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!   

 

 

Views: 7548

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I knew that the Ultra-Humanite appeared in a couple of those Superman Family stories, one had him transplanting his brain into a mutated giant insect but I didn't have my SF index handy so I wasn't sure about the dates. 

Apparently, the giant insect storyline (which I haven't read) started the same month the JLA/JSA crossover ended. Roy Thomas used the Delores Winters Ultra-Humanite as a villain in All-Star Squadron in 1983 and the ape version in the opening Infinity, Inc. storyline in 1983/84.

Now for the actual story of Justice League #195:

  • Jonathan Cheval AKA the Monocle is living in a mansion in France (of Earth-Two), fabulously wealthy off his laser technology and he is bored and frustrated by "normal" society and easily led back to crime by ???
  • In a nice piece of continuity, the Signalman escapes the medical facility where he has been recuperating since Detective #466 by going down the large neon sign of the St. IGNAtius Loyola hospital.
  • He quickly encounters Killer Frost who tells him about a new Secret Society! Though Conway wrote both stories, he does not reveal how Killer Frost was freed from her own incarceration.
  • Next, Roger Hayden (Psycho-Pirate II) breaks out of his own prison, taking advantage of a new guard. He is nearly recaptured, only to be aided by the Monocle and ??? In a nice touch, two guards are named "Cagney" and "Raft".
  • In the most disturbing scene, three "men" attack a confused woman, unleashing the rage of the Cheetah who slices them to ribbons. She is then placated by the words of Killer Frost who also has a hatred for men.
  • On Earth-Two, the Rag Doll mails himself folded up in a box in order to rob a bank in Keystone City, home of the Golden Age Flash. His bendability is incedibly heightened here. He too has to be saved by the rapidly growing SSSV!
  • Back on E-1, Jason Woodrue tries to seclude himself from the world, giving up his criminal life, but the SSSV show him that as the Floronic Man, he cannot hide from what he now is.
  • In Las Vegas, on E-2, two double-crossing henchmen are sent to their deaths by their vengeful ex-boss, the Mist, who can become as immaterial as his namesake. He is enlisted by ???
  • The E-1 villains meet their E-2 liason, a robust Brainwave who is following the program.
  • Signalman seems shocked about going to Earth-Two, even though it was mentioned previously when they recruited the Floronic Man.
  • In the mountain top hideout on E-2's Nepal,now the new Sinister Citadel, ??? is revealed to be the Ultra-Humanite, now in a large, white gorilla's body.
  • He proceeds to explain his plan to rid either Earth-Two or Earth-One of all its super-heroes by removing ten specific JLA and JLA members from the Multiverse!
  • Meanwhile (as they say), the JSA are visiting the JLA aboard their satellite for their annual get-together because that worked out so well the last time! (See #171-172) After making sure Hourman, Johnny Thunder and the E-2 Atom were still alive, the two teams go their seperate ways! A one-page "team-up"!
  • Black Canary remains behind on monitor duty, feeling melancholic and having a spat with her "guest" Green Arrow who is pretty much acting like a d**k here!
  • The Blonde Bombshell gets ambushed by the Mist and, unaware of his new powers, is quickly defeated.
  • On E-2, Hawkman is similarly attacked by the Monocle's optic-blasts. Even bolstered by his feathered army, the Winged Wonder is captured by his though-to-be-retired foe.
  • On E-1's Washington DC, Wonder Woman is shocked when the Cheetah leaps aboard her Robot Plane. Caught off guard by the Feline Fury's savagery, the Amazing Amazon is taken prisoner.
  • Despite the relatively easy early wins, the Ultra-Humanite is wary because he has been lying to his colleagues about either Earth losing its heroes. It's Earth-Two but he can't let the others, especially the E-1 villains, realize that or "There will be Hell to pay!"

Next: Seven Little Super-Heroes or Nothing Is Ever Free!

I can't remember how clear this was in the dialogue, but Green Arrow had quit the League in #181 and didn't rejoin until #200.

I wanted to write something about the JLA/JSA/New Gods crossover, but I made a big mistake coming to it directly from the high point of Kirby's actual series that we've been discussing on the New Gods thread.

 

All the criticisms leveled at the treatment of the New Gods here are too, too valid.  Did no-one look at even the surface details of Barda's height and physique, never mind the internal character dynamics of the New Gods as depicted by Kirby?

 

Compare the weak naked old geezer who was defeated by the Fiddler and co, with how we discussed Kirby's depiction of Highfather here.

 

There's no point in dwelling on how awful this 3-parter is, so I'll just put the term 'egregious hackwork" out there, and leave it at that!

 

(The handling of Crimson, the 'mini-pre-saved Barda' was OK, and pulled at the heartstrings somewhat.)

 

I've read some of the JLA issues that surround this story, and Justice League as a title really was sort of sleepwalking along at this point wasn't it?  There just doesn't seem to be any life in it.  However it came to pass, by this point, DC had managed to kill something that should have been marvellous.

 

I can see now why the Universe-ending Crisis was welcomed with open arms by so many when it arrived.  It was a mercy killing.

 

(Oops.  Thought this was a lull in the conversation, so its a bit out of place now.  Still.  Rubbish.)

The exact quote, after Dinah says seeing the JSA brings back good memories, is "Almost makes me sorry that I quit the League. "Almost.""

No footnote is given and again Ollie is in full "d**k" mode! Though he knew not to mess with THREE Hawk-People there! ;-)

Luke Blanchard said:

I can't remember how clear this was in the dialogue, but Green Arrow had quit the League in #181 and didn't rejoin until #200.

I fully realized that you, Henry and Jeff would probably dislike the JLA/JSA/New Gods team-up. It is so non-Kirbyish that they could be Earth-Two versions of the Fourth World! (Two X Four = Eighth World??) However for readers of a certain age (i.e. me), this was the New Gods that we were "given". Conway clearly felt more comfortable with Mister Miracle, Barda and Oberon. Yet the armored Barda may have been a mistake. The red bikini Barda was more primal and more to the point.

Orion was no longer the Hunter but the Brooder who seemed to be wearing someone else's clothes. Turning him into a "super-hero" is not what Kirby intended but I feel that Conway, and others to share the blame, were trying to prove that they could make Kirby's characters more successful than Kirby did or could.

But please, elaborate on your opinions, Figs. I look forward to them and you've been harping me for months to get to this team-up! So comment away! :-)

Figserello said:

I wanted to write something about the JLA/JSA/New Gods crossover, but I made a big mistake coming to it directly from the high point of Kirby's actual series that we've been discussing on the New Gods thread.

 

All the criticisms leveled at the treatment of the New Gods here are too, too valid.  Did no-one look at even the surface details of Barda's height and physique, never mind the internal character dynamics of the New Gods as depicted by Kirby?

 

Compare the weak naked old geezer who was defeated by the Fiddler and co, with how we discussed Kirby's depiction of Highfather here.

 

There's no point in dwelling on how awful this 3-parter is, so I'll just put the term 'egregious hackwork" out there, and leave it at that!

 

(The handling of Crimson, the 'mini-pre-saved Barda' was OK, and pulled at the heartstrings somewhat.)

 

I've read some of the JLA issues that surround this story, and Justice League as a title really was sort of sleepwalking along at this point wasn't it?  There just doesn't seem to be any life in it.  However it came to pass, by this point, DC had managed to kill something that should have been marvellous.

 

I can see now why the Universe-ending Crisis was welcomed with open arms by so many when it arrived.  It was a mercy killing.

 

(Oops.  Thought this was a lull in the conversation, so its a bit out of place now.  Still.  Rubbish.)

Conway, and others to share the blame, were trying to prove that they could make Kirby's characters more successful than Kirby did or could.

 

That says it all, really.

 

I thought there might have been some mileage in comparing what Kirby did originally with how later creators carried it on, but there is such a huge gulf in quality between the two, that it's a pointless exercise.  It's like comparing oranges with ... what you get a few hours after eating said fruit.

 

It's just another depressing example of how the comics companies have run their properties into the ground.  Viewed in the light of the surrounding Justice League issues, and much late 70's- early-80s mainstream comics, it's clear that creators like Conway had thoroughly learnt the lessons that DC and Marvel had taught Kirby.  Don't put any passion or genuinely new ideas into the comics.  Don't aim for anything with any artistic ambitions, keep the old properties in rotation, don't connect the comics to anything really going on in the world.

 

I don't blame Conway at all.  Why break your heart giving your employer something they clearly will react with vehemence against? I'm detecting a certain contempt for his subject and the industry he's working in, in much of Conway's work.  (Again, which I can hardly blame him for at all.  Seems sensible to me.)

 

Conway was one of the group of writer-editors in Marvel in the late 70's who just played games of wrecking each other's stories when it came to their turn to look after characters another writer had been working on.  They seemed to think so little of the properties.  They were just acting out the attitudes of their empoyers.

 

I know I asked you to continue onto the New Gods crossover, so I'm sorry that after wracking my brains for all these weeks, I don't have anything good to say about it!  That's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Not a problem, Figs. As I said, I knew that you weren't going to enjoy it. If I read Kirby's Fourth World series first, then this and The Return of the New Gods, I'm guessing that I would feel the same!

But just imagine a true Kirby written and drawn JLA/New Gods team-up! Similar to the second Super Powers mini but not designed to sell toys but to really combine the DCU with his vision. That would be worth seeing!

Of course, Curt Swan would have redrawn all the Superman faces....

Phillip Portelli:

"I fully realized that you, Henry and Jeff would probably dislike the JLA/JSA/New Gods team-up. It is so non-Kirbyish"

 

The crazy thing is, Gerry Conway's NEW GODS was my intro to that book, so the JLA story seemed like just a sort-of continuation of that. Dick Dillin DROPPING DEAD one episode in and providing a sudden job opening for George Perez, who had JUST BEEN FIRED by Marvel, well, it seems like something very bizarre was going on in the universe at that moment.

 

Perverse as it sounds, I look forward to re-reading this... eventually.  I haven't read it since it came out. (But at this rate, it may take some time yet...)

 

Conway was in his later 20s at the time, whereas Kirby was in his mid 50s when he did the New Gods titles. Conway's 70s Justice League stories aimed to be enjoyable "standard" superhero comics; there's a place for those, and the audience was still primarily a kid audience at the time. His work was personal at times - it has a strand of revulsion against war, for example - and he did deal with real world issues in some stories; for example, he wrote about troubled family relationships in Fury of Firestorm. He also created original features for both Marvel and DC.

I'll admit I haven't looked at Conway's output too closely.  The few Justice League comics of this period I've just read do him no favours.

 

I don't get how the 'kid audience' argument excuses anodyne, somnolant comics.

 

2000AD in the UK was for kids, and that stuck a rocket up everything, to fantastic effect!

 

Regarding the differences in ages between Conway and Kirby, again it just reflects woefully on DC.  They booted one of the industry masters in his creative prime off a book that he had a genuine story worked out for, and was passionate about, just so a few years later they could have an underpaid junior journeyman hack out shallow echoes of what Kirby had done.

 

Their point was made though, that the properties were theirs to do whatever they wished with them.  That was the main thing: stories and actual quality were secondary to that.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2019   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service