July 12, 2017

DC Silver Age - December 1955 and January 1956

December 1955

Detective Comics (1937) 228 - "Escape to the Stars" (Dave Wood, Joe Certa) 

J'onn J'onzz's character is tested in this tale. As detective John Jones, he tracks down Alex Dunster, a thief who has stolen various scientific equipment. Among the pilfered items: Dr. Erdel's machine that brought J'onzz to Earth. Dunster has discovered what Erdel could not: how to send items back. J'onzz is tempted to use the machine to return home, but that might allow Dunster to escape justice. On the other hand, if he confronts Dunster, the machine might be broken. J'onzz decides to apprehend the criminal as is his duty as a detective and, sure enough, Dunster smashes the machine. J'onzz is able to bring Dunster to justice, but he cannot go home. It was a nice surprise that this was more than just another case for J'onzz and even though one could predict that he would remain stranded, the predicament provided a nice character-defining moment for our favorite martian. 4/5

Also in this issue: "The Outlaw Batman" and "The Machine That Captured the Past" (Roy Raymond)

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen (1955) 10 - "Jimmy Olsen's Martian Pal," "Jimmy Olsen's Forgotten Adventure," "Jungle Jimmy Olsen" (Otto Binder, Curt Swan, Ray Burnley)

In the first story, Jimmy gets into amateur radio and receives a contact from Mars... or so he thinks. Superman later observes that the replies from Mars return without the delay such a distance would impose. Later, the cub reporter goes undercover as a elevator boy named... Dick Hunter, gets a knock on the head and forgets he's really Jimmy Olsen; and he learns to beware monkeys when they steal everything -- even his clothing -- from the camp he's guarding in the Yucatan and he has to spend time a "jungle boy." 3/5 

January 1956

Detective Comics (1937) 229 - "The Phantom Bodyguard" (Joe Certa) 

This one is a standard case. Essentially, John Jones is assigned to protect a guy who claims someone is trying to kill him. There are several more attempts on his life. He blames his business partner, but it turns out he staged the attempts to frame his partner and create an excuse to kill him. 3/5

Also in this issue: "The 10,000 Secrets of Batman" and "The Diamond Mine on Broadway" (Roy Raymond)

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen (1955) 11 - "Superman's Seeing-Eye Dog," "Jimmy Olsen, Clark Kent's Pal," "T.N.T. Olsen, the Champ" (Otto Binder, Curt Swan, Ray Burnley)

For a time, Jimmy has x-ray vision and he uses it to assist his pal; he becomes Clark Kent's pal instead of Superman's when he stays with the other reporter while work is done on his apartment; and an accident causes Jimmy and a fight promoter to think that he's a fighter. He ends up in the boxing ring against Gorilla Gordon. Good thing he's Superman's pal; the Man of Steel helps him survive the match. 3/5 

World's Finest Comics (1941) 81 - "The True History of Superman and Batman" (Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang, Stan Kaye) 

Batman and Superman are undoing and then redoing some of their heroic feats. What the--? Well, there's a historian from the year 5956 that's blackmailing them into this silliness by threatening to reveal their secret identities if they don't fix their methods to match what he has recorded in his book. Lois gets mixed up in all this too, since she figures she can satisfy her primary goal in life -- discovering Superman's secret identity -- if she can get a look in this history book from the far future. Of course, she never does, even though she goes as far as flirting with the historian. Eventually, Batman realizes that he won't reveal their identities anyway because that would contradict his book as well. We're still left with the question, though: who the heck else in 5956 is going to know or care if his book is accurate? 3/5

Also in this issue: "The G.A. Goes G.I." (Green Arrow) and "The Frontier Informer" (Tomahawk)

My thanks to the site Mike's Amazing World of Comics without which this project would not be possible. 

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