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
More to follow!
Conway and Dillin made a crucial mistake by portraying the New Gods as "Super-Heroes" not as players in an epic tale. Barda is drawn shorter than Scott. There are reflections of Kirby's opus, usually distortions. Orion as guilt-ridden basket-case, depressed over Darkseid's death (though that was his destiny) yet horrified by his return does not ring true. It continues though:
More to follow!
George Perez's draftmanship and creativity bring the last two parts alive. It does look like some pages/panels were inked by Dick Giordano.
The first thing about this JLA/JSA team-up that occurs to me is that they could have done this without the JSA!!! They could have used the E-1 Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Black Canary, Flash or Red Tornado. If they had to, they could have guest-starred Supergirl! The Huntress did little. Doctor Fate showed none of his leadership nor the fact that he should have been a major part of any team battling Darkseid directly. Power Girl made snide comments and was there so Firestorm could crush on someone!
The second thing is that Superman NEVER battles Darkseid! That's astounding! DC's greatest hero does not encounter DC's greatest villain! Doesn't even come close! WW and Barda did fine without him but keeping him seperate from the main fight was wrong. The only JLAer to go up against Darkseid is Firestorm! Yes, written by Conway!
The third thing is the lack of Fourth World characters: No Lightray, Forager, Lonar, Fastbak, Forever People, etc. But no bad guys either: Kalibak, Desaad, Kanto and the rest. Oberon is there, doing nothing and the rest are "prisoners"!
Then there's the destructive and all-powerful Fiddler! Where's Jay Garrick when you need him? And it's still hard to connect this Shade to Robinson's Shade.
This was a lesser effort but next time it will be much better! So....
Next time: Can You Keep a Secret (Society)? or Gorilla on My Mind!
Hal equates Izaya to the Guardians who he sees as "father-figures".
That always seemd a little "off" to me, somehow - a strange reaction for Hal to have.
To Luke: That's what happened in this one, too. I just forgot to mention it! Though if Metron could teleport the eight heroes to New Genesis, why not both teams?
To Baron: Yes, I agree. Hal never had the easiest relationship with the Guardians and I'm positive that he never saw them as surrogate fathers. Authority figures, yes. Bosses, yes. He respected them but a filial bond, not really.
Since I started reading comics in 1974, Kirby's Fourth World was over. It was in Brave & Bold that I first saw Mister Miracle and The Return of the New Gods revival with the Super-Hero Orion and the New Gods as a team phase with Forager and Jezebelle. So, for good and bad, this was my (and others of my age) experience with the characters.
My feeling that Darkseid's plan to supplant Apokolips into Earth-Two's space was merely a way to justify the involvement of the JSA. He needed the Fiddler, indeed! Plus why would the InJustice Society agree to help anyone destroy their world?
We see Orion and Darkseid's "complicated" issues spelled out as Orion knowing his father is evil yet guilty over battling him. What was more interesting to me was, while they had scenes together, Mister Miracle and High-Father had none, even though their link was clearly stated. No reunion. No concern. Scott had no interest in Izaya, and somewhat rightfully so. But as I said, the story ends quickly so what happened afterwards is left to our imaginations.
"Orion knowing his father is evil yet guilty over battling him"
WHAT??? Never!!!!! He'd KILL the bastard, then ROAR in triumph over his corpse, if he could.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #195 (O'81): Targets On Two Worlds by Gerry Conway, George Perez and John Beatty
The basic plot was that in order to remove ALL super-heroes from EITHER Earth-One or Earth-Two, ten specific heroes had to be removed to "Limbo" by established foes for some reason. Conway, at least, mixed the teams up better!
The JLA: Batman, Wonder Woman (her first since #100-102 and her first since rejoining the League in #128!!), the Atom (his first since #100-102 as well), Black Canary (not meeting her old friends since #123-124) and Conway creation Firestorm the Nuclear Man.
The JSA: The Flash, Hawkman (still rocking that Egyptian helmet), Superman (who hasn't been in the forefront since #107-108), Hourman (ditto since #123-124) and Johnny Thunder (#135-137) for him and his Thunderbolt). All Star Squadron had debutted by this time so they are on the cover as "The All-Star Justice Society".
The Secret Society of Super-Villains: this is the first time that the SSSV title was used with no connection with the same titled series (with one exception).Also there was finally even sides. Since each villain corresponded with a seperate hero, we'll go by order of appearance:
Interesting to note that all five Golden Age villains were augmented for this battle.
The actual story next!
The Ultra-Humanite had been bought back the previous year in Superman Family #201, in the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" series, set mid-century. He was still in Dolores Winters's body in that tale.