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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Bleah.  I found the handling of the Billy/Courtney relationship to be a major clusterbooboo for me.  Everything about it.  Did their relationship make sense?  Sure.  Was it busted up for stupid reasons?  Yes.  Was it shoehorned in for really next to no reason whatsoever?  Yes.  Did it have any long lasting ramifications? Nope. Basically it was jsut a way to do something with the characters without actually doing anything with the characters.  One of the first times I really noticed that the emperor (Johns in this case) wasn't wearing any clothes.

Is "Cluster Boo Boo" Honey Boo Boo's less appealing kid sister?

I guess I am the only one who didn't have a problem with Billy and Courtney. Two teenagers with raging hormones falling for each other? Makes sense to me.

It makes much more sense than Vision and Scarlet Witch ever did.

I have zero issues with them having a relationship. It's how that relationship was subsequently handled that I find exceptionally annoying. The relationship itself does make sense.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I guess I am the only one who didn't have a problem with Billy and Courtney. Two teenagers with raging hormones falling for each other? Makes sense to me.

It makes much more sense than Vision and Scarlet Witch ever did.

I had no problem with it either.  Two teenagers in love is a pretty common staple of many types of fiction, and comics are no exception.  It lead to a poignant moment where the elder JSAers sit Captain Marvel down and let him know they disapprove of the relationship because of the age difference as they perceive it.  They are unaware that Billy is actually in his early teens and not his late twenties.  Their disapproval doesn't come across as judgemental so much as deep disappointment, which would have hurt Billy..  It worked well because of the era Jay and Alan grew up in, it's believable that they would have issues with a relationship that has a big age gap. 

 

 Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I guess I am the only one who didn't have a problem with Billy and Courtney. Two teenagers with raging hormones falling for each other? Makes sense to me.

It makes much more sense than Vision and Scarlet Witch ever did.

It's not the stories that Johns wants to tell, it's his constant moving around the furniture to tell those stories that's the problem. A guy feels like Rob Petrie when stumbling over Geoff Johns' rearranged ottomans.

JSA #50 (September 2003): "Princes of Darkness Part 5: The Last Light"

1)Line-Up: The Air Wave, the Black Canary, the Black Condor, Captain Marvel, Damage, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Occult, Dove, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Hourman, the Human Bomb, "Iron" Munro, Jade, Jakeem Thunder, Mister Terrific, Nemesis, the Phantom Lady, Power Girl, the Ray, Sand, the Shining Knight, the Star-Spangled Kid, S.T.R. I. P.E., Uncle Sam. the Vigilante, Wildcat.

 

2)Eclipso and Obsidian are dealt with, relatively easily, especially Eclipso. Considering the herd of heroes they've got, it shouldn't've taken them this long.

 

3)Arion tells Power Girl that she's not his grand-daughter, but that he promised her mother he'd protect her. Her mother?

 

4)At one point, Mordru turns Uncle Sam into a recruiting poster and "Iron" Munro into actual iron.  If he can do stuff like that, why waste time with this huge battle? Just turn them all into ceramic ducks, drop a giant anvil on them, and go back to his evil plan of sitting around Fate's tower watching ESPN Sports Center.

 

5)I did like Johnny speaking up for himself to Mordru. When Johnny Thunder is written just right, he's actually not a bad character.

 

6)Finally Alan Scott reclaims the name "Green Lantern". Now, let us never speak of the "Sentinel" idiocy ever again.

 

7))We end with the dramatic re-eappearance of Doctor Fate!  Wait, it's still not over?

 

Overall: Well, it's nice seeing some of these secondary characters again.   Reminds me how mad I was when DC killed off Dee Tyler and Ryan Kendall (or was it Kendall Ryan?) just tomake Final Crisis more "Ddamatic".

Did I doze off? What happened to Black Adam? I was just beginning to become amazed at how much longer he'd been with the book than I remembered (and I never thought of him as a member, either, but I guess he was ... ?) and then all of a sudden he's gone. I guess I skimmed missed the part where he was written out.

Are you referring to this bit?

JSA #45 (April 2003): "Princes of Darkness: Prologue"

1)Line-Up: Atom-Smasher, Black Adam, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Hourman, Jakeem Thunder, Mister Terrific, Power Girl, Sand,Sentinel, the Star-Spangled Kid, Wildcat.

5)The main storyline is the trial of Kobra, in which he escapes by threatening to have his followers commit mass suicide. Al and Adam stalk off together in disgust.

They had an interesting thing going with Black Adam.  Arguably he 's the most layered character here, and that's pretty good work they did with him, showing us his past, which perhaps we hadn't had much of before.

 

But it is hard to see what he was doing on the team in the first place if their entire mode of operation was against his principles.  But then again, we did see that he thought of himself as a good guy, just one who used different methods, so perujhaps he thought he should be held in respect as a member of the oldest most esteemed team going at that time?

Black Adam in JSA looks like a dry run for Johns take on Superboy Prime in many ways...

 

And strange that he'd skulk off just when he was starting to get interesting.  If JSA as a whole has any themes beyond merely scratching the fanboy itch, Black Adam is probably central to them.

 

I do believe he comes back, though...

JSA All-Stars #3 of 8 (September 2003): "Challenging Fate"

1)Hector and Nabu go to a bar...and the bartender says "Why the long face?"  Wait, wrong story...

 

2)Interestingly, Nabu manifests himself as looking like the Chief form the Doom Patrol, for some reason.  Anyway, Hector's begun seeing people's fates, which must be unnerving, and Nabu forces him to view his own fate, and which he see himself figthing Hawkman, who tells him he killed Kendra Saunders.  Hector resolves to evade this fate, which I'm pretty sure is never mentioned agian, so I guess he did it. Sorted!  (If this is ever addressed agian, I'll make a note of it, but I don't think it was.)

 

3)The back-up story by Darwyn Cooke is simply called "Doctor Fate", and it shows Kent and Inza fighting the usual mundane Lovecraftian horror on a cruise ship. It is very successful at imitating the style of the Golden Age Doctor Fate - alas, it successfully imitates the tendency of these stories to not be very substantial or interesting.  A successful tribute!

 

Overall:  Two OK stories, it kind of feels like stuff that should have been back-up material in a more interesting book.



The Baron said:


3)The back-up story by Darwyn Cooke is simply called "Doctor Fate", and it shows Kent and Inza fighting the usual mundane Lovecraftian horror on a cruise ship. It is very successful at imitating the style of the Golden Age Doctor Fate - alas, it successfully imitates the tendency of these stories to not be very substantial or interesting.  A successful tribute!

 

 

I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read this!

I wish the Golden Age Dr. Fate stories had been like this one.  They would have been much more interesting.  Still insubstantial, but much more interesting.

The Baron said:


3)The back-up story by Darwyn Cooke is simply called "Doctor Fate", and it shows Kent and Inza fighting the usual mundane Lovecraftian horror on a cruise ship. It is very successful at imitating the style of the Golden Age Doctor Fate - alas, it successfully imitates the tendency of these stories to not be very substantial or interesting.  A successful tribute!

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