All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940):

1)I expect that if you've only read one Golden Age adventure of the JSA, this is the one.  It's not bad, but this first issue is more like an anthology than a team book, per se.

 

2)Line-Up: The Atom (Al Pratt), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), the Flash (Jay Garrick), the Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Hawkman (Carter Hall), the  Hour Man (Rex Tyler), the Sandman (Wesley Dodds) and the Spectre (Jim Corrigan), with gate-crasher Johnny Thunder and the Red Tornado (Ma Hunkle), to whom Hourman says "Why, we meant to inviite you but we heard you were busy!" All white guys, of cours,e but only to be expected in those less progressive days. Nowadays, things are much different, since when the Justice League was recently revamped, the founding members were just mostly white guys. That aside, I have no real beef with the membership except the inclusion of Johnny Thunder, a character I've always loathed. If they had to have a "comedy" character on the team, I would've much preferred the Red Tornado.

 

3)The JSA gathers for a dinner. Johnny Thunder crashes the party and offers the suggestion that they each narrate an adventure to pass the time. During the dinner, the Flash is summoned to Washington, DC, to meet with Madam Fatal the head of the FBI.

 

4)No origin is given for the team - they all just sort of seem to know each other, already. Johnny Thunder is aware of the meeting, but the Sandman later says that the meeting is a secret. Although knocking out everyone in the lobby actually seems like it be more likely to draw attention than discourage it.

 

5)Doctor Fate: ""The Spectre and I do not touch food." Just as well, Doc, I wouldn't want to see you try to eat with that helmet on.

 

6)Superman, Batman and Robin and the Tornado are described as being "busy".  I find I don't miss Supes and Bats from the team.

 

7)The art is generally OK - nothing exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.

 

8)The Flash tells how he battled some pirates. A light-hearted story, particularly his encounter with a shark. Comics are far too serious these days to have a scene like that in it.

 

9)Hawkman tells of his battle with some fire people. Moldoff draws his wings REALLY HUGE.

 

10)The Spectre tells of his battle with Oom the Mighty, the goofiest demon ever.

 

11)Hourman tells of his battle with jewel thieves who all dress as Hourman.  Amusing because in the end, everyone thinks Rex Tyler was posing as Hourman when he actually was Hourman!

 

12)We have a brief interval where the Red Tornado drops by long enough for it to be revealed that she tore her pants. The Flash is aware of her as a comics character.

 

13)The Sandman tells of his battle of a mad doctor who creates giants in a particularly creepy tale.  I notice alot of these guys, their girlfirends know their secret ID's, with out it being the end of the world.

 

14)Doctor Fate introduces himself thusly:  " I am not human...I never was a child...I had no youth. The elder gods created me just as I am now, and placed me here on Earth to fight evil sorcery!"  I'm pretty sure this is the only place I remember the character's provenance being set out in this manner. anyhow, Fate tells of his battle with an evil sorceror.  Probably the most distinctive art style on this one.

 

15)Johnny Thunder, having suggested story-telling, says he's too shy to do it, "So the editors have written a story about something that happened to me."  So, he knows he's a comic book character, too. Anyhow, his adventure is a text pice about some silly damn thing he did.

 

16)The Atom battles a gang of gold thieves.  Whenever I see the Golden Age Atom's original costume I wonder why the crooks don't all just laugh themselves to death.

 

17)Green Lantern tells of his battle with some racketeers.

 

18)Cliffhanger: The Flash returns with the message that the head of the FBI wants to meet with them all!

 

Overall: This first issue holds up pretty well, all things considered. I still find it a fun read.

 

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Philip Portelli said:

It also foreshadows Ted Knight's mental breakdown due to his guilt over the atomic bomb as seen in The Golden Age and Starman. His scientific importance is a Post-Crisis/Zero Hour improvement as Roy Thomas stated that not only did Knight not invent the Gravity Rod but that he paid people to upgrade it as the Cosmic Rod!

The Golden Age was an Elseworlds story, if that matters.

I had forgotten (or never knew) that Ted Knight wasn't initially portrayed as the inventor of the Cosmic Rod. This harkens back to my previous commentary on the Silver Age Flash Rogues Gallery. In several cases they found or stole their weapons, then somehow become geniuses in those fields. They improve them or create weapons to escape jail. This in turn reminds me of one of my favorite bits in the first Terminator movie. The authorities are interrogating Kyle Reese and ask him how the time machine works. He says "I didn't invent the &$@*#@ thing!".

I believe that, like the Invaders issue of What If?, The Golden Age was later made part of continuity.

Arg!

Don't say that!

As a hopeless completist I've been able to justify NOT buying the Golden Age because it wasn't canon.!!

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

 The Golden Age was later made part of continuity.

Interesting. I never had the perception that The Golden Age was meant to be part of continuity.

Well, it wouldn't be anymore, if that's any consolation. By the way, I read it in TPB form not long after it first came out that way, in the back seat on a trip from Knoxville back to Memphis, and enjoyed it a lot.

Here's what's on wikipedia:

The Golden Age takes place outside normal DC universe continuity and is labeled as an "Elseworlds". Despite this, writer James Robinson incorporated elements of the series into his Starman series. Additionally, some elements of the mini-series were used by writer Geoff Johns in a JSA story arc, bringing some elements of this story into continuity (including Starman helping to develop the atom bomb, the McCarthy hearings black listing the JSA - though a variation of this appeared in the final issue of the Justice Society's run in Adventure Comics in 1979). The most notable elements that are out of continuity are the fates of Dan the Dyna-Mite (who in DC continuity became a member of "Old Justice", a team that fought Young Justice), Tarantula (who has appeared in the pages of Nightwing) and Miss America (who appears in Freedom Fighters series).

Interesting. I never picked up on that.

I always vaguely remembered, given how many people were killed in Golden Age, and so many awful secrets revealed about our Spandex clan,  that it couldn't be part of continuity. My vague recollection of the thing was that it was sort-of like Watchmen in that it left a lot of important characters unusable. But its been a long time since I read it, so I could be utterly wrong.

And Tim, I simply can't picture you in the back seat of the family car reading comics. Did you already have the beard?

The Golden Age is indeed an Elseworlds series but James Robinson incorporated elements of his Starman subplot into his epic work, specifically his mental breakdown in the early 50s and his invention of the longer Cosmic Staff which was utilized first by his son, Jack Knight and later Stargirl AKA the Star Spangled Kid II of Stars & STRIPE.

There was nothing in either the Silver or Bronze Ages that even implied that Ted Knight did NOT invent his weaponry except that Batman knew more about it than him in Justice League of America #101. Roy Thomas gave Starman an origin in All Star Squadron #41 where Ted finishes the building of the gravity rod instead of designing it. Then in The Last Days of the Justice Society Special, he claims that others transformed it into the cosmic rod. Roy apparently didn't hold Starman in the same esteem as he held the other JSAers. (The same could be said for Sandman and Johnny Thunder as well).

Actually Robinson brought this discrepancy up in Starman where Jack tells his friend, a tattoo artist, that Ted himself supported rumors that downplayed his genius.

They were just jealous of his good looks.

National Comics #1 (May 1999): "Fair Play"

1)Line-Up: The Flash, Mister Terrific.

 

2)Guest hero: Tex Thompson, a.k.a, The Americommando, a.k.a. Mister America, here disguised as a German offier, and apparently killed off.

 

3)This one is set in Dresden during the Allied firebombing. The disciple in this one has the ability to absorb and then release explosions.  The Flash kills him in a fairly nasty manner, which he puts down to the influence of the Spear of Destiny.

 

4)The main thrust of this is Mister Terrific's outrage at the bombing and his tendency to see things all in black and white.

 

Overall: Not bad. Apparently this was written by one Mark Waid, of whom you may have heard.

Sensation Comics #1 (May 1999): "Womanly Deeds and Manly Words"

1)Line-Up: Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman (Hippolyta).

 

2)Guest Hero: Speed Saunders, who is described as Hawkgirl's cousin. When was that first established?

 

3)This one is set near Iwo Jima, the disciple is ocean-powered, and is defeated by Hawkgirl keeping him talking until Wonder Woman gets there.

 

Overall: An OK story.

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