, who loved his grandson Jackie more than anything in the world. One day they walked happily along a rain-swollen stream. Tragedy struck when young Jackie lost his footing and fell into the water! There was nothing O
Action Comics #66 is an issue of the series Action Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of November, 1943.
Synopsis for Superman: "The Boy Who Came Back"
John Barnett was a blind old millionaire, who loved his grandson Jackie more than anything in the world. One day they walked happily along a rain-swollen stream. Tragedy struck when young Jackie lost his footing and fell into the water! There was nothing Old Barnett could do but listen to his grandsons screams as he was swept by the current, until his body was carried over the waterfall to the sharp rocks below. Though chances of anyone surviving were zero to nil, an add was put in the papers the next day. Barnett was offering a million dollars reward to anyone who finds Jackie alive and brings him home.
Four years later, the Daily Planet gets a tip that the millionaire's boy had been found! Clark and Lois head to the Barnett estate for the story. Mr. Annister, the Barnett's lawyer, was there with John and his grandson, who was now nine years old. Jackie doesn't remember much about the fall. He was told that he hit his head and was found stumbling around with amnesia. Clark's keen vision notices someone familiar entering the boathouse farther away. Ferret Falvey, an infamous underworld thug. Why would he be here? With Lois busy asking questions, Clark slips away to the bushes. Inside the boathouse, Ferret meets with fellow crook Roscoe Ringer, and their boss Sparks Barron. They were loading boats with stolen goods taken off trucks leaving Arms Factories. Then they would ship the cargo to any underworld hot-shot who could afford them. No one would suspect their hideout to be on the estate of a kind old man. Suddenly, Superman crashes the party, roughing up the attendees. Sparks, Ferret, and Roscoe are at the man of steel's mercy, until Mr. Annister, the lawyer, steps in. He tells Superman that if he doesn't allow Sparks and his boys to carry on, he'll reveal the truth about Jackie to the old man. It turns out, the boy wasn't the Jackie Barnett from four years ago, but really just some orphan they found and named after the kid. Neither old Bennett or the boy knew, and the truth would surely destroy them both.
Just outside the boathouse, a devastated "Jackie" heard everything. He didn't really belong here after all. He couldn't go on fooling nice old Mr. Bennett, so he figured there was only one option left; to run away and join the navy. But just like the boy for whom he was named, Jackie loses his footing near the same creek, and he falls into the current! Luckily, his cries for help are heard by Superman. The last Kryptonian sweeps over the flowing water with his x-ray sight, yet there was no sign of Jackie. He did notice a hidden secret below the waterfall, a grotto beneath the rock bed that the force of the falls broke through, creating an underground stream. He flies through the cavern, and there was Jackie, still being swept by the current! No wonder they never found the other Jackie's body! But there was still hope for this lad! Superman caught the boy and broke through the ceiling, carrying him back to the house. The boy will be fine, but a doctor is still summoned to stitch up his wounds. Later, the Barnett's doctor finishes his exam. While Jackie should be okay, he tells Mr. Barnett something he noticed. He had once performed surgery on Jackie's shoulder back when he was a toddler, but on this boy there was no sign of the scar that had been left behind. To Superman and Lois' shock, John Barnett told them he already knew that the young lad standing here now wasn't really his grandson. He had noticed the missing scar when he first felt his shoulder, but it made no difference to him. This Jackie was a nice little boy who needed a home, and he was a lonely old man who needed him. He'll sign any adoption papers required to see that Jackie gets to stay.
Meanwhile, Sparks Barron and his gang sail a boat full of contraband towards the Metropolis waterfront. They don't realize they are being followed by Superman, who wanted to finish what he started. Now that they couldn't blackmail him, the crooks are helpless. The entire boat is lifted out of the water and flown over the city to the police station! Superman lifts off and heads back to the Barnett estate where he changes back to his civilian guise as Clark Kent. He and Lois drive back to the Daily Planet, the whole time Lois musing about what a tragedy the story would've turned into had it not been for Superman.
Appearing in Superman: "The Boy Who Came Back"
- Mr. Annister (Barnett's lawyer) (Single appearance)
- Ferret Falvey (Single appearance)
- Roscoe Ringer (Single appearance)
- Sparks Barron (Single appearance)
- John Barnett (A millionaire) (Single appearance)
- Jackie Barnett (John Barnett's grandson) (Dies in flashback)
- Jackie (An orphan boy) (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Vigilante: "The Sword of Destiny"
Five hundred years ago in ancient China, a small village ruled over by the honorable House of Feng was attacked by a warlord. Before the townspeople were completely overwhelmed, Feng appeared brandishing a mighty sword. It's blade created a flash of fire, and the foe panicked and fled. And so this legend has been passed down from generation to generation to each descendant of the Feng family: "The House of Feng is to be guarded by this blade until it's enemies are no more."
On the present day in Chinatown, the last surviving Feng has the sword shipped to him. He shows it off at the Chinese Aid Rally the next day, which Stuff, the Chinatown Kid happens to attend. Feng is also gifted by the Chinatown representatives with a plaque for the sword that has the words of the Feng family legend written upon it. But when Feng sets the blade upon the plaque, a commotion starts up from a member of the audience. He is shouting that the sword tells them that "Feng was not Feng". Feng shouts for security, who fire on the man thinking he was an assassin. Stuff catches the dying man, overhearing his last words; "the sword never lies, read the message". Stuff pays a visit to Mr. Feng at his home, but when they both study the sword, there was no message anywhere on the blade or hilt. Maybe his pal Greg, a.k.a. the Vigilante, could shed some light on the mystery. A few blocks down, though, Stuff is attacked by some thugs. His time spent fighting at the Vigilante's side pay off as he manages to send his attackers fleeing.
Soon at the home of Greg Sanders, Stuff tells Greg all about the dying man's final words, and how he was jumped on the way over. There was something very unusual going on, and Greg wanted a look at the sword for himself. As Vigilante, he and Stuff ride the Vig-Cycle back to Feng's home. To their surprise, Feng claims that the sword had just been stolen! It must have been the same men who attacked Stuff. As they leave, Stuff spots one of them lurking around the house. He and Vig follow him, hoping the thug would lead them somewhere. The man hides inside an apartment, and Vig and Stuff follow him. They get ambushed by the rest of the gang, but some quick moves and a few one-two punches send the thieves running. Then, there on the table, Vigilante sees the sword. So they did steal it. Greg looks it over carefully, trying to find any secret message hiding on it, but turns up nothing. It seemed the murdered man was mistaken. They return the sacred blade to Feng's home, hanging it back on the plaque. Suddenly, Vigilante saw it! The sword's secret! The words on the plaque, when partially covered by the sword, create a different message: The House of Feng is No More! Greg and Stuff are hit from behind...
Feng stands before the two crimefighters. They are tied to some cast iron chains on the wall. It's been over twenty years, Feng explains, since he pushed the real Feng overboard during his trip to America. The name has brought him great fortune and honor, and he was ready to use the funds from the Chinese Society to take a well-deserved vacation. Unfortunately, Vigilante and Stuff will have to be killed in order to protect the phony Feng's secret. When "Feng" steps forward, his feet get tangled in Vigilante's rope, tripping him. He crashes onto a table, shaking the room and causing the sword to come loose and slice the rope binding Vig. Vigilante frees Stuff, then rounds up the thugs with his lasso, and delivers them, with the phony Feng, to the police. Whether coincidence or something far more mystical, the sword has once again protected the House of Feng from it's enemies.
Appearing in Vigilante: "The Sword of Destiny"
- False Feng (Single appearance)
- Slapsy (Single appearance)
- Mandarin Feng (Flashback only)
- Vigilante's Lasso
- Sword of Feng
Synopsis for Congo Bill: "The Talking Trees"
In the Congo of Africa, Chief Wata's tribe is being scared out of their village by a dark curse. The trees have grown voices and were yelling at the natives to leave. At least, that's what the chief told Congo Bill when he asked for his help. Bill goes with the chief to the part of the jungle where the "cursed trees" had spoke. Once they get there, a loud voice booms from the trees, warning them to stay away. Upon further investigation, Bill finds a wire hidden in the branches, and follows it to a speaker. That was how the trees were made to speak. Now Wata and Bill needed to find out why. They follow the wire further, finding a pair of Nazi officers hiding in the bushes. They surrender as soon as they're discovered, but when Bill and Chief Wata approach, a trap goes off and they are lifted up in the air by a snare. The Nazis laugh as the great Congo Bill is outsmarted, leaving him and the chief dangling for the hyenas to chew on. A serious blunder in the trap lets Wata hang higher than Bill, meaning he can reach his friend's ropes and untie him.
Congo Bill and Chief Wata come across a relay sending station guarded by Nazis. So that was why they wanted to scare the natives out of the area... The station was set up to get messages to the submarines they had hidden. The guards are taken out quickly, and then Bill sends a message through the speakers in the trees. He tells Wata's tribe to return to to the jungle, and help fight off evil invaders! The tribe join together, and from every bush and cranny, hordes of natives swarm to aid Bill and their chief against the returning Nazis! From the Lieutenant, Bill steals the code book for transmissions. A native is sent with a message to the U.S. Naval station just off the coast...
Days later the Nazi subs receive a coded transmission telling them to meet at a new location. What the Nazis don't know is that it wasn't their commander, but Congo Bill who sent the message. As the subs rendezvous at the coordinates given, they become surrounded by a mighty Allied Armada who were responding to the message Bill had sent earlier. Caught unaware, with no time to submerge, the Nazi subs are destroyed! Later, Bill shakes hands with the Admiral at the Navy base, who thanks him for his service.
Appearing in Congo Bill: "The Talking Trees"
- Lieutenant Drumpf (Single appearance)
- Kurt (Single appearance)
- Chief Wata (Single appearance)
- Nazi Submarines (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Americommando: "Burma Remembers"
Tex Thompson, the Americommando, is sent to Burma to destroy the stocks of rubber that the Japanese have taken for themselves. If he can rally the support of the Burmese villagers to his side, then overthrowing the Japanese occupation should be much easier. Americommando parachutes down to the Burmese jungle, and navigates silently through the brush. But once he arrives at the village, he finds nothing but burned down huts. A lonely figure staggers into view; He was Kumar, the prince of the village. He starts to explain what happened.
- Even before the Japanese invaded, the village had fallen on hard times. With barely enough food to feed everybody, and no money, they figured their village would be overlooked by the Axis. When the Japanese came, the villagers didn't fight back. They were forced to work the rubber supplies that were stolen from the English. Any who opposed were swiftly beaten. One day the Japanese had enough, and set the entire village aflame. An injured Kumar somehow managed to crawl away unnoticed.
Tex has Kumar show him to the rubber plantation. He remains to scout the enemy position while Kumar heads back to fetch his people. But Tex doesn't see the snare until it pulls him up off his feet. The Japanese officers find him and tie him to a post. His sentence is to be execution by bayonet. Meanwhile, Kumar and his people arrive at the location Americommando had marked for them. They can see the execution happening from their vantage point, and decide to help their comrade. Startled by the sight of an armed Burmese mob rushing towards them, the Japanese abandon Americommando to flee. Kumar undoes Tex's bonds. With a grenade, Tex sets the rubber store-houses on fire. The smoke makes the Japanese workers run out in coughing fits, to be captured by the Burmese villagers.
The surviving Japanese are rounded up. Kumar promises Americommando that his people will now join in the fight against the wicked Axis.
Appearing in Americommando: "Burma Remembers"
- Japanese Army
- Captain Gato (Single appearance)
- Kumar (Single appearance)
- Surviving Villagers
Synopsis for Zatara: "Circus Daze"
Young Jimmy and Joey come across a gang of street kids led by Rip Nolan. The gang beats them up and steals the nineteen dollars Joey was going to spend on war bonds. At the same moment, in another part of town, a jewelry shop is being robbed by Rip's older brother, gangster Cleaver Nolan. However, Cleaver and his lackeys are suddenly bitten by the wad of bills, which have magically grown teeth! Zatara saw the robbers from outside, and enchanted the interior to come to life, chasing them off. They all head in different directions, so Zatara chooses two and chases them into a kids backyard. The ground below the robbers starts swaying to-and-fro like an ocean wave. The crooks lose their footing and are caught!
Jimmy ad Joey watched the whole thing, impressed by Zatara's power. Maybe he can help them get Joey's money back. After hearing the boys plight, the great magician suggests they stage a circus to make up for the money they lost. He'll even drop in to open the show. The boys become excited and run off to gather their friends together to act as sideshow attractions. In the days that follow, the kids get to work building cages and painting an old shack with red and white stripes. Finally, the big day arrives, and Joey acts as the Barker and ticket-seller. The children from all around the neighborhood come to see the show, paying ten cents a ticket. Everyone was having fun; then little Rip Nolan arrives, shoving his way past the line and entering the circus shack without paying. He goes to the Wild-Man cage, which was actually just young Johnny Green in a Tarzan costume, and laughs that he could whip him easily. Zatara casts a spell from behind the scenes, turning Johnny into a full grown muscular adult, a real Wild-Man! All over the "tent" miraculous changes occur in front of Rip's gang. A small pussycat turns into a large tiger, a real gorilla thumps his chest and spanks one of the punks with a board! Rip and his friends run away bawling like babies, swearing they'll get even!
Cleaver Nolan gets a visit from his little brother, Rip, who tells him what happened. Nobody messes with his little brother, Cleaver swears, taking his fellow crooks down to the "circus". Zatara is confronted by the gangster, demanding to meet the Wild Man that gave his brother a scare. Johnny introduces himself, and once again gets turned into the large Wild Man that's more than a match for a couple of tough guys. But to be safe, Zatara also summons the rest of the circus animals, including an elephant which takes Cleaver in it's trunk and dunks him in the water barrel! The tiger and gorilla take care of the others. Jimmy, Joey, and their friends teach Rip a lesson by overwhelming him and his pals, turning him upside down and shaking him until the nineteen dollars he stole falls out of his pockets!
Hours later, the police show up at the kids show for a new special attraction. Cleaver Nolan and his gang locked in a cage, ready for transport to jail.
Appearing in Zatara: "Circus Daze"
- Cleaver Nolan (Single appearance)
- Rip Nolan (Single appearance)
- Jimmy (Single appearance)
- Joey (Single appearance)
- Johnny Green (Single appearance)
- Published by Detective Comics, Inc.
- Superman: The Boy Who Came Back is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 4.
- This issue also contains a 4-page humor story "Vitamin Vic" by Jack Farr