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!
Until I get a copy of the current JLA Showcase, I will sadly have to skip this discussion, for although I entered comic book fandom during the 1970s myself, my first Justice League issue was #114, which makes my first JLA/JSA team up issues #123-4
Otherwise, I have throughly enjoyed your posts. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the encouragement! It means a lot!
Jeff: anything that you could add would be great! Either here or the Silver Age thread. Plus if you want to discuss All-Star Comics or Infinity Inc, I'm game!
Lee: Jump in anytime!
Chris: Glad to hear you say that but I also want the Silver Agers involved here. The more, the merrier! Onward:
JUSTCE LEAGUE #101 (S'72): The Hand that Shook the World!
Intermission: Diana Prince, who stayed behind to brief any heroes who showed up later, briefs the E-2 Green Lantern, Mister Terrific and Robin the Man Wonder who showed up later. They go to investigate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of Victory atop the Himilayas.
Green Lantern's cape is blue, instead of purple but that changed with his every appearance. He also lets Robin and Mister Terrific use their acrobatic skills to save some kids instead of just power-ringing them out of harm's way.
Chapter 3: Superman, the Sandman and Metamorpho appear in Ancient China where they must battle Genghis Khan and his army, with includes a mesmerized Shining Knight and his flying steed, Winged Victory. They save a Chinese village and free the Knight.
The mind-controlled hero bit was similar to the Crimson Avenger and will be used again in this epic. The Shining Knight's magic sword may be able to hurt Superman, but drive him away? Someone's not using their Super-melon!
The Sandman's no longer shooting out concrete bricks but his traditional sleep-gas. He pins his old Golden Age calling card on Gengis.
"There is no land beyond the Law/Where TYRANTS Rule with Unshakable Power/ It's But a DREAM from which the Evil Wake/To Face their FATE...Their Terrifying Hour!"
Speaking about Genghis Khan, he appeared in enough DC comics to qualify for an entry in Who's Who!
Seeing Metamorpho working with the JLA made me think that DC made a mistake not having him join the team. He certainly added much needed strength and versatility. But he was too "Marvel" to be elevated to the A-List. More the pity. OTOH, he was a weird looking dude and a maverick as well.
Chapter 4: Hawkman, Wonder Woman (of E-2) and Doctor Mid-Nite arrive in Sherwood Forest and are attacked by Little John and the Merry Men! They are told that Robin Hood is being held in Nottingham Castle, condemned to hang. They lay siege to the castle which is easy when you got Wonder Woman on your side and free, not Robin, but the Green Arrow of E-2 who quickly does the old "net-arrow" trick and they all escape back to the future.
How Hawkman felt about two GAs is unknown!
Chapter 5: Batman, Hourman and Starman find themselves in Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs where they must liberate an enslaved *sigh* Stripesy. But they're quickly defeated by the overseers. Apparently Starman's losing streak has affected even the Dark Knight! They are thrown into the pyramid but escape because Batman knew (and Starman didn't) that Starman can control the cosmic rod's very atoms. Hurray for the Caped Crusader!
Batman really outshines his Golden Age co-stars here.
Hourman's hourglass was smashed in order to cut through their bonds. This was retconned, I believe, in Stars & STRIPE, because it now had special properties and they were released by a young Prince Khufu (the future Hawkman). In fact, the setting is the pyramid of Khufu!
Stripesy is shown possessing near super-human strength which I could accept because it gave him something to offset that name!
Intermission II: Apparently not caring for suspense, The Iron Hand is revealed to be the original Hand, and responsible for the Nebula Man, too. How he accomplished this is politely never mentioned! But he just walks into JSA HQ and is stalking our Princess Diana!
Some Notes: When these stories were reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest # 11 (Jl'81), they replaced some of the generic hero-logos with then then current ones.
Next: Indians, Cavemen and Centaurs! Plus Sacrifice, Anyone?
JUSTICE LEAGUE #102 (O'72): And One of Us MUST Die!
This time the recap is done by Oracle whose still waiting for a call-back!
Chapter 6: Green Arrow, Black Canary and the incomparable Johnny Thunder materialize in the 10th century North American Plains where they must rescue The Vigilante of Earth-Two from Indians who were warned by The Buffalo Spirit that "white-skins" would come to kill the buffalo and steal their land. Hard to argue that! They are rescued by The Thunderbolt who finally finds them.
This chapter was inked by Dick Giordano and it shows!
Nice touches include Johnny's "claim" to BC, his lack of a bow-tie and his hiccupping which was hilarious. Johnny's humor roots are easier to take in small doses.
Chapter 7: Off the prehistoric past where Green Lantern is hampered by a yellow fog, Wildcat dukes it out with a giant- caveman and Aquaman finds the Star-Spangled Kid hiding in a deep cave because he has the flu and is protecting the future of humanity! Naturally a flood occurs so the Sea King can do his thing!
The yellow fog is just too convienent and GL could still compensate for it but I think, like his E-2 counterpart, he likes to let his teammates feel useful!
The Kid's predicament is bit silly, the whole "Don't step on a butterfly in the past" bit but at least he's not a prisoner or mind-controlled!
Chapter 8: The Flash, Zatanna and the Red Tornado wind up on Circe's Island in ancient Greek times where she has enslaved Speedy of E-2 and turned him into a centaur and made him part of her menagarie. She enchants his arrows and transforms the trio into half-snail, hummingbird and mole, respectively. Zatanna overcomes her muteness to restore them and save the Boy Bowman.
Giordano inks this chapter, too. it does wonders for Zatanna.
The Red Tornado is no less effective than the Flash, just bringing that up!
This trio would be JLA partners in the future.
Chapter 9: The gangs' all here and the Unknown Soldier of Victory is revealed to be the Crimson Avenger's partner Wing who was mentioned and briefly shown in #100. Emotional, maybe! Expendable, definitely.The Iron Hand attempts to use Diana Prince as a hostage and gets his iron hand handed back to him! But really with thirty-one heroes in front of him, did he really think that he was going to get away, especially since he snuck in there with no game plan, in the first place. Diana smashes his robotic hand but that's where the controls for the Massive Hand that threatens to crush E-2 so now he can't shut it off! So they build and charge up the 7SV's nebula-rod but it has to be delivered by hand. While they try to decide who's gets the short straw, The Red Tornado volunteers and blows himself and the Hand up! Two heroic sacrifices in one epic!
Some Notes: Jeff said this story was too long and he's partially correct. There was never a three-part JLA tale before. There was the Starbreaker saga but the middle chapter was part reprint! As I reread it, I couldn't shake the feeling that the JSA, for the most part were unneeded. But there were some great bits here and as Figs can tell you, it was a big inspiration to Grant Morrison's JLA.
Next: Everything You Knew About WWII Was Wrong! Sorta!
Before I get to the next JLA/JSA team-up, a favorite of mine, there are the ramifications of this one to go through. Adding a third team must have been popular and a sales boost as they would add the Freedom Fighters next, the Squadron Of Justice in #135-137, the Legion of Super-Heroes in #147-148, History's Heroes in #159-160 and later the New Gods, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. Oddly they never used the Teen Titans, not even the Wolfman/Perez team. One effect was that it diluted the impact of the Justice Society. They were no longer special, they were expected. Also they had the tendency to use the same members over and over, especially with the introductions of Power Girl and the Huntress.
Having revived the Seven Soldiers also had an impact on the Earth-Two landscape from major to miniscule.
When they restarted All Star Comics with #58 (F'76), the Bicentennial, no less, with their misguided "Super-Squad", an attempt to infuse the venerable JSA with new blood, they inducted the Star Spangled Kid. In order to justify this, Starman broke his leg and lent the Kid his cosmic rod. Given Starman's track record in these team-ups, it was probably better that way. Slyvester Perburton III suffered from "the Captain America Syndrome" which inflicted characters displaced in time. In #64 (F'77), he improved on the cosmic rod and modified it as the cosmic converter belt. But due to his old-fashioned name and costume, he was phased out of All Star Comics. He actually survived the Crisis and the Last Days of the Justice Society, formed Infinity, Inc, rechristianed himself Skyman but was quickly killed off.
*sigh* Stripesy retired but returned as the mechanic for Infinity Inc but briefly had the spotlight as one half of Stars & STRIPE.
The Shining Knight guest-starred in All Star Comics # 64 with no reunion scene with his 7SV teammate, the Star Spangled Kid. He became a big part of the initial issues of All Star Squadron. He also appeared in Showcase, Stars & STRIPE and even Swamp Thing.
The Crimson Avenger died in an award-winning story in DC Comics Presents #38. He got a new lease on life when he starred in Secret Origins #5, in his original costume. That led to his own mini-series. Plus he was positioned of the first mystery-man of the Golden Age.
The Vigilante of E-2 made only cameo appearances but he merged with his E-1 counterpart Post-Crisis with his history intact.
The Green Arrow of E-2 helped out in the Crisis and was killed off for his trouble. They never did a double GA story which is a shame. Speedy of E-2 simply vanished.
I wrote a thread on the revisions to the 7SV Post-Crisis earlier.
I have a comment about #102 about I didn't want to jump ahead. Regarding the Flash/Zatanna/Red Tornado chapter, Circe didn't merely turn the heroes into half-human / half-snail/-hummingbird/-mole hybrids, but "that which is most repugnant to [them]." I don't know why the Flash would find snails particularly repugnant (unless he once ate a bad plate of escargot), and the choices for Zatanna and Reddy are equally mysterious. (Zatanna finds hummingbirds "repugnant"? Really?) Ignoring the fact that the Red Tornado's power lifts him into the air, Wein would have it that the Tornado's mole form kept him from using his power because, as a half-mole, he would drill himself into the ground. As a half-hummingbird, Zatanna found her vocal cords frozen (despite the fact Flash annd Reddy could still speak in their hybrid forms), only so that "experimenting with her newly-gained pinions, perfoming countless different maneuvers in an attempt to achieve a variety of sounds, until at last" she's able to sound out the words "CIGAM FO ECRIC ENOGEB!" On the old board we used to have an animated smiley of the foot of "Writer's Fiat" stamping out "Common Sense" which would apply here.
In answer to the question, "Where do writers get their ideas?" in the case of Oracle I'd be willing to bet wein got his from Marvel Comics. For all intent and purposes, this "new" character is little more than Eternity redressed (to say the least!) to avoid a lawsuit.
I have a comment about #102 about I didn't want to jump ahead. Regarding the Flash/Zatanna/Red Tornado chapter, Circe didn't merely turn the heroes into half-human / half-snail/-hummingbird/-mole hybrids, but "that which is most repugnant to [them]." I don't know why the Flash would find snails particularly repugnant (unless he once ate a bad plate of escargot), .
But Barry Allen is a police scientist. He's seen things of greater repugnance in his line of work, surely.
Maybe it was too brutal reminder of his "slowest man" days before the lightning struck him!
Zatanna's feat was way out-there from the realms of possibilities but then again, she was a magical hummingbird hybrid.
I was going to add that the Red Tornado as a mole burying himself underground may have been too much foreshadowing but as we shall see, his dirt nap was a quick snooze!
"I'LL take the medicine to Cercon IV. Back in two ticks."
"NO, Superman! It might have a KRYPTONITE CORE!"
"Then I'd better take it! Kryptonite isn't a problem to my power ring!"
"But the planet might have an INVISIBLE YELLOW AURA, like the Shark! Your ring would stop working when you entered it, and you'd plummet to your death!"
"Then I'LL take it! My robot plane can cross space!"
"But it could spring a leak!"
"My SPACESHIP won't! And Hawkgirl and I will wear air helmets all the way just in case!"
"But you'll probably have to SLEEP on the journey, and you might have BEDBUGS. And cosmic rays could penetrate the shield of your craft and mutate them into GIANT FLESH-EATING MONSTERS!"
"Then I'LL take it! I'll use my BACKWARDS MAGIC to summon a crystal ball that all me to map a path to Cercon IV using INTERDIMENSIONAL JUNCTURES."
"But if you accidentally mispoke and said latsyrc tellab raeppa instead of latsyrc llab raeppa you might be distracted by a performance of Swan Lake by diamond ballerinas."
"Then I won't SAY latsyrc tellab raeppa damn, oh wow check out that choreography."
"Then I'LL take it. I'll teleport myself there directly using Dr. Erdel's electronic brain, it's in good working order, it has the range, there are no combustible gases in Circon IV's atmosphere so I don't need to fear fire - FIRE! brrr - and the locals already know and like me because I stopped Despero's attempt to take the planet over last year."
"But they can't turn against you unless they already know you. And they ALREADY KNOW YOU, so there's a danger they'll turn against you!"
"Why don't you take it, GA? Zatanna can give you Superman's powers, Green Lantern will lend you his ring, you can take Hawkman's spaceship, we'll stow Wonder Woman's plane on board as a back-up and lend you a can of Raid, and we'll teleport the whole shebang to Circon IV directly using Dr. Erdel's electronic brain."
"But what if Circon IV has a Kryptonite core and an invisible yellow aura, I prove to be allergic to Raid, I can't figure out the controls of WW's invisible plane because they're designed to be used by a woman and the brain accidentally turns me inside out? And I should be in STAR CITY, helping out people who NEED me. I say we send RED TORNADO. Because he's just a machine none of us like him he's immune to Kryptonite and yellow and, being a robot, won't suffocate in Circon IV's oxygen free atmosphere."
"Too late! He's already done it! Oh no! He's been killed again!"
"How about that! According to the JLA computer, Circon IV has a core of molton iron."