Steve Malone is introduced as “a brilliant young criminal lawyer.” Oddly, at no point in this era do we ever see him in a courtroom, but he’s too busy chasing down bad guys and having fistfights in biplanes to bother with that stuff.
The art is fairly rough at the start of the series, improves a lot by then end, and the stories do as well, sort of. They remain often in a muddled state.
In his first story he is approached by the wife of the French ambassador as he emerges from the opera house, and he seems to have a well off background and group of friends. He solves the ambassador’s murder without even needing the police. When he does deal with them, they are hugely deferential to him.
In his second story he gets a secretary, Jeanne, and a buddy/sidekick, Big Jim, a boisterous drunken russian. They chase down and catch bank robber Ferrini.
The next story follows this up, as Steve gets a call informing him that Jim has been killed, though he finds him barely alive, and has to fish him out of a river. Ferrini was part of an opium smuggling mob, and they are seeking vengeance, but Steve tracks down and captures them all.
Neither Big Jim nor Jeanne appears again, and I think it’s safe to say Jim dies of his injuries, and I think Jeanne leaves afterwards, so upset about Jim dying, they must have had something going on.
Steve has another solo outing, and then his series jumps over to Adventure Comics for two months, and a bit of a reboot.
Steve now has an assistant, Happy, a young blond guy, but old enough to probably be the assistant DA. Steve is no more inclined to hit a courtroom. In the first of the two stories he flies a seaplane, dives from it, swims to a boat and climbs onboard to catch some killers.
Happy sticks around as the series moves back to Detective Comics just as this era ends, and they crack a protection scam.
Steve Malone, District Attorney continues in the Early Golden Age
Steve Malone: Detective Comics 18 – 19 (Aug – Sep 38), 21 (Nov 38), 26 (Apr 39)
Adventure Comics 38 – 39 (May – June 39)
Detective Comics 34 (Dec 39)