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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Much as I like the basic concept behind Power Girl, she's a harrbinger of doom for any universe she appears in. It's when JSA started to tangle with her existence that we began the long steady march toward total destruction.

It's around this point when Johns starts to lose me. He has shown a greater and greater interest in what we would consider villains, to the detriment of the heroes in his books.

I disagree about Power Girl--Harbinger of Doom theory. She debuted in All-Star Comics #58 (F'76) and Crisis on Infinite Earths happened almost ten years later. Granted there are still questions about her Earth-2 existence left unanswered like when exactly did she arrive? Where did she live on Earth before her public unveiling? Why did Superman keep her a secret and so on. But the basic concept as "Superman's cousin/Counterpart to Supergirl" is understandable enough.

The problem with Power Girl was, if you could call it a problem, her attitude, short temper and drive to prove herself made her more popular than Supergirl. DC wanted to keep her after the Crisis but decreed that Superman would be the Sole Survivor of Krypton (Sorry, Kara, the tribe has spoken!"). Thus came the "NEW & IMPROVED" ORIGIN connecting her to ARION and Atlantis which no one ever really bought or understood. And they kept linking her to Superman REGARDLESS of their now-non-existent relationship!

Power Girl is a straight-forward type of gal but DC could never keep their facts on her straight enough to make her a star! 

Yes, Power Girl is way more popular than Supergirl.  That's why she keeps getting her own title again and again and again and...

I hate to say it, but I think the only reason that most people know about Power Girl is the boob window.

Philip Portelli said:

The problem with Power Girl was, if you could call it a problem, her attitude, short temper and drive to prove herself made her more popular than Supergirl.

I agree with Randy, but I'll add that the Power Girl series by Palmiotti, Gray, and Conner was pretty darn good. When they left the series, I pretty much left DC.

Agreed.

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

I agree with Randy, but I'll add that the Power Girl series by Palmiotti, Gray, and Conner was pretty darn good.

Philip Portelli said:

Captain Marvel's growing affection for Stargirl is a major point here and a major miscalculation. Captain Marvel should see Courtney as the girl Billy likes, not as the girl he likes. It either diminishes Captain Marvel by making him think like a teenager 100% of the time, thus he's not really an adult OR makes an adult Cap infatuated with a teenage girl.

Wasn't it always the case that Billy was always Billy, not a grown man in place of Billy? In other words, isn't it young Billy in an adult body complete with Billy's lack of experience and adolescent reactions?

That's DC's Post-Crisis/Zero Hour interpretation of the Captain Marvel/Billy Batson situation but the Original Captain Marvel was not just Billy looking like an adult. Cap was a separate individual who shared an existence with Billy. They spoke about each other as two different people. And that's the way it was handled Pre-Crisis as well. They shared memories and influenced each other but Cap was not "young Billy in an adult body".

It should be noted that, in the hey-day of secret identities, many of the heroes spoke of their alter-egos as separate individuals, even when no one else was listening.  I always thought that the way Captain Marvel was so frequently flustered around women back in the Golden Age was because they were reacting to him as a grown man, and he was reacting to them as if he were still Billy.  I realize that there are some Golden Age Cap stories that come down more strongly in favor of the "shared existence" version, but there are also some that support the "Billy in an adult body" argument--considering just how many Cap stories there were back then, every possible permutation turned up at least once.

JSA #41 (December 2002): "The Unborn Hour"

1)Line-Up: Black Adam, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Hawkgirl, Hourman, Mister Terrifc (Terry Sloane), Mister Terrific (Michael Holt), Sand, the Star-Spangled Kid.

 

2)Rick foresees an attack by Black Barax on TylerCo, so off the JSA goes to battle, accompaneid by much sniping between Billy and Adam.

 

3)Elsewhere, Fate is in Gemworld, where he learns that someone called "Cutter" made Nabu's amulet.

 

4)We end in 1944 with Terry Sloane obseriving something happening at the future site of TylerCo.

 

Overall: An OK, issue, obviously a s build-up to the net story line.



Dave Elyea said:

It should be noted that, in the hey-day of secret identities, many of the heroes spoke of their alter-egos as separate individuals, even when no one else was listening.  I always thought that the way Captain Marvel was so frequently flustered around women back in the Golden Age was because they were reacting to him as a grown man, and he was reacting to them as if he were still Billy.  I realize that there are some Golden Age Cap stories that come down more strongly in favor of the "shared existence" version, but there are also some that support the "Billy in an adult body" argument--considering just how many Cap stories there were back then, every possible permutation turned up at least once.

 

I distinctly remember a story in which BIlly bought Cap a Christmas present, kind of an odd activity if they were the same guy.

JSA #42 (January 2003): "Paradox Play"

1)JSA Line-Up: Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Hawkgirl, Mister Terrific (Terry Sloane), Mister Terrific (Michael Holt).

 

2)Freedom Fighters Line-Up:  The Black Condor, Doll Man, Firebrand (Rod Reilly), the Human Bomb, Miss America, the Phantom Lady, the Ray, the Red Bee, Uncle Sam.

 

3)Billy disappears into time, as Kendra and Michael meet Terry Sloane (Here consistently spelled "Sloan") and the Freedom Fighters.  I must say the I really liked the meeting between the two Mister Terrifics - for me, this was the first story in along time to have some of the old pre-Crisis vibe of the meetings between the heroes of two worlds. They battle Black Barax, managing to bluff him kind of easily.

 

4)In Gemworld, we learn that Nabu was an energy being form the planet Cilia, as I beleive somebody already pointed out up-thread.

 

5)We end with Kendra and Michael following Billy back to ancient Egypt, where they encounter Vandal Savage and something that looks like Metamorpho.

 

Overall: A fun story with an intriguing ending. Always good to see the Freedom Fighters again.

 

The Baron said:

We end with Kendra and Michael following Billy back to ancient Egypt, where they encounter Vandal Savage and something that looks like Metamorpho.

That's interesting. I remember that Metamorpho's origins involve an artifact from ancient Egypt, and the implication or statement that he wasn't the first of his kind.

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