Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Justice League of America #100 - Aug. 1972

sgWelcome to the 100th issue anniversary of the Justice League!

The Story: "The Unknown Soldier of Victory!" by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Joe Giella. This issue opens with members of the Justice League--Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Hawkman--rummaging though their old Secret Sanctuary headquarters in preparation for their 100th meeting!

(Since some of the stories in the previous 99 issues were two or three-parters, this isn't the 100th case exactly; so there must be other JLA adventures we haven't seen. I guess that's what JLA: Classified is for)

Anyway, various stars of the DCU are also attentding the celebration, like Metamorpho, Zatanna, Diana Prince, and the Elongated Man
Nice of Len Wein to remember to include the Martian Manhunter, even if he couldn't attend(by the way--just what is Ralph doing to those crooks?). Another non-attendee is Snapper "Loser" Carr, who can't bring himself to show up, even though the JLA graciously invited him.

Anyway, just as the JLA is about to cut the cake, they are suddenly transported to Earth-2! Here the JSA--Starman, Dr.Fate, Wonder Woman, Hourman, Wildcat, Sandman, Red Tornado, Dr.Mid-Nite, and Johnny Thunder--tell them of a menace called The Iron Hand is threatening Earth-2. He has told the JSA they have 28 hours to turn over control of the planet to him--or he will destroy it!

Dr.Fate, looking for help from his mystic crystal, is shown a mysterious grave, inscribed with "Here in Honored Glory Rests an Unknown Soldier of Victory Who Died That His World Might Live." Unfortunately, no one knows what that means, so he asks for help from Zatanna and the Thunderbolt to consult a magical entity called The Oracle, who Fate believes will help them defeat the Iron Hand.

The consult the Oracle(who looks a bit like Mordru), and he tells them the story of how a similar foe, called the Nebula-Man, was fought a team of heroes called The Seven Soldiers of Victory, one of whom died in the battle while using a new weapon that defeated the Nebula Man.

Unfortunately, no one in the JLA or JSA remembers the SSOV, and that's because, as the Oracle explains...they no longer least in this time. The two teams split into smaller teams, to find the SSOV, dispersed throughout the mists of time.

Dr.Fate, The Atom, and Elongated Man arrive in Mexico during the reign of the Aztecs, where they find one of the Soliders, the Crimson Avenger, who is King of the Aztecs! There's a short battle, since the Avenger now suddenly has mystical powers, and he thinks our heroes are a threat. Fate figures out his powers are coming from a glowing rock, which he destroys.

That wakes the Avengers up, and he returns home with the heroes. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of the Iron Hand, who predicts he will hold dominion over all! To be continued!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary

Notable Moments: As you can see from my endless description, new writer Len Wein crams a lot of plot into a normal-sized issue, to say nothing of working with the JLA, the JSA, and guest-stars!

As much as I admired Mike Friedrich's run on the book, I thought this was the beginning of a really good era for the JLA. Wein's stories were fun, full of adventure, and steeped in the history of the DCU. Classic, solid super-hero comics.

This issue features the second of many covers by Nick Cardy, Aquaman artist extraordinaire and DC's go-to guy for covers at the time.


russell said...

A couple of random thoughts....I always wondered why there were only five icon-heads on the left side of the cover. ALL of the JLA is present, but only those five do anything? A little odd. Then there is the picture of J'onn that you show us. He is showing us his cape and backside?! Couldn't Dillin have found a nicer perspective for this panel? Strange. I agree with you, Rob, that Len Wein is THE writer of JLA. I rank his run as the best. Nick Cardy's run on covers actually started last issue (#99) and goes consecutively through #116.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Wein gets my vote too. His run is flawless, really. His stay wasn't too short like Englehart, or too long like Conway. You'd be hard pressed to find a better comic writer than Len Wein.


Tick-Tock Tyler said...

Ralph is using his little-known "popularity ray" to brainwash the crooks into remembering that they were defeated by "the world-famous Elongated Man" rather than the Flash. Over the next couple of issues, he used this power on the unsuspecting JLA members. This accounts for his election to the League a few issues later.

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

33*HEROES*33! Len really hit the ground running, didn't he?

This is one of my all-time favorite JLA/JSA crossovers. Just a few JSAers missing -- where could they be? But I think this is the first published meeting of the parallel Wonder Women. Too bad E-1 Diana was in her "powerless" stage.

Len did a great job with his team selections. Teaming a somber mystic like Doctor Fate with a wiseguy like the Elongated Man? Genius! I'm looking forward to your posts on the remaining chapters of this story.

Anonymous said...

The previous JLA/JSA team-up involved only JSA members who had counterparts among active JLAers (Superman, Flash, GL, Atom. Hawkman, and guest star Robin without Batman). I guess for purposes of equal-time, the Seven Soldiers of Victory story in issues 100-102 featured the non-counterpart JSA members (excepting Wonder Woman) who had missed out on the previous cross-over. By # 101, Earth-2 GL, Earth-2 Robin, & Mr. Terrific all show up. Missing altogether are: Earth-2's Superman, Flash, Hawkman, Batman, and Spectre. OK, one can make the case that the Spectre was out of commission after issue # 83 and that Batman was retired...but for heaven's sake, it's the potential end of the world...and Messrs. Kent, Garrick, and Hall are nowhere to be seen. I do think a "crisis" such as this would eventuate a temporary suspension of silly protocols involving revolving members.

BentonGrey said...

Wow, this sounds like quite a bang-up issue! It's actually sort of funny, because I just finished reading some of the 70's JSA revival issues, which pick up shortly after the events from this crossover play out. I've been really enjoying I just need to find THESE issues. Darn it, stop sitting on your hands DC!

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