Tuesday, August 18, 2015

World's Finest Comics #197

World's Finest Comics #197 (On Sale: August 6, 1970) has a Superman/Batman cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.  This is the final issue of World's Finest to feature this team for a couple of years, well, as the regular team at least. Starting next issue, and I could never understand why they did not wait two months for issue #200 to do this, World's Finest will become Superman's Brave and the Bold. That is, starting next issue, they will team up Superman with another character, not just Batman.

This issue is a pile of reprints beginning with the Superman/Batman team in  "The Capture of Superman." This 13-page tale is by
Jerry Coleman, Jim Mooney and Sheldon Moldoff and is reprinted from World's Finest Comics #122. Batman and Robin are forced by an alien, Klor, to capture Superman for crimes committed on his world of Belvos. Superman feels betrayed by his friend, but Batman succeeds in making the capture.

Superman is returned to Belvos to stand trial. He is accused of causing destruction on the planet during a visit there. Superman does not recall ever having been to Belvos and claims he was searching for a strange asteroid at the time.

Klor is secretly behind the destruction. Having found special weapons, he disguised himself as Superman and caused the damage. He wants to get Superman out of the way so he can obtain treasure which will make him master of Belvos. However, the heroes realize that Klor had been to Earth before and was responsible for the crimes. They convince the Belvosian tribunal and capture Klor in the act of robbing a jeweler on Earth.

Next is another Superman/Batman tale, "The Feud Between Batman and Superman," an 18-pager by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein. When Batman is accidentally shot while pursuing some crooks, he gets an inferiority complex. Superman tries to help Batman by staging a fake menace inside Kandor where he has no super powers. Batman discovers the hoax and becomes angry, challenging Superman to a duel. Batman wins, then storms off.

The fake menace turns out to be real, when Jhan-Ar, the brother of Superman's friend Thar-Ar, becomes a Metalloid. Superman is taken prisoner, forcing Batman and Robin to rescue him. They succeed and defeat Jhan-Ar. Batman's confidence is restored, so he resumes his crime fighting career. This is reprinted from World's Finest Comics #143.

That is followed by Green Arrow in "The Unmasked Archers." This six-page tale is by France Herron, Jack Kirby and Roz Kirby. Oliver Queen and Roy Harper awaken to find that the morning newspaper contains a story revealing their secret identities. Believing their careers are over, they stop a few crooks then return to police headquarters where they unmask in front of the police commissioner.

The commissioner doesn't believe Oliver is the real Green Arrow. When Oliver checks the other newspapers, he discovers that his morning paper was a fake. It was created as part of an initiation prank for his men's club. Oliver then proves to the commissioner that he is not Green Arrow using a specially prepared trick. This is reprinted from World's Finest Comics #98. Hmm, strange how they seem to be reprinting a lot of Jack Kirby this month.

We end with a final Superman/Batman team-up story,  "The Prison for Heroes" from World's Finest Comics #145. This 16-page tale is by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein. An alien race contacts Batman and brings him to an alien world under the pretense of aiding a great emergency. When he arrives on the alien world, Batman is hypnotized by the aliens into becoming a cruel prison warden. His prisoners are the innocent heroes of many worlds.

Batman then tricks Superman into coming to the planet. The aliens use a filter to cause the sun's rays to become red, removing nearly all of Superman's powers. Superman then becomes a prisoner.

With his last remaining bit of super powers, Superman manages to restore the powers of some of the other prisoners. They break free, help Superman fake his powers, and overthrow Batman. Superman then puts Batman to work as a prisoner.

The aliens discover Superman's escape and return to the planet to investigate. They discover that Superman does not have his powers. However, Superman has helped Batman break the hypnosis. While the aliens are investigating Superman, Batman destroys the red sun filter with the aliens' own ship. Superman's powers are restored. He frees the wrongly imprisoned heroes and ends the aliens' plans to conquer the galaxy.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

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