World’s Finest Comics vol.1 #6 - Cover date Summer 1942
Jimmy Olsen debuts in the comics courtesy of this issue, name and all (an earlier unnamed copyboy is often credited as being Jimmy’s first appearance in the comic, but without having a name assigned to him, is he really Jimmy? Imagine his existential dilemma).
Also debuting in this episode is the malevolent Metalo, not to be confused with the later “man with the kryptonite heart” who spelled his sobriquet with two “L”s. Decked out in invulnerable armor and lurid purple cape, capable of flight and gifted with tremendous strength, Metalo undertakes a series of crimes across Metropolis of which the authorities understandably accuse the Man of Steel.
Superman is now no stranger to the super-villain, the world-conqueror and the mad scientist, so does Metalo represent anything previously unexplored in the genre? Well, for the first time, Superman is facing his equal but opposite number – possessed of all of the Man of Tomorrow’s mighty powers, decked out in a cloaked costume, masking his true identity behind a fanciful name. Admittedly he’s not quite the mirror duplicate that enemies like Bizarro, Ultraman or Super-Menace might eventually be, but he is, at least, the first.
Like so many villains before him, Metalo appears to die at the end of the issue, but unusually for the medium, the readers are shown that he survives – to vow and plot his revenge! In a wonderful sort of irony, though, Metalo thereafter vanished entirely, and didn’t return to the comics for three decades…