"The Slot Machine Racket": On their way to the Daily Planet one morning, Clark Kent and Lois Lane witness a shopkeeper enticing two boys on their way to school to try out a new slot machine. Promising they might triple their lunch money, he th
Appearing in "The Slot Machine Racket"
- "Slug" Kelly (Single appearance)
- Mr. Harde (Single appearance)
- Mr. Jensen (Single appearance)
- Rigged Slot Machines (Destroyed)
- Slug Kelly's car
Synopsis for "The Slot Machine Racket"
On their way to the Daily Planet one morning, Clark Kent and Lois Lane witness a shopkeeper enticing two boys on their way to school to try out a new slot machine. Promising they might triple their lunch money, he then gleefully watches as the boys pour all of their coins into the rigged game. Lois and Clark try to object at the obvious scam, but the shopkeeper angrily orders them to leave his property. Clark obliges, much to Lois' dissatisfaction. One of the boys inside notices that he only has ten minutes to get to class and, not wanting to be tardy, rushes out of the store, leaving his friend behind, who is much too mesmerized by playing the slots to care. As the boy runs across the street, he fails to notice an oncoming truck. In a rare act of bravery, Clark tackles the boy to the pavement, the truck passing over their bodies while they keep their heads down. Clark then makes the boy promise to always be aware of his surroundings, and to keep away from slot machines in the future. Lois hurries over to check on Clark. For once, she was proud of him for not being a coward. Not wanting anyone to catch on to his secret identity as Superman, Clark Kent feigns a fainting spell. Lois retracts her previous statement. Clark will always be a wuss.
Lois takes Clark into a shop for a glass of water. After "recovering," Clark notices a slot machine in this shop, too. Mr. Jensen, the owner, says that Slug Kelly's goons put it in, and threatened him if he ever removed it. He sees kids using it all the time, and it boils his blood every time they lose their money to the thing. Upset with the idea that children could be turned into hopeless gamblers, Lois decides to meet with this "Slug" Kelly. Clark goes with her, playing up the "scared reporter" act.
At first, when she demands to see him, "Slug" assumes Lois is here for a donation. Once she makes her true intentions known, that she wanted Slug to remove his slot machines and leave town, he responds by having her and Clark locked up in separate rooms. While Clark secretly changes into his Superman garb, Slug forces Lois to sign a document saying that her editor, George Taylor, was a willing participant with Slug Kelly and his mob. He then sends one of his men out to deliver it to the Planet's rival newspaper, the Morning Pictorial. This would make it impossible for her to print any story about the racket without implicating the Daily Planet as well. Meanwhile, Superman breaks through his locked door and heads down the hallway, to a room holding all the slot machines that haven't been installed in shops and businesses yet. He goes about smashing them up, which alerts Slug and his men. They go to investigate, finding Superman smashing the last of their machines. But try as they might, Slug's goons are no match for the Man of Steel. Once the mobsters flee, Superman rescues Lois and heads back in for the secret records Slug was keeping about the operation. Lois waits until Clark Kent emerges from the building, looking confused as he explains that Superman "saved" him. He has the documents in his hands.
The 'Morning Pictorial' comes out the next day with the front page story of George Taylor's dealings with the slot rackets. In his office, Taylor is furious with Lois, until she explains that she was forced to sign the confession against her will. Taylor decides to print the story about Slug Kelly anyway. Clark slips into a storeroom to change again into Superman, and begins his one-man mission to get rid of all the slot machines around town! Most of the shop owners are more than happy to let him take the machines away. All except for the one under Slug's employ, who tries to threaten Superman, unsuccessfully, with a knife. Superman crushes the machine with his bare hands right in front of the crooked store owner, rendering him speechless.
Mr. Jensen, hearing of Superman's crusade, finally musters up the courage he needs to remove the slot machine from his business. Just as he begins moving it, though, Slug and his boys pull up in their car. Slug is already angry from the mess Superman has made, and now seeing Jensen disobeying him was the last straw! He got out of the car to teach the innocent shopkeeper a lesson. Luckily, Superman drops between them and blocks Slug's right hook. After helping Jensen smash the machine, the Man of Steel tosses Slug back into the car and carries the vehicle with him to the schoolyard. From atop the school roof, he makes Slug shout his confession to the children below, that his machines were rigged and they could never have won.
In court, the kids serve as witnesses to the testimony, and Slug and his goons are locked up. And at the Planet, with the help of the records Clark took from Slug's office, George Taylor is cleared of any wrongdoing.
Appearing in "Campaign Against the Planet"
- Alex Evell (Single appearance)
- Burt Mason (Single appearance)
- Barnes (Single appearance)
- Zachary Collum (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Campaign Against the Planet"
Alex Evell, crooked politician, walks into the publisher's office of the Morning Pictorial, offering a measly sum of 25 grand to buy the newspaper. Publisher Zachary Collum scoffs at the offer, saying he wouldn't sell even if he was offered a million dollars. Evell changes tactics and threatens Collum's family if he doesn't sell. Later in the offices of the Daily Planet, word of the Pictorial's buyout reaches Clark and Lois.
As the days pass, anyone who speaks out against Alex Evell or his policies is vilified in the Morning Pictorial. He even helps the mobsters who've had their operations mucked up by the cops, printing a story that says the Police Department was employing third-degree tactics, ruining their reputation. Lois and Clark go to the chief of police to get a statement for the Daily Planet, and learn that Evell was printing lies. Clark Kent decides to type up an article that should set the record straight.
Evell pays a visit to the Planet's publisher, Burt Mason, to warn him of printing any more stories against him, but Mason isn't intimidated. Evell then offers to buy the Daily Planet. Still, Mason won't budge, so Evell storms off, telling him he'll be sorry!
Evell makes good on his threat the following days, as George Taylor receives an anonymous call that one of the Daily Planet's trucks was attacked by thugs. Clark is sent out to investigate, with Lois tagging along. The pair find the truck in flames as a thug stands by. He warns the reporters that if their boss doesn't sell to Evell, there will be more "accidents" like this one! After reporting back to Taylor, Lois is told to stay inside for her own safety, while he sends Clark out to keep getting news, to show that the Planet won't be intimidated. As Superman, Clark takes it upon himself to protect the outgoing news trucks, and put a stop to any sabotage efforts. One of the routes is barricaded off by trucks belonging to the Morning Pictorial, so Superman easily ejects the drivers and stacks the vehicles sideways on top of each other 'like a deck of cards'. Every time a Daily Planet truck is blocked or attacked, Superman dispatches the threat. It doesn't take long for word of these heroics to reach Alex Evell's office. Superman eavesdrops as Evell orders one of his hired goons to find Lois Lane, whom he knows Superman is fond of, and kidnap her.
Lois receives a call from Evell's henchman pretending to be on the Bentley Hospital staff, telling her Clark Kent had an accident and was asking to see her. As soon as she arrives, however, Lois is forced by thugs into a car and driven back to the office building. Unknown to them, Superman has hitched a ride beneath the vehicle. Evell has Lois tied up in his office as he stations his men in the halls to ambush the man of steel when he arrives. Of course, since Superman already had knowledge of the kidnapping, he bursts through Evell's door almost immediately! While his men fire their guns at him, Evell moves Lois to an adjoining room where he begins making a fire to kill the man of steel, not caring if his own men get caught in the flames as well. He then grabs Lois and flees with her outside to his car.
Superman quickly defeats the gunmen, even moving them outside to save them from the burning building. Behind him, Evell drives up and attempts to ram his car into Superman, but it's just like hitting a wall! Evell is pulled out of the vehicle, but refuses to confess to his crimes. His former thugs-for-hire feel differently, not appreciating the way Evell would have left them for dead. As he delivers his quarry to the police station, Lois tries to press him for information about himself, but Superman refuses to answer her.
The next day, the story gets out about Alex Evell's arrest. The Morning Pictorial once again belongs to its rightful publisher, and the Daily Planet returns to its routine reporting without further interference.
Appearing in "Luthor's Incense Menace"
- Luthor (Apparent Death)
- Borden Mosely (Single appearance)
- Mr. Gregory (Only appearance; dies)
- Mr. Metzel (Single appearance)
- Luthor's narcotic incense
- Luthor's autogyro
Synopsis for "Luthor's Incense Menace"
An economic recession hits the US, as millions lose their jobs, businesses shut down, and hunger erupts. Clark Kent goes out to interview some of Metropolis's leading financiers to get their opinions. Strangely, in the office of everyone he interviews, Clark picks up the faint odor of incense. When he asks one Mr. Gregory about the scent, the man starts to fidget, not giving a straight answer. After Clark leaves, his super hearing picks up Gregory talking on the phone, saying that a nosy reporter from the Daily Planet was snooping around.
Later, when Clark is across the street from the Planet, his telescopic vision picks up an object flying over the building, dropping miniature bombs. Taking off his outer garments to reveal his Superman outfit, he leaps to intercept the bombs, catching each and every one and dumping them into the river. Changing back into his reporter clothes, Clark returns to Mr. Gregory's office for some answers. Gregory has phoned the police, and then shoots himself in the chest so that Clark will be implicated in his murder. His final words are that he was just following orders. Clark leaps out the window to the roof of an adjoining building before the police enter the room. Determined to solve this mystery, Clark sneaks into another office where he smelled incense, that of Borden Mosely, and discovers a bust of his old enemy Luthor hidden behind a curtain with a smoking cigar in its mouth. Mosely and two goons discover him snooping, and throw Clark down an elevator shaft. But Clark can't be killed so easily. Once he lands safely at the bottom, he becomes Superman again and knocks out the two incoming goons, after which he races up the side of a neighboring skyscraper and uses his X-Ray vision to spy on Mosely. The bust seems to be transmitting a message to Mosely, who immediately heads to the roof where an autogyro awaits him. The autogyro carries Mosely out of Metropolis, with Superman keeping pace with it from below.
In a mountainous region, Superman follows Borden Mosely into a secret cavern. Traps are set to catch uninvited guests, which Superman has no trouble disabling. At the end of the cave, Mosely stands before the a viewscreen that shows the image of Luthor. Luthor gives Mosely information on which stock to invest in, asking for 75% of the profit for the tip. Superman interrupts the little exchange to tell Luthor his evil career ends now! Of course, being prepared for his old rival's eventual appearance, Luthor activates a trap which causes the cavern to collapse. Superman rescues Mosely from the cave-in and asks him about Luthor's other victims. Mosely explains that with the help of a narcotic incense, Luthor enslaves the minds of the nation's top investors. Mosely had a list of all Luthor's victims within a vault in his office, which he hastily agrees to show Superman.
When they get back to Mosely's office, Borden opens the vault for Superman. As soon as the Man of Steel enters inside, however, the vault door is closed shut behind him! Mosely is at first relieved, but his relief turns to shock when Superman breaks through the heavy door of the vault and grabs hold of him. Superman makes him reveal where Luthor will hold his next meeting: The Garriston tower. By pinching a small pressure point in Mosely's neck, he sends the financier into a slumber. Then, dying his hair and rearranging his facial features to look like Mosely, Superman swoops off.
Some of America's most prominent men are present at the conference, all of them enslaved by Luthor's incense. Soon, Luthor enters, and the others begin offering their reports on businesses that they closed down to manipulate the stock market. Once it's Borden Mosely's turn, the disguised Superman begins to stand, but then Luthor orders his armed guards to cover the exits. He knew it was his old rival the entire time, threatening Superman that if he doesn't join forces, Luthor will order his men to gun down everyone in the room. What the villain didn't count on was Superman's amazing speed! In the time of a single second, the Man of Steel has disarmed and incapacitated the thugs. Luthor makes an escape in his hidden plane that detaches from the side of the building, but Superman intercepts it in a head-on collision. It appears to be the end of the mad Luthor as the plane sinks into the bay...
Appearing in "The Wonder Drug Racket"
- Carlin (Single appearance)
- Butch (Henchman) (Single appearance)
- Jimmy (Henchman) (Single appearance)
- Morton Craig (Single appearance)
- Dr. Bren (Single appearance)
- Nick Blake (Single appearance)
- Carl Grinstead (Single appearance)
- Parabiolene Formula
Synopsis for "The Wonder Drug Racket"
Morton Craig is arrested on charges of grand larceny. A surprise to Clark Kent, since Morton is supposedly one of the most honest men he knows. He pays Morton a visit in his cell, but can't get an answer from him. He only asks Clark to call Doctor Bren.
Later when Dr. Bren arrives, he administers Craig with an injection, explaining it'll help with his anemia. As Clark leaves, his super hearing overhears Craig telling the doctor that if he's not released from jail, he'll tell the police everything. Dr. Bren promises to see if anything can be done. If there was a connection between Bren and Morton Craig's arrest, Clark was determined to find it, as Superman.
Doctor Bren doesn't notice that he is being followed as he drives back to a drab old edifice and walks in. From the adjoining building's rooftop, Superman's X-Ray vision lets him look in on the happening inside. The doctor is meeting with the mobster Carlin, delivering Morton Craig's message about freeing him. Carlin sends his boys to eliminate Craig, but the Man of Steel has other ideas. He catches the thugs' car and causes it to crash, right in front of a police officer. Once they're placed under arrest, Superman returns to see where Carlin would head next. The mobster's destination: the laboratory of world renowned chemist, Professor Carl Grinstead. But why?
As Superman continues his surveillance, he learns that Professor Grinstead had invented a new formula, which he calls Parabiolene, and Carlin has been fooling the professor into sharing it with him under the false pretense of Carlin giving it to the sick and helpless, when he's really been using it as an addictive drug to blackmail others into doing his bidding just for another hit. Suddenly, a suspicious thug walks out onto the roof, forcing Superman to tackle him, causing them both to fall through the skylight. Superman feigns being unconscious as Carlin orders his men to take him out to the bridge and feed him to the fishes.
On arrival at the bridge, the boys fire their slugs into Superman's body and toss him over the side into the water. The whole time, Superman let them think they had killed him, just so he could follow them back to the factory where they illegally mass produce the Parabiolene. Imagine their shock when they find that not only is Superman still alive, but also that he's unaffected by their bullets! Nothing they can do stops the Man from Krypton from destroying every last machine in Carlin's factory. Superman grabs their guns and twists them into knots, finally ending his spree by crashing out through the wall.
Back at the lab, Superman arrives just in time to prevent Carlin from murdering Grinstead. While Carlin and his thugs try take down the meddling superhero, the professor, completely distraught at the idea of his formula being used in such an evil manner, does the only thing he thinks he can do. Pouring two chemicals together, Grinstead creates an explosion in his lab, taking his own life in payment for the harm he's caused. Superman carries him to the hospital, letting the police take Carlin and the others into custody. There was nothing the doctors could do to save Grinstead, though there was one more option to consider... With amazing speed, Superman finds Dr. Bren and convinces him to help the professor. Using the Parabiolene, Bren and Superman watch as Grinstead's eyes start to flitter open. The formula worked! Miraculously, the professor is alive again! Superman tells Grinstead not to give up on his creation; in the right hands it can serve as a boon for humanity.
- This issue is reprinted in The Superman Archives Vol. 2.
- "The Slot Machine Racket":
- We learn that Superman has a photographic memory.
- "Campaign Against the Planet"
- "Luthor's Incense Menace":
- This story contains the first mention of Superman's indestructible costume, which according to Superman is made of a cloth he invented. (Now wait, did he tell that to us, the readers, or did he tell that to Lex Luthor? Because THAT would be funny.)
- Luthor is shown with grey hair instead of red in this story.
- This is Luthor's fourth evil scheme. His prior two appearances were in Superman #4 and he will return in Superman #10.
- Superman can rearrange his own facial features! This ability is not mentioned again until Superman #18.
- No trivia.