BHOC: ACTION COMICS #437

Another 100-Page Spectacular picked up from that regular 7-11. This one wold turn out to be a bit disappointing to me, with a number of back-up features that simply didn’t appeal. But the lead story was pretty good.

It’s a team-up between the Man of Steel and his back-up co-feature, Green Arrow. it also includes notable roles for other members of the JLA, notably the Flash and Green Lantern. And it’s got Curt Swan artwork inked by Kurt Schaffenberger, which always gave it an appealing cartoony flavor.

It all starts with a magical flaming sword writing a message in the sky over Star City, imploring Green Arrow to contact Superman. But all of the phone lines are tied up, so Oliver Queen spends $22 (!) and takes the airport shuttle to Metropolis and Clark Kent. The two heroes compare notes, and Superman has encountered this flaming sword and its owner before, in a previous adventure.

But before they can do anything with this knowledge, Superman detects the ground around the Galaxy Communications Building collapsing. He races to hoist the building on his shoulders, only to be informed by Green Arrow that the disaster that he thinks he’s preventing isn’t happening. Nearby, and invisible floating man chuckles at the situation.

Turns out he’s Effron the Sorcerer, an old foe of Green Arrow and Superman’s from yet another past story. He’s regained his magical abilities and made off with the entire mystic city of Valhalla as a gambit to make Superman obey him. With no way to locate the missing city, Superman agrees.

After a trip tot eh Fortress of Solitude, Effron decides that he wants to see Superman in gladiatorial-style combat matches with his fellow heroes, so he summons up first the Flash and then Green Lantern to do battle. Meanwhile, still in the Fortress, green Arrow finds a note in his quiver that contains instructions for a plan. And out in the world, magic is beginning to spread to ordinary citizens everywhere.

Effron, of course, has been using the energies released in these various contests to recharge himself and his mystic abilities. But then, Green Arrow appears in one of the Legion’s time-spheres carrying the Bottle City of Kandor. Except it isn’t Kandor, it’s the missing Valhalla. A stunned Effron reveals that he transported Valhalla 30,000 years into the future–which is all Superman needs to know in order to recover it, the Valhalla in the bottle is just an image. And with no hold over him any longer, Superman and the Leaguers take Effron into custody.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really love the reprinted stories in this particular Special, as the theme for the issue was ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and I wasn’t really interested in that–I wanted super heroes. There’s a nice Russ Heath Sea Devils story next, followed by…

…a cool Adam Strange story in which the interplanetary adventurer takes on the centuries-old robot warrior Borg, which he stops by smashing its one vulnerable point, it’s ray-beaming eye. I didn’t know it at the time, but reading this story would be a good primer for another tale in a few months.

A Matt Savage western story, a tale of a random daredevil from My Greatest Adventure and a Quality Doll Man story rounded out the issue, none of which did anything particular for me as a reader, despite some nice artwork. So not really my favorite release in this otherwise-beloved format. I’d have similar experiences with WORLD’S FINEST 100-Pagers to come.

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