The Mechanical Man
The Adventures of Superman Radio Serial - December
The Yellow Mask returns! Yet, even more surprisingly, Clark is secretly recruited into the Espionage Division of the Secret Service – the war effort is in full swing and Superman is clearly expected by the audience and the writers alike to do his part, even if only in his civilian disguise.
Both of these elements resolve in the theft of the unconquerable Mechanical Man, a powerful robot soldier who seems to have been at least lightly influenced by the Mechanical Monsters of the earlier Fleischer cartoon. Set loose by the Mask and sent rampaging through the nation, the Mechanical Man holds the country in terror – particularly as he bores down full speed on a packed orphanage.
The radio serial, at this point, tended to avoid singular menaces for the most part. The fast-paced and densely-packed Mechanical Man is an exception – due in no small part to the return of The Yellow Mask (one of Superman’s earliest foes) – but while the comics will begin to trend towards pseudonymous villains beginning in 1942, the radio serial is still some distance from setting Superman against super-villains on a regular basis, making stories like this a welcome exception…