DC Archives Month continues this week with a far more familiar face than Starman's - Superman!
We open with Action Comics #37, where a crime wave has swept through Metropolis. Kent spearheads an alliance between the Daily Planet with Metropolis's other newspapers to protest the corruption that allows it to continue, leading to the firing of Police Commissioner Kennedy. When Kennedy's successors are killed off, Kent gets pressured into accepting the position of commissioner. The plot is predictable and the mastermind's identity is obvious, but it's an enjoyable story, and I like seeing Superman use his Kent persona to try and make a positive difference.
Action Comics #39 gives us a super-powered opponent of sorts for Superman - The Ghost, aka Brett Bryson, a worker at a chemical laboratory who is believed killed in a chemical explosion. Bryson survived, the explosion disfiguring him but increasing his strength. He also has a touch of death that leaves behind a radium burn. To provide for his family, The Ghost has been manipulated into committing various crimes, making him a tragic villain. Eventually, his loss and the injuries he sustains allows insanity to take its hold, leading to an inevitable showdown with Superman. He wouldn't be a lasting villain, however, which is kind of a shame - he had long-standing potential. (I also would have liked to have seen an actual fight between Superman and The Ghost.)
"The Devil's Playground" (Action Comics #46) gives another masked one-shot villain, The Domino. The Domino operates a protection racket and is currently working on forcing an amusement part to allow crooked gambling on its premises. The owner refuses, and The Domino's gang get to work with their sabotage - until Lois and Clark, who happen to be enjoying a day at the fair, get involved. There's a funny bit where the narrator's captions segues into Clark changing into Superman and shouting his own name as he does so. The way the word balloon is worded, it makes it look like he just shouted "SUPERMAN" for no reason.
Following Superman's clash with Luthor and The Top comes a better addition to Superman's rogues gallery: "The Puzzler" (Action Comics #49). Not the Riddler predecessor you'd think him to be, The Puzzler specializes in rigged games, but doesn't leave clues to his next crimes. He never became a major villain, though. To my knowledge, he only appeared once more in the Golden Age in Superman #20, reprinted in The Superman Archives Vol. 5. A villain called The Puzzler did take on Batman in a two-part episode of the 1960s TV series, but I'm not sure if it was supposed to be the same guy.