I was going to do a thread on my FIVE favorite Justice League/Justice Society team-ups when I discovered that I couldn't pick just five! So I'm going to write about all of them. These won't be synopses since I am assuming that everyone is familar with them, thanks to the Justice League Archives and the Crisis On Multiple Earths TPBs. This will just be my personal recollections and observations with a few facts. I'll start in the Mister Silver Age sub-heading then continue in my Fan of Bronze.

The first seven team-ups were written, of course, by Gardner Fox and the first six illustrated by Mike Sekowsky.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21-22 (Au-S'63): The Crisis on Earth One & The Crisis on Earth Two

The JLA: This was the only JLA/JSA meeting that the Martian Manhunter played a part in the Silver Age.

Green Arrow meets his future love interest, the Black Canary. Naturally no reaction.

Both Flashes are taken out of the story early since they already had three team-ups in Flash.

 

The JSA: Instead of including Wonder Woman and Doctor Mid-Nite, Fox revived Doctor Fate and Hourman, neither seen since WWII.

Doctor Fate-restored with his full golden helmet, something that Silver Age readers would not know or even Bronze Age ones since DC would only reprint one Dr.Fate story with his half-helmet! But his gloves would be missing for awhile.

Hawkman-was revived wearing a hawk helmet in Flash #137 yet returned to wearing his yellow cowl. He appeared in Justice League before his Silver Age counterpart, even though he was mentioned in #3.

Black Canary-her marital arts skills and amulet devices are highlighted.

Hourman and the Atom--neither's super-strength is mentioned.

Green Lantern-seemed to hit it off with Hal Jordan right away.

The Villains: The Crime Champions are a great idea but...

Chronos takes on Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman!

The Icicle goes one-on-one with Doctor Fate!

The Fiddler is bald and wears a wig. Take that, Luthor!

The Icicle looks like Groucho Marx! "Last night, I shot Green Lantern in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know!"

The Crime Champions have a HQ between the Earths in "a great sphere of vibratory energy" that is multi-leveled and tastely furnished. Their civvies however leave a lot to be desired!

Some Notes: The golden, chained cages that the two teams are trapped in #22 was ripped off inspired by Mystery In Space #18 from 1954!

While the two groups meet, they do not team-up until the end when sixteen heroes gang up on six villains.

The Crime Champions do not return until the 80s!

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I think some of the discussion has conflated different periods. All the really disruptive GA stuff I remember - the tedious diatribes/going into rants in meetings stuff, as in #153 - was in the Gerry Conway run that began with #151. (Conway had written for the title before, but that was the beginning of his first long run.)

Earlier, there had been the GA/Hawkman sniping (which wasn’t all on GA’s side), and GA had been portrayed as a curmudgeon (as at the end of the new story in #110).

I don’t know when the GA/Hawkman sniping started. My recollection is when we discussed this once before I was surprised to learn it didn’t predate #75, in which GA, narrating the story, calls Hawkman’s humour infantile. Steve Englehart wrote it out in #145 (Black Canary explains she told GA to knock it off, and the two buried the hatchet so deep they were now buddies).

During Conway’s run GA was elected League chairman (he acts in that position in #161, but I don’t recall it actually being mentioned again after #162). I don’t have the original issues, so I don’t know if that was due to a reader vote. In #181 his attitude resulted in his deciding to leave the League.

In #200 he rejoined, admitting he’d been wrong (he says that maybe in saying the League was too big for him he’d been saying he was too big for the League without realising it).

During the 70s he also appeared in stories with Black Canary in World’s Finest Comics. Gerry Conway wrote a lot of the tales.
Green Arrow's decision to quit the JLA started when Black Lightning, whom he nominated for membership in #173 (D'79), turned down the offer because he handled crime on a street-level. That got Ollie thinking. Then in #179 (Ju'80), Superman's pick, Firestorm joins and his nuclear powers make GA feel that the League was getting too powerful. In #181, he goes after the Star-Tsar II with a simple, yet effective plan and the team nearly wrecks in by attacking the bad guy en masse. He resigned to work on his own. But in #182 the League shanghies him because they want the real reason or they just don't understand the reason he gave. If they really were annoyed at GA or found him unprofessional, they should have been happy to see him go. Yet they want him to reconsider, including Hawkman! But Ollie stayed away from the League until he rejoined in #200 (Ma'82), in yet another admission of being wrong and a change in attitude!
Philip Portelli said:
If [the other Justice Leaguers] really were annoyed at GA or found him unprofessional, they should have been happy to see him go.

 

Which illustrates my point earlier:  a real-world elite operational group would have been happy to see the Green Arrow leave.  In fact, it would have kicked him out much earlier.  But the writers ignored reality by showing the JLAers fawning all over G.A., or at least mooning over him enough to want to find out why he left.

 

You mentioned another bit of illogic, Philip:  the Green Arrow believing that the League was too powerful.  How in the world can the JLA be too powerful?  If I were going up against Amazo or Starro or even just Brain Storm, I'd want all the high-powered help I could get.  And besides, most of the time, the entire League didn't show up on a case.  So it would be real handy to better the odds of those who did show up being in the heavyweight category.

 

It was just another instance of the writers going against all logic and common sense to justify the Green Arrow being a horse's patootie.

I think part of the problem is that each writer has his own ideas about how to handle the few personalities that were exhibited in the group. Some wanted to emphasize them to create more "Marvel" style writing (or were told to), and others thought that was unrealistic and toned it down. So we got a roller-coaster ride.

As usual, the editor should have set the tone and not allowed big swings, since he--and the readers--would be there after the writer did whatever he felt like doing. I found the byplay between Hawkman and GA to add interest, but too often it was knee-jerk, forced patter that didn't seem very organic.

BTW, I haven't jumped into this earlier both because I've been busy and it was rolling along too fast for me and because, after the first few, they start to blend together for me and I'd need to pull them out to review them to be sure of what I was saying.

But I have to agree with Cap and the Commander--that first one was a major revelation, and that panel of the two teams standing around comparing notes is one of the greatest panels in comics, IMO. It's probably not a coincidence that Cap, the Commander and I are all pretty near the same age (I may be the youngest, but Cap may be). I distinctly remember buying JLA #21, and there aren't too many comics I still have those precise memories for from 40 years ago.

The problem with the team-ups was coming up with a menace strong enough to really require so much heroic firepower without making it look like they were ganging up one the bad guys (as even the first one does to an extent). Then they started to up the ante with the Seven Soldiers, Legion, Blackhawks, etc, and I lost a lot of interest. Probably again not coincidentally, those came out as I was in college, and I'd lost interest in lots of my old super-hero comics.

But no matter what else was going on, I always managed to buy the two JLA issues with the team-ups. To this day, there are many issues I don't have, but I've got all those. There is just something about seeing all those wild JSAers along with the JLA that makes a really cool visual.l

-- MSA

To the Commander: I don't think that the JLA thought of themselves as a combat unit, but as a team of allies who work together because they want to. Green Arrow was one of them and they respected him. They might have thought that the way he expressed his opinions were wrong but that his opinions were, and more often than not, valid. Though it is telling to note that as soon as Hawkgirl joined the League, his ribbing of Hawkman stopped. Don't mess with a red-head!

I certainly don't agree that the JLA was too powerful. That was Ollie's opinion, not mine. He saw the team changing drastically with the additions of the Red Tornado (artificial life), Zatanna (sorcery in the modern world) and Firestorm (an almost incomprehensible power). He didn't handle it well. He tried to fight back by nominating Black Lightning, to bring the League "back to Earth", as it were. He believed that stopping drug dealers, corruption and street crime were worthier opponents than alien menaces, super-villains and guys who wore giant key-holes on their head. He was correct in some respects but while he concentrated on the plight of the common man, he overlooked the big picture of global safety. It's the opposite of what he accuses the JLA of.

Green Arrow wanted/needed/belonged in the Justice League but they wanted/needed the Emerald Archer in their ranks!

Philip Portelli said:

To the Commander: I don't think that the JLA thought of themselves as a combat unit, but as a team of allies who work together because they want to. Green Arrow was one of them and they respected him. They might have thought that the way he expressed his opinions were wrong but that his opinions were, and more often than not, valid. Though it is telling to note that as soon as Hawkgirl joined the League, his ribbing of Hawkman stopped. Don't mess with a red-head!

I certainly don't agree that the JLA was too powerful. That was Ollie's opinion, not mine. He saw the team changing drastically with the additions of the Red Tornado (artificial life), Zatanna (sorcery in the modern world) and Firestorm (an almost incomprehensible power). He didn't handle it well. He tried to fight back by nominating Black Lightning, to bring the League "back to Earth", as it were. He believed that stopping drug dealers, corruption and street crime were worthier opponents than alien menaces, super-villains and guys who wore giant key-holes on their head. He was correct in some respects but while he concentrated on the plight of the common man, he overlooked the big picture of global safety. It's the opposite of what he accuses the JLA of.

Green Arrow wanted/needed/belonged in the Justice League but they wanted/needed the Emerald Archer in their ranks!

Philip, you're correct in everything you say, and I will gladly stipulate to it. 

 

Because they are all the arguments for the Green Arrow within the fictional conceit of the series.

 

However, my point is these arguments so fly in the face of how real people would act in the same circumstances that I cannot suspend my disbelief to accommodate them.  They intuitively ludicrous at first sight.

 

The Justice League of America is not a social group, in which its members sit around the clubhouse playing cards and swapping remarks about what a hot babe Wonder Woman is.  It battles the sorts of menaces that would overwhelm conventional Earth forces, or even one or two super-heroes.  You can't do that by just having everybody show up and then somebody yell "Get 'im!"  Victory requires a plan, teamwork, and total confidence in your fellow heroes.

 

From experience I know "maverick" characters like G.A in real life are disruptive and undermine the group's ability to work together.  They are like mules in the sense that, when the rest of the team says, "Go this way!", they shove their front hooves out and refuse to budge and have to be dragged.  This is how it is in real life.

 

Green Arrow's insistence that the JLA should involve itself with corruption and street crime made no sense, either.  The JLA dealt with street crime virtually every day, when the Batman went on patrol in Gotham City, when the Flash went on patrol in Central City, when Superman went on patrol over Metropolis.  The League members took care of those kinds of issues as best they could for twenty-nine days every month.  But on that thirtieth day, that's when they came together to fight the cosmic menaces and alien invasions.  Fighting the small crime is not what the League is for, and just  because the JLA fights the big stuff, it doesn't mean that the small crime gets ignored---the members fight that on their own.

 

 

 

 

Movies and TV always has us root for the Rebel, even in military settings. Besides I never saw Green Arrow as a maverick since he wasn't that disruptive! Did anyone quit because of him? Were any battles lost? Did he ever let Power Man and the Swordsman get away? Was his chili that bad?

If I could compare it to anything, it would be Klinger on M*A*S*H*. He wanted out of the army via a Section 8 so he ran around in women's clothes and acted crazy. He was annoying and disruptive except when those ambulances came. Then he performed well and efficiently (which would prove he wasn't insane!). GA was the same; he ranted and spouted but he always came through. He trusted the JLA and the JLA had full confidence in him. I challenge anyone to find a story that says otherwise.

As for his vision on what the League should do, before the Beard, Oliver Queen was a millionaire businessman/socialite. He was part of the Rich-Get-Richer-The-Poor-Get-Poorer establishment. He was more philanthropic than his peers, certainly, because he was a good man. As Green Arrow, he fought C and D-list "super"-villains (the Roper, the Red Dart, the Clock King, the Rainbow Archer, etc), solved some silly puzzles and minor mysteries (How can Speedy raise more money? How do they deal with Miss Arrowette?) and caught a lot of bank robbers and jewelry thieves. Now he was over-compensating, wanting to be more socially responsible. A noble cause but executed poorly.

And the Justice League was partly a social club. They did not the rules and regulations of the Legion or the Avengers. They did not stand on ceremony. When Wonder Woman lost her powers and wanted to resign in #69, they refused to accept it and said that she was welcomed back at anytime. Indeed, Batman, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Red Tornado all resigned at some point and rejoined without missing a beat. Membership lasted forever with no questions asked.

Philip Portelli said:

Movies and TV always has us root for the Rebel, even in military settings.


Ah . . . "the Myth of the Maverick" . . . .  Too bad the old board is down because Cap and I once wrote two lengthy and mutually supporting posts on why the only place where the Maverick is applauded is on television and in cinema.  On the screen, the maverick, or the rebel, if you prefer, is always the clear-thinker, the one who can see above "petty rules and restrictions", the one whose failure to conform is endearing and shows that he is only resourceful enough to handle the major problems.

 

And, sure, they are all that----when you have the benefit of screen writers who determine how things come out.  That's how Hawkeye and Trapper John and B.J. could get away with all their looniness---because as the writers would have it, they were actually the clear-thinkers and the Army was just an error-ridden, stuck-in-its-own-stodginess organisation.

 

The fact of the matter is---the rules are there for a reason, and that reason is usually because they were written in blood.  Somebody died to show that the rule was needed.  If it's the military or law-enforcement.  In other venues, the rule is there because not having the rule cost somebody a great deal of money, usually from a lawsuit.

 

I remember when the movie Top Gun came out, and, lord, was it a virtual recruiting poster for the Navy.  Everybody thought that Tom Cruise's character was oh so cool.  Me, I just shook my head.  My first tour in the Navy was for over three years on a carrier and I knew how things really worked.

 

The first time Cruise's character buzzes the tower, in the beginning, all he gets is a stern talking-to.  And we the viewers are supposed to side with Cruise's character because, aww, that's just a stodgy old rule and Cruise is so cool, so it's O.K.

 

What the film doesn't convey  is the hazard of the flight deck during flight operations.  I would venture to say that there is no more consistently hazardous environment anywhere in the military.  I entered a flight deck during flight ops only twice in my career and I got on and off as fast as I could because it's so dangerous.  The flight-deck guys need to be alert to their actions and to what's going on around them every second.  If somebody's concentration lapses for a minute---if he starts daydreaming about that new car he has his eye on---he runs a very genuine risk of walking into a spinning propeller or being sucked into a jet intake or being blown over the side by the JBD's.  Or he could inadvertently move one aircraft into another, damaging them both and costing the Navy millions of dollars.  I saw all of the above during my carrier time and it's not pretty.

 

Pilots are prohibited from buzzing the tower because it distracts the flight-deck personnel and people can die---and have.

 

So, it’s not a cool thing to do.  What would have really happened to Cruise’s character the first time he buzzed the tower in the beginning of the film is that he would have been grounded, there would have been a NATOPS investigation, his certification for flying would have been reviewed, and a negative incident report would have been entered into his service jacket.  No matter how good a pilot he was.

 

And when he did it the second time, at the end of the film, he would have been removed from flight status and sent to duty at Naval Reserve Center Adak, Alaska and he could kiss his chances of promotion good-bye.

 

But then, real-life Naval aviators don’t have the benefit of Hollywood scriptwriters to make them look cool and have everything turn out all right in the end.

 

It’s the same thing with Green Arrow.  The writers wrote him as being always right, or at least right often enough that it justified his abrasiveness.  The writers wrote the JLA as being tolerant of his behaviour.  The writers wrote how much he was treasured and loved by his teammates despite his caustic attitude and toxic behaviour.  He was able to enjoy the Myth of the Maverick.

  

Believe it or not, I was going to mention Top Gun (not a favorite of mine by any means). The Maverick has to be more than cool, more than hip, he has to be really, really good at what he does, like Green Arrow, Hawkeye and the doctors of M*A*S*H*. They got away with it because A) they were brilliant and needed surgeons, B) they were not military men and C) their attitudes were based on the writers' feelings toward the Vietnam War which made the country anti-military, at least until Reagan got elected. But they did counter that with Colonel Potter who was military and proud of it.

A favorite movie of mine, The Dirty Dozen, seems to skate around that as Colonel Reisman (Lee Marvin) had a foot in both camps, Maverick AND Authority Figure.

I'm by no means disagreeing with you, Commander about military rules and regulations. I believe in a strong armed forces with proper leadership. In fact, I am loathe to take a contrary position to you, due to that respect. However that would be a disservice to us both.

When I saw Top Gun for the first time, I was taken aback by the arrogance of Tom Cruise's character. I've seen cop shows that make the same error, heck even on the various Star Trek shows. There was one where Data, Data who can't break the rules, made a prohibited contact with an alien world. Dramatic tension is fine but as you say, there's also reality.

As for Green Arrow, the Justice League is not the military. There is comradeship and friendship involved here. And GA was never shown as reckless or foolhardy unless someone can come up with a good example. 

BTW I hope to get to the next JLA/JSA team-up (remember those?) by Wednesday!

Ah, here we have some common ground.

 

One of the few times when I found favour in M*A*S*H was in the episode when Klinger applied for the Military Academy.  He realised that going to West Point would get him transferred out of Korea.  Hawkeye and B.J. did their damndest to talk him out of it until Colonel Potter put his foot down.  He argued that there was absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing a career in the Army.  Or, as Potter put it to them, did they think there was something wrong with him (Potter), too?  That was one of the few times when (the writers had) Hawkeye and B.J. back down from their self-righteousness.

 

And you're absolutely correct about Cruise's character's smugness in Top Gun and similar behaviours on other military and police shows.  If I were to make a drinking game out of it and downed a shot every time an error in procedure and protocol occurred, I'd have been a blind, staggering alcoholic years ago.

 

I would take exception to this, though I think it was not a deliberate impugn . . . .

 

" . . . the Justice League is not the military. There is comradeship and friendship involved here."

 

Certainly you are not implying that there is no comradeship and friendship in the military.  Outside of my wife, the people I am closest to are the ones I served with.  For many reasons, but for one, because they've proven their character under the most arduous conditions.

 

That said, with the military the rules still come first.  Oh, certainly, there is a degree of cronyism, as there is in all venues, but in the military, where the stakes are high and people can die, friendship rarely is a shield against malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of duty.

 

I would think the Justice League would take its responsibilities as seriously.

 

 

No impugn, just bad wording. Sorry!

The point I was trying to make is that there is no binding oath keeping the League together nor is there any penalty for leaving. They are a team by choice, appearing at their convienence. Indeed we have mentioned numerous times the drawbacks and danger of this policy. For good or bad, the League does not operate as a military unit. And you're right, maybe they should!

For good or bad, the League does not operate as a military unit. And you're right, maybe they should!

When I watch good War movies, like Band of Brothers, you realize there are a lot of strategies and tactics in how you attack a position that often don't come across when guys are running across an open field, blazing away. It's too bad some of the War comics, especially Kanigher's, didn't do more stories on the need for precision in almost any combat situation to ensure maximum effectiveness.

I'm always fascinated by the few times heroic teams even imply they are following tactics by mouthing words like "Maneuver B-2!" That implies they have a code for every move, like a football team, which draws up plays that have code for virtually each person on the field. Except the heroes have condensed theirs down into a couple words. How convenient!

They should really show that more often, because usually it just seems that these teams just fling themselves at a villain (occasionally mouthing, "You hit him high, I'll go low!") with no plan. And that trick never works.

I've been watching some animated shows recently, including some of the old Superman/Batman Bruce Timm-era ones and the recent Young Justice. And the fight scenes are just so boring! Time and time, they just hurl themselves at the villain and get roundly beaten or thrown into a wall (which never hurts), until they finally hurl themselves at the villain--and win. Yawn.

The Danger Room was as close as we ever saw to any teamwork, and it was mostly there to put some action into the opening scenes of the comic when otherwise it would just be pages of exposition. Even there, they very seldom used coordinated teamwork until they had no choice or (gasp!) something went wrong.

Those are major missed opportunities to show us that the heroes had more going for them than being the lone wolf who just keeps coming back for more. Occasionally the old JLA would show some strategy by defeating the foe specially designed to defeat some other member. But they usually used their wits to figure out the story's puzzle, not to create strategy and tactics to take down the villain.

-- MSA

 

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