The Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives (Some Spoilage May Occur)

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I looked at that opening segment again last night.  You only see the Crimson in one or two panels, and always from  the front. As the Commander says, you see what looks like the top of a cape around his shoulders, but no indication of it hanging down the back - and the way he's posing, you would see the cape if it was there.

Continuing with Volume One....

10)The cover of Leading Comics #2 (Spring 1942) was drawn by Fred Ray. The art is pretty good, and it's nicely-composed:  The head of the book's chief villain - the Black Star - is super-imposed over an actual black star, which is surrounded by our heroes, looking suitably perturbed.

11)"Chapter One: The Black Star Shines": Written by Mort Weisinger and drawn by Mort Meskin. In their civilian identities, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy witness a bank robbery by five criminals, all of whom happen to be in the employ of the Black Star, who, interestingly, communicates with them by motion picture. Syl gathers the "Legionnaires", as he calls them, and they set off in pursuit. Green Arrow's automobile is now called the "Arrowcar".

12)"Chapter Two: Mystery of the Clowning Criminals": Weisinger and Flessel again. The Shining Knight follows the first of the criminals, Falseface, to  New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The criminals cunningly take advantage of the fact that everyone in town is wearing a costume, so that their costumes don't stand out. Justin takes the train to New Orleans, riding in a freight car with his horse. I like that it occurred to Mort that the horse couldn't fly all the way to New Orleans. Here's a question, though - Given that the Knight has bulletproof armor, how come it never occurs to anyone to put a few
slugs through his horse while he's flying around? There's a funny scene where Sir Justin mistakes some revelers in medieval costume for the real thing.  In the end, we learn  Falseface's secret:  What looks like a grinning mask is his actual face! Meanwhile, the Black Star takes advantage of the confusion to steal an innocuous-seeming item, as he will do after each hero's individual adventure.

13)"Chapter Three: Mystery of the Santa Claus Pirate": Weisinger and Sherman again.  In Key West, "pirates" led by  Santa Claus waylay ships, but instead of robbing then, they deliver presents to the ships' passengers. this draws the attention of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, who discover that "Santa Claus" is actually the notorious Captain Bigg (essentially a nautically-themed annoying fat guy), who is cleverly putting people off their guard for when he goes to make a big score. I note that the American Avengers (as a caption calls them) tend to get captured alot.

14)"Chapter Four: Mystery of the One-Man Museum": Weisinger and Papp here. The Green Arrow and Speedy travel to Pleasure City, a sort of cross between Vegas and Disneyland, in pursuit of the Hopper, an odd-looking guy with a super pogo stick.  The Hopper is after an eccentric millionaire who keeps a number of valuable items on his person. It's pretty funny, because the rich guy doesn't trust anyone, including the heroes!

15)"Chapter Five: The Case of the Twisted Twins": Weisinger and Lehti take us, and the Crimson Avenger and Wing, to Twin City, where's there's a convention of twins. The Brain - not the guy from the Brotherhood of Evil, just a plainly-dressed smart guy, uses a gas that makes twin look different (?) as part of an obscure plan to extort money from a guy in an iron lung. The story plays up the theme of tiwns, and in the end, we discover that the Brain himself has a twin, who plays a part in the story.

16)"Chapter Six: the Sixty Kiddie Club": Written by Bill Finger and drawn by Mort Meskin. The Vigilante and Billy Gunn (now with two n's) go to New Mexico to visit the eponymous club, where retired men over 60 can go to behave like small children. The Rattler, a vaguely snake-themed fellow, is out to rob the pampered old-timers. It's an interesting idea - I'm  surprised no one's opened such a club in real life.

17)"Chapter Seven: The Black Star Shines":  Finger and Meskin bring us home. Having beaten the ancillary villains, the Legionnaires discover that these lesser crimes were merely smokescreens for the Black Star to steal five seemingly insignificant items, which are actually the components for a machine that can make plants and animals grow to a gigantic size.  The final chapter's pretty exciting as our heroes fight their way past gigantic menaces, and the Black Star suffers
an ironic fate! (What, again?)

Overall:  This was a pretty good story, I thought.  Considering how formulaic the stories are (One wonder what our heroes would do if a master criminal thought to hire six lesser criminals!), the writers do their best to come up with new angles to keep the stories interesting.

I remember this one fondly as it was reprinted in Justice League of America #111-112 (Ju-Au'74). In my opinion, it was as good or better than the Justice Society ones of the same era. Certainly it's the top of the 7SV tales.

I rather liked the plan of the Black Star, distracting the heroes with other villains. It fits, given his true nature.

I knew there was a Falseface on the Batman TV show but it's not this one. It was a nice touch to have the Shining Knight think his peers from Camelot had arrived in the present, though how did these revellers resemble the real royal court is beyond me! It was a neat death-trap.

Winged Victory is bullet-proof, too. He's one tough flying horse!

Another point was that Stripesy had to save the Star-Spangled Kid, not the other way around.

I liked the Hopper. He was memorable, ruthless and gave Green Arrow a real Golden Age villain.

I didn't get the Crimson Avenger story. I think it got recolored wrong somehow.

I could read a Vigilante story every day and be a happy man. Ain't that right, pardners?

Master villains didn't last too long in 1942, didn't they?

I didn't get the Crimson Avenger story. I think it got recolored wrong somehow.

 

That must have been confusing.

Yeah, his red smoke was gray and the Brain's twin brother's face was supposed to be bright red but it was pink!

"Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to defeat the Crimson Avenger!"

18)Next we get the cover of Leading Comics #3 (Summer 1942), which shows a lighthouse shining several beams, each of which contains one or more of our heroes' faces, and announces that they will be facing Dr. Doome!  It's drawn by Mort Meskin, and it's a pretty good cover, I think.

19)Chapter One: The Tyrants of Time: The credit says "Writer Unknown" - I'm a little confused as to whether that means just this chapter or the whole story. If it's just this chapter, then I guess Mort Weisinger wrote the rest of it. The art for this chapter is by Mort Meskin.

Our villain this time is Doctor Doome - a sort of dissipated little dumpy guy with a time machine that can only go back-and-forth between the present and the past. His HQ is a disused lighthouse on Long Island. He uses his time machine to bring Alexander the Great (who is shown calling on Jupiter when he ought to've been calling on Zeus), the Emperor Nero, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte to the present. No explanation is given as to how they all understand one another - my recollection of Golden Age DC time travel stories is that in the Golden Age DCU everyone throughout history understood modern English. He helpfully explains to them that he's brought them to Long Island in 1942, as though any of them besides Napoleon would have a prayer of knowing what that meant. Gotta give these guys credit, none appears to be particularly freaked out by being in the future - maybe they've already met Per Degaton or Rip Hunter or whoever. Apparently unworried about the possibility of changing history, Doome convinces the five to help him steal various valuable metals so that he can beef up his time machine so that  it can send them all into the future, presumably so that they can get the crap hammered out of them by Tommy Tomorrow or the Heroes of Lallor or somebody. He initially sends them out to rob a bank in order to steal funds to finance the metal robberies - which is obviously the best plan imaginable. They happen across Oliver Queen and Roy Harper testing new two-way radios.  One of the Time Tyrants steals Roy's radio, which enables the Emerald Archer and the Boy Bowman to overhear their plans and sumon their colleagues.  Doome sends them out, accompanied by thugs, to commit the various robberies, giving each of them a time rod, so that if anything goes wrong, they can zip off to their own times - so, he's already planning for failure.

20)Chapter Two: Defeat Before Waterloo: Art is by Hal Sherman.  In this chapter Napoleon tries to steal a shipment of gold near the Canadian border, but is thwarted by the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, with a timely assist from two hoboes - thus beginning the pattern of each set of heroes receivng help from someone or other.  Napoleon skips back to his own time, but not before we get the old gag about looney bins being full of people who think they're him. I wonder if that ever happened? Or for that matter, who do loonies nowadays think they are?

21)Chapter Three: The Radium Robots: With Art by George Papp. Alexander is sent to the Everglades to steal radium from an inventor who's building an army of radium-powered robots.  The Green Arrow and Speedy race to stop him, with the help and opposition of Oscar the Thinking Robot - Oscar's something of a practical joker, and tends to side with whoever's winning at the time. I kind of liked Oscar as a character - they ought to bring him back again.I note that the Battling Bowman's car is called the "Arrowplane" again.

22)Chapter Four: The Man Who Told A Fish Story:  Art by Creig Flessel.  Genghis Khan is sent to Alaska to steal some platinum, but is opposed by the Shining Knight, with the assistance of fisherman Bill Bates. I note that our hero pretty much tortures a whale to death in order to defeat the crooks.  I also note that in this segment, Doctor Doome becomes the first character to refer to our heroes in-story as the "Seven Soldiers of Victory".

23)Chapter Five: The  Spirit of Wild Bill Dickson: Art is credited to Mort Meskin, although the credit on the story itself says "By Mort Morton and Cliff". Attila the Hun is send to North Dakota to steal some tantalum, and is opposed by the Vigilante and Billy Gunn, with assistance by Wild Bill Dickson (as you might have guessed).  In this chapter, the Vigilante calls his friend "Billy Gunn of Times Square". Was Billy not a genuine Western codger?

24)Chapter Six: Fiddler's Farewell:  Art is by Jack Lehti. Nero is sent to steal some uranium from a ship at sea, but is opposed by the Crimson Avenger and Wing, with some help from runaway tyke Sammy Singer and his dog Scraps. The introduction informs us that Sammy and Scraps are an homage to popular-at-the-time comic strip heroes Dickie Dare and his dog Wags. Nero is seen to be playing a violin, though we all know that the violin hadn't been invented by his time.

25)Chapter Seven: The Tyrants of Time:  Art by Mort Meskin.  The Legionnaires pursue Doome to the Fall of Troy (there to no doubt encounter the First Doctor, Steven and Vicki, as well as Doug Philips and Tony Newman). He attmepts to trap them there, but Speedy has wisely pocketed one of the Doctor's time rods and they are able to get home. Doome attempts to escape into the future, but his time machine explodes, and we are left in doubt as to his final fate.


Overall: I liked this story, various plot-holes aside. I've always liked time-travel stories, and I liked the theme of how, wherever they go, the Legionnaires meet people who help them.

 

 

 

When the story was adapted in All-Star Squadron #27, in an abbreviated form, Roy Thomas added a scene near the end where Doctor Doome tries to tempt the Shining Knight to betray the his fellow Soldiers in exchange for a time-trip back to Camelot. He, of course, refuses.

Roy also linked Doome to Per Degaton and Professor Zee in the America Vs the Justice Society mini in the mid 80s.

According to the GCD, Cliff was inker Cliff Young.
Interesting. Thanks, LB.
I pulled volume one of the shelf last week with the intention of reading along with you, but so far I've re-read onlyl the introduction and issue #2. I also discovered that there are, in fact, three "Seven Soldiers" archives. (I mentioned last week that I thought there were two.) Volume three still has the shrink-wrap on it, so I know I haven't read that!

Volume three still has the shrink-wrap on it, so I know I haven't read that!

 

Be a pretty neat trick if you had, though!

The Baron said:

Volume three still has the shrink-wrap on it, so I know I haven't read that!

 

Be a pretty neat trick if you had, though!


The best Carnac the Magnificant gag ever!

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