"Black Condor: "The Unsung Hero"": March 15th, 1942: Senator Tom Wright looks out his office window and spots a guy about to leap off the Washington Monument. A split second -- and he is transformed to the Black Condor! He catches the jumper, who has been driven mad by amnesia; he can't
- Now Butch -- There's a few things I want to know -- The first is -- -- How'd that trap get in my pocket ??
- 1 Synopsis for Black Condor: "The Unsung Hero"
- 2 Appearing in Black Condor: "The Unsung Hero"
- 3 Synopsis for Spitfire: "Mission to Gibralter"
- 4 Appearing in Spitfire: "Mission to Gibralter"
- 5 Synopsis for Don Q: "President Orders Expulsion of 1200 Germans"
- 6 Appearing in Don Q: "President Orders Expulsion of 1200 Germans"
- 7 Synopsis for Pen Miller: "Submarines Off California"
- 8 Appearing in Pen Miller: "Submarines Off California"
- 9 Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
- 10 Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- 11 Synopsis for Hack O'Hara: "Slugger Joe"
- 12 Appearing in Hack O'Hara: "Slugger Joe"
- 13 Synopsis for Alias the Spider: "The Yellow Scorpion"
- 14 Appearing in Alias the Spider: "The Yellow Scorpion"
- 15 Synopsis for Tor, the Magic Master: "Doc Moke"
- 16 Appearing in Tor, the Magic Master: "Doc Moke"
- 17 Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 18 Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- 19 Synopsis for The Clock: "License of a Murderer"
- 20 Appearing in The Clock: "License of a Murderer"
- 21 Notes
- 22 See Also
- 23 Links and References
Synopsis for Black Condor: "The Unsung Hero"
March 15th, 1942: Senator Tom Wright looks out his office window and spots a guy about to leap off the Washington Monument. A split second -- and he is transformed to the Black Condor! He catches the jumper, who has been driven mad by amnesia; he can't remember who he is, and he's just sick of living like that. As they land, a car full of spies drives by and takes at shot at the guy, and misses, but escapes before Condor can get his Black Ray unholstered.
Black Condor takes the mystery man to the Senate Office Building and arranges for him to meet his good friend, Senator Wright, who has some questions. The jumper starts to remember stuff: he's Jed Hawks, a guilt-ridden former fifth columnist, with horrible news! The Japanese are planning to attack Pearl Harbor! After learning the current date, Hawks has more news: a joint German-Japanese attack on the Panama Canal is scheduled for this very day! The guy then runs out of the office, and Wright makes no move to stop him, changing instead to his superhero alter ego and flying directly to Panama. Jed Hawks, in the next five minutes, gets to the USAAF airfield near Washington, D.C., and steals a 2-engine bomber which is halfway loaded with bombs. He also flies to Panama.
A German fleet arrives off the eastern coast of Panama and two carriers launch a fleet of 2-engine bombers, followed by a swarm of 2-engine dive bombers. Much damage is inflicted on U.S. military installations. A pack of Japanese submarines arrives off the western coast, and stands by. The Black Condor arrives, attacks one bomber, takes it over, and uses its bombs to destroy one aircraft carrier. Specially-equipped German fighter planes shoot down his bomber, but the Condor rides it down to the surface then swims toward the remaining carrier. Before he can reach it, German planes swoop down to attack him, but then Jed Hawks arrives in his stolen U.S. bomber, and attacks them. He's massively outnumbered and can't win, but he dives his plane, and its partial load of bombs, into a deadly crash on the carrier's flight deck, destroying that ship, at the cost of his own life.
Black Condor gets airborne again, attacks another German bomber, raids it, takes it over, forces the crew to trick the other Luftwaffe planes to follow this bomber, and uses it to drop bombs onto the Japanese subs stationed off Panama's Pacific coast. Some of the submarines escape, but at least one does not. Low on fuel, the German bombers are then compelled to land at Randolph Field and surrender.
Appearing in Black Condor: "The Unsung Hero"
- Jed Hawks (Dies)
- Washington, D.C.
- Senate Office Building
- Washington Monument
- USAAF airfield
- Randolph Field, Texas
- Condor's Black Ray Pistol
- stolen Martin B-26 Marauder (Destroyed)
- two German aircraft carriers (both destroyed)
- at least 4 Japanese submarines (at least one destroyed)
Synopsis for Spitfire: "Mission to Gibralter"
Tex Adams, who is not officially attached to the Eagle Squadron, and who is an experienced B-25 pilot, is dispatched from England to Gibralter in US-built 2-engine bomber, along with his mechanic Chuck and a sergeant gunner. They take off the following dawn, and some time later, the gunner turns out to be both a woman and a spy. She gunpoint-hijacks the plane, changing course for France. She claims to be able to fly the bomber, so she can still make her plan work even if she has to kill them both.
Over the coast of France they encounter a German 3-motor seaplane, which attacks them, crippling one engine, before Spitfire is able to slip into a cloud bank and escape. It's no use however, the dead engine inexorably drags the big bomber down towards the ocean's surface. The tension builds until the girl's pistol wavers; in that same second Chuck is out of his seat and knocking her out. Tex slams open the throttle on the supposedly disabled engine; he had been bluffing this whole time. They resume their course for Gibraltar, now with a prisoner.
Appearing in Spitfire: "Mission to Gibralter"
- Eagle Squadron C.O.
- Chuck Bolton
- Allied North American B-25 Mitchell bomber w/ British markings
- German Blohm & Voss BV 138 patrol seaplane
Synopsis for Don Q: "President Orders Expulsion of 1200 Germans"
1200 German citizens are deported from the U.S. to Germany aboard the steamship Asturia. But a secret plot is afoot, to capture the Asturia. Don Q confirms his suspicions about this plot by beating up an elderly book seller in Lisbon, until he squeals. Don Q reports his findings to the British Consul, but his concerns are complacently dismissed. His back-up plan is to charter a seaplane, and fly out to meet the Asturia. Only one seaplane is available and only one pilot: Li'L Pierre!
Far out at sea, they successfully locate and approach the Asturia, land, and board it, only to find the ship under the control of a well-armed German prize crew. Using a complicated ruse to pump knock-out gas thru the air-conditioning system, they had gained control of the civilian American ship. This is an act of war! Don and Pierre are soon locked in a makeshift brig with the Asturia's real officers and crew. Admiral Kiel walks in and, without any prompting, reveals to the prisoners what the big plan is: A squadron of British destroyers is escorting (and of course guiding) the Asturia, thru the Royal Navy's blockade, to Gibraltar. Unknown to them, a powerful squadron of German warships is following this convoy, thru the minefields, to make a surprise attack on Gibraltar and take it over.
He is standing too close to Don Q when he says all that, and that's what gets him punched out. Don and Pierre make a break for it, get to the main deck, over the rail, and into the cold ocean, then swim and yell until the nearest destroyer notices them, comes about, and picks them up. Shortly later, some Stuka dive-bombers arrive and attack that destroyer, which is hit and sinks. Don Q and Pierre must again swim for their lives, but soon find a life raft, which is equipped with a flare, with which they are able to signal an arriving RAF rescue seaplane. Don Q warns the aircrew about the impending attack; the Asturia must not reach the harbor!
But the Asturia has a good head start, and does reach the harbor, but before it gets to the docks, the rescue seaplane drops some bombs on it. The explosions are mistaken by the German advance units for the signal to start the large scale attack, and they prematurely do so. Many German aircraft arrive, and paratroopers rain down, but the main body of the German fleet has not arrived, and the defending British forces are able to repel the assault. As for that fleet, they can expect some trouble finding their way back out of those waters, as a flotilla of mine-layers has already been deployed to augment the existing minefields.
Appearing in Don Q: "President Orders Expulsion of 1200 Germans"
- Li'l Pierre, now a charter pilot
- Admiral Kiel
- German sailors and marines
- German paratroopers
- SS Asturia's real captain
- his officers and crew
- British destroyer captain
- his officers and crew
- U.S.-flagged passenger liner, SS Asturia (damaged)
- Portugese (?) open-cockpit 1-engine seaplane
- German U-boat (not seen)
- British destroyers (one sinks) & mine-layers
- German Stuka dive-bombers & troop-carriers
Synopsis for Pen Miller: "Submarines Off California"
Freighters are being torpedoed right off the coast of California, so cartoonist-detective Pen Miller and his houseboy Chop Chu take an ocean fishing vacation to the coast. Pen suspects that information is being leaked out, in some way, to the Japanese submarine commanders. His investigation leads him to suspect the Japanese farm workers at Arnold Benedict's cabbage farm are using rockets and flares to signal when a cargo ship is sailing. Chop Chu gets hired on at the farm, and confirms this suspicion.
Pen persuades the FBI to put out a fake sailing report for the following evening, then visits the farm, and sure enough, some signal rockets are being launched. He's attacked by a machete-wielding killer, but punches him out, then goes on to also punch out Benedict the farm owner. He takes these two to the FBI, then returns, and gets to work on figuring out how Arnold was receiving shipping notices. He arranges with Chop Chu to make use of Arnold's own coop of carrier pigeons, and Miller's fast airplane, to find the source of this info. This method leads him to a nightclub in Chinatown, and the next evening Pen Miller pays it a visit.
With a bit of poking around, he finds a opium den in the back rooms, where addicted port authority workers are plied for shipping dates, then lets himself get captured by the security goons, in order to get directly to the boss. During that conversation, a carrier pigeon shows up at the window, proving Pen's theory. He then beats up all the gun and sword wielding men in the room, and turns them over to the law.
Appearing in Pen Miller: "Submarines Off California"
- Chop Chu, Pen's houseboy
- FBI (Behind the scenes)
- Japanese Navy
- Arnold Benedict
- farm labor spy gang
- night club boss
- his thugs
- Benedict's carrier pigeons.
- Japanese submarines
- Miller's airplane
Synopsis for "Ned Brant"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Ned Brant"
- Ned Brant
Synopsis for Hack O'Hara: "Slugger Joe"
Appearing in Hack O'Hara: "Slugger Joe"
- Slugger Joe
- unnamed lady
- her date
- ambulance driver
- Nurse Vento
- O'Hara's hack
Synopsis for Alias the Spider: "The Yellow Scorpion"
At night in a bad neighborhood in New York City, the Spider stalks a deformed Japanese agent, who may or may not be deliberately leading him along. The Spider chases the guy, until he runs into a blind alley, hemmed in by four stone walls, and loses him. While he's thinking over that problem, shots ring out, and the Spider slumps to the pavement! Spies run out thru some secret doors, grab the Spider, and toss him into a half-flooded, abandoned sewer.
From a nearby vantage point Chuck observes all this, wishing that he'd brought his rod with him this evening, then is surprised to see that all the agents also climb down into the sewer. Moments later, Chuck also dives in, and to his great surprise, meets up with the still-alive Spider, and learns about his new, bulletproof costume. Chuck and the Spider swim thru the tunnel, and soon overtake a small rowboat full of the enemy agents. They very quietly grab on and get a tow to the end of the tunnel. The spies tie up their boat at an underground pier and trudge up a stairway, for an audience their boss, the Yellow Scorpion, with the Spider and Chuck listening in. His orders and simple and clear: this system of tunnels runs under almost every defense industry in the city; there's the dynamite; get busy.
The Spider shoots a blazing arrow into a big open box of dynamite, then they both charge in for a bare-fisted melee against overwhelming odds. At the last second, Spider himself dumps the burning box into the water, and Chuck gets hold of a submachine gun. The Spider unlimbers his bow and covers the enemy agents, lining them up against the wall to await the police. But the Yellow Scorpion has meanwhile slipped away.
Appearing in Alias the Spider: "The Yellow Scorpion"
- Chuck, his chauffeur
- Spider's bulletproof costume (First appearance))
- Spider's customized "Spider Seal" arrows
Synopsis for Tor, the Magic Master: "Doc Moke"
Doc Moke gets out of prison on parole, and starts hunting down the men who put him there, (one of whom is Patrolman Noonan). He shoots a lawyer, one juror, and Judge Decker dead. Jim Slade's editor assigns him to find out what's going on. Slade puts on his mustache and cloak, becoming Tor the Magic Master, then shrinks his heavy news camera into a miniature, and visits the murder scene, where he notices a creepy bespectacled man with a walking stick and a top hat. Tor turns himself into a moth, and rides along atop the top hat. He's in luck! This very guy turns out to be the murderer, Doc Moke! His walking stick is actually a disguised rifle, and he now confronts Officer Noonan, readying a fatal shot! So Tor resumes his regular size and weight, collapsing the killer beneath himself. Moke jumps back up and runs away; Noonan pursues. Tor snaps some pictures, then stretches out his arm and hand, over the roofs of a block of buildings, and grabs the fleeing murderer on the next street away. This enables Officer Noonan to finally get him under arrest. Tor changes back into Jim Slade and snaps some photographs of the capture.
Appearing in Tor, the Magic Master: "Doc Moke"
- Slade's editor
- Doc Moke
- Judge Decker (Dies)
- Officer Noonan
- Moke's trick walking stick
Synopsis for "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
(newspaper strip reprints)
Appearing in "Jane Arden // Lena Pry"
- Jane Arden (across top halves of pages)
- Lena Pry (across bottom halves of pages
Synopsis for The Clock: "License of a Murderer"
Late one evening, Brian O'Brien is the only witness as a recklessly-driven car swerves thru a downtown intersection, and a body is thrown out of it. O'Brien memorizes the license plate number, then checks the victim. It's the District Attorney, he's dead, and there's a crude warning note. Brian reports all this to Captain Kane, but Kane doesn't know much, only that the D.A. was working on a secret investigation. O'Brien walks home, cooking up a plan along the way, then has some instructions for Butch when he arrives at his apartment. From the license plate number, he's already figured out that the murderers are "Gong Gong" Klanes and his pal "Runt" Malay. Clock tells Butch to stay out in the hallway while he barges into Gong Gong's apartment. He intimidates Klanes into ratting on his boss (Magoni, at 198 Shore Drive) then pummels him unconscious anyway, while Butch intercepts and knocks out the fleeing Runt. Magoni is just a few buildings away, so they run there across the rooftops, making some amazing leaps along the way. They get into Magoni's building and break into his apartment, fighting at least three thugs counting Magoni, and are doing well until the Clock gets head-konked unconscious with a blackjack. They both get tied up and locked in a room where Butch finds a rat-trap, which she quietly picks up and slides into the Clock's jacket pocket. Then a gunman orders them out, for a last word with Magoni. But of course before Magoni can put his big knife to use he has his henchman search the Clock, and when the trap snaps on his hand, he flinches so hard that his gun is flung in Butch's direction; she catches it, then catches on that she's holding a loaded gat for probably the first time in her life, and she shakes so hard that it almost goes off while the bad guys obediently untie the Clock. Once he's untied, the Clock decks both remaining upright thugs, then has some questions about this trap being in his pocket...
Appearing in The Clock: "License of a Murderer"
- Captain Kane
- Gong Gong Klanes
- Runt Mullay
- An unnamed district attorney (Dies)
- Crack Comics becomes bi-monthly with #23.
- First issue in Crack Comics for the Pen Miller feature, migrating from National Comics.
- Also featured in this issue of Crack Comics were:
- Black Condor:
- The March 15, 1942 date is given by Sen. Wright, in dialogue.
- Black Condor's split-second identity changes are every bit as unexplained as the origins and capabilities of his Black Ray pistol.
- Black Condor's vision is keen enough for him to recognize Jed Hawks as the pilot of a bomber in a dogfight happening hundreds of feet above his head.
- The Clock:
- In this story, the Clock now wears a domino mask instead of the handkerchief from previous issues. On the cover, he still wears the full-face kerchief.
- The Clock receives yet another blunt instrument head trauma in this issue.
- Don Q is, or affects to be, shocked at the German Navy's seizure of the SS Asturia, an act of war.
- This implies that the story is set some time before December 1941.
- But the U.S. President expels 1200 German citizens, which implies that the story is set in or after December 1941.
- Those 1200 German civilians are still aboard the Asturia when Don Q's patrol bomber blows it up.
- Don Q dives into the ocean and swims as hard as he can, twice, without removing or losing that monocle.
- Alias, the Spider:
- The Spider's new bulletproof costume looks exactly like his old costume, hence Chuck's confusion.
- The Yellow Scorpion is still at large, at this story's end.
- This issue's story is Tex Adams' last adventure with the Eagle Squadron; next issue he transfers to Burma to join the Flying Tigers.
- The Clock was not among any of the three squads of super heroes that followed Uncle Sam from Earth-Two to Earth-X, in Dec 1941, Feb 1942, nor April 1942.
- There's no evidence of the Clock having any Earth-Two career at all, so all of his adventures, in Crack Comics, took place on Earth-Quality AND New Earth (post Zero Hour), only.
- The Earth-Quality version of The Clock lived and worked in New York City; the New Earth version lived and worked in Chicago (according to The Shade's journals).
- The Spider was among the third wave of inter-universe superhero migration, following Uncle Sam to Earth-X, on April 1st 1942, as described in All-Star Squadron #50.
- The Black Condor from Earth-Two made the move to Earth-X in 1942-Feb, the 2nd wave of inter-universe superhero migration; while the Black Condor from Earth-Quality did not. Their careers diverged at that point.
- Black Condor E-2 participated in the Battle of Santa Barbara and all subsequent adventures of Uncle Sam's Freedom Fighters, as described in All-Star Squadron Vol 1 and Freedom Fighters Vol 1.
- Black Condor E-Q had the adventures described in subsequent issues Crack Comics, all set in the Quality Universe, because those stories are mostly set in the USA, with no evidence of the German Victory that took place on Earth-X.