As some may remember from the old board I have a ton of comic books that I have never read. My goal is to read at least one a day (yeah right), and when it strikes my fancy to do so to review that comic here. Once again join me as I plow through years of comics that have been lying around unread.

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Okay, cool. Thanks for the additional info as always, Luke.
Justice League of America #159
Oct. 1978
Cover art by: Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano


Story: Crisis from Yesterday
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Dick Dillin
Inks: Frank McLaughlin

The JLA and JSA are having their annual hootenanny, when they are suddenly attacked! Great a fight! Not quite, 3 pages in and we get an interlude and meet the Lord of Time. A being who has wanted to control time in order to take what he wanted from it. In his quest he has developed the Eternity Brain which has the capacity to stop time. Which unfortunately once it starts to stop time it won't stop and the universe will, well not be destroyed, but ground to a halt forever. LoT has plucked a few warriors from time in hopes they can defeat the combined might of the Justice League and Justice Society.

Back to the attack, a bunch of the the heroes are knocked out from the collapsing wall from the attack. In walk the people who attacked them: The Viking Prince, Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace, Miss Liberty, and the Black Pirate. They aren't sure what brought them all together and compelled them to attack the (unknown to them) heroes. They decide to leave and try to figure out what is going on with them.

The two teams of heroes eventually awaken and take an assessment of their casualties. Most of them are taken to the Gotham hospital and the remaining heroes attempt to track their attackers down. Those remaining heroes are: Superman (Earth 1), Wonder Woman (Earth 2), Flash (Earth 1), Hawkman (Earth 1), Star-Spangled Kid (Earth 2), Dr. Mid-nite (Earth 2), The Huntress (Earth 2), and Elongated Man (Earth 1). Superman uses his chronal vision (I just made that up) to follow the assailants' chronal energy trail. Once they find them, a huge battle ensues. The time displaced heroes have all been given super powers by the Lord of Time to make them more than a formidable force for the JL/JSAers.

The Viking Prince easily dispatched the Huntress, and surprisingly the Flash who wasn't prepared for the Prince's strength and toughness. The Black Pirate takes care of Wonder Woman, Elongated Man, and Dr. Mid-Nite. Next Enemy Ace, Jonah Hex, and Miss Liberty defeat the rest of the heroes and leave them. Now we learn the Lord of Time's plan. He is hoping this defeat the Justice League/Society's “first true defeat” will grow the two teams stronger and make them strong enough to destroy the Eternity Brain.
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This is really a comic that would be hard to screw up, and it really is a lot of fun. The opening scene of the two teams enjoying each others company in a club. To Batman of Earth 1 lamenting the fact he has never settled down and had kids after talking to the Huntress. The great fight scene that takes up almost the whole second half of the book. I don't have the next part, so I assume the group never recovered from such a crushing defeat and the universe ground to a halt.

The funny thing: The Black Pirate wears purple, yellow, orange, and white, yet no black.
I think this was the JLA/JSA story with a reunion party, but I can't say that for sure. The second part concludes the story well.
>

The funny thing: The Black Pirate wears purple, yellow, orange, and white, yet no black.

I'd never heard of him before recently, but at the end of Return of Bruce Wayne issue 2, our Bruce is mistaken for the Black Pirate. Or perhaps he was him...
Figserello said:
>

The funny thing: The Black Pirate wears purple, yellow, orange, and white, yet no black.

I'd never heard of him before recently, but at the end of Return of Bruce Wayne issue 2, our Bruce is mistaken for the Black Pirate. Or perhaps he was him...

Well did Bruce have the good sense to wear black as the Black Pirate, or was he keeping up the charade of being color blind?
Justice League of America #171
Oct. 1979
Cover art by: Dick Dillin


Story: The Murderer Among Us: Crisis Above Earth-One
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Dick Dillin
Inks: Frank McLaughlin

Well it is time for another one of those JLA/JSA annual meetups. Terry Sloane AKA Mr. Terrific has come out of retirement and shown up to the party. He relates a story about how he recently saw his old foe the Spirit King and is tracking him down. When others ask him why he hasn't captured him yet, and if he is holding something back, he storms off in anger. Claiming one of them will be branded a traitor.

Suddenly, there is an explosion that rocks the satellite. The fail safes, uh, fail to work and repair the satellite. Superman is the first to fly out of the hole a discovers a body out in space. Superman and Dr. Fate use their powers to fashion a new plate out of asteroids to cover the hole. The Hawkmen from both Earth's use grappling hooks to bring it into place. Then, both of the Green Lanterns use their rings to secure the metal plate.

The body is Mr Terrific's and he is quite dead. The Flash arrives with a piece of metal from the explosion and doesn't know what kind of explosive could have caused the detonation. Zatanna attempts to use her power to figure out what happened. Dr. Fate senses trouble and breaks her spell, but not before she is left in a coma. The satellite's computer determines that Mr. Terrific was strangled to death, and since there was no one else on the base, a member of the JLA or JSA is a murderer.
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Well, I don't have the second part, so that sucks. Even though I know what happens.

The bits I liked:
Hawkman of Earth-two boosting Zatanna's confidence
Batman of Earth-One talking to the Huntess after the death of her father. She wasn't sure she would come, and he doesn't know how to react to the death of your doppelgänger.
Alan Scott asking Hal about his job as a truck driver, and the simple respone,”What's to tell? It's a living...”
In the medi-lab and Hawkman of Earth-Two says about Mr. Terrific,”We hardly knew him...he was never really one of us...and now he's dead.” It was just so soon after the death, and he seems to be distancing
Justice Inc #1
May-June 1975
Cover art by: Joe Kubert


Story: “This Night, an Avenger is Born”
Writer: Denny O'Neill
Art: Al McWilliams


Explorer and adventurer Dick Benson and his family are on a plane to Montreal. Dick goes to the washroom and when he returns he finds his family missing, along with fellow traveler Arthur Hickock. He gets into a fight with some men on board and is knocked unconscious. When he awakens three weeks later in a hospital he discovers that his hair and skin have turned white, and that the skin on his face is frozen in place. Dick also packs some new weapons: a special 4 shot .22 caliber gun he names Mike, and a perfectly balanced dagger he calls Ike.

Richard goes back to the plane to discover what has happened to his family. There he is attacked by a mountain of a man. Richard defeats him, and asks him what the big deal is. The man, Smitty, is a physicist wanted by the law for a murder he didn't commit. The two men continue to look around the airplane, and they find a trapdoor, and later a map.

Smitty had gone to get Benson some greasepaint, and he uses the paint to give his face a natural color, and then he folds his skin into wrinkles to give him the appearance of and old man. Now disguised, Benson boards the same plane again. Once on board some men force Mrs. Van Dunce to don a parachute, and take her to the trap door. They also make Benson jump planning to kill him as they did his family earlier. Benson has hidden a chute inside his coat and lands safely.

Once on the island we learn that criminals' plan is to have the owners of the Acme Motor Company sign the company over to them. Benson jumps out and shoot four of them, and takes another out with his knife. This leaves him unarmed against another bad guy with a gun. Just then Smitty shows up and knocks the guy out. Both guys have deduced that Arthur Hickock was behind the scam, and Smitty has to convice Benson not to kill him.
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Man, I love that cover. The story itself wasn't bad overall, but a lot of the dialogue was clunky. Smitty basically tells Benson he wants to help him, because he likes the cut of his jib. Actually he says,”Your manner inspires me to trust you.” Whatever. The whole idea of shooting someone with a bullet that creases the skull to knock that person out is a bit out there as well, but a lot of fun. It was good, but I think it could have been better. I have never read any of his pulps or other literary works.
The Street and Smith pulp represented the stories as written by "Kenneth Robeson, creator of "Doc Savage"" but this was not true. The Doc Savage stories were by-lined 'Kenneth Robeson' and mostly written by Lester Dent. The Avenger novels were mostly written by Paul Ernst. I've read references to Dent's having had input into the creation of the series, but of what it might have consisted I don't know.

The earlier issues of the pulp have quite striking covers, with images of the Avenger's head looking down on the action. I've not read any of the stories.

Jack Kirby drew the other issues of the Justice inc. series, but Denny O'Neil was still credited with the writing. I've only read #2. The story was apparently an adaptation of the third Avenger novel with changes.
Sanctum Press has begun reprinting the Avenger novels, in the same "pulp double" format as their Shadow, Doc Savage and Whisperer reprints. Issue #1 of the comic sounds like a reasonably faithful adaptation of the first Avenger novel, "Justice, Inc.", but substituting The Avenger's second recruit, Smitty, for first recruit Fergus "Mac" MacMurdie.

The Avenger novels that I've read so far have been entertaining page-turners. They play like ever-so-slightly more realistic Doc Savage yarns (with the taciturn Benson substituting for the taciturn Doc), but they lack Lester Dent's sense of humor. That, coupled with the fact that each story contains a new-reader-friendly explanation of Benson's horrifically tragic origin story (and the equally tragic stories of Mac and other members of Justice, Inc.) makes the whole exercise feel solemn and downbeat, if not downright bleak.

Pretty much every story ends along the lines of: "But Benson could take no solace in his victory, knowing that no blow struck against evil could ever restore to him the family he had lost."
Marvel Team-Up #39
Nov. 1975
Cover art by: John Romita


Story: Any Number Can Slay
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Inks: Mike Esposito

Spider-man is on the roof of some building and a gunmen is sneaking up on him. Some little kid comes running out on to the roof. The sight of Spider-man startles him, and the kid drops the bird seed he was carrying. Spidey begins to help the kid pick up the seed when 2 shots ring out. When Spidey thinks he has the gunman cornered he finds no one there. He then returns to the little boy who is crying over the pigeon who got shot by.

Later the Human Torch is flying the Fantasti-car for Reed to checkout the gyro system. A rope comes out and pulls on the car like a Warner Brothers cartoon and the Human Torch falls out. He flames on and flies to a roof to find Montana of the Enforcers. Before the Torch can lay into him, someone else appears and shoots a gun that extinguishes his flame. Then Fancy Dan pops up to punch Johnny, and the person who shot Torch with the special gun saps him into unconsciousness.

Through no explanation whatsoever ol' Web-head finds out where a bunch of Mafi...err Maggioso are meeting. His interest is piqued when he sees a coffin being hauled in with air holes punched in it. Also, Spider-man thinks this is all a trap for him. Once inside we learns that there is a new Big Man and he has the Enforcers on his side. He is auctioning off the Human Torch to the highest bidder. Okay, so now Spidey knocks out one gangster, and dresses in his clothes over his costume, and no one notices, except the Human Torch who is trapped in the coffin. Spider-man was right though as it was a trap set for him. Spidey frees the Torch, and the two begin to take care of the gathered bad guys. Then Sandman shows up as well as a new Crime-master. End of comic. It looks like next issue is going the be a real slugfest. Naturally, I don't have it.

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A very disjointed comic. None of the essentially three separate scenes really seem to fit together, except that they need to. It maybe a product of reading this comic 34+ years after it was produced. If I had bought this back in the '70s or '80s perhaps all of the coincidences in the last scene wouldn't have bothered me.

I did like the graffiti on one building that had all of the creators names on it...
This was part of a real good run of "Marvel Team-Up" by Mantlo, Sal Buscema and Esposito, though it featured yet another Spidey/Torch pairing. And again, in the next issue, Johnny ditches the action for a girl. And he wonders why everyone still thinks he's immature!

Even as a kid, I found it hard to believe that Montana (armed with a lasso) and Fancy Dan (a little man with some karate skills) take down the Torch who fought Dr. Doom, the Frightful Four, Blastaar ....and Galactus!!

The second part features the color-comic debut of the Sons of the Tiger, the tough talking Sandman (returning to his original look) and the tragedy of the new Big Man and Crime-Master. Oh and Mosquito is back, too!
Issues #39-40 were two of very few issues of MTU I bought new. I remember enjoying part one more than the conclusion, largely because of the inclusion of the Sons of the Tiger who interested me not at all.

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