A mysterious soldier appears at opportune times and helps Superman and Clark Kent in "The Specter of War."
"The Specter of War!"
Superman is on hand for yet another nuclear detonation. Flying at super-speed around the fallout cloud, Superman draws the deadly radioactive debris into deep space. Back at the Daily Planet, Superman, in his guise as Clark Kent, proposes doing a story about the causes of war, to Perry White. A military man enters White's office and hands Kent a sealed envelope. Scanning the contents with his x-ray vision, Kent sees a letter addressed to Superman. Kent races off, in pursuit of the mysterious soldier. By the time Kent makes the switch to Superman, he can find no trace of the man. Acting on information provided in the letter, Superman arrives at a top secret, underground military base, just in time to hurl a nuclear missile into orbit, before it remote detonates. At that moment, on the Canadian tundra, a group calling itself "The Survivors" monitors the explosion, Despite Superman's interference, the test of their microtronic beamer is deemed a success, Soon, they will plunge the entire world into nuclear war. Kent's attempt to investigate the remote detonation, at the Pentagon, gets him arrested. A two-star general stops the military police hauling Kent away, and orders his release. It is the same man that tipped Kent off to the remote detonation. After revealing that he knows Kent is Superman, the general hands him another note. When Kent looks up from reading the note, the general has vanished.
Kent, as Superman, travels to the Justice League satellite to investigate the matter further. With the Red Tornado's assistance, Superman feeds all available data into the Justice League computers, learning two things. First, the mysterious military man in question was an American operative, active during World War II, who was only referred to as "The Unknown Soldier". Second, the most likely areas to survive a nuclear holocaust. Superman begins to scout those locations, in search of the men who would dare trigger a nuclear war. At the Survivors' base, their leader interrogates a captured soldier. Taking the man's presence as a sign of a coming assault, the Survivors decide to accelerate their time table, organizing a pre-emptive strike. Superman arrives... too late. The microtronic beamer has already sent a signal to every nuclear weapon across the globe, priming them for detonation. Superman immediately takes off, desperate to prevent the coming nuclear armageddon. Before the Survivors can evacuate, they are placed under arrest by the Unknown Soldier. Flying at just under light speed, Superman crisscrosses the globe, disabling every active nuclear warhead he encounters. Arriving too late to deactivate the last warhead, Superman carries it down into the Earth's core, before it can detonate. Superman returns to the Survivors' base, to find it already under lockdown by NATO forces. That night, Superman, as Kent, journeys to the National Cemetery, in Arlington, to pay his respects, at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Whatever Happened to the Sandman?
Wesley Dodds is called to the venerable mansion of Doctor Raymond Baxter, by Baxter's daughter. Upon arrival, Dodds is immediately seized, at gunpoint, by "Snooze" Simpson. Formerly a big figure in York City's underworld, Simpson has spent the last several years in prison, thanks to Dodds' alter-ego, the Sandman. Dodds is beaten into unconsciousness. When he awakes, he finds himself in the bottom of a giant hour glass, it's sands already beginning to fill the lower chamber. Baxter's daughter had eavesdropped on a session her psychiatrist father had conducted with Dodds, discovering Dodds' dual identity. Dodds had been tortured, with guilt, over the fate of his young sidekick, Sandy, the Golden Boy. Through hypnosis, Baxter erased all knowledge of Dodds life as the Sandman, hoping to grant him peace. Fearing discovery, Baxter's daughter ran out before she could overhear the trigger word which would restore Dodds' memories. Simpson takes no satisfaction in killing Dodds, without Dodds' knowledge of his life as the Sandman. For hours, Simpson does everything he can think of to trigger Dodds' memory, to no avail. Dodds continues to deny that he was ever the Sandman. Dodds is up to his neck in sand, when Simpson finally gives up, ordering his associate, "Shark", to push Dodds' head beneath the sand. As Simpson walks off, he states his plan to locate, then murder, the Sandman's young sidekick, Sandy Hawkins. Hearing his partner's name spoken restores Dodd's memories. Dodds punches "Shark" into unconsciousness, then breaks out of the hourglass. Assuming his guise as the Sandman, Dodds catches up with Simpson outside the Baxter estate, The Sandman beats down Simpson's gunsels, before gassing Simpson and Baxter's daughter. Leaving his calling card behind, the Sandman heads off into the night. With his memory restored, the Sandman vows to set things right with his former sidekick, Sandy.
- "The Specter of War!" written by Paul Levitz, penciled by Irv Novick, inked by Frank McLaughlin, colored by Gene D'Angelo and lettered by Ben Oda.
- "Whatever Happened to the Sandman?" written by Mike W. Barr, penciled by Jose Delbo, inked by Joseph Giella, colored by Tom Ziuko and lettered by Philip Felix.
- This issue contains the Hostess Superhero Ad, the Flash in "Marathon Madman".