Wednesday, January 28, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Action Comics #374

Action Comics #374 (On Sale: January 28, 1969) has another brilliant cover by Neal Adams. Before Neal you would never see anything even close to this dramatic in comics.

"Alias Super-Thief" is by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issue, Superman is still unable to recall his secret identity after being exposed to an amnesia ray. Police inform him of a Super-Thief named Jud Blake who has been missing for weeks. Superman follows one of Super-Thief's men back to his hide-out and discovers evidence which convinces the Man of Steel that he is actually Super-Thief.

Using a rubber mask, Superman becomes Super-Thief and helps the gang with a robbery. Superman is conflicted about his role as thief and hero. After a second robbery, Superman returns to the hide-out and discovers another Super-Thief. The two men are then attacked by three criminal fences. Superman stops them, then learns that the other Super-Thief is really an FBI agent who was setting up the fences. Superman realizes that he is not the real crook and must resume his search for the truth.

The Supergirl back-up is "No Mercy for Supergirl" by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. Supergirl is abducted by an alien from the Sarkon galaxy. The alien known as the Avenger explains that his race values life at all cost and no one is allowed to take a life for any reason. He has come to Earth to enforce these laws on fellow super-beings including Supergirl. He witnessed her cutting a rose and killing a butterfly in her college classes, so he charges her with murder. Supergirl is unable to argue her way out of the situation. She then shows the Avenger that he himself was responsible for the death of some microbes. Believing himself a killer, the Avenger kills himself as punishment for his own crime.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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