This is where my Golden Age (as Mister Silver Age wisely says) begins. Though that's not entirely true as my first comic was Justice League of America #103, but I read this one two or three years later.

I'm also going to split this up by issues at least for this three-parter.

This was Len Wein's first JLA issue as well as its 100th, so he had an anniverary to celebrate, to boot. How do you make this team-up special: you add another team! Strangely he doesn't think Teen Titans or Legion of Super-Heroes, he thinks about a little remembered Golden Age team. I'll speak about them later. First:

JUSTICE LEAGUE #100 (Au'72): The Unknown Soldier of Victory!

The conceit of this issue was that it was the JLA's 100th meeting. I will assume this meant regularly scheduled meetings, not emergancies. If the League met monthly then they've been around eight years, four months. If weekly, then it's less than two years, which seems unlikely.

The JLA: The entire active JLA roster is present here. This allows Aquaman to interact with the JSA for only the second time. There is the first (?) Green Arrow/Hawkman verbal joust. They hold this special event in their original mountain sanctuary, which is nowhere near Happy Harbor. Trust me on this! :-) There are guests though.

Metamorpho the Element Man: after saying "NO!" to JLA membership but becoming a "standby" member and had stood by for 60 issues, Rex finally shows up! Wein probably liked the character and felt the League needed a little muscle for this adventure, which it did!

Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man: Wein loved this guy! He only met the team once in #51. Met them, did not work with them---a long magical tale! But he would soon join in #105!

Zatanna the Magician: she worked twice with the JLA but several times with its various members. Besides why Wouldn't you want her at your party??

Diana Prince, Wonder Woman: this was a woman who felt humbled and would not have even came if Batman had not insisted even though she had more reason to be there than the other guests!

Then there were the cameos:

The Martian Manhunter: this FOUNDING member of the JLA was left out as most writers could not get a decent handle on him. Plus he was on Mars II though he would return for #115.

Snapper Carr: Unable to face his mentors after his actions in #77. He would also show up again in #114.

Adam Strange: Still on Rann. The most deserving "honorary" member had to stay home!

If the Elongated Man and Metamorpho who helped the JLA once were invited, why not Robin, Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Mera, the Creeper, the Earth-One Vigilante or Sargon the Sorcerer? Just asking why not? Wouldn't the wives want to go with their husbands?

The JSA: No new information is given but on hand were: Doctor Fate, Sandman, Hourman, Johnny Thunder, Doctor Mid-Nite, Starman, Wonder Woman, Wildcat and Red Tornado.

Fate brings the JLA to E-2 because of The Hand that Holds the Earth! Literally, a planetary size hand about to crush the Earth, created (somehow, despite no obvious technology nor the massive amount of energy needed to use it) by mysterious villain The Iron Hand.

Fate also with Zatanna and the Thunderbolt summon the cosmic Oracle who knows all of what happened and the past is his domain. He tells the two teams that the answer lies in a third team, one no one remembers, The Seven Soldiers of Victory (7SV)!

BTW, where were the E-2 Superman, Flash, Hawkman, etc? Strange that they would be absent?

The 7SV: their roster was: The Shining Knight, the Green Arrow and Speedy (of E-2), the Vigilante (of E-2), the Star Spangled Kid and *sigh* Stripesy and the Crimson Avenger!

No one remembers them because they were blasted into the past following their destroying of the Nebula Man. Oracle will send seven three-man teams into time to recover the missing Soldiers. He also tell them of the 7SV's first adventure against a crimelord, The Hand. Hmmm?

Now the 7SV were an unknown factor to readers in the 70s or were they? I know I read their reprinted adventure in JLA #111-112 before I read these issues, so I knew who they were!

In JLA #76 (D'69), a portrait of the 7SV was seen, complete with roll call.

In JLA #78-79 (F-Ma'70), the Earth-One Vigilante was revived. There were reprints in Action #403 (Au'71) and #405 (O'71). There were new stories in Adventure # 417 (Ma'72) and #422 (Au'72). He also teamed with Superman in World's Finest #214 (N'72).

The Shining Knight was re-presented in World's Finest #205 (S'71) and Adventure #417 (Ma'72).

Superboy #185 (My'72) had a reprinted Star Spangled Kid tale.

So if you read DC comics during that period, the heroes of the 7SV were familar to you.

Chapter 2: Doctor Fate, the Atom and the Elongated Man appear in Aztec Mexico where they battle a mesmerized Crimson Avenger, who thinks he's a Sun-god because of the powers given to him by a hunk of the Nebula Man that came with him. ICK! By destroying the nebluite, the Avenger is cured and they vanish!

Some Notes: Not to tweak a certain Morrison scholar, but The Nebula Man was originally described as an "awesome, giant Earth-man!" who conquered and killed until he was destroyed by the 7SV's "new weapon" at the cost of a Soldier's life!

Oracle was an intriguing character. Sadly he was not used again after this tale.

Next: Three Soldiers Trapped In Time or I Wanna Go with Superman!

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"Get off my sister!  Go back to your master and tell him he can do what he wants to this ungrateful bigoted planet, but you leave my sister alone, you bald-headed freak!"

Before or after the Surfer paralizes Pietro's vocal chords and gives him lead-feet?

"Now, my bewitching sorceress, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted..... want to take a spin around the planet while I commiserate on my being an outsider from humanity?

(aside--sotto voce) back off, Arrow-Boy or you'll get it worse that the Fastest Mouth over there!"

The Watcher sent Iron Man, who failed - because apparently, the intruder sensors in Galactus' Worldship reacted to his armor, but not to Johnny Storm's organic form.

Philip Portelli said:

And who would the Watcher send to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier? The Wasp? Since she was the only one who could fly?

Maybe Wanda could have y'know, "stirred" the Silver Surfer's emotions just as well as Alicia Masters but I doubt Quicksilver would have approved! Though what could he do about it?

Who's Jim and Sam??

I think "Jim" was Jim Valentino.


Jim Valentino (who wrote and drew the issue) for sure; if I had to guess, I’d say the inker was Sam de la Rosa.

Now where were we? I can't believe that it's taken so long to get back to this but as I've said before, "Onward!"

JUSTICE LEAGUE #147-148 (O-N'77) : Crisis in the 30th Century!/Crisis in Triplicate!

Written by Paul Levitz and Martin Pasko, drawn by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, edited by Julius Schwartz.

I'll be honest, I want to love these books but can't help but be disappointed by them. By this time, the JLA had converted into a Giant book as did the Legion, so they had extra pages to work with. All Star Comics was still being published. A three or six part crossover was possible but that was a path not taken, more the pity.

But there was cross referencing as the JSA went to Earth-One in All Star #68, though this two-parter does interrupts Steve Englehart's amazing run. There's cameos by a jealous Star Spangled Kid, a combative Wildcat and a captured Psycho-Pirate who looks like he's seven-feet tall!

The JLA: No surprises here: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary.

                Superman is important because of his history to the Legion.

The JSA: Pretty standard as well: Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern, with the first JLA/JSA appearance of Power Girl! She is literally the breath of fresh air in this team-up!

Though there is that "ick" moment where she flirts with the younger E-1 counterpart of the man who raised her!

The main reason for my excitement for 1977's crossover--

The Legion of Super-Heroes: in the first part, it featured Sun Boy, Brainiac 5, Princess Projectra and Wildfire with Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy and Shadow Lass more in the second part.

Wildfire is the Legion leader, though his personality conflict with Superboy/man is mentioned and the fact that he's not a popular leader.

The Villains: Merely the Legion's greatest, Mordru the Merciless making his second major appearance. He searches the past for the Silver Wheel, the Green Bell and the Red Jar to free The Three Demons (Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast). But all he retrieves are the JLA/JSA. He seems trapped in some semi-spirit form yet still easily defeats the heroes.

The Three Demons, once released, refuse to obey Mordru but for the first time have three different goals so they each pick a team to battle for them. Ol' Rath takes a shine to humanity after eons of hatred and wants to save it from his still evil brothers, which was a novel touch.

Some Notes: My main problem with the story was that the Legion was not used effectively and made to look inferior to the League. Some examples are Wildfire and Sun Boy being carried when they can both fly. Brainiac 5 gets the solution wrong. The Legionnaires' lack of experience (?) is mentioned a couple of times, they fail to retrieve the Three Objects and play little part in the defeat of the Three Demons. You could have used The Teen Titans and Felix Faust and have the same type of story.

If this was your first exposure to the Legion, you might not buy their book afterwards and that was the real shame!

Next: (Hopefully sooner) "Time, Time, See What's Become of Me" or "Now I DO Need a History Lesson!"

 

I'm glad you got back to this.  I paid good money for the final Crisis on Multiple Earths collection, after all, but for some reason I opted to skip this volume.  There is very little praise around for the stories in Vol 4 (this Legion Crossover is the last in it).  I think I decided that I'd wait for the JLA Showcases to catch up.

 

But it's been a while since I read vol 5, so I'll have to go back and reread it now...



Philip Portelli said:

Now where were we? I can't believe that it's taken so long to get back to this but as I've said before, "Onward!"

JUSTICE LEAGUE #147-148 (O-N'77) : Crisis in the 30th Century!/Crisis in Triplicate!

Written by Paul Levitz and Martin Pasko, drawn by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, edited by Julius Schwartz.

I'll be honest, I want to love these books but can't help but be disappointed by them. By this time, the JLA had converted into a Giant book as did the Legion, so they had extra pages to work with. All Star Comics was still being published. A three or six part crossover was possible but that was a path not taken, more the pity.

But there was cross referencing as the JSA went to Earth-One in All Star #68, though this two-parter does interrupts Steve Englehart's amazing run. There's cameos by a jealous Star Spangled Kid, a combative Wildcat and a captured Psycho-Pirate who looks like he's seven-feet tall!

 

As far as I am concerned the biggest thing missed is that this could have been the DC version of the Avengers/Defenders War if they HAD crossed over and if it had been written at least in part by Englehart. Sadly as you said, not really much of note.

The JLA: No surprises here: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary.

                Superman is important because of his history to the Legion.

 

Like you say, no surprises and four of the five would be listed as most popular Leaguers in a poll about 10 issues later. You go with the characters that will move the product

The Villains: Merely the Legion's greatest, Mordru the Merciless making his second major appearance. He searches the past for the Silver Wheel, the Green Bell and the Red Jar to free The Three Demons (Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast). But all he retrieves are the JLA/JSA. He seems trapped in some semi-spirit form yet still easily defeats the heroes.

The Three Demons, once released, refuse to obey Mordru but for the first time have three different goals so they each pick a team to battle for them. Ol' Rath takes a shine to humanity after eons of hatred and wants to save it from his still evil brothers, which was a novel touch.

 

Again, touching on your earlier comment, with the level of opposition that the teams faced. A better story could have been told over  a couple if not 3 different titles. I would have loved to see a Staton drawn scene in All-Star of the JSA, JLA and LSH together of course this was the time when multi-title crossovers were the exception as opposed to the rule.

Some Notes: My main problem with the story was that the Legion was not used effectively and made to look inferior to the League. Some examples are Wildfire and Sun Boy being carried when they can both fly. Brainiac 5 gets the solution wrong. The Legionnaires' lack of experience (?) is mentioned a couple of times, they fail to retrieve the Three Objects and play little part in the defeat of the Three Demons. You could have used The Teen Titans and Felix Faust and have the same type of story.

If this was your first exposure to the Legion, you might not buy their book afterwards and that was the real shame!

The thing of it is, the LSH were not just guest stars, they were GUEST guest stars. The pecking order was effectively, JLA, JSA and THEN LSH. As mentioned earlier, a multi-title story might have solved this, especially with the writers of each dealing with characters they knew (although, it IS suprising coming from Paul Levitz, mind you this is well before his run) It is not one of the best crossovers there ever was  but the basics were there, just not built upon at they could have been.

It’s somewhat disappointing how little cross-continuity there was between titles in the DC comics of this era. There was very little between JLA and All Star throughout the ‘70s, and there was none between JLA and LSH (which is surprising because the Legion’s regular writer, Paul Levitz, also handled the JLA/JSA/LSH team-up).

Some more comments on the JLA/JSA/LSH team-up:

  • It just hit me that an awesome 6-parter could have had, as the bad guys, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the Injustice Society and the Fatal Five!
  • When Mordru's magical hand grabs Power Girl in the JLA Satellite, there in the first panel of Page 4 are the Wheel, Bell and Jar! So close yet so far!
  • In their initial tussle with Mordru, neither the JLA nor JSA make any effort to free the captive Legionnaires, especially Superman.
  • For a "weak" sorcerer, Doctor Fate managed to effect Mordru's magic a lot! More ironic if you read JSA #1-4.
  • Luckily Mordru was an expostion-friendly kind of guy!
  • Strange that they created another shapeshifting race in the Antareans instead of using Proty's race but that's just the Legion nitpicker in me! ;-)
  • Brainiac 5 recognizes the Earth-Two Green Lantern as Batman recognizes him. After all there are statues of the Legion in the Superman Museum!
  • I thought it odd that last paring of the first part was the E-2 Flash and Power Girl, instead of one of the JLAers.
  • Green Arrow and Black Canary spend a good deal of time as hostages. Perhaps Mordru feared the boxing glove arrow!
  • Mordru called the heroes naive to trust him to keep his word yet he was naive to his downfall to think that the Three Demons would be grateful and obedient to him!
  • The Legion is quickly defeated (again) this time by the Demons.
  • Each Demon picks a team to be their champions, with the Legion free to act, the JLA free to think and the JSA except Power Girl completely controlled.
  • Doctor Fate is temporarily reduced to a floating head! Unintentionally funny!
  • Wildfire seems happy enough to smack Superman around!
  • Shadow Lass and Princess Projectra are very effective here.
  • After Green Lantern rescues Green Arrow and Black Canary, they quickly (again) defeat the Legionnaires escorting Mordru's spirit back to his confinement. For those keeping score, that's Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy and Ultra Boy who disappear from the story.
  • GL makes them all forget about this adventure because of the dreaded time paradoxes! Except one hopes for Superman! But really does knowing that the Satellite does not survive to the 30th century matter? Heck it doesn't even make it to the 21st!!
  • Even though all three books are at high points of Bronze Age excellence, this was a very mediocre affair!

Justice League #159-160 (O-N'78): Crisis From Yesterday/Crisis From Tomorrow!

The two teams decide to have their annual meeting at a fancy restaurant in Gotham City, Earth-One, courtesy of Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin. Unfortunately they are attacked by heroes out of history and the majority are placed in comas. The survivors are:

JLA: Superman, the Flash, Hawkman and the Elongated Man

JSA; Doctor Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman, the Star Spangled Kid and the Huntress

Their opponents are:

The Black Pirate--English buccaneer from the 16th century

The Viking Prince--Norse warrior and champion

Miss Liberty- Revolutionary War heroine and ally to Tomahawk

Jonah Hex--scarred bounty hunter and future time traveller

Enemy Ace--WWI German aviator and cult favorite

They were all powered up by the Lord of Time in a bizarre scheme to stop his own computerized Eternity Brain from stopping time!

Highlights include:

  • Batman of Earth-One commiserating about the daughter of his counterpart, the Huntress and the emptiness of his life!
  • Green Arrow and Hawkman ending their "feud" and overdoing it!
  • The Star Spangled Kid being embarassed about his name Sylvester but not Star Spangled Kid!
  • The Lord of Time's palpable fear of his own creation!
  • The surrealism of seeing Jonah Hex and Baron Von Hammer in a JLA comic!
  • Flying horses, a flying Viking ship and that blood-red fokker!
  • At Hawkgirl's injury, the Winged Wonder falls apart.....again!
  • The Elongated Man's insecurity and the Huntress' smugness!
  • The battle over Valley Forge that supposedly strengthens the teams after their "total defeat"!
  • The ease that Superman trails them through time
  • The History Heroes taken out of the story completely in the first pages of the second part. Their bit was done!
  • Aquaman helps save the other comatose heroes.
  • Red Tornado's ward, Traya, at the restaurant but unharmed in the explosion that took out the E-2 Superman, the E-1 Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate and TWO Green Lanterns! Tough kid!!
  • The heroes fall one-by-one and it's the Elongated Man that saves the day by destroying the Eternity Brain!
  • Needless to say, Ralph is back to his jovial self at the end!

I'll add some more later!

Next:  CSI: JLA Satellite or There's Been A Murder? Terrific! 

To quote myself from July 11, 2011 at 7:18pm

Figserello said:

But it's been a while since I read vol 5, so I'll have to go back and reread it now...

A few more observations:

  • Just as Power Girl's curvy existence got Superman super-flustered (and man you'ld think that he had outgrown that by now!), the first JLA/JSA appearance of the Huntress gets Batman all melacholic and contemplative. Does he know that the E-2 Caped Crusader married his Catwoman?
  • Another thing I just noticed it that on E-2, Bruce Wayne does not know his daughter is the Huntress yet the E-1 version does.
  • Readers would have been familar with Jonah Hex, if only by house-ads and Enemy Ace had already achieved legendary status.
  • The Viking Prince had some of his tales reprinted in Brave & Bold #99, 101, 113, 115 and 117 plus DC Special #12 (Ju'71), a sought-after back issue!
  • The Black Pirate was spotlighted in World's Finest #210 (Ma'72) and Action Comics #443 (Ja'75).
  • Miss Liberty, OTOH, was unknown to me at the time.
  • The Star Spangled Kid is really unimpressive here as the Huntress commands attention and Doctor Mid-Nite commands respect. He is just there!
  • The Elongated Man's inferiority complex would appear a couple of more times combined with his self-promotion and ability to bounce back.
  • Nice to see Ralph's friendship with the Flash brought up as well as Doctor Mid-Nite and the Golden Age Wonder Woman.
  • They always seem to use Superman as living battering ram a lot!
  • Not a bad story but not great as the Heroes from History are excluded from the ending and the villain, the Lord of Time, is rooting for the heroes!

Next: Murder Mystery Mayhem or Who's Jerry?

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