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

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That's my system for remembering which volumes I have yet to read. Sometimes I mess it up, though, if I take off the shrink-wrap to read the introduction. In those cases, I leave the shrink-wrap on like an extra dust jacket. Anal Retentive Lad may not be able to read a closed book through cellophane, but he has a "system" for just about everything.

One more story left in volume one - I'm hoping to get that posted over the long weekend.

26)Next is the cover of Leading Comics #4 (Fall 1942), drawn by Mort Meskin. It shows our heroes (here called the "Law's Legionnaires")  attacking a giant head in a jar, referred to as "The Sixth Sense".

 

27)I'll note that the writing for the first chapter is credited to Bill Finger - no writing credits are given for the subsequent chapters. Art for the whole story is given to Ed Dobrotka, who apparently worked with Siegel and Shuster on Superman. His work's not bad - a little cartoony, and he occasionally seems to have a little trouble with angles and perspective, is all.

 

28)Chapter One: The Sense Master: A robot gathers five criminals - "Fingers", Mickey Gordon, Leo Palate, "Bloodhound" and "Eagle-Eye", and brings them before the Sixth Sense, who forces Doctor Brett to enhance one of each of their senses, and sends them out to each steal a valuable gem. However, the Shining Knight has somewhat fortuitously stumbled across the plan and summons his comrades.

 

29)Chapter Two: The Crime Concerto: Small-time pianist Mickey Gordon has been given super-hearing and sent out to steal a diamond from a young woman who is also a pianist. However, his super-hearing now enables him to appreciate music more than ever, and hearing her play causes him to go straight. Unfortunately, the Crimson Avenger and Wing don;t know any of this, and thier intrusion enables some of the other crooks to get away with the diamond. Nice touch, that. they do try to make these stories not be completely predictable.

 

30)Chapter Three: Don Quixote Rides Again: "Fingers" has been given an enhanced sense of touch and has been sent to steal a topaz from Don Coty, an eccentric old guy who wishes he were a knight.  He gets his wish after a fashion when the Shining Knight comes to his aid.

 

31)Chapter Four: The Man Who Followed His Nose: "Bloodhound" has his sense of smell enhanced, and is sent to steal an emerald from Ma and Pa Pemberton, parents of the Star-Spangled Kid!  Thus, the Kid and Stripesy not only have to stop the criminals, but avoid being recognized by the Permbertons! I might've sent one of the other teams myself, but never mind, the Pembertons see the American Avengers up close, remark on their resemblance to Syl and Pat, and then  say that they can't be them , because they know they're home in bed!

 

32)Chapter Five: The Man Who Was Afraid To Eat: Leo Palate, who's been given an enhanced sense of taste, is sent to steal a blue-white diamond from Karl Denner, an actor who's afraid to eat because he's already survived several poisoning attempts.  Palate agrees to use his super-taste to keep Denner alive while they persuade him to tell them where the diamond is! However, they haven't reckoned with the arrival of the Vigilante and Billy Gunn. What's interesting is that this is the first story where the seconday criminals all largely succeed in their missions.

 

33)Chapter Six: The Man With The Miracle Eyes: Finally, Eagle-Eye, who's been given enhanced vision, is sent to steall a garnet diamond from Eustace, a carnival barker, who is assistaed by the Green Arrow and Speedy, who are sort-of carnival attractions themselves!

 

34)Chapter Seven: The  Sense Master: We close with the Sixth Sense bringing his plan to fruition - using the five lesser gems to unlock the Lifestone, which can bring ininimate objects to life. Naturally, he is beaten by the Legionnaires and suffers a patented Seven Soldiers Enemy Ironic Fate!  Being as how the Lifestone is an extremely dangerous object, the Vigilante carefully disposes of it by chucking it off a bridge,

 

Interestingly, there's a scene in this story where the Crimson Avenger mentions Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini - the first real hint that I can recall in this series that there's a war going. No mention as to why none of these strapping young men (the ones that are of age, I mean) aren't off fighting in it.

 

The story ends with the seven in their civilian identities taking in a piano recital by Mickey Gordon (I guess Wing and Billy don't rate concert tickets). I always like seeing super-heroes hanging out together off-hours.  I do wonder how Sylvester explained that one to his parents - "Mom. Dad, me and the chauffeur are going to a concert with a bunch of men you don't know."

 

Overall: Another fairly good story, I'd say. these stories are turning out to be more entertaining than I'd remembered them being. 

 

35)Volume One ends with mini-bios of the various creators - sadly, most if not all of these guys are gone now.

 

Anyway, Volume Two is coming up next!

Leading Comics #4 was adapted in All-Star Squadron #56 (Ap'86), a Crisis Crossover, no less!

Volume Two:

36)We start with a foreword by comics writer Bill Schelly, who talks about Joseph Samachson, none of whose work actually appears in this volume.

 

37)We see Mort Meskin's cover for Leading Comics #5 (Winter 1943-1943), an interesting image of the Vigilante, lassoing the rest of the team.

 

38)The writer for the entire story is listed as "Unknown".  Ed Dobrotka is listed as the artist for the entire thing.

 

39)Chapter One: The Miracles That Money Couldn't Buy!: Our villain this time out is the Skull, who sort of looks like an emaciated Doctor Zoidberg. He is a rich fellow who breaks five condemned criminals out of prison in order to get them to steal things for him that his money couldn't buy.  Our heroes catch wind of this, and the chase is on!

 

40)Chapter Two: The Case of the Criminal Vigilante: Ornery varmint Bronco Slade poses as the Vigilante to steal the race horse "Spinaway". However, he is immediately detected by henpecked bystander Roscoe Meek, whose well-meaning "help" gets the Vigilante captured, and so we end on a cliffhanger, with the Troubleshooting Troubadour in danger of being shot...

 

41)Chapter Three: The Diamond of Doom!:  The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy battle the jewel thief Sparkler, who's been sent to steal the cursed Koran Diamond, which doesn't work out so well for him, as he - who was sentenced to the gas chamber - ends up dying from poisonous fumes, thus starting a trend of the baddies in this story dying in ways reminiscent of the ways they were sentenced to die.  There's a questionable moment in this where the American Avengers use a candle to heat the steel bars of a cage enough to bend them!

 

42)Chapter Four: Destiny Among the Stars!: Bull Corbin is sent to Kentucky to steal the moon rocket of Doctor Edward Grimes, who was the first man on the moon in the 1940's, but no one knew. The Crimson Avenger and Wing are sent to stop him, but Bull doublecrosses the Skull and steals the rocket for himself, only to end up adrift in space forever...

 

43)Chapter Five: A Knight Without Armor: Matt Greider is sent to steal the Shining Knight's armor. Chickening out, Greider decides to steal some armor from a museum and pass it off as the real thing.  Unfortunately, the museum he decides to rob is the one that Justin works at, and shenanigans ensue.  I note that Justin claims that he cannot lie, even to protect his secret identity. Luckily for him, Greider is electrocuted at the end of the chapter.

 

44)Chapter Six: The Murderer Who Couldn't Be Hanged!:  Porky Johnson is sent to steal an experimental "life ray", but is thwarted by the Green Arrow and Speedy.  It turns out that the reason he couldn't be hanged was that he plummeted to his doom, instead.

 

45)Chapter Seven: Conclusion:  Our heroes resuce the Vigilante and attack the Skull's HQ.  the Skull, who claims to be friends with Hitler, meets a patented "Seven Soldiers of Victory Brand Ironic Fate" (Accept no substitutes!).

 

Overall: Another fairly enjoyable story - I especially liked the touch that not all of the crooks went along with the Skull's plans - I expect you see alot of that, with crooks - people going into business for themselves.

 

 

46)Next up is the cover for Leading Comics #6 (Spring 1943), with art by Ed Dobrotka, which shows our heroes fighting amonst themselves in fornt of a goofy-looking stone idol.

 

47)The only credit on this story is that it was inked by Maurice Del Bourgo.

 

48)Chapter One: The Treasure That Time Forgot!: In this, Sir Justin sees an ad in the paper urging the Seven Soldiers to make contact in order to find a billion dollars. Justin contacts his comrades, all of whom reply except Oliver and Roy, who are haivng a day out in the country - there's a scene in which a young lady calls Roy "Oliver" - I'm assuming that's a typo.

The others discover that a Mr. Milton has become aware of an Inca treaure lost in the Andes that he thinks they should claim for Uncle Sam's war effort . (No thought is given that the treasure would belong to the locals or their government.) The Wizard Archers show up  in the end, somewhat late.There are several clues to the treasure's location, and the heroes split up to follow the various clues, making it a race to see who finds it first.

 

49)Chapter Two: Crimes By Proxy!: In which the Wizard Archers and the American Avengers pursue the same clue and events seem to indicate that the two duos are turning against one another!

 

50)Chapter Three: A Duel to the Death!: Similarly, we see the Vigilante and the Shining Knight comes to blows, only to realize that someone is trying to turn them agianst each other!

 

51)Chapter Four: Winged Masters of the Mountains!: In which the now-reconciled Shining Knight and Vigilante find themselves fighting giant condors!

 

52)Chapter Five: The Gold That Failed to Glitter!: In which  the Amazing Archers and the Patriotic Pummelers come to blows, only to be broken up by the Knight and the Vigilante. Reconciled, the heroes proceed, only to find the gold already gone!

 

53)Chapter Six: The Third Treasure Trail!: In which the Crimson Avenger and Wing face the terrors of the jungle - including a tiger in South America! - only to find themselves facing deadlier human enemies!  Also, the Crimson quotes Superman, the first meniotn of heroes outsode of their group!

 

54)Chapter Seven: Trail's End!: In which our heroes are reunited and discover the real villain - Scrivener, Milton's secretary!

 

Overall: Another good story - good to see whoever wrote this trying to gety away from the usual formula.

 

 

I wonder if the Human Torch vs Sub-Mariner battle from Marvel Mystery Comics had any influence on this story?

As for getting away from the usual formula, it's another underling that's revealed to be the true villain!

True, but at least it was a little different.

55)Next up is the cover for Leading Comics #7 (Summer 1943). the cover art is by Jon Small. It's only a so-so cover, with our heroes facing off against some hovering Wizard-types.  The layout of the cover seems awkward to me, somehow.

 

56)The only credit on the story goes to penciller Pierce Rice, who does OK, but nothing special.

 

57)Chapter One: The Wizard of Wisstark!: A mysterious stranger called "Menzac" stages a charity event to gather the Seven Soldiers, so he can beg their assistance of behalf of the Wizard of Wisstark, an unknown city in the Antarctic. They agree, and travel in a high-tech airship to Wisstark, where they meet the Wizard, who is a lost American stage magician, who more or less scammed his way into becoming the local ruler - a fairly blatant imitation of the Wizard of Oz.  He needs their help against the Wizards of neighboring Stanovia, who apparently are real Wizards. They agree to help.

 

58)Chapter Two: The Land of Giants!: The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy are sent to try to recruit the aid of a tribe of mountain giants. They fail, but Sylvester makes a big deal of getting motion picture footage on the giants.  I must say the Stripesy is portrayed as being particularly thick-headed - I'm not wild about that, I never thought of him as being dumb, considering he designed a flying car and all.

 

59)Chapter Three: The Wizard Archers and the Wizards!: The Green Arrow and Speedy are sent to spy on Stanovia, and discover that the Wizards may not be everything they're cracked up to be. Our heroes are captured, but escape thanks to guards who don't hink to take bows and arrows away from the bowmen that they've captured.

 

60)Chapter Four: The Invisible Men!: The Crimson Avenger and Wing stay behind in Wisstark and find themselves fighting invisible spies, whom the Crimson defeats using his special clinging crimson dust, which I didn't know he had.

 

61)Chapter Five: Double Trouble!: The Vigilante also has remained behind in Wisstark and encounters another group of spies who are smuggling a double of the Wizard of Wisstark into the city. There's an amusing moment where one of the spies thinks the Vigilante's motorcycle is alive and threatens to kill it. Interestingly, the Stanovians don't seem to know what a fist is - however, the Vigilante soon introduces them to the concept of being punched in the face, repeatedly. He then exposes the double by quizzing him on baseball.

 

62)Chapter Six: The March of the Wooden-Armored Soldiers!: the Shining Knight is given the unenviable job of whipping Wisstark's sad sack army into shape, which he does by beating up their general and teaching them not to fear illusions.

 

63)Chapter Seven: Battle of the Wizards!: Our heroes lead the final battle against Stanovia, helping the Wisstarkianites evade the illusory traps of the Stanovians, and Sylvester using his film of the giants to frighten the enemy.  The story ends rather abruptly, with our heroes winning and then going home.

 

Overall:  This was an OK story - it could've been a little better constructed, maybe.  One does wonder what became of Wisstark - I can't believe that Roy Thomas never revisited this story. If they were doing it nowadays, we'd get a whole history of the place.  Back then, it was just like - "Oh, well, cities in the Antarctic, how about that?"

64)Next up is Leading Comics #8 (Fall 1943).  The cover and the story were pencilled by Jon Small and inked by Maurice Del Bourgo.

 

65)The cover shows our heroes falling through an hourglass while the Dummy looks on gleefully, thus giving a good sense of what the story is about.

 

66)Chapter One: Exiles in Time!: We begin with the Dummy discovering that the various Legionnaires are taking apart his crime empire.One can't help thinking that if DC had had more of a "universe" in the modern sense back then, the Dummy would've been been one of the major "players" on the villains' side.  The Dummy has "acquired" a time machine from an inventor. He says he got it "for a song", implying that he stole it. Considering that they had just done a time travel story a year or so ago, it might have made for "smoother" story-telling if the Dummy had just somehow "acquired" Doctor Doome's time machine, or at least found his plans. Otherwise, one is left with the impression that people were inventing time machines right, left and center back then.  Actually, that sort of fits in with the general mood of these stories, doesn't it?  People were inventing fanatastic crap all the time, and leaving it around for villains to pick up.  Anyhow, the Dummy lures the Soldiers into a trap, and scatters them throughout time.

 

67)Chapter Two: The Queen's Necklace!: The Green Arrow and Speedy find themselves  in France in the time of the Three Musketeers. GA claims that he and Roy are pals with D'Artagnan. Either he's bluffing, or I missed that story. At any rate, the Achronal Archers help clear the Musketeers of the charge of stealing a necklace from the Queen, and Oliver gets a line in about how absolute monarchs are undemocratic. I note that again, no mention is made of how it is that Oliver and Roy  - or for that matter, any of the Soldiers - understand the local language when they travel back in time.

 

68)Chapter Three: Courage in Canton!: The Crimson Avenger and Wing find themselves in China circa 225 B.C., where they help Li Ho, discoverer of gunpowder, defeat a Japanese invasion. We'll set aside the fact that, from my admittedly limited knowledge of Japanese history, this is extremely unlikely, accepting that this is, after all, a World War Two-era story.

 

69)Chapter Four: Voyage of the Vikings!: The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy help a Norseman named "Eric" and his son Leif discover America, and also start the Great Polar Bear/Walrus War.

 

70)Chapter Five: Friends, Romans, Countrymen!: The Vigilante finds himself in Ancient Rome, where he also finds some of the Dummy's henchmen, who have struck out on their own to rob Crassus, who is extremely rich. The Vigilante finds himself reluctantly teaming up with the crooks, as they all manage to get themselves on the wrong side of Caesar, which does seem to be rather easy to do.

 

71)Chapter Six: The Legend of Leonardo!: The Shining Knight finds himself stranded in Renaissance Italy, where he meets the mighty Leonardo Da Vinci, and defends him from the evil Count Ludovico. Justin discovers that Leonardo, like anyone else of any ability whatsoever in the Golden Age DC Universe, has invented a time machine, but, alas, lacks a power source for it. Justin, who has apparently been cracking the books during his time in the 20th Century, shows Leonardo how to power it with electricity, and send him back to 1943. As to how giving Leonardo the secret of electricity and a functioning time machine does not play Holy Hell with the timeline, I leave as an exercise for the reader.

 

72)Chapter Seven: Conclusion: The Shining Knight, safely returned to 1943, uses the Dummy's time machine to rescue his colleagues, and the crooks who had gone to ancient Rome.We discover here that the time machine doesn't work on gold, which is given as the reason why the Dummy hadn't used it to loot the past. Why he couldn't have used it to steal non-gold valuables is not addressed. Anyway, it seems like an odd flaw for a time machine to have.  Anyhow, the Soldiers overpower various goons, and capture the Dummy in a traditional Seven Soldiers Ironic Way.

 

73)Overall: Another fairly good story - funny that they went back to time travel again so soon, But I still found it a fun read.  If you were writing it nowadays, you'd have to explain away how they managed not to destroy the timeline, or how they managed to understand the ancient languages, and so on.

 

74)Volume Two closes out with biographies of the creators involved, which is useful if you want to know small amounts of information about them.

 

Coming up next: Volume Three!

...from my admittedly limited knowledge of Japanese history...

 

From my admittedly limited reading of the 'what are you reading these days (besides comics)' thread, I think you might be being a touch modest here.  Yasutaka Who?

 

From a quick skim of the posts so far, these stories look like fun.  Hopefully I'll get my hands on them someday.

 

I think the early 7 Soldiers stories comprise the first part of a interestingly unusual decades-spanning trilogy.  Justice League #100-102 is the second part of it.  It refers to the first issue you looked at on this thread and borrows a lot of plot elements from Leading Comics #8, above.

 

The third and final part is Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory, a 30-part series from 2005.  It builds on the 40's and the 70's stories, ties them together a little more, and incorporates a lot of very Seven Soldiers of Victory plot elements from both, including again events depicted in the first issue of Leading Comics and time travel.  The Vigilante, for instance, is in all three, and you get to see how his enmity with the Iron Hand works out...  I wouldn't be surprised if there were even more references to the original Leading Comics stories, but I can't say, as I haven't read any Leading Comics.

 

Yeah, I'll definitely have to take a look at the Morrison story someday.

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