This is where my Golden Age (as Mister Silver Age wisely says) begins. Though that's not entirely true as my first comic was Justice League of America #103, but I read this one two or three years later.
I'm also going to split this up by issues at least for this three-parter.
This was Len Wein's first JLA issue as well as its 100th, so he had an anniverary to celebrate, to boot. How do you make this team-up special: you add another team! Strangely he doesn't think Teen Titans or Legion of Super-Heroes, he thinks about a little remembered Golden Age team. I'll speak about them later. First:
JUSTICE LEAGUE #100 (Au'72): The Unknown Soldier of Victory!
The conceit of this issue was that it was the JLA's 100th meeting. I will assume this meant regularly scheduled meetings, not emergancies. If the League met monthly then they've been around eight years, four months. If weekly, then it's less than two years, which seems unlikely.
The JLA: The entire active JLA roster is present here. This allows Aquaman to interact with the JSA for only the second time. There is the first (?) Green Arrow/Hawkman verbal joust. They hold this special event in their original mountain sanctuary, which is nowhere near Happy Harbor. Trust me on this! :-) There are guests though.
Metamorpho the Element Man: after saying "NO!" to JLA membership but becoming a "standby" member and had stood by for 60 issues, Rex finally shows up! Wein probably liked the character and felt the League needed a little muscle for this adventure, which it did!
Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man: Wein loved this guy! He only met the team once in #51. Met them, did not work with them---a long magical tale! But he would soon join in #105!
Zatanna the Magician: she worked twice with the JLA but several times with its various members. Besides why Wouldn't you want her at your party??
Diana Prince, Wonder Woman: this was a woman who felt humbled and would not have even came if Batman had not insisted even though she had more reason to be there than the other guests!
Then there were the cameos:
The Martian Manhunter: this FOUNDING member of the JLA was left out as most writers could not get a decent handle on him. Plus he was on Mars II though he would return for #115.
Snapper Carr: Unable to face his mentors after his actions in #77. He would also show up again in #114.
Adam Strange: Still on Rann. The most deserving "honorary" member had to stay home!
If the Elongated Man and Metamorpho who helped the JLA once were invited, why not Robin, Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Mera, the Creeper, the Earth-One Vigilante or Sargon the Sorcerer? Just asking why not? Wouldn't the wives want to go with their husbands?
The JSA: No new information is given but on hand were: Doctor Fate, Sandman, Hourman, Johnny Thunder, Doctor Mid-Nite, Starman, Wonder Woman, Wildcat and Red Tornado.
Fate brings the JLA to E-2 because of The Hand that Holds the Earth! Literally, a planetary size hand about to crush the Earth, created (somehow, despite no obvious technology nor the massive amount of energy needed to use it) by mysterious villain The Iron Hand.
Fate also with Zatanna and the Thunderbolt summon the cosmic Oracle who knows all of what happened and the past is his domain. He tells the two teams that the answer lies in a third team, one no one remembers, The Seven Soldiers of Victory (7SV)!
BTW, where were the E-2 Superman, Flash, Hawkman, etc? Strange that they would be absent?
The 7SV: their roster was: The Shining Knight, the Green Arrow and Speedy (of E-2), the Vigilante (of E-2), the Star Spangled Kid and *sigh* Stripesy and the Crimson Avenger!
No one remembers them because they were blasted into the past following their destroying of the Nebula Man. Oracle will send seven three-man teams into time to recover the missing Soldiers. He also tell them of the 7SV's first adventure against a crimelord, The Hand. Hmmm?
Now the 7SV were an unknown factor to readers in the 70s or were they? I know I read their reprinted adventure in JLA #111-112 before I read these issues, so I knew who they were!
In JLA #76 (D'69), a portrait of the 7SV was seen, complete with roll call.
In JLA #78-79 (F-Ma'70), the Earth-One Vigilante was revived. There were reprints in Action #403 (Au'71) and #405 (O'71). There were new stories in Adventure # 417 (Ma'72) and #422 (Au'72). He also teamed with Superman in World's Finest #214 (N'72).
The Shining Knight was re-presented in World's Finest #205 (S'71) and Adventure #417 (Ma'72).
Superboy #185 (My'72) had a reprinted Star Spangled Kid tale.
So if you read DC comics during that period, the heroes of the 7SV were familar to you.
Chapter 2: Doctor Fate, the Atom and the Elongated Man appear in Aztec Mexico where they battle a mesmerized Crimson Avenger, who thinks he's a Sun-god because of the powers given to him by a hunk of the Nebula Man that came with him. ICK! By destroying the nebluite, the Avenger is cured and they vanish!
Some Notes: Not to tweak a certain Morrison scholar, but The Nebula Man was originally described as an "awesome, giant Earth-man!" who conquered and killed until he was destroyed by the 7SV's "new weapon" at the cost of a Soldier's life!
Oracle was an intriguing character. Sadly he was not used again after this tale.
Next: Three Soldiers Trapped In Time or I Wanna Go with Superman!
This two-parter is a good example of why I read primarily Marvel Comics back in the '70s.
It's just simply a bad story, not even worth the time and effort it would take to pick it apart.
Yes it is a bit self-serving, egotistical and narcissistic, not that MARVEL would do something like that, Jeff! Oh wait! They did and around the same time, too.
Fantastic Four #175 from the mid-70s had the Impossible Man "invade" the Marvel offices, wanting his own comic and encountering Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, George Perez and Jack Kirby who had some quality time with the FF.
From the same period, there was What If..#10 which featured the Original Marvel Bullpen AS the Fantastic Four!
Nothing similar about that!
Now I agree this team-up is very flawed! There is too much time spent with Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin, now that they are comic-book characters. Maggin's dialogue strives to be hip but fails. They should have just renamed him Snapper S! Maggin!
The Justice Society get the short shift here as they are *SPOILER ALERT* deceased for over half the story. They become plot points, not guest stars. We learn nothing new about them and they show little individuality. They get Johnny Thunder wrong.
It's worse for the villains of the piece, the Injustice Society. For the masterminds of this conspiracy, their motives are unclear. Did they know the JLA were coming? How would they elude the other JSAers (Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Flash, etc) out for revenge? Unfortunately we never know since they say very little!
The use of the Spectre to revive the JSA is dicey at best! Yes they were killed unjustly. But so was Larry Lance! And Wing! He didn't ask that they be brought back. This is why the Spectre must be kept preventing the Earths from colliding all the time! He's too powerful and has the best Connection!
The JLA's guilt is understandable but their near collapse at the end seemed a trifle forced. Giant Banana Peel? One Dart? Playing Cards? Maggin even says Hawkman has "the personality of a grapefruit!" Great way to spark interest in a new Hawkman series!
Yet for all that, it remains the quirkiest of the team-ups and okay for a one-time experiment!
Before I get to the next team-up, a few comments about JLA membership.
I had forgotten to mention that, while he resigned in #109, Hawkman was back in #117 though he was the focal point of #116 where the team meets Charley Parker, a sixteen-old orphan who is transformed into the Golden Eagle! Sidekick, anyone? What do you mean "No!"?
#128-129 had the landmark return of Wonder Woman after her trials from WW #212-222, only to have her deal with a dejected and demoralized JLA who were affected by Nekron the Fear-Eater. We saw Diana getting the guys to act like heroes by looping her infinitely-elastic magic lasso around all of them! Green Lantern's power ring being tossed around like a party favor and Nekron pulling one weird solar flare over Midway City that only Hawkman could stop but at the cost of his own life!
Seeing his niche show up again, the Red Tornado disguised himself as the Winged Wonder, complete with cyclonic funnel, and saved Midway and blew himself up in the process! This time, his remains were left in orbit!
The Red Tornado (1968-1972) (1973-1976)
Greater love hath no man (or machine) who would lay down his life for his comrades.....again!
Lest We Forget!
Seriously, this guy needs a survivor program or something!
Next: Who Are You Guys? Pinky? Look if you're not taking this seriously....
The Byrne-spirit did not smile on me when I went looking for the last team-up by the way. The only shop that had CoME vol 4 was the one that keeps all their books (including the current monthlies!) wrapped in the comic-bag. Bah!
Their business practice of not letting their customers see what they are buying was the main reason they did not get to handle my pull-list when I first landed in this town.
A few observations on JLA 123-4...
What an interesting solution. The Spectre brought the JSA back to life, and then made everyone forget about it. Goodness me... not a hoax, not a dream, not an Imaginary tale... but it might as well have been. A very poor outing indeed.
For those who pay attention to such things... this is the first issue in about fifty where Superman doesn't appear, and I think it's another forty or so before he misses another appearance. (Pretty close to that for Batman as well.) Just in case anyone was pondering the differences between JLA and Avengers... imagine a hundred issue run where Cap and Thor and Iron Man were in EVERY book. Granted, part of this may have been Gerry Conway's writing requiring the superstars in order to carry the story (sigh...) but this does precede his tenure on the book.
The mid-70s were the peak of The Super Friends cartoon show so showcasing Superman and Batman were a must! The same could be said for Wonder Woman rejoining and Aquaman's most increased participation since the first 25 issues! By 1978, we had Superman: The Movie so they could not leave the Man of Steel out of the JLA!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #135 (O'76): Crisis In Eternity!
I'm splitting up this one up by issue due the vast number of characters. The team of E. Nelson Bridwell (plot) and Martin Pasko (dialogue) plus Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughin on artwork. I would have asked for a raise for this one! Bridwell and Pasko were longtime fans turned pro and Bridwell possessed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of comic book facts and trivia! People like that are annoying!! ;-P
I was eleven when this came out and I was transitioning from picking up comics here and there to actively searching for them! I thought this adventure was a Big Deal!
Prologue: King Kull, Lord of the Beast-Men attacks The Rock of Eternity, which stands in the center of Time and Space and paralizes the gods and goddesses there including the wizard Shazam and the Elders who were fleet and strong and wise. With the entire Greco-Roman pantheon subdued along with Solomon who, now that I think about it, must have stood out like a sore thumb! Kull thought he had won, not only did he control the Rock of Eternity but he prevented any magic lightning that summons the Marvel Family! However, one god did escape, Mercury who travels to other dimensions, following Shazam's telepathic plan to get help, since his champions have been neutralized!
Chapter 1; Mercury goes to Earth-One and gathers Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Hawkman and special guest, Hawkgirl. Finally Mrs. Winged Wonder takes a truly active part in a JLA adventure!
The Herald of the Gods then vibrates to Earth-Two where he assembles the JSA's Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Johnny Thunder before picking up the Golden Age Batman (his first true JLA/JSA team-up) and Robin the Man Wonder, now wearing the modified Neal Adams Robin outfit from #91, complete with the Batmobile!
Finally he returns to Earth-S (more on that later) and, in the absense of the Marvel Family, gets the second tier Fawcett characters:
Ibis the Invincible: from Whiz Comics. A reincarnated Egyptian prince who was reunited with his true love, Taia, thanks to his powerful Ibistick. His origin was similar to the Golden Age Hawkman with elements of Doctor Fate and Green Lantern. In the fifties, he was briefly published by Charlton Comics.
Spy Smasher: Also from Whiz. He had an early crossover with Captain Marvel and after the war, renamed himself Crime Smasher, eventually ditching his costume. Apparently Earth-S had a renewed spy problem!
Bulletman and Bulletgirl: from Nickel and Master Comics, plus their own title. Fawcett's most popular heroes without "Marvel" in their names! Their origins had a definite Captain America flavor to them but they had shiny, gravity-defying, pointy helmets!
Mister Scarlet and Pinky *narf*: was Fawcett's Batman and Robin ripoffs counterparts. It seems Pinky's real name was "Son". Mister Scarlet used an infra-red gun and made Wow Comics their home!
The heroes meet in the Crime Champions' interdimensional HQ from #21-22, showing Bridwell's fondness for the little details. They learn of Kull's plot to destroy all three Earths and split up, except for Johnny Thunder whose kept out of the way given a special assignment!
Chapter 2: King Kull somehow entices the villains of three worlda to work for him as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and Spy Smasher travel to E-2's Atlantis and battle WW's enemy, Queen Clea, the Penguin, Blockbuster and IBAC. They must prevent Kull's machine from sinking all of E-2's land masses!
Bridwell explains the difference of E-2 Atlantis, reintroduces the Venus Girdle, brings up #61 and portrays IBAC as both menacing and goofy!
Some Notes: All Star Comics was revived by this point but Bridwell chose to not mention the whole "Super Squad" thing!
I liked how the gods seemed to be gathered to watch the goddesses on parade!
Did Wonder Woman recognize/accept Mercury as the same as hers?
This was the Penguin's third JLA appearance!
We learn surpringly little about the E-2 Batman or the Earth-S heroes who are referred to as Shazam's Squadron of Justice on the cover but as the Crusaders on the inside!
When the events of SHAZAM! #1 were retold in World's Finest, not only were Billy, his friends and the Sivanas trapped in suspendium, so were these heroes!! Plus Minute Man!
Next: What's That You Said, Batman!
Ah, yes, the first JLA/JSA team-up I ever read, back in the day. What memories!
I'm reading the comincs along with this discussion, but right now I'm stalled between #135 and #136.
Re: Justice League of America # 100-103
Phillip Portelli wrote:
BTW, where were the E-2 Superman, Flash, Hawkman, etc? Strange that they would be absent?
I gave wondering about this sort of thing after realizing that I could not figure out what was more important to the Avengers when Galactus was getting up in the face of the Fantastic Four. I just put it down in THIS case that they were doing emergency relief like The E-2 GL, Robin and Mr. Terrific were doing. That actually causes a bigger question, why were there so many JSAers hanging around the brownstone while all this is going on?