As the summer winds to a close, I thought I'd revisit the legendary team-ups of the Justice League and their Earth-2 pals the Justice Society. If you missed part one, click here. If not, kick back and enjoy part two...
Okay, then...where was I? Oh, yeah...
Justice League of America #64-65 (1968)
JLA: Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Hawkman, Green Arrow and JLA mascot Snapper Carr.
JSA: Starman, Flash, Hourman, Black Canary, Dr. Fate, the Atom, Sandman, Green Lantern, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hawkman, Mr. Terrific and Red Tornado II.
Villains: T.O. Morrow, the faceless androids, cosmic creatures, animated souvenir statues of Amazo, Starro, Dr. Light, the Diamond Creature and Super Duper.
Summary: An android calling himself the Red Tornado stormed a JSA meeting and demanded to join the team, so they invited him along on a mission. While responding to a bank robbery with four JSA members, Reddy accidentally destroyed them (oopsie!), which made him wonder if he was created by some sinister hand for that very purpose. It turned out he was absolutely right, as the evil scientist T.O. Morrow revealed his master plan to eradicate the JSA using technology stolen from the future (which included the Red Tornado himself).
Learning this, Reddy attacked his creator, but instead ended up killing the rest of the JSA with a blast from a "FuturEnergy" gun (oopsie!). With the JSA out of the way, T.O. Morrow then turned his focus to the JLA by sending an array of strange creatures, animated JLA trophies and even energy duplicates of their sweethearts to kill the Earth-1 heroes!
Like the JSA before them, the JLA are eventually "killed" by FuturEnergy, with only a barely-functioning Red Tornado left to save the day. Reddy bridged the dimensional gap to Earth-1 and revived each JLA member with a kiss from their real sweethearts. He then revived the fallen Earth-2 heroes, who (despite the android's horrible track record) immediately granted him full JSA membership. True to form, Red Tornado greeted the good news with "I wish I was human" yearning and moping.
Highlights: The Red Tornado's child-like earnestness as he tries to prove himself to the JSA, as well as the surreal casualness of both the JSA and the JLA being "killed" by FuturEngery. These days, it would have been a twelve part series. Then?..a plot device!
Lowlights: Writer Gardner F. Fox's continual reliance upon generic, spontaneously-generated monsters to eat up the page count.
Justice League of America #73-74 (1969)
JLA: Batman, Green Lantern, the Atom, Hawkman, and Superman.
JSA: Starman, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Red Tornado, Black Canary and her private eye husband Larry Lance.
Villain: Aquarius, the Living Star.
Summary: Exiled from the Council of Living Stars, a cosmic
being named Aquarius defeated and captured the JSA. Luckily, Red
Tornado escaped their fate and fled to Earth-1 to get the JLA's help.
When the Red Tornado and the JLA returned to Earth-2's universe, Aquarius magically commanded the captured JSA to destroy the Justice League! During the ensuing Battle Royale, Black Canary was caught in the path of a deadly energy sphere unleashed by Aquarius, but was saved at the last second by her husband Larry Lance. Following the energy sphere's explosion, the JSA snapped out of their trance to find Black Canary grieving over her dead husband. Following Larry's funeral, the two Green Lanterns pursued Aquarius into the negative universe, where he was destroyed by an anti-matter meteor storm. The story ended with Black Canary migrating to Earth-1 with the departing Justice League (see part five for a bizarre twist on this story).
Highlights: Of course, the first appearance of the Earth-2 Superman ranks pretty high, despite the absence of the distinctive S-symbol and graying temples he sported in future appearances. Other highlights include the powerful Neal Adams cover on issue #74 (see above), the unexpected (and surprisingly touching) death of Larry Lance, and Black Canary's resulting decision to leave Earth-2. Oh, and I can't forget that great scene of the Green Lanterns co-reciting Alan Scott's oath (left).
Justice League of America #82-83 (1970)
JLA: Superman, Batman, Flash, Black Canary, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, and Green Arrow.
JSA: Superman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Flash, Starman, Hourman, Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Red Tornado, Johnny Thunder, his Thunderbolt, and the Spectre. Brief cameo appearances by Sandman, Mr. Terrific, Wildcat, Hawkman and the Earth-2 Batman (first appearance).
Villain: Creator2, a "master world-builder from a distant galaxy".
Summary: Contracted to build a new planet for his cosmic clients, Creator2 captured the Red Tornado and used his link to both Earth-1 and Earth-2 to begin drawing the two trans-dimensional worlds together. Creator2 then systematically subdued members of the Justice Society, the only thing he foresaw that could possibly stand in his way. Curiously, as each JSA member fell, their Earth-1 counterparts also fell into a death-like state.
In a last ditch effort, the sorcerous Dr. Fate and the Thunderbolt summoned the Spectre. Similar to his trans-dimensional save in JLA #47, the Spectre wedged his body between the converging Earths as Dr. Fate and Thunderbolt destroyed the ship of Creator2 (and presumably Creator2 himself). However, the resulting explosion also destroyed the Spectre, who tearfully dissipated into the ether.
Naturally (or supernaturally), the Spectre would return for future JLA-JSA team-ups, which his friends in the JLA and JSA as much as predicted in this story's closing panels.
Highlights: Though I've never been especially fond of Dick Dillin's pencil work, strong inkers made his stuff much more enjoyable. This was the case with JLA #82-83, as inker Joe Giella's solid inks brought much more polish to Dillin's pencils than the cartoony inks of Sid Green did previously. This issue also marked the first (albeit brief) appearance of the Earth-2 Batman. It's always great to see the Spectre, too...though I could have done without his parting crocodile tears.
Lowlights: It seemed odd that the creators would include the Earth-2 Batman for only a single panel. A story in which fallen JSA members affected their Earth-1 doppelgangers would have been the ideal setting to introduce the elder version of Batman. Instead, it was Dr. Mid-Nite's defeat that triggered the "deactivation" of the Earth-1 Batman who, according to the writer, was Dr. Mid-Nite's "closest equivalent" on Earth-1. Huh? But what about the Batman we saw just a few pages later? Disappointing.
Justice League of America #91-92 (1971)
JLA: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, Batman, and "special guest star" Robin.
JSA: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, and "special guest star" Robin.
Villains: An immensely powerful alien boy named A-Rym, his equally powerful pet named Teppy, and their new "friend" Solomon Grundy.
Summary: Batman burst into JLA headquarters carrying a near-dead Flash, while the JSA on Earth-2 discovered a badly hurt Green Lantern. The culprit? An alien kid named A-Rym and his pet Teppy, who were separated by a "warp storm" onto Earths 1 & 2. When the JLA and JSA attempted to subdue the young powerhouse and his pet, the situation was made worse when A-Rym befriended the homicidal swamp monster Solomon Grundy! Happily, the super-teams eventually conquered Grundy and reunited A-Rym and Teppy. All together now:
Highlights: Two great covers by Neal Adams. The meeting of the two Robins.
Lowlights: I dunno. Maybe it's me, but the combined might of the JLA and the JSA against an alien brat and his pink pet didn't exactly get my pulse racing...know what I mean? Definitely one of the weaker JLA-JSA team-ups. Fortunately, much better times were ahead.
Justice League of America #100, 101, & 102 (1972)
JLA: Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Aquaman, Hawkman, Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Zatanna, and Metemorpho. Cameo appearances by J'onn J'onzz and Adam Strange.
JSA: Hourman, Sandman, Dr. Fate, Wildcat, Starman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt.
The Seven Soldiers of Victory: The Shining Knight, Vigilante; Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy; the Earth-2 Green Arrow and Speedy; the Crimson Avenger and Wing (okay, that makes eight, but who's counting?).
Villains: The Iron Hand. Flashback appearances by Seven Soldier villains Nebula Man, Red Dragon, the Dummy, the Needle, Professor Merlin, and Big Caesar.
The combined might of the JLA, JSA, and the Seven
Soldiers of Victory patiently wait for the next subway.
Summary: In the midst of celebrating their 100th meeting (get it?), the JLA was summoned by the JSA's Dr. Fate to help battle The Iron Hand, a mystic hand gripped around Earth-2. Seeking mystical insight from another entity named The Oracle, the JLA and JSA were sent across time and space to retrieve the scattered Seven Soldiers of Victory, who were somehow the key to defeating the Iron Hand. They eventually located all of the lost Soldiers and brought them to present-day Earth-2, where their combined might triumphed over the Iron Hand...though at the cost of the Red Tornado's life.
Highlights: The revival of The Seven Soldiers of Victory (a.k.a. "The Law's Legionnaires"), which was composed of DC's more obscure Golden Age characters. The three fantastic covers by Nick Cardy and the well-written story by Len Wein also made this easily one of the best JLA-JSA team-ups, and a great way to celebrate not only the JLA's 100th issue, but the 10th annual team-up with the JSA as well.
Lowlights: After hyping the death of a Seven Soldiers member for three issues, the unofficial "eighth soldier" Wing turned out to be the one buried in the tomb of "The Unknown Soldier of Victory". It was also a bit of a cop-out for the Red Tornado to "die", especially since he came back a scant 3 issues later. Still, the story was strong enough to weather these relatively mild complaints.
Be sure to watch for part III of Summers Past, covering the JLA-JSA team-ups of 1973 through 1977!