World’s Finest Comics # 230 (DC Comics, May, 1975).

This issue leads off with an ‘imaginary story’ about the sons of Superman and Batman, ‘The Girl Whom Time Forgot’, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell. Having experienced the thrills of crime-fighting in a previous adventure and eager to engage in more such action, the sons of Superman and Batman proceed to become an encumbrance to their fathers. To remove this annoyance, Superman and Batman send the boys on an expedition to Yucatan with renowned archaeologist Professor Hanson and his son Lance. The aim of the expedition is to find a fabled lost city.

As the expedition party flies over the South American jungle that is its destination, a beautiful young woman attacks the plane using magic. However, the woman herself rescues handsome Lance Hansom and falls in love with him. Her father (Hunab Ku) captures Professor Hansom and wants to kill both Hansoms as he hates all outsiders. When Superman, Jr. and Batman, Jr. arrive on the scene, Batman, Jr. spots a vaccination scar on Hunab Ku’s arm. It turns out Hunab Ku is actually Paul Somerset, who had accompanied Professor Hansom on a previous expedition. During that earlier trip, Somerset’s wife, Jane, about to give birth, had needed to be flown by her husband to the nearest hospital. Hanson sabotaged the plane’s controls, hoping to reap all the prestige garnered by the party’s recent finds. The Somersets survived the plane crash but Jane died giving birth to a daughter, Mimaya. Embittered, Somerset swore to rear Mimaya far away from ‘evil mankind’.

While their fathers fight, Mimaya leads Lance away to safety. She maintains that the only way for them to find peace is to leap together into the grandfather of all waterfalls. Lance accedes and the pair jump to their presumed deaths. Fortunately, Superman, Jr. catches the besotted couple before they hit the water. Shocked by this demonstration of true love, Hanson admits his sabotage of the plane all those years ago. This confession wins Somerset’s forgiveness.

A back-up story in this issue, ‘To Call a Deadman’, with art by George Tuska and Neal Adams, stars the avenging spirit Deadman and the Challengers of the Unknown. Jonny Double, private investigator, has been hired by a museum to track down the person who has stolen the fabled Ruby of Khafir. Double takes into custody respected scientist Dr. McJames, who has stolen the gem and delivered it to a hunch-backed man named Nodo in an old tower. Convinced the scientist is innocent, however, Double visits the Challengers of the Unknown and tells them that the person to whom McJames delivered the gem, via Nodo, has disappeared into thin air. Double reckons that finding out why McJames stole the gem is a suitable job for the Challengers of the Unknown.

The Challengers call upon McJames in his cell but he refuses to talk. Hypnotized by female Challenger Corinna Stark, however, McJames recounts his reasons for stealing the gem. According to the scientist’s recital, the ghost of Seth Gross, whom McJames’ ancestor had condemned to hang for a crime he did not commit, has trapped the soul of McJames’ young daughter in an ebony box. Her soul had left her body as she lay dying of an incurable illness. In order for her soul to find rest, her father had to steal the gem for the ghost.

The Challengers investigate the old tower where Double witnessed the hand-over of the gem and engage in a tussle with Nodo. During the fight, the ebony box is knocked from a high window. The box breaks and the girl’s soul escapes to be seemingly recaptured by the ghost of Gross, which flies away. But actually this ‘ghost’ is the disembodied, avenging spirit known as Deadman, wearing the astral form of Gross. Moreover, Gross, it turns out, is not a ghost at all. Rather, he is a former assistant of Vashnu, the Indian mystic at the circus where Deadman had performed as a trapeze artist before he was murdered. Having clubbed Vashnu and stolen a magic box, Gross had poisoned McJames’ daughter, causing her to lapse into a state of suspended animation. Gross used the magic box to capture her soul so that he could blackmail her father in the manner described above. Occupying Gross’ body, Deadman makes the crook confess. The strain of these events causes Gross to become insane. McJames’ daughter makes a full recovery after her soul is restored to her body.


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