All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940):

1)I expect that if you've only read one Golden Age adventure of the JSA, this is the one.  It's not bad, but this first issue is more like an anthology than a team book, per se.


2)Line-Up: The Atom (Al Pratt), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), the Flash (Jay Garrick), the Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Hawkman (Carter Hall), the  Hour Man (Rex Tyler), the Sandman (Wesley Dodds) and the Spectre (Jim Corrigan), with gate-crasher Johnny Thunder and the Red Tornado (Ma Hunkle), to whom Hourman says "Why, we meant to inviite you but we heard you were busy!" All white guys, of cours,e but only to be expected in those less progressive days. Nowadays, things are much different, since when the Justice League was recently revamped, the founding members were just mostly white guys. That aside, I have no real beef with the membership except the inclusion of Johnny Thunder, a character I've always loathed. If they had to have a "comedy" character on the team, I would've much preferred the Red Tornado.


3)The JSA gathers for a dinner. Johnny Thunder crashes the party and offers the suggestion that they each narrate an adventure to pass the time. During the dinner, the Flash is summoned to Washington, DC, to meet with Madam Fatal the head of the FBI.


4)No origin is given for the team - they all just sort of seem to know each other, already. Johnny Thunder is aware of the meeting, but the Sandman later says that the meeting is a secret. Although knocking out everyone in the lobby actually seems like it be more likely to draw attention than discourage it.


5)Doctor Fate: ""The Spectre and I do not touch food." Just as well, Doc, I wouldn't want to see you try to eat with that helmet on.


6)Superman, Batman and Robin and the Tornado are described as being "busy".  I find I don't miss Supes and Bats from the team.


7)The art is generally OK - nothing exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.


8)The Flash tells how he battled some pirates. A light-hearted story, particularly his encounter with a shark. Comics are far too serious these days to have a scene like that in it.


9)Hawkman tells of his battle with some fire people. Moldoff draws his wings REALLY HUGE.


10)The Spectre tells of his battle with Oom the Mighty, the goofiest demon ever.


11)Hourman tells of his battle with jewel thieves who all dress as Hourman.  Amusing because in the end, everyone thinks Rex Tyler was posing as Hourman when he actually was Hourman!


12)We have a brief interval where the Red Tornado drops by long enough for it to be revealed that she tore her pants. The Flash is aware of her as a comics character.


13)The Sandman tells of his battle of a mad doctor who creates giants in a particularly creepy tale.  I notice alot of these guys, their girlfirends know their secret ID's, with out it being the end of the world.


14)Doctor Fate introduces himself thusly:  " I am not human...I never was a child...I had no youth. The elder gods created me just as I am now, and placed me here on Earth to fight evil sorcery!"  I'm pretty sure this is the only place I remember the character's provenance being set out in this manner. anyhow, Fate tells of his battle with an evil sorceror.  Probably the most distinctive art style on this one.


15)Johnny Thunder, having suggested story-telling, says he's too shy to do it, "So the editors have written a story about something that happened to me."  So, he knows he's a comic book character, too. Anyhow, his adventure is a text pice about some silly damn thing he did.


16)The Atom battles a gang of gold thieves.  Whenever I see the Golden Age Atom's original costume I wonder why the crooks don't all just laugh themselves to death.


17)Green Lantern tells of his battle with some racketeers.


18)Cliffhanger: The Flash returns with the message that the head of the FBI wants to meet with them all!


Overall: This first issue holds up pretty well, all things considered. I still find it a fun read.


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Justice Society of America #32 (December 2009): "The Wrathof a Hero - Part 4 of The Bad Seed"

1)Line-Up: Citizen Steel, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Hourman, King Chimera, Liberty Belle, Magog, Mister America, Mister Terrific, Power Girl, Stargirl, Wildcat I, Wildcat II.


2)We continue with the All-American Kid being interrogated. He manages to cast suspicion on King Chimera, whom they interrogate next.


3)We are given a list of the bounties on the heroes. Green Latnern's is the highest, that on Mister America is extremely low.  I wouldn't've thought anyone cared enough about some of these characters to pay them much money to get them.


4)Elsewhere, Alan and Kent are attmeptign to use magic to revive Michael.


5)We end with the villains attacking the brownstone!


Overall:  Another so-so. It's hard to say why exactly, but I'm not really enjoying these stories much. I guess I just don't like the "dissension in the team"  storylines.

Maybe you enjoy the arguing between the villains because you expect them to argue, and don't like it when the heroes do, because you hope they won't. OTOH, maybe it's in the material -- maybe the villain bickering was just more fun!

I repeat my earlier observation that they kicked out Hawkman for ... what? Being violent? Being argumentative? But they take in Magog as a member. Not only hypocrisy, but trading an interesting character for a lousy one.

What I liked about the interaction between the villains was the different levels of villainy they represented - the amateur hour crooks versus the professionals. One fo the older crooks advising a younger to buy a judge, that sorof thing.

Ha! That is fun.

I don't think there's a problem with the heroes bickering--the problem comes when it seems that the heroes do nothing but bicker.

One of the things I enjoyed about "Cap's kooky quartet" was that over time, there was much less bickering and much more a sense of camaraderie.  sure, they had differences from time to time, but they rounded into a pretty good unit just about the time that Goliath and the Wasp came back.

Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant #1 January 2010)

1)Line-Up: Amazing-Man, Citizen Steel, Cyclone, Damage, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, Judomaster, King Chimera, Lightning, Mister America, Mister Terrific, Stargirl, Wildcat I, Wildcat II.


2)There is basically a framing story in which the HQ goes on alert, causing the team to split up and allowing for several different sub-stories to be told:

  • "Memory Lane" - Cyclone tells Mister America a Golden Age story of Tex Thompson and Ma Hunkle.
  • "Heart of Steel" - Steel battles glass people and bonds with his dead relatives.
  • "Amazing Grace" - The "elementals" that give Amazing-Man his power teach him a lesson about faith."
  • "Mother's Little Secret" - Tommy learns that his mother was a were-panther. I feel better about never being sure how to spell Ma's last name as this story spells it "Hunkle" and "Hunkel" on the same page.
  • "Spin City" - Cyclone drifts back in time to meet Power Girl before she actually met her.
  • "Damage" - Grant is confronted by the ghosts of his past.


3)We end with Fate making vague predictions.


Overall: A mixed bag. I liked the two Cyclone stories and the one with Tommy Bronson. The others not so much. Especially didn't like the art ont he Damage story.

Jusitice Society of America #33 (January 2010): "Split Up - Part 5 of The Bad Seed"

1)Line-Up: Citizen Steel, Cyclone, Damage, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Hourman, Judomaster, King Chimera, Liberty Belle, Lightning, Magog, Mister America, Mister Terrific, Power Girl, Stargirl, Wildcat I, Wildcat II.


2)Big brawl with the villains, All-American Kid shows hia true colors, and Fate beats most of the baddies by the unusual method of making them all very happy.  The Kid hands the Obsidian egg to a mysterious woman while jabbering about the master race, so more Nazis coming up. A resurrected Michael manages to beat the Kid, having worked out that he's actually someone called "Kid Karnevil", who I don't know if he ever appeared before this.


3)The story ends with the team deciding that they should split.


Overall: More brawling and arguing, with the ending setting up the new JSA All-Stars series coming up soon.

Justice Society of America #34 (February 2010): "Merciless - Part One of Two"

1)Line-Up: Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Liberty Belle, Lightning, Mister America, Mister Terrific, Wildcat.


2)We begin the first issue of the new split-team era with a mysterious Lord of Chaos (Guess who?) returning to Earth in the new Tenth Age of Magic. I used to know what this business about the various ages of magic meant, but that information has subsequently left my brain, to be replaced largely by Pokemon type match-ups and the ever-increasing store of Doctor Who trivia.


3)The JSA is now using the JLA's old HQ - I'm guessing it's the old place in Happy Harbor. There's a bit about the League being pressed for space themselves  - this may be a reference to a storyline I'm not familiar with.


4)We also get the running gag that everyone thinks that Rick and Jesse have split up because they're on separate teams. Like most running gags, it gets old fast.


5)Mordru possesses - you'd think they'd install a Mordru-blocker on that helmet by now. Mordru (as Fate) tells Wildcat that he always has nine lives left  - I guess you'd have to kill him ten times really fast to make it stick.


6)Michael, having nothing better to do, has amped-up Jeffrey's whip.  You know, the way you would.


7)We see Alan and Jay deciding what to do with Kid Karnevil - I like the idea of a little kid villain.


8)We end with the JSA confronting Fate, making it clear that they knew he was possessed. Ted knocks Mordru out of Fate. We see that Mordru has gotten a make-over, and has somehow contrived to become even goofier-looking!


Overall: OK, an interesting start to the new "split-team" era, slightly marred by the rehash of the "Mordru possesses Fate" story-line.

JSA All-Stars #1 (February 2010): "The All-Stars"

1)Line-Up: Citizen Steel, Cyclone, Damage, Hourman, Judomaster, King Chimera, Magog, Power Girl, Stargirl, Wildcat II.


2)We start with the new team fighting Commie robots, who continue the theme of refusing to attack Stargirl.  Karen and David argue during the fight.


3)We then see that the team has an HQ at a ranch in upstate New York - no idea who's funding that.  Rex Tyler is installing their computer systems. Wait, wasn't he a chemist?  We also see the other half of a conversation between Rick and Jesse that we first saw in Justice Society of America #34.


4)Some good character moments, as we Karen and Courtney bonding, and Maxine developing an interest in King.  InSubplot Land, we see Sandy still isn't sleeping well.


5)The team holds an introductory press conference, which is crashed by Arthur Pemberton. Stargirl is kidnapped, and we end with the reveal that Johnny Sorrow was behind it all, claiming to be in love with Stargirl!


Overall:  A fairly good start to the new series, I thought.

Isn't this the typical "a scientist is a scientist, a doctor is a doctor" comics reality?

The Baron said:

3)We then see that the team has an HQ at a ranch in upstate New York - no idea who's funding that.  Rex Tyler is installing their computer systems. Wait, wasn't he a chemist? 

Spock did often assist Scotty.

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