Showcase 12 (January-February 1958)

George Klein is far from Kirby’s worst inker, but he doesn’t bring much to the art either. Maybe the subject matter is just inherently less visual.

The Challengers track a criminal and his gang to an island–they’re lawfully deputized to work as a paramilitary vigilante organization, don’t you worry–and these ancient vials cause trouble. Giant thugs, a fire monster, a sea monster and duplicating criminals.

The narrative’s not bad, though Wood fails to even attempt cliffhangers. I don’t think any of the Challengers are in sustained danger. Maybe once. They also don’t have any personalities and are even less different from one another here since none of them have any solo missions. Wood even forgets Prof’s name… or maybe he finally remembers it. Last issue it was Harrison, now it’s Haley again.

Wood and Kirby’s approach seems to be to go big (literally); it works out reasonably well.

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