There are also discussions about the 60s JLA/JSA team-ups and the 70s JLA/JSA team-ups so feel free to read, comment or add on to those as well!

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE # 183-185 (O-D'80): Where Have All The New Gods Gone?/ Apokolips Now!/Darkseid Rising!

By Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin (#183), George Perez (#184-185), Frank McLaughlin and Len Wein (editor).

Personal Note: George Perez is an amazing artist whose work has gotten even better over the years. Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Justice League of America and, of course, New Teen Titans have all benefitted from his contributions. Any true fan would want him on their favorite title. And he wanted to do JLA but not under these circumstances.

Dick Dillin, after drawing Justice League of America since #64 in 1968 (missing only two issues in that run) died at the young age of 51. He also had long runs in Blackhawk, World's Finest and DC Comics Presents. He was the artist of two of the first four comics that I ever read. His work improved throughout the 70s and he drew the majority of the heroes and villains of the DCU at one time or another. The news of his passing shocked the fifteen old me and was truly the end of an era. Thinking back, perhaps his passing combined with New Teen Titans #1 signaled the end of the Bronze Age, my Golden Age.

Character Notes:  By this time, Gerry Conway had added to the Justice League his own creation: Firestorm the Nuclear Man! But as he giveth, Conway also tooketh away as Green Arrow resigned because he felt he and the League weren't on the same page anymore. That and his candidate for membership, Black Lightning, didn't even want to join!

The JLA: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Firestorm

The JSA: Doctor Fate, Wonder Woman, Power Girl and the Huntress

The New Gods: Orion the Hunter, Metron, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Oberon

The InJustice Society: The Fiddler, the Icicle and the Shade

  • In the five JLA/JSA team-ups that occurred after the Earth-One Wonder Woman rejoined in #128, the E-2 WW has appeared in THREE of them. The E-1 WW, NONE!
  • The story starts off quickly as the eight heroes are suddenly transported to a nearly deserted New Genesis/Supertown as Superman gives the needed exposition and gets touchy-feely with Power Girl again! Get a room, Kal!
  • In a nice moment, the original Princess Diana gets a bit offended about beings calling themselves New "Gods" with a comfirmation of her own mythology and monotheism at the same time. She's a Wonder, all right!
  • They forget to strap Firestorm into his stroller and he immediately wanders off!
  • He bumps into a young Andy Rooney, I mean, Orion the Hunter and gets zapped.
  • The others attack Orion and it takes Superman, Power Girl AND Doctor Fate to knock him out! That's powerful!
  • It would have great if Orion was in his Kirby armor but he's wearing his "Super-Hero" outfit complete with mask (and he has no secret identity) and "O" insignia!
  • The other New Gods appear via a Boom Tube. Actually it's Metron and the cast of Mister Miracle! So much for Kirby's vast array of characters!
  • Superman brings up meeting Scott in DC Comics Presents #12 but Batman who met him three times in B&B says nothing.
  • Orion uses his Mother Box to trim his eyebrows and pretty him up. He is feeling very guilty about Darkseid's death from Adventure Comics #460 (D'78). 
  • We learn that Apokolipian forces have enslaved the entire population of New Genesis with the help of the InJustice Society!
  • Metron transports them all to Apokolips when they (surprise, surprise) split up into teams!
  • Batman, the Huntress and Mister Miracle sneak into the Imperial Palace to find out why Apokolips has renewed the War.
  • Green Lantern, Doctor Fate and Oberon (and HE's here again why?) smash up the Shock Trooper Barracks searching for captives from New Genesis and they find someone big!
  • Superman, Wonder Woman and Big Barda go to Granny Goodness' Orphanage to liberate the children of New Genesis, one named Petil to start!
  • Granny would be the only other Kirby villain that Conway uses.
  • Orion, Power Girl and Firestorm fly to the site where slave labor has built a massive machine manned by the InJustice Society that has resurrected.....DARKSEID!!

More to follow!   

 

 

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Well, I picked up a few of the issues after the Black Canary wingding.

 

The 3-part 'Beasts' shows a sudden tendency for extreme violence, with people being killed pretty graphically in a gladiatorial arena.  I was kinda on board with Conway's thesis about the bored selfish rich folk being the true beasts!

 

#224 - the Supremacy Factor might be the earliest Kurt Busiek comic I've read.

 

Then there is a 3-part 'Hellrazer' story by a guest writer.  The leaders of an ancient all-powerful hidden sect that was controlling the world from behind the scenes turned out to be pretty daft morons.

 

Finally, another 3-parter concerned J'onn J'onnz first appearance since issue 71.  Note that they do reference the 16 years he'd been gone as 16 years here, and they'd referenced the 13 years since J'onn first appeared in JLA #71, so if we take them all as gospel, these superheroes have been around for about 29 years at this point!

 

Which brings us to the next JLA/JSA crossover.  I think with only 10 issues between the criossovers, they might be coming around too soon for the JLA creative team, and they are losing their specialness. 

 

Meanwhile the letters and editorial pages bring tidings of great changes going on behind the scenes.  Partly, there are hints about Conway's new direction for the team, which I am very curious to see in action, and partly there is news about an encyclopaedia of DC in the works, and also a 'History of the DCU'.  I think these would develop into the Who's Who and ultimately Crisis on Infinite Earths, although I know that there was also a History of the DCU, because I have a copy of the collected edition.

 

It would seem that they haven't quite realised just how sweeping will be the changes brought along by the Crisis.  Still, it's impossible to read these final few years of the Bronze Age proper without thinking that they were heading in a certain direction, perhaps running out of narrative options and winding down.  All the hints and portents are there in the letters pages and editorials, so I don't think I'm projecting too much into it.

 

I realised just as I was reading these comics, that a) perhaps Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing had started by this point and subsequently b) I realised that this iteration of the League is exactly the one that appears in his Floronic Man issues, early on in his run. 

 

I'm appreciating, especially after the mind-boggling Thomas Black Canary continuity car-crash, that we are being provided with pretty good nuts and bolts JLA comics here.  They do what they say on the tin.  However, one letter writer does say that he is very impressed with the League as they had appeared in some recent comics, finally depicted in their true glory in a high-stakes story.  Unfortunately, that was in Moore's Swamp Thing.  I'd have to agree with that letterhack.

 

So the increased violence in the comic, the beginning of Moore's remarkable tenure as DC writer, the rumblings of change in the background; all these seem to point in hindsight to the approaching end of an era.  I'll be very interested to see how these last set of Justice League stories play out, and how the historic JLA/JSA meetings wind down.

Looking at the covers for Justice League of America #221-230 and my old notes, my basic thoughts are:

  • "Beasts" was a very violent and corruptive arc, throwing an element of depravity into the bright DCU. These rich people showed their contempt not only for the "little" people and the "super" people but their own humanity. They believed that they were the elite and took new forms to gain power and keep themselves separate from the rest of the world.
  • It was extraordinary to see the heroes get hurt. The Flash was GORED, for Rao's sake!
  • I truly believed that Reena the Panther Woman was somehow going to join the team, like a Tigra analogue!
  • "Paragon" was a neat little Kurt Busiek tale that had the villain take out Superman yet be stymied by Green Arrow!
  • "Hellrazor" was a forgettable story noted for two things. One: it featured the return of the Atom after his jungle adventures from Sword of the Atom. Two: It was the first story NOT to include the Big Five JLAers (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern).
  • "The Earth/Mars War" would return the Martian Manhunter back to the big stage, just in time for the Crisis and his new role as the center of the team, Post-Crisis.
  • Actually J'onn J'onzz made several reappearances in Justice League between #71 and #228, not including cameos (#100), imaginary flashbacks (#114) and reprints. In order, they were:
  • World's Finest #212 (Ju'72) which showed the inner political struggle on Mars II. To me, this was the coolest of the "Superman &..." phase of WF, though the Vigilante was close!
  • JLA #115 (F'75), he reconnects with the team to battle Korge, God of Rage in a forgettable tale.
  • He had a brief run as the back-up in Adventure Comics #449-451 (F-Ju'77) where he returns to Earth, battles Supergirl, meets Hawkman and Hawkgirl that directly leads to World's Finest #245 (Jl'77).
  • At the same time, he was front and center in JLA #146 (Jl'77) in the Secret Secret  Origin of the Justice League!
  • JLA #177-178 (Ap-My'80) had J'onn playing the weirdest game of chess with Despero!
  • A classic Jim Starlin cosmic tale began in DC Comics Presents #27 (N'80).
  • Of course, J'onn returned for JLA #200 (Ma'82), battling Firestorm!

So the Martian Manhunter never truly went away during the Bronze Age. His sporadic appearances only boosted his appeal and made you want more!

 

Thank you for calling our attention to the two previous threads on the JLA/JSA. I haven't done this much "cramming" of previous posts since I first joined the board last year!

Philip Portelli said:

On the top of this page are links to both the 60s and 70s JLA/JSA team-ups. Many people here have added to my inane comments, so don't be shy about contributing!

Oh, yeah -- I remember that "Beasts" arc seeming pretty over-the-top at the time. Chuck Patton always suffered in comparison to George Perez (doesn't everbody?), but I really miss his clean line these days.

...Seeing them a few years later around the earlyish 90s I thought those DWM " comic strips " from theFifth/Sixth ( Frobisher !!!!! :-) ) were about as good as the DWM strip got ever...

Figserello said:

 I'd seen his work in DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, where he did what I felt was one of the BEST adaptations I'd ever seen of a TV show to comics form.  (He illustrated the entire Tom Baker run, and the early Peter Davison stories.)

 

I think Dave Gibbons did all the adaptions of the 5th Doctor too, and gave up when they finished.  The large Panini collections of these strips are well worth having, and I'm in the middle of enjoying some of them these days.  There are two books for the complete 4th Doctor strips, 1 book for all the 5th Doctor strips (The only fifth doctor adventures I've consumed in full...) and 4 books for the complete 8th Doctor strips where they took advantage of not being so tied to continuity and where they followed up some loose ends from the TV movie.  The 8th Doctor might be my favourite.

 

Apologies for wandering so far off the topic....

Dave Gibbons did the first story or two for the Davison run, but then someone else took over.

I never cared much for the art after that, until John Ridgway came along, for the Colin Baker run.

Coming Soon!

The END of an Era??

Is that Zeus and Wonder Woman?  Hoo boy! 

Sadly, no. That would have made the story better or, at least, more interesting!

Funny that the DCnU Zeus is Wonder Woman's father because the Post-Crisis Zeus had other "intentions" for her!

In the Justice League animated series, it was hinted that Diana's father was actually Hades who had a dalliance with Hippolyta who later became his jailer!

Family! What can you do??

All I remember about that story is how out of touch they felt and how dull?

Oh dear.  Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.  I'll get stuck into them anyway.

 

At least Wonder Woman appears to get a damn good thrashing in it!  That's something.

The use of Supergirl I do remember. Without the issues to hand and aware of her fate soon I wonder, was her part originally Power Girl's? Was she even just redrawn?
What I am sure of is that they read like stock that had sat around unpublished like a trial or in case of a missed deadline. Certainly not a special event and not even an attempt to fit in with the devestation of Earth vs Mars.
That is IIRC!!?

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