The best, and longest-running, of the three new series debuting in More Fun 36 was Lt. Bob Neal of Sub 662. Bob and his friend Ensign Tubby Potts prevent German spies from sabotaging the new submarine, which we are told has all manner of new devices on board, though we never wind up seeing anything special like that. Still, because of this, Bob gets made the second in command on the submarine.
He also gains the respect of Admiral Grant, and the affections of his daughter, Patricia. Bob is completely comfortable in her wealthy circle of friends. But then, as he retrieves the stolen Cavendale diamond, and later leads the rescue of Patricia and her friend Lucille Cavendale from their yacht, it’s no surprise that they like him.
The action moves around the world. The second chapter pits Bob against Javan pirates, and the next few issues take place around the south China Sea, but then it’s off to central America, where Bob stops a rebellion in Costa. Not Costa Rica, just Costa. The last few issues take Bob to the Panama Canal, where he stumbles across a spy ring with huge plans, spending three issues discovering their leader, and using a spy camera to gain evidence against him.
The art on the series is at it’s best when disaster strikes. A burning ship, a hurricane, a seaplane sinking under the waves, a volcanic explosion wreaking havoc in a harbour, all these scenes all work extremely well.
The series changes title slightly with issue 46, the first of the Panama Canal issues, becoming Lt. Bob Neal in Peril, but changes back with issue 49, as Bob is sent to Honolulu, helping a scientist, Frank McDonald, perfect an oxygenator for divers.
Lt. Bob Neal continues in the Early Golden Age
Lt. Bob Neal: More Fun Comics 36 – 50 (Oct 38 – Dec 39)