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"Seven Soldiers of Victory: "Beware! The Black Star Shines!"": John Pemberton brings his son Sylvester to the bank where he works in the hopes of getting him interested in a financial career. While there, Sylvester and the family chauffeur Pat Dugan notice five suspicious-looking individuals wor

Quote1.png ...And I suspect that these five criminals have merged their sinister strength into one powerful organization against society and justice. Gentlemen, this calls for action from all of us! Quote2.png
Star-Spangled Kid

Leading Comics #2 is an issue of the series Leading Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of March, 1942.

Synopsis for Seven Soldiers of Victory: "Beware! The Black Star Shines!"

John Pemberton brings his son Sylvester to the bank where he works in the hopes of getting him interested in a financial career. While there, Sylvester and the family chauffeur Pat Dugan notice five suspicious-looking individuals working on a water main outside the bank. These men are not really construction workers, but small-time criminals who go by the names of Falseface, Captain Bigg, Hopper, the Brain, and the Rattler. The thugs deliberately burst a water main, forcing tons of pressurized water to blast open the side of the bank wall. They steal the money from the bank, then disguise themselves as police officers to make their getaway. Back at their lair, the thugs respond to a pre-recorded message from their ringleader the Black Star. The Black Star is pleased with their progress and gives them each their next mission - all of which take place in different cities.

Meanwhile, Sylvester and Pat, having borne witness to this crime change into their costumed identities as the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy and unite with the other Legionnaires. These Seven Soldiers of Victory investigate the crime, and Green Arrow manages to track down their getaway vehicle as well its driver, Mowse. They also recover footage of the Black Star's recorded instructions and learn where the thieves will strike next. They decide to split up and go after each criminal in turn.

Appearing in Seven Soldiers of Victory: "Beware! The Black Star Shines!"

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  • Mowse (a getaway driver) (Single appearance)

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Synopsis for Shining Knight: "Mystery of the Clowning Criminals"

The Shining Knight goes to New Orleans on the track of one of Black Star's agents - Falseface. He finds Falseface's crew dressed up as clowns and insinuating themselves into the Mardi Gras parade floats. The criminals rob some of the festival patrons, but the Shining Knight intervenes. He gives chase, and they try to escape aboard the New York Limited. After a prolonged chase across the tops of the train cars, Falseface escapes.

The Shining Knight returns to the festival where he finds a group of partiers dressed as characters from the time of King Arthur. The Knight is perplexed and mistakes them for people from his own past. Falseface's crew ambush the Shining Knight in his confusion and encase him in fast-drying lime. The Knight manages to break free and learns of Falseface's next scheme.

Falseface impersonates a police detective and sneaks into the home of Mardi Gras administrator J.J. Ennis. He makes an attempt to steal the valuable Star Sapphire gemstone. The Shining Knight appears and fights Falseface. He tackles him then punches him through a window, and discovers the villain's skull-like face isn't a mask after all. While the hero's attention is on Falseface, Black Star himself sneaks into the house and swipes an apparently worthless old rag doll.

Appearing in Shining Knight: "Mystery of the Clowning Criminals"

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  • J.J. Ennis (a Mardi Gras administrator) (Single appearance)
  • Several New Orleans partiers (Single appearance)

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  • Star Sapphire gemstone

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  • The New York Limited

Synopsis for Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy: "Mystery of the Santa Claus Pirate"

A strange man known as the Santa Claus Pirate assembles a crew and begins attacking yachts off the coast of Key West. But rather than robbing these ships for their valuables, the Santa Claus Pirate instead gives them treasure chests filled with jewels. His crew question his actions, but the Santa Claus Pirate assures them that these are just measures that will yield greater riches down the road. The Santa Claus Pirate continues boarding ships in such a manner, and within a short period of time, yacht captains actually begin to welcome the pirate's approach.

Meanwhile, Sylvester Pemberton and Pat Dugan come to Key West. They know that one of the Black Star's agents is active in the area and they soon learn about the Santa Claus Pirate.

Before long, the Santa Claus Pirate attacks and boards a ship owned by a Mister Dolan. Instead of giving them treasure however, his crew holds him at gunpoint, forcing him to surrender more than two million dollars in bonds from the ship's vault. When they open the vault, they find the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy waiting for them. The heroes fight against the pirates, but the Santa Claus Pirate defeats them. He ties them to a buoy in the middle of the sea and leaves them for dead. The Kid and Stripesy manage to escape and they use the Star-Rocket Racer to track the pirate ship down. They succeed in apprehending the pirate crew, and when they unmask the Santa Claus Pirate, they find that it is actually the Black Star agent Captain Bigg (who in reality is a man named Doctor Yates, the head of a marine biology laboratory in the Keys).

As Captain Bigg is taken away, the Black Star acknowledges his underling's defeat, but muses to himself that everything is still going according to his ultimate design as he steals an ordinary pipe.

Appearing in Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy: "Mystery of the Santa Claus Pirate"

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  • Mister Dolan

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Synopsis for Green Arrow and Speedy: "Mystery of the One-Man Museum"

The Hopper and his entourage are running a carnival booth where everyone wins, even if they lose, as long as they sign their name and address in a registry. A tattered transient is turned away, as it turns out the gang is actually collecting information on potential and figure he's got nothing to steal. The Hopper robs the hotel suite of a man named Coburn, easily reaching the window with a high-powered pogostick. But even though Coburn has thousands in cash, Hopper's enraged because this isn't the right Coburn; he was actually after the tattered transient, who looks that way because he's a miser who spends all his money gathering art treasures and precious jewels. He even carries a fortune of them around with him, making a kind of "one-man museum".

Green Arrow and Speedy show up at the carnival and rescue the gang's real target, but from their strange outfits he gathers they're criminals trying to rob him too. So when the duo get on a roller coaster with Coburn for a temporary respite, he shoves them off after their guard's down. The pair of archers manage to save themselves without harm, but this leaves Coburn undefended when the Hopper's gang does the logical thing and catches him when the ride comes to a stop at the station. The crooks easily force Coburn to tell them where his fortune's hidden: in the Castle of Fear. Fortunately the archers heard this too and make to follow.

After taking out the Hopper's hirelings one by one, Green Arrow confronts the fiend himself, who confiscates Green Arrow's bow with the threat of blowing Coburn's head off. Fortunately Speedy falls through a trapdoor and down through a chute that drops him right on top of the Hopper, letting Green Arrow regain the upper hand. Hopper tries to escape with the aid of his pogostick but crashes into a high table and is captured. Meanwhile Black Star is again on hand, and steals a seemingly worthless broken pocket watch from Coburn's priceless stash.

Appearing in Green Arrow and Speedy: "Mystery of the One-Man Museum"

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  • Billy Leeds
  • Bobby Leeds
  • Doctor Carse
  • Coburn
  • Mister Bandler
  • Mister Dolan
  • Wilkins

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Synopsis for Crimson Avenger and Wing: "The Case of the Twisted Twins"

Crimson Avenger and Wing find themselves in Twin City, at a hotel where a convention of twins is going on. They haven't even finished unpacking when they notice gas coming through their room's vent and deduce the Brain must already be trying to rid of them. The heroes find where the criminals are pumping the gas into the ductwork, and send them packing when Wing dumps the entire contents of the coal cellar on them. In the ensuing confusion the criminals get away, but Avenger finds they left a scalpel behind. The next day that's not all he finds: the gas that flooded the hotel has made all the twins stop looking like each other.

Avenger thinks the scalpel may be the clue to this and learns it's one of a kind, and the only one ever ordered was used by a Dr. Carse. Avenger and Wing to visit this Dr. Carse, who's been ordered to find one of the twins from the convention by a bandage-faced man called Bandler. The Brain shows up but after a fight manages to get away by threatening Avenger with a gun. On the way out he demands Bandler meet him, because he has "Bobby Leeds".

Meeting with Bandler himself, Avenger learns he's a dying man confined to an iron lung. The people who used the gas to mismatch the twins were actually working for Bandler, so he could find Bobby Leeds, the only known person who can give him a blood transfusion that will restore his vitality. Avenger and Wing to the dive bar where the Brain ordered the meeting to take place, and save Bobby Leeds...or so they think. The fight was so quick because the Brain meant for his men to lose so they could trail him back to Bandler's secret hideout, where he demands a million dollars to Bobby Leeds give the transfusion Bandler needs. After Crimson Avenger and Wing take care of the Brain's gang, Bandler's bandages fall away, and he turns out to be the Brain's own twin brother. Bobby Leeds agrees to donate his blood to save Bandler's life willingly, like Crimson Avenger had insisted he be allowed to do.

While everyone's attention is elsewhere, Black Star sneaks in again and steals a silver dollar from Bandler's possessions.

Appearing in Crimson Avenger and Wing: "The Case of the Twisted Twins"

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  • Billy Leeds
  • Bobby Leeds
  • Doctor Carse
  • Coburn
  • Mister Bandler
  • Mister Dolan
  • Wilkins

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Synopsis for Vigilante: "The Sixty Kiddie Club"

Vigilante and Billy Gunn find a dying man who tells them one thing before expiring: "Sixty Kiddie Club". Vigilante does happen to know what this means: a place run by an old friend of his father, out in the middle of the desert, where retired men reconnect with their childhoods. A group of "Indians" set fire to the club, but are scared off by the sound of the army attacking which Billy simulated by popping balloons. Vigilante and Billy trail the fake attackers to a trailer, where one of them cracks and admits the Rattler is one of the men back at the club, but the Rattler is closer than they think and takes Vigilante and Billy Captive. They're left tied to stakes in the desert, but manage to escape before a poisonous snake can finish them off.

Vigilante catches up to the Rattler, but he's knocked out when the Rattler throws a rock at his head. The gang heads back to the club to interrogate a man there named Wilkins, but a recovered Vigilante shows up, and is able to call out which club patron is really the Rattler. The desert rock he used as an impromptu projectile stained his hands red and gave him away. Wilkins explains what they were after: he owns an extremely rare stamp worth $100k.

The Black Star makes his move then, and like before steals a seemingly ordinary object instead of the more valuable prize owned by the victim. This time, a key.

Appearing in Vigilante: "The Sixty Kiddie Club"

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  • Wilkins
  • The Sixty Kiddie Club
    • Mister Xavier
    • Mister Yale
    • Mister Zinch

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Synopsis for Seven Soldiers of Victory: "The Black Star Shines (Conclusion)"

Wilkin explains to the assembled heroes the link between him and the other targets of the Black Star's schemes. They were the heads of a chemical firm who discovered a "black light" that could enlarge organic life, and each hid part of the secret in an unobtrusive object. Black Star uses this power to make himself a powerful physical specimen, and then challenges the hero team to stop him. After fighting through an army of giant crows, ants, and rabbits, the Soldiers make it inside Black Star's lab. He enlarges a spider to destroy them, but they escape when Vigilante's gunfire sets its webbing on fire. Stripesy punches Black Star into the path of his own enlarging ray, and he grows so big his body his body can't handle the strain of living, and the Black Star dies.

Appearing in Seven Soldiers of Victory: "The Black Star Shines (Conclusion)"

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  • Black Star's lifeform-enlarging device

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Notes



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