Steve Carson continues to make Federal Men his one-man show in the second half of his run. He has no partner in these stories, and even his Chief only makes occasional appearances. The strip never grew beyond four pages in length, and the limits those placed on it really began to show.
We never see Steve at home, or learn anything more about him. He lives in a world defined by his cases, which are most often murder, with a fair number of kidnappings and counterfeiting rings. He goes undercover a few times, infiltrating a crime school, and as a sailor. the latter story took Steve to Lisbon, and he also has cases on the Texas-Mexico border, in Delaware, San Francisco and an island prison near Key West.
Too ofter these stories have unsatisfactory explanations jammed into the final panel, they simply try to do too much to keep the series entertaining, and you can’t help but feel that another two pages per story would have helped.
Then again, with Shuster gone, the art really dragged down the strip. Issues 47 and 48 have such poor art that the story is all but incomprehensible. Chad, the artist who carried the last two years of the series, got better, and for it’s last year the art was strong and not a hinderance to the narrative. He particularly excelled at trains and ships in storms. The train wreck story in issue 53 is the first Chad story that really looks good, and the Key West prison story, with boat crashes and large storms, in issue 64, is his best.
As the war progressed, more and more of the stories took on a military connexion, with Steve going after spies and saboteurs more frequently. In his final story he took out foreign spies causing deaths in a munitions factory.
I believe that after 7 years as one of their top operatives, even though his best days were behind him, Steve was moved up to a desk job and spent the rest of his days managing other agents of the FBI.
Federal Men: Adventure Comics 46 – 70 (Jan 40 – Jan 42)