Justice League of America Annual #2 (12/84)
Writer - Gerry Conway Editor - Alan Gold
Penciller - Chuck Patton Inker - Dave Hunt
Cover Art – Chuck Patton & Dick Giordano
“... The END of the Justice League!"

Lets deal with that cover first.
I love it!
With the DC Bullet top left, the ANNUAL masthead and the issue indica top right these were perfectly framed books.
This entire cover is a classic one, heroes collected on rooftop but with the old guard in the clouds the sense of batton-passing is so reminicent of the All-New X-Men (Giant-Size X-Men #1) it's bordering on an homage!
What is really nice to see is that the interior artist - Chuck Patton - is given the introductory front cover rather than relying on a perhaps more well-known or popular artist for the 'new-direction'.
This visually interesting cover however completely ruins most of the tension in the storyline, as these things often do, as it shows right from the offset who is going to be in this new team regardless of any red herrings or mis-directions of the plot.
(I cannot let the cover go by without mentioning that the lack of any visible body for Elongated Man irks me!)

The strangest thing of all is perhaps the editorial decision to relaunch the JLA at this point - in the second Annual issue..?
That may not be that difficult to understand once we look a little closer, as this 'relaunch' is embedded deep in recent JLA history and produced very much as a continuation of the current series (indeed this book sits in continuity between #230 and #233. (231-232 being an annoying fill-in)) - no renumbering/new volume here!

The book opens, then with that continuity being addressed in a prologue...
The pre-existing Justice League Satellite has been destroyed and some of the last remaining recent members of the team discuss the chances of rebuilding 'it' (both the Satellite and the League) -- Aquaman announces the title of the book , while we get an instant follow up proclamation indicating the real purpose of this all... "Beginning A NEW Chapter In The 24-Year History of the World's Greatest Heroes!"
(Your mileage may vary.)

We are reminded/informed that it was a recent war between Mars and Earth that, amongst other things, caused the destruction of the Satellite and Aquaman equates that with the end of the League despite positive attitudes from members such as the Green Arrow. (Positive but not on the cover notice.)
Before a planned meeting at the United Nations in a week, Aquaman finds his wife has left him. (She cites his wanting to be with his team rather than his wife in the recent battle as the catalyst for her exit but both accept their strains relates back to the death of their son. (Aquaman. Death of A Prince. - one of the best comicbook stories ever in my opinion.)
This clearly leaves Aquaman available to direct all his attention to any new team, should he feel the need...

That UN Meeting does not trigger a new League however, Aquaman (suprisingly?) disbands the League after reminding everyone that the big-hitter members had been conspicuous by their absence when the team needed them. Most members present don't like the idea but in the shadows J'Onn J'Onnz nods.
Despite Firestorm's anger (I much preferred this original Firestorm meld of Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Stein than any since), Aquaman explains his point of view, "The world needs a committed fighting force -- a team of full-time, active members, living together, training together -- sharing a common purpose, a common duty." - which sounds like he's saying the world needs -- the X-Men.

Aquaman challenges the teammates to commit totally to the team and stalwarts such as Red Tornado, Green Arrow and Black Canary conceed they cannot do so. (I get it with the latter two with their helping the little man on the crime-ridden streets etc, but why not Reddy? His 'family-life' could have worked with the team couldn't it?) Hawkman and Hawkwoman have their allegiance to Thanagar first but even that's a bit thin as an excuse.

Zatanna signs up to this new commitment as does Elongated Man, dragging his wife Sue with him. Firestorm surprises  by announcing he will commit only to be overruled by Prof Stein. (see, he wasn't on that cover either was he?)
As the old guard leave and we are reminded of others having gone before, J'Onn J'Onnz steps forward and joins up. Zatanna nudges Aquaman to lead the team and Ralph announces their foursome as... "We're The NEW Justice League!"

Time to meet new faces on that cover? A military (old)-man called Heywood hears of this new League and calls for his Grandson...
Model Mari McCabe hears the news and quits her job and an abandoned factory has lights turn on...
The four JLA members and Sue Dibney get to know each other and are, apparently attacked by ... the Vixen (Mari McCabe in a new-look costume than her debuts in Action Comics #521 and DC Comics Presents #68)
"I want to join up, what else?"
"Count me in too." "The name's Steel" Steel arrives and offers a new HQ.
Steel is the grandson we were nudged about earlier and at this point I as a reader had no idea who he may be, had no knowledge of his pedigree or where he was getting all his toys from but that cover kind of let me know he was going to be staying around.
(How did Vixen and Steel know where our heroes were staying by the way?)

Steel ships the team out to (under) Lake Michigan and Detroit to show them around a perfectly purposed building he offers as a new HQ for the team, while remaining secretive about it's origins.
The team is attacked by a mystery man in an armoured suit and Steel shows his abilities while defeating him and revealing the man inside as being like a father figure to him called Dale Gunn, (were we supposed to recognise him or the name? I didn't.) This leads Steel to explain his grandfather General Hank Heywood had the place built preparing for trouble. (we also get an idea that grandfather was behind Steel's abilities too as even Mr Gunn remarks, "How did you get so strong?"
"It boils down to one word Dale: Grandpa".

There are still some unknown faces on that cover right? The action moves to downtown Motown and we see street violence and graffiti artist Paco Ramone (Vibe) who has possibly the worst and most annoying 'accent' ever in comics (other perhaps than Gambit?) "Wha'chu think? Fresh, huh? 'Vibe', That's chill." breaks up the mobs with a kind of vibration-power and some breakdancing moves. (I know - the 80s!).
Steel and Vixen, out of costume, see this Vibe and recommend him as a potential recruit to leader Aquaman who refuses to consider the suggestion opening up potential team-control issues between him and Steel.
Vibe however then arrives anyway and Aquaman reconsiders.
I did like the "Wonderful. Our first day and already our 'secret' headquarters is no secret" comment"

(Anyone notice Aquaman thanking Gunn for his new wet-suit-like, well... wet-suit? I take it this is kind of like Namor's blue-suit - is the 'every hour he needs water' trope gone?)

While we get to know a little more about Vibe and his family (and accent) we meet another local resident coincidentally also with powers, the last one from the cover - Gypsy who appears to be a thief able to turn invisible.

Hank meets Paco's sister and is smitten while Dale Gunn is propositioned by Zatanna "Do you snore in your sleep...?" (Who knew she would be so forward?) while Vixen does warn she is interested in him too!
Gypsy breaks into the HQ, J'Onn can see her although after she spins a yarn she disappears all together - nit quite a member yet then.
The local residents welcome the team as 'good neighbours' and a s apart breaks out the New Justice League begins...
"None of this is working out as I planned."

So there we have it. A new team for a new Era. As much as this resembles the All-New-X-Men it also evokes memories of the 'Cap's Kooky Quartet' days of the Avengers with a depowered team and leadership quibbles.
New members Vibe and Gypsy are awfully generic at this point, Steel not much more interesting but with more planning for a background while Vixen is so-far-so-Tigra.
Old members Elongated Man seems to be likely to be given comedy-lines while Aquaman plays Captain America/Cyclops.
I know I was always in the minority - but I really liked Zatanna's costume here!
Up to this point I knew very little about J'Onn J'Onnz as he really had not been in the spotlight much but I found him somewhat overpowerful and yet a tad dull.
Did we the readers know what we were in for? Could the title survive without the traditional League members?

Has anyone any comments as we launch into a (hopefully) fairly regular read-along of the entire Detroit-Era JLA..?

Next issue -- "The Beginning..." (which is, of course, Justice League of America #233 if you want to get ahead and look it up.!)

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Fun Fact: The Martian Manhunter was featured in only two JLA/JSA team-ups from the Silver and Bronze Ages, the first one and the last one!

Justice League of America #244 (11/85)
Writer - Gerry Conway Joe Statton - Penciller
Editor - Alan Gold Inker - Mike Machlan
Cover Art – Joe Statton & Mike Machlan
  “...The Final Crisis"
(You've got to laugh at that for a title of a 1985 comicbook haven't you?!)

Joe Statton does a better job here than McFarlane did of our last cover, the 'new' Steel looks a bit squeezed in though, probably could have featured a few more of the large cast in the background too.
Love that Crisis banner and the Infinity Inc logo shows what should have been done with the JLA logo in that Infinity Inc cover we last covered.(!)

"Steel Vs Steel while an Earth Dies!"
The prologue opens in space with nice roll-call headshots of Infinity Inc and JSA members guesting this issue - sadly missing is their names for those not completly up on heroes from other titles.

Immediatly noticable is Statton's artwork, his faces, especially jawlines are very angular and his opening Elongated Man's face looks almost Dan Dare era to me.

The scene feels familiar as we are back on the ruined JLA Satellite and reminded how the JLA have just lost a battle against the Infinity Inc in their own title, the two page spread does sum up the story and contains the credits but is more story than splash.

Does J'Onn J'Onnz need the space helmet he's wearing as there is no atmosphere? Is he just trying to fit in?

Vibe jibes J'Onn with his decision to run rather than fight but J'Onn points out he is in charge while Ralph updates everyone on the Multiverse theory and problem which Vibe refuses to accept.

Back at their HQ in Detroit the members of the Infinity Inc begin to wonder what they've got involved in and Fury locates a worrying scene as Commander Steel and Mechanique appear to be torturing the younger Steel.
"You're hurting him."
Fury is knocked out and Commander Steel begins to show his (villainous?) colours, "My grandson needs to be taught a lesson. you and your friends in Infinity Inc have served your purpose. Mechanique. It's time we cleaned house."

As Dale Gunn and Sue Dibney join the satelite  (and are not seen again) via shuttle Zatanna uses her (sdrawkcab) magic to provide the power required instantly - and even cure the dazzling Vibe's eyes suffered,

" Wow... How did you do that?"
This is, at last, a spotlight on what Zatanna can actually achieve and it is about time - she does suffer from 'if she can do all that why does she need the team and how come they are always in trouble?' as a lot of these high and vaguely powered heroes do but it's nice to be reminded she can be a powerhouse too.

The power was required for the transmat machines and the team use them.
Back on Earth, we are shown the effects of major storms caused (presumably) by events in Crisis (it never feels here that the World is Dying around them like the cover wanted to portray) while at the Detroit base the Infinity Inc at last determine the JLA were not badguys. (Vixen reads Vogue so she must be a goodie (!??))

Commander Steel and Mechanique defeat them all while explaining how he finds today's generations weak as is everyone (including our-Steel's father) who 'love life',
"...In war the punishment for loving life... is merciless death. I wanted my grandson to be strong as I was strong, That's why I arranged the operation that would change him...to make him strong, to teach him not to love life too dearly...!"
He rants on to explain how he arranged for Steel to join the new League, provided the bunker base but found the new team below his expectations " -- a mockery of the original League! As soon as I realised what they were I knew they had to be destroyed. For Hank's sake I had to smash the Justice League!"
It's a skewed view of the world around him and it's pushing it as motivation but villainous ravings have hung on thinner premises.

Suddenly (and it does feel like we missed a scene) the Justice Society (of Earth-2 you remember) arrive to oppose the Commander - the JLA having transmatted to them for help and Dr Fate having transported them to Detroit. (See sure feels like we missed a page)

Reasonably the JSA members wonder how their teammate could have turned so maniacal and the answer given as " The Commander Steel we knew as a member of the All-Star Squadron disappeared forty years ago. Who knows what happened to him in the years since? Who knows how time can corrupt a good man's heart?" - That's a great line.

Steel confronts Commander Steel and the fight from the cover is set up - only to be over in one punch! (Very Gil Kane nostril shot- love it!)

The rest of the JSA defeat Mechanique while remembering a similar battle 40 years before (in All-Star Squadron issues soon to be published).
"Shouldn't we do something?"
"We are doing something Gyp... we're letting them fight."

As Mechanique mysteriously vanishes (?) our heroes begin to concentrate on the worsening storm/crisis around them
It falls to Zatanna to go all dreams-and-portents in explaining how everyone now bands together for the good of all against the Crisis which has been brewing for months... while we close on a shot of Steel crying over his defeated grandfather.
I know this is a segue into the Crisis storyline elsewhere but it does feel a little forced and the 'my mystic heritage' of Zatanna always annoys me a little as she learned her magic didn't she? It's not a natural inherited ability but someone had to 'feel-the-force' and at least she's getting some spotlight.

Good solid art, no experimentation like the McFarlane issue we just covered, a good continuing story wrapped up (really doesn't feel like much of a JLA/JSA team-up though) and I'm glad to see Steel's backstory concluded (fairly) quickly and in the JLA issue of the crossover where it all belongs.

I'm finding myself enjoying this series now much more than frustrated by it.
Anyone else?

Next on my list -- JLA Annual 3.

Come Back...

Mekanique does not appear in All-Star Squadron #50, but she does appear in #58-60, some eight months after this issue.  After that she makes a few appearances in Young All-Stars, culminating in a two-parter that begins in Young All-Stars Annual #1 and ends forty years later (story time) in Infinity Inc. Annual #2 that explains how Commander Steel made acquaintance with her in the first place.

It may be hard to follow her appearances, because she is present both in the 1940s and 1980s and has few appearances, which are somewhat muddled by various complications such as time travel, glimpses of the future, and a fair bit of intentional misdirection.  It does not help that those appearances encompass four different books (including two annuals) and are told out of order.  Roy and Dann Thomas may have over-egged the pudding here.

In any case, she was indeed a romantic interest for Robotman in All-Star Squadron #60, but it was, to say the least, very one-sided.  Later issues had her link with Per Degaton.

Richard Mantle said:

Infinity Inc #19 (10/85)
Commander Steel goes on to explain that at that time he needed help to "save Earth-One's Justice League" and that Mechanique had helped him thanks to her 'dimension spanning powers'.
(I have read All-Star Squadron #50 and I thought Mechanique had a 'relationship' with Robotman - did I imagine that?)

Justice League of America Annual #3 (12/85)
Writer - Dan Mishkin Editor - Alan Gold
Penciller - Rick Hoberg Inker - Mike Gustovich
Cover Art – Paris Cullins & Mike Machlan
  “Force of Nature"
The masthead, with the 50 Special CRISIS Cross-over and the ANNUAL above the JLofA logo it's a great start for any cover - but otherwise- it's a bit basic, with only a few characters, no real villian or adversary and...who is Paris Cullins anyway?

Credit for the appearance of ex-JLAers Green Arrow and (in her ridiculous 1980s costume) Black Canary - would she really be clutching GA like some frail damsel though?

This cover doesn't really entice the reader to open the book or even buy it off the shelves, does it?

Anyway! Other than not knowing this creative team and noticing it is not the main team book creative team, which makes me worry we're going to get a fill-in not indicative of the main book ....

The book opens linking tightly into the Crisis event, on the remains of the original JLA satellite, the Red Tornado (sorely missed form the main JLA IMHO) destroys the satellite and send it tumbling to Earth while pondering on how the mysterious Monitor', even more mysterious foe had described him... "more than machine... more than man"!"

Other ex-JLA members Green Arrow and Black Canary are floating on an inflatable dog (?) parade balloon (presumably) created by fellow member Firestorm as they field fallout from bits of the satellite that doesn't burn itself up on re-entry. They/we soon learn that more menacing pieces of debris are headed for...Detroit.
So, in Detroit (the home of the JLA Detroit !) we catch up with J'Onn J'Onnz, Steel and Vibe who are joined by the other three. They manage to save people and buildings and then shoot the breeze with each other...
Predictably enough, they soon fall out and bicker as to who is better, "-A bunch of second-stringers trying to make it on a borrowed name!" only to be split apart by... Firestorm, "Cut It Out! I can't believe that I've got to be the peacemaker... Me, the Original Hothead!" (I really miss the Ronnie/Prof Firestorm don't you?)

Firestorm points out they should look for Red Tornado among the debris and they find...just his head.
Steel initially calls him "You mean the robot guy?" only to have his true android/person personality explained - was Steel being bigoted or just dim, "I'm certain no offense was meant! Steel is simply uninformed!"
"Uh, right."

The action cuts back to New York where the weather is stablising and we watch Kathy Sutton, the Red Tornado's love-interest, return to her home, only to receive a summons over her TV (?) from the Tornado.

Next scene is from STAR lab's weather research centre where, (coincidentally) two more JLA members, Elongated Man and Zatanna are being briefed on the belief that hi-tech weather satelites from STAR labs may be responsible for the weather chaos across the globe due to " an outside force".
Ralph tries the 'destruct' button only to blow the roof off as a space warp storm opens above them!
(Zatanna's Magic/Cigam powers are referred to as 'Elemental powers'--?)

Back at the Detroit bunker new JLAers are showing ex-JLAers around while tests are done on remains of Red Torando and Dale Gunn reports his findings - basically there may not be enough of him left to fix even if they knew how!
Firestorm reminds us all that a Tornado Spirit merged with Red Tornado when first activated and when Reddy died before Firestorm put the spirit back in (JLA#193) - without that option this time, the Red Tornado may actually be dead.

Elongated Man and Zatanna report in their crisis with the weather satellites and space warps and Kathy Sutton received more machinery-messages...
Workers at a hydroelectric plant are saved by the JLA team as Vixen channels an Eel to protect herself from an electrical shock and Dale Gunn again acts as scientific genius support.

(Come on- isn't he the handyman?)

A woman is saved from a Gotham bridge - not by Green Arrow, Black Canary and Firestorm but by Geo-Force who acts as an introduction between the ex-JLAers and Batman and the Outsiders.
Superman (literally) drops in as he cannot breach the Warp and flies into space to try against the satellites themselves... as the Warp begins to drag everything in to it like a Black Hole! - Although once it swallows Green Arrow , Black Canary Firestorm and Kathy Sutton it dissipates... leaving the Outsiders. (Well, it's not their Annual is it?) behind.

As Superman and the Martian Manhunter battle tech in space, the JLA argue amongst each other - well, what do you expect, that's why Green Arrow's around isn't it?
In fact, it falls to Ollie to tie this Annual in with the Crisis series proper, "The Red Tornado is dead! Supergirl is Dead! Both of them my friends ... and both of them gone!"

The satellites are destroyed and weather goes crazy around our heroes who quickly eventually work out the source of the wind, after it has formed a tornado and after it forms a human shape is...

"I -- can't believe it...! That's -- The Red Tornado!"
Well! What a obvious plot point surprise!

Actually, this is the Tornado-Spirit-essence personality and he's actually a maniac bad-guy - or "The Tornado Tyrant!"... but that's okay because Firestorm (no, really) has a plan... he sends Superman off on a task.
Back in Detroit Sue Dibney realises the Red Tornado's body pieces have disappeared.....in a red and blue blur. (It was Superman....you did work that out didn't you?)

Yep, the JLA try to put Bad-Reddy (Dark-Red Tornado?) back in his shell like back in #193 but this is not going to work without Reddy wanting it to and he's all bad now.
Kathy Sutton doesn't accept that and tries to talk him down, "John... Red Tornado? We never did decide on a new name for you!"
Bad-Reddy tells her he will destroy most life on Earth but will preserve Kathy to be with him and she explains she prefers him human-size and human-like so he tones himself down.
The JLA take their chance and Superman ice-breaths him into stasis.
"That was good work convincing him to shrink down to size, Kathy!"
"Good work? I wish I could Believe that, Elongated Man! But all I see right now---- is that I Betrayed the Man I Love!"
Ah, the humanity.

Best line in the Annual then falls to Firestorm, "It's not over yet, folks! The Iceberg's starting to Rumble!"
Predictably enough despite how the heroes try to contain him, Bad-Reddy bursts free but instead of taking any revenge he calls them ignorant and believing himself having risen above mankind, he leaves them to their fate and the Crisis - "But Someday, Not Long Off...... There Will Come A Reckonning!"
With that warning, the Annual is over.

So, with a creative team I was not familiar with I kind of expected a flat fill-in-type issue with generic fighting and little progressive characterisation of the current series team.
What we got was a good team book with guest stars and strong continuity links to the present and the history of the team - along with a very important beat in the Red Tornado story.
Even the artwork is actually quite good, Zatanna's suit is not a problem for this art-team and neither was the Black Canary's or even Firestorm's.
What I really liked was that the JLA worked as any other team here, finally Elongated Man got to say a few lines and this is probably the first time the new and the old have blended to make a coherent group.

Questions - where was Aquaman? and what about Commander Steel? are not addressed and it is possible that this Annual may belong better elsewhere in continuity but Crisis makes that really complicated.

Lets see how things settle down next issue as we return to the main series proper...

Come Back...

“Who is Paris Cullins anyway?”

Paris Cullins is probably best remembered (if he’s remembered at all) for his work on the mid-80s Blue Beetle series.

“The book opens linking tightly into the Crisis event…”

The JLA satellite actually fell to Earth twice… once here and once (in a somewhat different manner) in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

About describing Zatanna's powers as "elemental", here is a bit of clarification.

Zatanna's powers were limited for a while, since JLA #191, so that she had to frame her magic effects in terms of the four classic elements.  But less than a year later, a solo feature in World's Finest #277 arguably involved a backdoor for her to regain her full powers.

In practice, neither story was taken into account particularly strictly.

I was not a fan of this phase of the Red Tornado's career.

IIRC his next significant appearance was in Captain Atom alongside Swamp Thing.  Then he joined an oddball team for a while, later Young Justice, and in more recent years a new iteration of the JL.

Philip Portelli said:

I was not a fan of this phase of the Red Tornado's career.

Red Tornado's appearances in Captain Atom led to the Elemental Wars with Reddy as the Air Elemental, Swamp Thing as the already established Earth Elemental and the new Firestorm as the, you guessed it, Fire Elemental. They created a new character, Naiad, as the Water Elemental.

They took the concept to strange tangents by saying the Barry Allen Flash was the Lightning Elemental, Brother Power the Geek was the Rag Elemental and even Captain Atom was the Quantum Elemental.

After "Zero Hour", Reddy joined the cast of Primal Force, one of the titles "spun off" of ZH. They can't all be Starman! Reddy was mute for the whole series, I think. He was finally "woken" by the annoying chatter of Young Justice!

“The Rag Elemental”?

Sounds like my old girlfriend.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“The Rag Elemental”?

Sounds like my old girlfriend.

bwah ha ha photo bwah.gif

Justice League of America #245 (12/85)
Writer - Gerry Conway Penciller - Luke McDonnell
Editor - Alan Gold Inker - Mike Machlan
Cover Art – Luke McDonnell & Bill Wray
  The Long Road Home"
Did we think the '50 Special CRISIS Cross-over' banner was done with? Still heading this one, which has a strong red, white and blue theme taken from Steel's costiume, I like this cover. "If you think Steel looks bad...... You should see the Other guy!" - Luke McDonnal artwork fitting the series fine.

Inside and the prologue opens on what appears to be an alien world but we are assured it is Earth... and the moon..." who broke the moon?" asks Steel, who collapses 'too weak to think. Too weak to live...? - and is attacked by 'chitter'-ing insects!
"*Confused?" asks an editor's box promising answers...

Steel's battle is being watched by mystery persons and he is eventually approached by a mystery woman called Olanda who claims, "this is my domain"
She places him in a ship, reports to her father who in turn wonders if 'the six' are aware of Steel - the mystery keeps deepening and the main group seem to believe it involves time travel..!

Thankfully we cut back to a more familiar scene of the Detroit HQ where 'old man Heywood is awake, an he's callin' for Hank."
It therefore appears we're where we were at the end of the last issue #244 and not the Annual - Steel and Grandaddy Steel have just finished their epic squabble... Grandaddy now appears to believe he acted wrongly in his treatment of both his grandson and the JLA team and wishes forgiveness... but Steel is reported missing in the storm/Crisis.

We catch back up with Steel as he wakes in a regal looking bed chamber where Olanda greets him and syas her father will explain but is somewhat taken back when Steel tells her is is a member of the JLA.
Steel puts on a new/repaired costume (not full headcap this time, hair visible. distinguishing him a little further from Grandddy Commander Steel.)

Olanda announces Steel is in the year 1,000,000,000 A.D.
"Give me a break."
(This was years before the DC One Million timeline remember)

Steel recounts what he remembers, the Infinity Inc Vs JLA battle and his own fight against Commander Steel - he then explains he got separated from the others and (with a reference to Crisis #9) and found himself where we started this issue.

No mention of the Red Tornado adventure or the old JLAers joining in etc as per the Annual. That's annoying.

A mystery figure in a rock that appears to be speaking (Olanda's father?) claims they need his help where/whenever he's from - against 'the six' who send 'killer-bots' to attack.
Steel asks who these Six are and Olanda replies, "My brothers! Father's children!"
Steel gets real angry and throws a wall at the bots "I'm not gonna take it anymore!"

In the aftermath Olanda's father is freed/recovers and introduces himself, "Long, long ago...... when I called myself the Lord of Time*" (JLA#11 - yes #11!!)
He explains after a long period of being alone he became the Scarlet Centurion then Rama Tut then, or was it Rama Tut then Scarlet Cent... he created a family, six sons and one daughter - his favourite.

The boys didn't like that favouritism and rebelled, travelling through time amassing killer-bots to destroy their father with.
Ravonna Olanda and her father want Steel's help in gaining access to their 'chrono-sphere' and returning to the past...

The Six brothers discuss their predicament and while five agree one fears Steel's part in the situation and suggests using their time travel to hide in the past themselves.
As they argue, Steel attacks. As the fighting errupts, the father slips into the chrono-sphere and... everything fades away.
The old man returns to inform steel that he had gone to the past to prevent himself from creating the six and thus the situation was no longer a problem.

Steels worries for Olanda only to find that the old man saved her - she was his favourite after all.
He promises to return Steel to his proper time-line only for Steel to agree but declare, "there's no rush, right? Like the man said, we've got all the time in the world..."

And there you have it. A strange little interlude among all the chaos of Crisis with a story that purports to spotlight Steel ... but doesn't really does it? Steel is a bit player at most here, the viewer rather than the hero and the entire story is a bit simplistic, bad guy in time makes mistake and later returns in time to change mistake so it never happened in the first place. A common theme and not really developed any deeper here.
Indeed, this issue feels almost like an irrelevant detour more likely to be seen in an Annual than the story we actually saw in the Annual... unless we get to see Olanda again and the consequences of this story resonating with Steel in times to come.....
No. Didn't think so.

Artwise, Luke McDonnel is not a massive shift from what we've been used to and if he's responsible for the new-look Steel then I applaud him, I didn't like the full facemask he wore before and this mask reminds me of Captain Britain's original look which is never a bad thing.

Credit to Gerry Conway for having the nerve to only feature Steel in the main from the JLA here, the rest of the team being relegated to mere cameos is gutsy for it's time.
So, nowhere near a classic but still good standard superhero fare.

"Next Issue "Be It Ever So Humble..."

Come Back...

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