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"Newsboy Legion: "The Rafferty Mob"": A new gang is in town. The Rafferty mob, a loud, rude group of kids who do what they want, leaving a soda shop without paying, and talking loudly over the movies playing in the theater. The Newsboy Legion try to meet with their leader to convince him into ke

Star-Spangled Comics #17 is an issue of the series Star-Spangled Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of February, 1943.

Synopsis for Newsboy Legion: "The Rafferty Mob"

A new gang is in town. The Rafferty mob, a loud, rude group of kids who do what they want, leaving a soda shop without paying, and talking loudly over the movies playing in the theater. The Newsboy Legion try to meet with their leader to convince him into keeping his mob under control. But when Rafferty is discovered to be a girl, the boys lose their nerve. How can they fight a girl? Meanwhile, officer Jim Harper gets several calls from local business owners about Desmond Depew, a crooked attorney who wants them to pay protection money. With the Rafferty kids terrorizing the neighborhood, many have already conceded just so they'll stay away. He meets with Depew, who gives him a thinly veiled warning to stay out of it. This only leaves Jim with more resolve. The man was using kids for his own diabolical purpose. Maybe as a policeman he couldn't arrest Depew without evidence, but as the Guardian he could stop him.

Later that night, as the legionnaires head back home, dejected, they come across the Guardian as he is climbing up to Depew's office and decide to observe him. Maybe helping out the slums own local hero would boost their spirits. Listening in, Jim overhears Depew and his men mention how they got the tomboy girl working for them. How he framed her brother and got him thrown in prison, and that if they get caught he can just blame her and her "mob". The Guardian breaks through the ceiling in a surprise attack, but one of the lackeys gets a shot in, hitting the shield hero on the helmet. While outside, Tommy watches the Guardian's plight from a tree and reports to his friends below. Big Words, Gabby, and Scrapper run to help the Guardian, but Tommy gets his pants stuck on a branch and can't get down! The others find Depew and his goons carrying the Guardian out of the building. They go on the offensive, but are overcome and taken along with the Guardian into a car headed for their hideout. Tommy manages to free himself from the branch, but how can he save his friends? He'd need help, and there was only one person he can think of asking. He runs all the way back to Maggie Rafferty's house, her mob could help him out if he explains the truth to her about her brother.
When she hears that her brother was framed by Depew, Rafferty becomes more open to the idea of helping the Newsboys and the Guardian deal with him. She only started the gang in the first place because several business owners in Suicide Slum knew that her brother was innocent, and she wanted to scare them into testifying. But with Depew being the mastermind behind the frame-up, she could simply beat a confession out of him instead. She whistles, signaling all the boys in her mob to join her and Tommy in a march to Depew's hideout!

The Guardian and the Newsboys are bound in chains at an old work garage. The chains give them a good grip for rolling, much like a car tire on ice, which they use to knock over their captors. Again, the man with the gun fires at the Guardian, but this time his shot isn't so lucky. It snaps the chains around his body, he was free! Suddenly, a loud roaring of voices fills the air as a cascade of kids charges into the room! The Guardian knocks Depew down with one punch while the Rafferty mob hands a beating to the other thugs.

The next day, with crooked lawyer Depew now behind bars, and her brother free, Maggie officially disbands her gang. Jim finds his charges depressively sitting on the steps, minus Tommy who is nowhere to be seen. The reason being he was out on a date with Maggie Rafferty at the soda shop...

Appearing in Newsboy Legion: "The Rafferty Mob"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • the Rafferty Mob
    • Maggie Rafferty (Single appearance)
  • Desmond Depew (Single appearance)
  • Aces (Single appearance)
  • Bones (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Sugarfoot Sam (Single appearance)
  • Tony the fruit seller

Locations:

Items:


Synopsis for Star-Spangled Kid: "Spy City"

The limo breaks down in the middle of the desert, so Sylvester and Pat have to hike through the hot sands to find help. Just when they're near the end of their rope, an oasis with fresh water gives them renewed vigor. However, all is not what it seems when one of the palm trees starts rising to reveal a hidden elevator. They change into their American hero attires before the doors open and Nazis surround them. Beneath the oasis, deep beneath the desert sands, was a huge Nazi war base carrying planes and munitions enough to launch a surprise attack on American forces. After a few violent mishaps with some patrolling guards, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy manage to alert the entire base. Good thing Stripesy knew how to pilot a plane, because he needed to steer one of the German fighters straight into an angry party of Hitler's worst that was charging towards them. It worked out as he planned. Together, the Kid and Stripesy finish off the few who hadn't been knocked out.

An entire platoon of Nazis are forced to march through the desert to the nearest town, where the dumbfounded sheriff had to start making a whole lot of arrests.

Appearing in Star-Spangled Kid: "Spy City"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Nazis
    • Captain Kraft (Single appearance)
    • Colonel Krupp (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Cactus County Sheriff (Single appearance)

Locations:

Synopsis for Tarantula: "The Captain of Crime"

The criminals of the underworld have a new Captain of Crime, and he has declared war on the city's yellow-clad hero, the Tarantula! A trap is set, the Tarantula is lured out by the odd behavior of crooks trying to break into a store that already has its door open. When he starts knocking some sense into them, phony street beggars relay his location to gunmen hiding around the city. Shots are fired! There were too many for Tarantula to fight, so he flees, while his every movement is reported by phony beggars back to the gunmen. He's hit by a glancing bullet and falls to the street below and through an old elevator shaft. The gunmen can't see if he's dead or not, but they fire down a few extra shots anyway just to be sure.

The tented hideout of the Captain of Crime, where news of Tarantula's demise is met with feelings of rejoice. But the celebration is abruptly brought to a halt when a dazed man enters in his underwear, telling everyone that he was robbed of his clothes, and whoever it was is among them right now. The Captain won't have to search long, for the Tarantula strips off his beggar garb on his own to reveal himself. His webgun spits silken nylon threads that bind anyone who tries to get in too close. He climbs to the top of the tent post and pulls the whole canvas down on top of the group! The arrival of the police marks the last time the city will have heard from the Captain of Crime.

John Law returns home from his night of crimefighting with a spark of inspiration for his next book.

Appearing in Tarantula: "The Captain of Crime"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Captain of Crime (Single appearance)
  • Bullet (Single appearance)
  • Cannon (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis for Penniless Palmer: "The Mystery of the Missing Cat's Meow!"

Mr. Stark hires Pen to catch whoever's been stealing furs from his warehouse. Being three months behind on payments, Pen accepts the case. That night, he, Oxie, and Bunny all stand watch on the roof of the warehouse to keep an eye out for the thief. A loud yowling of a cat drives Pen crazy, it doesn't shut up until sunrise. But at least no thieves appeared. Maybe the cat scared them away. But when he goes to talk to Mr. Stark, he learns the thieves have stolen more furs last night. If Pen wanted to be paid, he'd need to catch the burglar tonight. Once again, the gang is out standing watch. The cat returns, much to Pen's chagrin, but it can't seem to meow this time. It's as though the cat has lost its voice. And that's the clue that Pen needed! He chases the cat, letting it lead him to its owner. It turns out to be Mr. Stark's secretary, Merton Ambrose. He had cut a hole in the wall behind his wardrobe, which led to the cold storage room where the furs were kept. The cat's lost voice was caused by laryngitis from being in the cold. As payment for solving the case, Mr. Stark gifts Bunny one of his most valuable fur coats, which she probably won't want to sell, leaving Pen and Oxie still in debt.

Appearing in Penniless Palmer: "The Mystery of the Missing Cat's Meow!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Merton Ambrose (Single appearance)
  • Slim (Single appearance)
  • Slappy (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Madden Stark (Single appearance)

Animals:

  • cat

Synopsis for TNT and Dan, the Dyna-Mite: "Rings of Peril"

Today is Tex Thomas's birthday, and his student and friend Dan Dunbar is short on cash to buy him a present. He comes to a pawn shop, except the only thing he has worth any value is the Dyna-Ring. Doing the unthinkable, he pawns it off with the belief he could just buy it back tomorrow using his allowance. He has no idea that selling the ring may have saved his and Tex's lives.

Yesterday, Tex took Dan to meet Professor Pryall, a retired scientist and old school colleague. It's at his home where they find the newspaper telling of the 'Test Tube gang' robberies, using new types of acids and explosives to break into bank vaults. Pryall seems to admire the science behind the gang's methods, even if it is being used for crime. Later, Tex and Dan walk to a pub frequented by the gangster Joe Ketch and his mob. It's believed they had something to do with the latest robberies so it couldn't hurt to do some investigating. Before entering, Tex and Dan make contact with their rings. Through the door burst the two superheroes TNT and Dyna-Mite! Ketch doesn't have time to react before getting punched! Suddenly, a door open and a man in a gas mask fills the room with gas that quickly puts everyone to sleep. Once it dissipates, Professor Pryall removes his gas mask, revealed as the leader of the Test Tube gang. He notices the rings on TNT and Dyna-Mite's fingers, and realizes Tex and Dan Dunbar wore those same rings at his home... they were the meddlesome duo the whole time! Pryall removes the rings so he can tinker with them, substituting the chemical compound that turns them into TNT and Dynamite, with a chemical of his own making that will create a more deadly explosion the next time their rings meet.

Now that Dan has pawned the ring, however, it throws a wrench into Pryall's plan. Dan used the money to buy Tex a new tie for his birthday. Of course, minutes later a car carrying Ketch's mob drives past, so the need for super-heroics has come again. Dan has to tell his partner why they can't touch rings right now, even if it was for a good reason like a birthday gift. Tex keeps Dan on watch duty while he goes to buy back the dyna-ring. Something seemed odd when he got a good look at the ring, though.

Professor Pryall approaches Dan after his first attempt to kill them failed. He tricks the teen into following him to an abandoned warehouse, by saying he discovered a new cure for insomnia. When they get inside, the professor demonstrates by knocking him out with a cane! All the while, Tex has been at home examining the ring in his lab. The phone rings, and a muffled voice tells him that his student, Mr. Dunbar, was in trouble, leaving an address before hanging up. He finds Dan tied up and gagged at the warehouse address. Dan struggles to warn Tex about the trap in their rings, but Tex can't understand what he was saying and slips the ring onto his finger before making contact.
BOOM!
TNT and Dan the Dynamite, the atomically charged duo, are back in the fight! The chemical didn't work? Pryall can't understand what happened. He sends his Test Tube gang after them, but the likes of Joe Ketch and his fellow crooks are no match for the power of TNT's charged fists. Pryall, in a last ditch effort, grabs a vial of the explosive chemical and prepares to hurl it at the dynamite team when a stray bullet hits his hand, causing the glass to shatter, the explosion killing him instead!

Back home, Tex explains how he detected the ring had been pried open. He simply replaced Professor Pryall's deadly chemical with the original atomic compound. So maybe Dan did right by losing the ring, this time, though Tex tells him not to make a habit of it.

Appearing in TNT and Dan, the Dyna-Mite: "Rings of Peril"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • The Test Tube Gang
    • Professor Pryall (Only appearance; dies)
    • Joe Ketch (Single appearance)
    • Poison (Single appearance)
    • Clambake (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis for Robotman: "Man against Machine"

Dr. Festus has created a nine-foot tall robot that should obey human commands. However, it's stolen by the Turtle, who uses the metal goliath to commit various crimes around the city. Even Robotman is no match for the monstrous strength of Robot BI, who hurls him across town with ease.

When BI is commanded to kidnap four men living in penthouse suites at Parkleigh Towers, it shows how dangerous its strength can be. Instead of climbing the stairwell, the robot grabs hold of the two pillars out front and lifts, ripping the building from its foundation and tearing it down. BI pulls the four targets out of the fallen debris and starts carrying them back to the Turtle. Robotman appears again armed with an electric gun that he and Chuck created. It shoots out a current of electricity that zaps the life from Robot BI.

The Turtle awaits results in his hideout. Just as expected, Robot BI returns with its four prisoners. The Turtle gleefully tells the men they'd have to pay him one million dollars each to be set free. Suddenly the robot seems to develop a will of its own, grabbing hold of its master, the Turtle, and threatening him to confess his crimes in front of the witnesses. Fearing for his life, the Turtle tells them he was the one who stole the robot, who sent it to rob banks for him, and to kidnap them. What he doesn't realize is that Robotman was really inside BI's body, having slipped in after frying its systems. The sneaky cyborg hero got the confession he needed, and the Turtle's brief career in crime is now over.

Appearing in Robotman: "Man against Machine"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • Dr. Festus (Single appearance)

Locations:

Items:

  • Robot BI

Notes

  • In Newsboy Legion, Jim Harper gets head-konked unconscious for at least the third time.[1]

Trivia

  • The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy created special "maneuvers". These moves are mostly illegal for anyone who isn't a costumed crimefighter to use.
    • "Maneuver D-23": Knock out enemies below with a dive kick.


See Also


Links and References

  1. 1/Star-Spangled Comics #7, 2/Star-Spangled Comics #8 3/Star-Spangled Comics #17
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