There are also discussions about the 60s JLA/JSA team-ups and the 70s JLA/JSA team-ups so feel free to read, comment or add on to those as well!

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE # 183-185 (O-D'80): Where Have All The New Gods Gone?/ Apokolips Now!/Darkseid Rising!

By Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin (#183), George Perez (#184-185), Frank McLaughlin and Len Wein (editor).

Personal Note: George Perez is an amazing artist whose work has gotten even better over the years. Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Justice League of America and, of course, New Teen Titans have all benefitted from his contributions. Any true fan would want him on their favorite title. And he wanted to do JLA but not under these circumstances.

Dick Dillin, after drawing Justice League of America since #64 in 1968 (missing only two issues in that run) died at the young age of 51. He also had long runs in Blackhawk, World's Finest and DC Comics Presents. He was the artist of two of the first four comics that I ever read. His work improved throughout the 70s and he drew the majority of the heroes and villains of the DCU at one time or another. The news of his passing shocked the fifteen old me and was truly the end of an era. Thinking back, perhaps his passing combined with New Teen Titans #1 signaled the end of the Bronze Age, my Golden Age.

Character Notes:  By this time, Gerry Conway had added to the Justice League his own creation: Firestorm the Nuclear Man! But as he giveth, Conway also tooketh away as Green Arrow resigned because he felt he and the League weren't on the same page anymore. That and his candidate for membership, Black Lightning, didn't even want to join!

The JLA: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Firestorm

The JSA: Doctor Fate, Wonder Woman, Power Girl and the Huntress

The New Gods: Orion the Hunter, Metron, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Oberon

The InJustice Society: The Fiddler, the Icicle and the Shade

  • In the five JLA/JSA team-ups that occurred after the Earth-One Wonder Woman rejoined in #128, the E-2 WW has appeared in THREE of them. The E-1 WW, NONE!
  • The story starts off quickly as the eight heroes are suddenly transported to a nearly deserted New Genesis/Supertown as Superman gives the needed exposition and gets touchy-feely with Power Girl again! Get a room, Kal!
  • In a nice moment, the original Princess Diana gets a bit offended about beings calling themselves New "Gods" with a comfirmation of her own mythology and monotheism at the same time. She's a Wonder, all right!
  • They forget to strap Firestorm into his stroller and he immediately wanders off!
  • He bumps into a young Andy Rooney, I mean, Orion the Hunter and gets zapped.
  • The others attack Orion and it takes Superman, Power Girl AND Doctor Fate to knock him out! That's powerful!
  • It would have great if Orion was in his Kirby armor but he's wearing his "Super-Hero" outfit complete with mask (and he has no secret identity) and "O" insignia!
  • The other New Gods appear via a Boom Tube. Actually it's Metron and the cast of Mister Miracle! So much for Kirby's vast array of characters!
  • Superman brings up meeting Scott in DC Comics Presents #12 but Batman who met him three times in B&B says nothing.
  • Orion uses his Mother Box to trim his eyebrows and pretty him up. He is feeling very guilty about Darkseid's death from Adventure Comics #460 (D'78). 
  • We learn that Apokolipian forces have enslaved the entire population of New Genesis with the help of the InJustice Society!
  • Metron transports them all to Apokolips when they (surprise, surprise) split up into teams!
  • Batman, the Huntress and Mister Miracle sneak into the Imperial Palace to find out why Apokolips has renewed the War.
  • Green Lantern, Doctor Fate and Oberon (and HE's here again why?) smash up the Shock Trooper Barracks searching for captives from New Genesis and they find someone big!
  • Superman, Wonder Woman and Big Barda go to Granny Goodness' Orphanage to liberate the children of New Genesis, one named Petil to start!
  • Granny would be the only other Kirby villain that Conway uses.
  • Orion, Power Girl and Firestorm fly to the site where slave labor has built a massive machine manned by the InJustice Society that has resurrected.....DARKSEID!!

More to follow!   

 

 

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"Young Andy Rooney" -- classic! That's those eyebrows all over.

Conway and Dillin made a crucial mistake by portraying the New Gods as "Super-Heroes" not as players in an epic tale. Barda is drawn shorter than Scott. There are reflections of Kirby's opus, usually distortions. Orion as guilt-ridden basket-case, depressed over Darkseid's death (though that was his destiny) yet horrified by his return does not ring true. It continues though:

  • Orion, Power Girl and Firestorm attack the InJustice Society, trying to disrupt Darkseid's revival but are defeated by the Fiddler. Again they are defeated by the Fiddler. Yep, beaten by the Fiddler. The Fiddler. THE FIDDLER! Orion, who was knocked out by Superman, Doctor Fate and PG combined, who has battled Darkseid and his forces, who wields the Astro-Force, Mightiest of Warriors, Kirby's Ultimate Hero, defeated by THE FIDDLER who couldn't beat Hawkman and Wildcat in All Star #65 without Solomon Grundy's help!
  • In the most effective scene, Superman, Wonder Woman of E-2 and Big Barda are led by Petal to the Apokolipian Underground which consists of children led by the fiery Crimson and the pre-cognative Playto. Barda show them that love can conquer the darkness.
  • Playto shows them how and why Darkseid contacted the ISA but they must confront Granny Goodness for more answers.
  • Doctor Fate, Green Lantern and Oberon free Izaya the High-Father from chains that sapped his life-force.
  • Hal equates Izaya to the Guardians who he sees as "father-figures". Ironic, given the futures of the Guardians and himself. I guess LOST was right: All the best cowboys have daddy-issues!
  • Batman, the Huntress and Mister Miracle infiltrates the Palace and learn Darkseid's masterplan: to transport Apokolips into the E-2 Universe where there are no New or Old Gods to stop him in the place of Earth-Two which will be destroyed!

More to follow!

  • Metron acts like Oracle (#100-102), Uncle Sam (#107-108), Elliot S! Maggin (#123-124) and the Lord of Time (#159-160) going over events and getting the readers up to speed!
  • Mister Miracle refers to Darkseid as his "adoptive father", something I never heard him to be or even considered. Conway may be trying to parallel Scott and Orion with "The Pact" but it's a wrong approach, IMO.
  • Death, if anything, has strengthened Darkseid's evil resolve and cruelty as he turns on the InJustice Society for defeating Orion, his "traitorous" son. He uses the Omega Force to banish them to the apparently dreaded Chamber 13.
  • Not that he wants Orion free, he orders the block of ice containing the Hunter, Power Girl and Firestorm to Chamber 13 as well.
  • Fortunately they are rescued by Batman, the Huntress and Mister Miracle.
  • MEANWHILE...High-Father leads Doctor Fate, Green Lantern and Oberon (and he's here why again?) to the RE-Creation Machine before it can switch Apokolips with Earth-Two which would destroy it. They are assailed by Parademons! As powerful as they are, there is an army after them.
  • MEANWHILE...Crimson and the other children lead Superman, Wonder Woman and Big Barda into Granny Goodness' Orphanage where they liberate the captive youngsters of New Genesis.
  • Great scene of WW battling that old harpy. Granny is actual a good foe for either Amazon Princess as her Brutal Subversion goes against their Loving Submission.
  • Barda is very dangerous here. A possible inspiration for Morrison adding her to JLA?
  • The Bat-team goes to rescue the ISA from Chamber 13 because they need the Fiddler (again??) to release the people from New Genesis from their enslavement.
  • GL's team is being slowly overwhelmed while Metron contemplates action!
  • Orion's squad actually confronts Darkseid as Firestorm is able to deflect his Omega Force! Go, Nuclear Man!
  • The people of New Genesis join the fight (finally)! We see Lightray and Forager the Bug among them!
  • But the Re-Creation Machine fires but thanks to a deus ex Metron, it strikes Darkseid, "killing" him again in an abrupt ending!
  • And Orion doesn't seem happy either!

George Perez's draftmanship and creativity bring the last two parts alive. It does look like some pages/panels were inked by Dick Giordano.

The first thing about this JLA/JSA team-up that occurs to me is that they could have done this without the JSA!!! They could have used the E-1 Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Black Canary, Flash or Red Tornado. If they had to, they could have guest-starred Supergirl! The Huntress did little. Doctor Fate showed none of his leadership nor the fact that he should have been a major part of any team battling Darkseid directly. Power Girl made snide comments and was there so Firestorm could crush on someone!

The second thing is that Superman NEVER battles Darkseid! That's astounding! DC's greatest hero does not encounter DC's greatest villain! Doesn't even come close! WW and Barda did fine without him but keeping him seperate from the main fight was wrong. The only JLAer to go up against Darkseid is Firestorm! Yes, written by Conway!

The third thing is the lack of Fourth World characters: No Lightray, Forager, Lonar, Fastbak, Forever People, etc. But no bad guys either: Kalibak, Desaad, Kanto and the rest. Oberon is there, doing nothing and the rest are "prisoners"!

Then there's the destructive and all-powerful Fiddler! Where's Jay Garrick when you need him? And it's still hard to connect this Shade to Robinson's Shade.

This was a lesser effort but next time it will be much better! So....

Next time: Can You Keep a Secret (Society)? or Gorilla on My Mind!

I had been re-reading right along with you throughout your discussion of the ‘70s JLA/JSA team-ups, but #159-160 and #171-172 caught me a little off-guard after the lengthy break after #147-148, but truthfully, I have no great burning desire to re-read those issues at this time. I followed the discussion, though, although I had nothing to contribute. #183-185 is another matter, though. I end up re-read this story quite frequently depending on whether I’m in a George Perez mood, a New Gods mood or a JLA/JSA mood. This three-part writes finis to the (first) post-Kirby, pre-Crisis Fourth World, unless you include “The Great Darkness Saga” (as I do), which serves as a good complement to JLA #183-185.

Hal equates Izaya to the Guardians who he sees as "father-figures".

 

That always seemd a little "off" to me, somehow - a strange reaction for Hal to have.

A point to note is that the Mr Terrific/Spirit King one was the first after Julie Schwartz handed on the editorship. From the Lord of Time one they often take the teams' annual party as a starting point.

To Luke: That's what happened in this one, too. I just forgot to mention it! Though if Metron could teleport the eight heroes to New Genesis, why not both teams?

To Baron: Yes, I agree. Hal never had the easiest relationship with the Guardians and I'm positive that he never saw them as surrogate fathers. Authority figures, yes. Bosses, yes. He respected them but a filial bond, not really.

Since I started reading comics in 1974, Kirby's Fourth World was over. It was in Brave & Bold that I first saw Mister Miracle and The Return of the New Gods revival with the Super-Hero Orion and the New Gods as a team phase with Forager and Jezebelle. So, for good and bad, this was my (and others of my age) experience with the characters.

My feeling that Darkseid's plan to supplant Apokolips into Earth-Two's space was merely a way to justify the involvement of the JSA. He needed the Fiddler, indeed! Plus why would the InJustice Society agree to help anyone destroy their world?

We see Orion and Darkseid's "complicated" issues spelled out as Orion knowing his father is evil yet guilty over battling him. What was more interesting to me was, while they had scenes together, Mister Miracle and High-Father had none, even though their link was clearly stated. No reunion. No concern. Scott had no interest in Izaya, and somewhat rightfully so. But as I said, the story ends quickly so what happened afterwards is left to our imaginations.

"Orion knowing his father is evil yet guilty over battling him"

 

WHAT???  Never!!!!!  He'd KILL the bastard, then ROAR in triumph over his corpse, if he could.

Not in this story, Henry. Conway saw Orion as forced to fight his father, obligated and duty-bound to do so yet feeling guilty about it. Obviously that's not Kirby's vision but mass media was moving away from "John Wayne" and closer to "Alan Alda" so feelings, conflicted or otherwise, were part of character "growth".
Another major difference between this story and Kirby's was how important Metron became. From observing from a neutral postion to an active combatant, he became part of the New Gods "team" that ignored the roles Kirby gave them.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #195 (O'81): Targets On Two Worlds by Gerry Conway, George Perez and John Beatty

 

 

 

The basic plot was that in order to remove ALL super-heroes from EITHER Earth-One or Earth-Two, ten specific heroes had to be removed to "Limbo" by established foes for some reason. Conway, at least, mixed the teams up better!

The JLA: Batman, Wonder Woman (her first since #100-102 and her first since rejoining the League in #128!!), the Atom (his first since #100-102 as well), Black Canary (not meeting her old friends since #123-124) and Conway creation Firestorm the Nuclear Man.

The JSA: The Flash, Hawkman (still rocking that Egyptian helmet), Superman (who hasn't been in the forefront since #107-108), Hourman (ditto since #123-124) and Johnny Thunder (#135-137) for him and his Thunderbolt). All Star Squadron had debutted by this time so they are on the cover as "The All-Star Justice Society".

The Secret Society of Super-Villains: this is the first time that the SSSV title was used with no connection with the same titled series (with one exception).Also there was finally even sides. Since each villain corresponded with a seperate hero, we'll go by order of appearance: 

  1. The Monocle --a Golden Age Hawkman foe from Flash Comics #64, now a bored businessman with laser technology!The only other choice was the Gentleman Ghost but he was haunting the E-1 Batman by now. But the Monocle was a genteel rogue.
  2. The Signalman--a semi-obscure pick for Batman. He was revived in Detective #466 (D'76) but his previous encounters with the Caped Crusader were reprinted in Wanted #1 (Au'72) and Batman Family #5 (Ju'76). His costume was a bright analogue to Batman's and he looked like he could go a round or two with him!
  3. Killer Frost--Conway's best villain from Firestorm #3 (Ju'78) and DC Comics Presents #17 (Ja'80) where she held her own against the Composite Hero AND Superman! Not that Multiplex or the Hyena were suitable foes, maybe Cliff Carmichael?
  4. The Psycho-Pirate--chosen as Hourman's counterpart because he fought him in Showcase #56 (My'65) with Doctor Fate. But he also fought the Spectre in #5 (Jl'68) of his title and the entire JSA in All Star Comics #66-68 (Ju-O'77).
  5. The Cheetah II--the niece of the now deceased Priscilla Rich on Earth-One just to muddle the timelines more. She was altered by Kobra into a female Wolverine in Wonder Woman #274-275 (D'80-Ja'81). Her introduction to this story will be commented on later.
  6. The Rag Doll--a one-shot Golden Age Flash foe revived in The Flash #229 (O'74) (a great 100 Pager, I should add!) as being rather prosiac but now a rubbery triple-jointed menace.
  7. The Floronic Man--once the Atom's foe Jason Woodrue, the Plantmaster from The Atom #1 and Justice League #61, he became a walking tree in The Flash #245-246 (N'76-Ja'77) battling Green Lantern and part of the last SSSV from JLA #166-168 (My-Jl'79).
  8. The Mist --Starman's greatest enemy but linked to Black Canary because she teamed with the Astral Avenger against him in Brave & Bold #61 (S'65), which was reprinted in JLA #116 (Ap'75) but his first two GA Starman fights were re-presented in Superman #250 (Ju'72) and Wanted #6 (F'73).
  9. Brainwave--the only villain to battle the JSA four times in the Golden Age, he is using the bulkier illusionary form of All Star Comics #58-59 (F-Ap'76). He battled Power Girl in Showcase #98 and the JSA again in  ASC #66 (Ju'77). He was rightfully paired with Johnny Thunder because two of his GA defeats( ASC #17 (Jl'43) and #30 (S'46)) were caused by Johnny and his T-Bolt!
  10. The Ultra-Humanite--Superman's first recurring foe from 1939-1940's Action Comics #13-21. Now with his mega-brain now permanently implanted (?) in a giant albino gorilla body, it is he who concocted this plan.

Interesting to note that all five Golden Age villains were augmented for this battle.

The actual story next!

The Ultra-Humanite had been bought back the previous year in Superman Family #201, in the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" series, set mid-century. He was still in Dolores Winters's body in that tale.

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