The Blue Beetle #6
Fox Publications Inc (March/April, 1941)
Another problem with the anthology, and I do apologize for harping on it, is that it leaves me no credits to pad out the homepage part of the article. Just having the title, company, cover date, and one cover doesn’t grab your attention and draw you into the article. Unfortunately all I have to discuss here is how much of a pain it is to review that way versus how easy it is to read. At least this issue only has six comics to go over, but why are they printing non-Blue Beetle stories in his solo comic? What’s the point of the regular anthology titles featuring Blue Beetle and these other characters if all the comics are anthologies?
I may never know, but that’s enough padding. On to the review. Read along here.
Blue Beetle: “The Crime Coils Of The Eel” by Charles Nichols
The Eel is slowly taking over the trucking racket and causing a food shortage in the city. On the plus side there is room to tell the whole story. On the downside there isn’t much story to tell. Most of it is fights but at least I didn’t feel like there was a panel or set of panels missing outside of wherever Joan came from. It’s effort but all of it is towards the action part. Also, we have another kill crazy henchman that failed English class.
Blue Beetle: “The Book Murders” by Charles Nichols
Some dude named the Wart uses book bombs to blow up reporters who report on his criminal activities. Dan Garret has a plan that involved using Joan as bait but it’s the Blue Beetle who takes out Wart and his “we have more panels to fill” out of nowhere masked boss, who takes a very hard fall. Garret’s enemies are dying a lot this issue but a decent story. However, this being the Golden Age it’s all events and no character.
Wing Turner, Air Detective: “The Doctored Dive Bomber” by Floyd Kelly
The country of Braziltine is considering buying US bombers to protect themselves from Prussland but the sample plane loses its wings during the test. Wing and his mechanic Greaseball are determined to protect the other plan and find the saboteurs before it’s too late. This is a reprint from Big Three #2 or it was the last comic he was in. I’m not sure what the Grand Comics Database and Comic Book Plus are telling me. Either way it was a good short adventure.
Blue Beetle: “The Vengeance Of Vango” by Charles Nichols
A radio reporter has the goods on the criminal Vango and he’s not happy about it. He also has a drug that induces comas and uses it on the whole station to capture the reporter, and threatens to use it on the whole city. I’m not sure how since I don’t know if it has to be drunk, injected, or if it can be turned into a gaseous form. The story itself is good for a short tale but the word balloons are all mixed up. Some panels have to be read right to left, manga style. It ruins the presentation.
Dynamite Thor: “The Atom Ray Saboteurs” by someone they forgot to list
Reprinted later Men Of Mystery #98, so you may know this one from AC Comics. So Peter Thor calls himself Dynamite Thor because he’s immune to explosives and uses dynamite to propel himself into the air. I have so many questions. For one thing is he carrying dynamite on him or is he like the human bomb and can just cause explosions like the one he uses to escape an acid bath? He also carries high explosives in his belt buckle, which are really small but still make big boom, has a “neutron shield”, and a fiance named Glenda. Somehow it doesn’t matter that he’s fighting a dude who only breaks out the atom ray near the end of the story. This is already a bit off. There’s not understanding how explosives work and apparently there’s Dynamite Thor.
Sub Saunders: “The Harpy Of Horror” by Karl Keif
Our final story introduces another new (to me) character, who lives in the future and fights underwater evil. Apparently he can breathe underwater and carries a “fire gun” similar to the Flame’s signature weapon. Seems an odd choice for fighting underwater, but he’s sent to rescue a woman from some underwater man-bat-thing that wants her for his bride. It’s still the Golden Age so it’s all action with no substance but for what it is the story is pretty good.
So an improvement over the previous issue. Still not a fan of the Blue Beetle not truly having his own title to himself but at least the crazy can be written off here when it comes to Dynamite Thor and the other guests are serviceable. We didn’t reach Zanzibar levels of crazy this issue. A decent read but outside of history I’m wondering what was so special about the Golden Age. Granted I’m biased towards the Bronze Age and I’ve had a heck of a month so I’m not at my best.