Type Comic
Date 1941-02-07
Pages 64
Tags fiction

For America And Democracy!

All-Star Comics #4 (1941-03)

It's been a few years since I read the last issue, so the recap is actually rather handy, this time.

In our last issue, the members of the Justice Society of America--The Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Spectre, Green Lantern, Hourman, and The Atom--have been summoned by the FBI chief in Washington to serve some important purpose.

As this issue opens, the eight heroes converge on the FBI chief's office, where he reveals that they are needed to fight America's "internal enemies--spies and saboteurs!" Each is given separate orders, and off they go.

The Flash is sent to stop men spreading un-American propaganda among workers in Michigan and Wisconsin. He searches the home of one of the men--a 'grey-shirt'--there finding evidence that he has been paid by foreign governments to undermine the US. He shows this evidence to the workers, and they take it upon themselves to get revenge on the grey-shirts. In the end, one of them brags "wait'll you see what happens to the Liberty!"

Flash knows the Liberty to be a refugee ship, and surmises that it will be blown up, so he sets off to rescue it. Just in time, he discovers an explosive hidden in the ship's coal bin, which he is able to take underwater, where it is unable to explode with any force. He traces a marking on the bottle which contained the explosive to a manufacturer in Maryland, which turns out to be a weapons manufacturer. He throws a hand grenade into the building, destroying the weapons in an explosion. From two men working at the plant, he learns the name of the man in charge: Fritz Klaver, of Toledo, Ohio, who controls over 30,000 spies.

Meanwhile, Green Lantern has been tasked with investigating trouble with radio reception. Luckily, he happens to work as a radio engineer, so he simply resumes his civilian identity and heads in to work. Coincidentally, his boss asks him to check over their broadcasting equipment, to try to find the cause of the bad reception. Irene believes the problem to be sabotage, rather than equipment failure, and goes to investigate station WXF in Springfield, which she predicts will be next to be hit.

Green Lantern beats her there, and overhears some men threatening a worker, Krapek, to ensure that the radio broadcast continues to experience trouble, and fights them off--not before one beans him with a glass bottle, though. They escape by plane, and Green Lantern follows, but they lose him in a cloud. Meanwhile, Irene arrives to find some more of their colleagues once again threatening Krapek. She intervenes and both she and Krapek are captured. GL arrives to find them being taken away on the same plane he was following before.

Once more following the plane, GL finds that at the center of the cloud is a giant dirigible producing camouflaging smoke. Inside, a man, "The Baron", reveals that the dirigible contains a machine which will block all broadcasts in the country, when it is ready. The Baron also has another new weapon, which paralyzes GL with electric waves. Krapek is able to destroy this device, at the cost of his life, and GL melts the controls of the dirigible, sending it to the ground in flames. As Krapek dies, he reveals to GL the name of the leader of the operation: Fritz Klaver, of Toledo, Ohio.

The Spectre is sent to investigate sabotage at munitions plants in Pittsburgh. Spectre observes a man, Hans, sabotaging an anti-aircraft gun, and arranges for him to be caught. The man is freed by his co-conspirators, and Spectre follows them. The boss of the conspirators, Dorgoff, kills Hans and calls the leader--in Toledo, Ohio. Spectre heads that way through the phone lines, making a stop to prevent a factory being destroyed. After also preventing Dorgoff from stealing plans for the army's new gun, he heads for Toledo.

The Hourman is sent to the oil fields of Oklahoma to investigate the subversive activities of the grey-shirts. Some guards at the oil fields are killed, and Hourman, as his civilian identity Rex Tyler, takes the newly-available job. The foreman, Masters, arranges for Tyler to be killed on the way to the fields, but he overhears and, in his guise as Hourman, defeats the ambushers, then switches back and meets Masters at the oilfield as Tyler. He discovers that Masters is a spy, and causes him and his ally to be killed in a car crash. He finds a letter which he surmises is from the leader of the spies--Fritz Klaver, in Toledo, Ohio. So off he goes.

Doctor Fate is sent to New England to investigate sabotage at the naval yards. He finds the men controlling the saboteurs and forces them to recall all the spies in the region immediately. He then calls in the FBI to take them. Finally, he uses a crystal ball to find the leader of the spies--Klaver. Unlike everyone else so far, Fate decides it might be a good idea to notify the other members of the JSA who the leader of the spies is, before he sets out after him. He's the only sane man of them, surely. So, he communicates the information to Sandman, then offers to race Flash to Toledo.

Before heading to Toledo, Sandman must finish his assignment--to help a newspaper editor in El Paso who is being threatened by grey-shirts. He infiltrates the grey-shirts as Wes Dodds, to show the deluded young men that being an American doesn't make one a sissy. Defeating the leader, he convinces the followers to redeem themselves by joining the army. We see Fate's communication from Sandman's perspective, but it isn't quite the same as it was a few pages ago--oh well. His work complete, Sandman, too, heads off to Toledo.

Hawkman has been tasked with keeping spies out of the aviation plants of California. A bomber, flying high above, suddenly dives as the pilots are put to sleep by a gas. Hawkman saves the plane, and discovers that it was to fall on a large steel net, where it--and its inventor, who was aboard--could be taken by spies. Meanwhile, Shiera Sanders, incensed that Hawkman has gone on some JSA business without her, decides to take a vacation in California. Spotting him flying by out the window of the plane, she decides to leap out to force him to save her--which it is very fortunate he does, seeing as her parachute failed. He leaves her to analyze the gas, and ultimately stops the grey-shirts in the area. Shiera finds (in a book!) that the gas is "Klaver gas, invented by Fritz Klaver of Toledo", who she decides must not be anybody important. Hawkman, though, knows that Klaver must be in on it, and heads off to confront him while Shiera sleeps.

The Atom has been sent to Tri-State College to deal with students who have been sent over from other countries spreading pro-dictator propaganda. He beats up the bullying foreigners, then does it again in his civilian guise. Then, he goes to defeat them where they congregate, in the 'Fatherland Club'. He beats them all soundly, and is about to destroy their radio, when it comes to life, and their leader speaks through it, identifying himself by name--Fritz Klaver--and telling them to gather at his hideout--in Toledo. After hearing that stunning bit of incompetence, the Atom hops in a car and heads for Toledo.

When the Atom arrives, he is quickly captured by the grey-shirts. Just then, in a startlingly convenient coincidence, Johnny Thunder accidentally uses his power to see if any of the JSA are in trouble. Upon seeing the Atom captured, he wishes himself over there, where he, too, is promptly captured.

Happily, the rest of the JSA has just converged on the house, and they make short work of the defenses. They have Klaver dead to rights, but he has one last card to play:

In this house are complete records of every form of espionage activity the dictator nations have ever thought of! Yet--when I push this button--the house--all of you and I--and those records--will be blown to bits!

Now that is some incompetence. Of course, his plot is unsuccessful: Fate prevents the bomb from going off and freezes Klaver for good measure. Johnny wishes that the spies would be transported to Washington--house and all--and so everything is soon wrapped up.

Character Type
Atom Main
Doctor Fate Main
Flash Main
Green Lantern Main
Hawkman Main
Hourman Main
Sandman Main
Spectre Main
Johnny Thunder Sub
Shiera Sanders Sub
Name Role
Ben Flinton Inker / Penciller
Bernard Baily Inker / Penciller
Creig Flessel Inker / Penciller
Everett E. Hibbard Inker / Penciller
Gardner F. Fox Author
Howard Sherman Inker / Penciller
Martin Nodell Inker / Penciller
Sheldon Moldoff Inker / Penciller


Relation Sources