The Perils of Dating a Crimefighter -- Smash Comics #67 (OCT 1946)

It seems like we've been on a tear recently with Midnight adventures centering--one way or another--around one-off female characters.  This week we sort of explore Dave Clark's dating life (something that's been unaddressed since "The Circus Mystery" by Jack Cole back in Smash Comics #24.  Apparently there was no love connection with Miss Taylor, perhaps our boy will have better luck with Miss Annabelle Sweete.

This story again opens with Dave's roommates at swords' points.  Sniffer has apparently helped himself to Doc Wackey's store of "pre-war grape juice."  

When Gabby and the Doc come to exact their revenge, Sniffer barricades himself into his bedroom and threatens to let them, "have both barrels right through the door!"  His will for revenge inexplicably broken, Doc gives up his pursuit...but before walking away he issues a prophetic warning to Sniffer:  " of these days Dave Clark'll need his spare bedroom and out you'll go!"  This gets Sniffer to fretting...and scheming.

Meanwhile, blocks away an appropriate-looking criminal attorney named Denslow is lying in wait for District Attorney Westcott.  Denslow approaches and, before the D.A. can fully grasp the danger he's in, guns down Wescott!  A block away from these happenings, Dave Clark is exiting his radio station when he hears the gunshot.  

Midnight-sense, tingling!

Quickly donning his mask, Dave somehow knows exactly which direction to run to and he arrives--attired as Midnight--at the scene (apparently) mere moments after the murder.  While he's examining the body of the late D.A., our hero is surprised by a whisper behind him.  Wheeling about for action, Midnight is shocked to discover not a hardened killer, but a witness!  

It turns out that this blonde bombshell--eventually to be revealed as Miss Annabelle Sweete--was standing nearby when Westcott was gunned down, and tells Midnight she recognized the killer! Before she can say more, a second shot rings out--narrowly missing Sweete!  However unlikely it might seem, Denslow has stuck around and now knows he's been made. Having--literally--dodged a bullet, Midnight swiftly, he spirits the young woman out of the alley and into a nearby taxi cab.

Once safely away, Annabelle reveals she passed both men close enough to hear them speaking to each other and got a good look at their faces (though--unbelievably--neither of them noticed her?). 

Midnight decides Annabelle needs a safe house to hide out until she can testify against Denslow.  He suggests she in his "friend" Dave Clark's spare room.  Miss Sweete not only agrees, she really...uh...commits to the role.

At the house, Midnight asks Annabelle to wait a  moment while he goes informs "Dave" of the plan.  Then he'll send Clark out to escort her in properly. 

As soon as he's inside, Dave (he's apparently removed at the mask on the walk up to the front door?) tells the boys to frantically get the place spruced up because his girlfriend is waiting outside.  Despite being shocked and little offended that they've been left in the dark about this romance, the trio comply.  They do, however, pause long enough to spy on Dave lip-wrestling his new lady friend in front of the house.  From the looks of it, Dave may have lost that particular match.

Back inside the house, Dave makes the entirely reasonable announcement that, "Annabelle is visiting us for awhile! One of you'll bunk on the couch until we make regular arrangements for her room!"  Immediately, the wild speculation begins.  Sniffer is enraged that this surely signals and his and Hotfoot's impending ouster.  Vowing that he "won't take this lying down" and that, "if anyone leaves it'll be that be that female Dracula!"  

Meanwhile, Doc and Gabby entertain fevered fears of their own.

Oh, Doc...Your lingo has not aged well. smh

All of Dave's roomies decide to pursue reverse-psychology strategies to get Annabelle to leave.  After Doc politely excuses himself to go work on his latest invention, Gabby warns Annabelle she might not want to sit too close to the door as the Doc is "getting a bit careless" in his old age and that new super atomic bomb could make a nasty hole.  

While Gab and Doc are painting pictures of mortal danger, Sniffer prefers to appeal to his assumed feminine sense of disgust.

I'm not gonna lie. Annabelle is startin' to grow on me.

Meanwhile, Midnight's search for Denslow is reaching a dead end.  Denslow, however, has hit upon a strategy for finding (and snuffing out) the mystery woman who witnessed his crime.  He knows radio man Dave Clark is buddies with Midnight, so Denslow wonders if the woman might be stashed there.  Okay...kinda convenient but I guess the story isn't too outlandish.  Next, however, Denslow decides that he personally should go and check out Clark's home.  (Mind you, this is despite the fact that up til now, Denslow's apparently remained in hiding and has been sending his underlings out to look for the woman...So, why the sudden change of heart?)  

When his oathmen cronies object that their boss can't go out in public without being nabbed on the spot! (Nevermind that it makes no sense why he would be nabbed, since Annabelle has yet to testify to any legal authority!) .  Never they should worry, though.  Da Boss has a plan:

Umm...yeah.  Looks perfectly normal.

Despite Denslow's desires, his two thugs worry about the boss heading to Clark's house alone. (Awww. Isn't that sweet?)  They decide to secretly tail him...just to make sure he isn't nailed for Wescott's murder and they don't wind up being sent to jail along with him.  And anyway, they reason, "that Clark oughta be rubbed out for bein' chummy with Midnight!"

Spying Denslow coming up the drive, Sniffer seizes upon yet another moronic idea.  

No sooner is he escorted into the living room, than Denslow dumps the headgear and produces a gat.  He's prevented from shooting Annabelle, however, by Hotfoot's intervention.  While the bear cub goes chows down on the lawyer's ankle like a ribeye, one of Denslow's shots goes wild.  The report sends his goons racing to their boss' aid, and causes Wackey and Gabby to (incomprehensibly) conclude that Annabelle has started housecleaning?!

Perhaps Doc should invent a hearing aid.
Midnight returns home--in costume, mind you--to find his quarry in his living room.  The standard fistfight ensues.  Whatever Doc is cooking up (we're never quite told) it blows the door off its hinges striking Denslow in the face.  Apparently, the smoke (or is it the stench?) coming off the experiment is pretty bad too.  It empties the house!  When the cos show up to arrest Denslow & company, the (shockingly) fickle Annabelle starts hittin' on the balding (and presumably much older) chief of police.  

Guess Midnight dodged more than one bullet this time.

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