Justice League of America #100 (August, 1972)

In the spring of 1972, Len Wein had been writing comics professionally for almost four years.  The career trajectory of the 23-year-old fan-turned-pro had thus far taken him from writing scripts for DC titles like The Adventures of Jerry Lewis, House of Secrets, and Hot Wheels, to similar work at other publishers including Marvel, Skywald, and Gold Key (Star Trek being among his gigs at the latter outfit), and then back to DC, where he’d been scripting Phantom Stranger for about a year, among other assignments.  But his experience with the publisher’s best-known super-heroes had largely been limited to a single issue of Teen Titans, one Batman story in Detective (both co-written with his friend Marv Wolfman), and, more recently, a smattering of tales in Superman, Flash, World’s Finest, and Adventure.  So you can imagine his surprise (and excitement, and trepidation) when, out of the blue, editor Julius Schwartz asked him if he’d like to write Justice League of America on a regular basis: 

“Of course I’ll do this. I’d love to do this. Are you sure I can do this?” I asked Julie.

 

“Guess we’ll both find out the hard way,” he replied. Very reassuring, that man. “Oh, and one more thing,” Julie added, “Your first issue? It’ll be issue #100. It’s the first part of the tenth annual JLA/JSA crossover. You might want to think about doing something special.”

 

So I thought. Dear God, did I think. (Len Wein, “Too Much of a Good Thing?” [introduction], Crisis on Multiple Earths, Vol. 3 [DC Comics, 2004].)

Wein had been a big fan of the earliest Justice League-Justice Society team-ups written by Gardner Fox, and knew that he wanted to emulate their structure of having the assembled heroes of Earths One and Two break into smaller groups that were then featured in individual chapters.  But he also realized that the double occasion of the JLA’s 100th issue and the 10th annual JLA-JSA team-up required a big story.  And that’s when he recalled the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Cover to Leading Comics #1 (Winter, 1941). Art by Mort Meskin.

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (also sometimes called the Law’s Legionnaires) were a team of DC heroes who’d appeared in the first fourteen issues of Leading Comics, published from 1941 to 1945.  Compared to the JSA, these could justifiably be considered second-stringers, as none of them had ever held down their own title, appearing instead as one feature among several in comics like Action, Adventure, Detective, More Fun, and Star-Spangled Comics.  But while each and every hero who’d ever appeared in a Justice Society adventure in All-Star Comics had been revived in the eleven years since Schwartz and Fox introduced the “Earth-Two” concept in Flash #123, the Seven Soldiers had largely lain dormant — with the notable exceptions of Green Arrow and Speedy, who’d managed to stay active from the Golden Age on through the Silver and into the Bronze, and the Vigilante, who’d made his return just a couple of years earlier, in JLA #78-79.  Why not bring the whole group back?

Wein picks up the story:

I called Julie and pitched him the idea.

 

“You do realize you’re crazy, don’t you?” he asked. “That’s an awful lot of characters to cram into a two-part story.”

 

“Then why don’t we make it a three parter?” I suggested.

 

Julie didn’t have to think about it long. “Sure, why don’t we?”

In fact, this would be the second three-parter to appear in Justice League of America in 1972, following close on the heels of the “Starbreaker” saga penned by Wein’s predecessor Mike Friedrich, which had run in issue #96 to #98.  Still, having the 100th JLA adventure*/10th JLA-JSA team-up spread out over three months added to the specialness of the occasion.

And there were other touches added by Wein that marked the milestone nature of the event as well, though we’ll refrain from noting those until we get into the story proper.  Which we’re about to do, just as soon as we take care of a bit of housekeeping business related to Nick Cardy’s somber but dramatic cover… OK, everybody, see there at the bottom where it says “33*HEROES*33“?  That’s great, now can I get a volunteer to keep a tally as we go through the book?  Terrific, thanks; we’ll check back in with you at the end of the post, all right?

Your humble blogger is in a positive mood today, so I’m going to ignore the grating misuse of the word “anniversary” in this splash page’s opening blurb, and simply take note of the fact that although JLA welcomed a new scripter with this 100th issue, the art team remained the same reliable combo of penciller Dick Dillin and inker Joe Giella, who’d been teamed on the series since issue #75.  (Giella would in fact depart JLA after the current three-parter was done; Dillin [who had come on as penciller a year earlier, with #64], on the other hand, would stay with the book until his death in 1980, making for a twelve-year run.)

If you’re going to celebrate the Justice League’s one hundredth “meeting” in style, then, naturally, you’ve got to have at least one scene set in the good ol’ Secret Sanctuary, first seen in the team’s debut appearance in Brave and the Bold #28 (Mar., 1960) and most recently on view in JLA #77 (Dec., 1969).

I’m not certain how long it had been since JLA readers had seen the Atom pull the old “traveling through the phone wires” trick — but seeing as how the bit didn’t really lend itself to being used in the team’s satellite headquarters, I’m guessing it may have been a while.  It’s a nice nod to the League’s past, in any event.

And here’s where Wein starts to tip his hand in regards to “special guest stars”.  As noted in his Crisis on Multiple Earths, Vol. 3 intro, he was determined to include every single hero who’d ever been a member of the Justice League, even if only in a cameo.  (Perhaps coincidentally — and perhaps not — Marvel Comics had recently done the exact same thing in Avengers #100.)  That obviously extended to former members like J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who had exited the League in issue #71, and had last been seen heading into deep space with his fellow Martian exiles in search of a new planetary home.  As had been recently revealed in World’s Finest #212, that quest had since proven successful.  So while one wouldn’t expect J’onn to travel all the way back to Earth from the planet Vonn (aka “Mars II”) for the JLA’s celebration, his single-panel cameo was obviously appropriate.

The Elongated Man is a somewhat different case.  While the “Ductile Detective” Ralph Dibny had shared a single adventure with the JLA back in issue #51, he’d never been offered full membership, or granted special “reserve” status, or given any other kind of official role — or at least if he had been, we readers hadn’t been informed about it.  In his CoME v. 3 intro, Wein writes about “auxiliary members”, by which he seems to mean any solo hero who’d ever guest starred with the League — but if so, why exclude Robin (JLA #50, #91, and #92) Batgirl (#60), the Creeper (#70), Hawkgirl (#72, among others), the, um, Vigilante (#78-79), or Sargon the Sorcerer (#98)?**  Oh, well, I suppose we shouldn’t begrudge EM scoring his invitation — or anybody else who made the cut, for that matter.  It’s a party, and the more the merrier, right?

Unlike Ralph Dibny, Rex Mason — aka Metamorpho — actually had been offered Justice League membership during his guest shot in issue #42’s “Metamorpho Says No!”, but he, well, the title pretty much gives it away, doesn’t it?  Metamorpho had a very good reason for declining — he was doing his damnedest to find a cure for being the freakish-looking Element Man, and thus didn’t want to take on any long-term superheroing obligations — though he did agree to be on call as a “reserve member” (and would in fact answer such a call a mere two issues later, in JLA #44).

As for Snapper Carr, the League’s former mascot/honorary member — although my younger self had missed the issue (#77) in which Snap had flat-out betrayed his friends, I nevertheless knew the gist of what had happened thanks to letters columns and whatnot.  And while I’d never been exactly a big fan of the guy, he’d been a fixture in the team’s stories during my formative years as a comics reader, and so I had a soft spot for him; plus, even without having read the actual story in #77, I suspected that he’d been dealt a bad hand by JLA’s writer at the time, Denny O’Neil.  For those reasons, I appreciated his one-panel cameo here, and the implication that he and the League might one day be reconciled.

Our story now turns to Batman — but only long enough to let us watch him knock some thugs around a Gotham City back-alley (by way of explaining why he’s running late for the JLA meeting), and to have him inform us via thought-balloon that he’s still “got a stop to make” on his way to the Secret Sanctuary.  Hmm…

Adam Strange’s first shared adventure with the JLA was unique among the “auxiliary members” featured in this issue, as they guest-starred with him, rather than the other way around.  The way that had come about was that the space-faring hero’s name had gotten dropped in Justice League of America #4 (Apr.-May, 1961) as a possible candidate for team membership (they ended up going with Green Arrow instead, by the way) — which, as a fan later called editor Julius Schwartz out on, didn’t make any sense, as Mr. Strange did all his adventuring on the planet Rann, and the JLAers had no way of knowing who he was.  No problem — Schwartz and writer Gardner Fox simply cobbled together a story explaining how Adam Strange and the Justice League had met some months ago — readers just hadn’t been told about it yet — and slotted it into issue #75 (May, 1962) of Adam’s home title, Mystery in Space.  Since then, Adam Strange had shown up in a couple of issues of Justice League of America as well (#24 and, very briefly, #96) — though, as with Elongated Man, there’d been no discussion of membership, at least not on-panel.  Nevertheless, he got an invite to the League’s big bash, and a one-panel cameo — which is still more than Robin, Batgirl, et al, got.

Like the Elongated Man, Zatanna’s first guest shot with the Justice League had come in issue #51; she’d appeared one more time since then, in #87.  Naturally, there’d been no mention of membership status for the Mistress of Magic on either occasion — although as most of you out there reading this probably know already, such would eventually be offered (and accepted), several years down the road.  (The same was true for Ralph Dibny, although he wouldn’t have to wait nearly as long.)

And now we understand Batman’s earlier cryptic comment about having to make a stop.  Wonder Woman had taken a leave of absence from the Justice League in issue #69 after losing her powers in her own book — although showing her standing here with Batman and Black Canary rather begs the question of why she ever thought she had to in the first place.  After all, neither of them have superhuman abilities (OK, sure, the Canary has her “sonic scream” power — but she only acquired that in JLA #75, prior to which she’d been a member of the Justice Society for many years, getting by entirely on her fighting skills.)

Continuing with the mildly sexist vibe of the painfully gender-specific “banter” of Green Lantern and Black Canary on the previous page, we move on to the cutting of the cake — which, being a domestic-chore kinda thing, is naturally delegated to the three women in the group:

Since 1963, most JLA-JSA team-ups had featured rosters with a mix of heroes who had counterparts on the other team (like Flash and Green Lantern) and those who were “one-and-onlies” (like the JLA’s Aquaman, or the JSA’s Spectre).  In the previous year’s event, writer Mike Friedrich had tried something new in having both team’s line-ups composed of nothing but counterparts — two Atoms, two Hawkmen, and so on.  Wein, however, goes in the opposite direction, giving us a set of JSAers who are all singletons, with the exception of Wonder Woman (who, since she hasn’t lost her powers and still wears her traditional costume, will be hard to confuse with Earth-One’s Diana Prince).

Following the necessary round of greetings and introductions (and a quick explanation of DC’s multiple-earths concept for any new readers), Doctor Fate takes the floor to explain why the Justice Society has summoned their alternate-universe comrades:

Doc Fate explains that by combining his and Zatanna’s power, plus that of Johnny Thunder’s magical Thunderbolt, they may be able to accomplish what he hasn’t been able to do on his own — contact a mysterious entity named Oracle (no, not that one), who dwells “beyond the mists of time-and-space”, and “from whom no secrets are withheld”, and ask him for help…

Oracle, in case you’re wondering, had never turned up before this; he seems to have been invented by Wein for this story specifically because the plot called for a Watcher-type character, and DC didn’t already have one.

After Fate fills Oracle in on their predicament, the entity carefully explains to the assembled heroes that while he’s not permitted to reveal the future to them, he can share relevant information from the past that may help them choose their best course of action…

This is the point in the post where your humble blogger would customarily pause to give you the goods on these “new” heroes’ publishing histories — their creators, first appearances, etc — but seeing as there are so many of them, rather than put the brakes on our narrative when it’s beginning to gather momentum, I’m going to spread that information out over the rest of this post, as well as the forthcoming ones on JLA #101 and #102.  Hope that’s OK with y’all.

I’m a little skeptical of the notion that the Seven Soldiers being displaced in time should result in them being forgotten by everyone in the present day — mostly because I don’t think any other DC Universe time travel story ever published has worked that way — but seeing as how our only choices are either to go with the flow, or to stop right here…

The two teams split into seven tidy groups of three heroes each (Wein skips over the talky part where they decide who goes with whom).  Batman invites the non-powered “New” Wonder Woman to join him, Hourman, and Starman — but Diana declines, saying that somebody should stay behind to brief anybody who turns up late.  Which makes a sort of sense, I guess — by my reckoning, there are eight JSAers unaccounted for (including, though not limited to, all those who’d participated in 1971’s “all-counterpart” extravaganza).  On the other hand, it seems a shame to sideline “our” Diana in favor of her Earth-Two counterpart in the JLA’s 100th issue — she’s a founding member, fer crying out loud!  I mean, couldn’t they just leave a note for Mr. Terrific and the others?

Finally, the moment arrives for Oracle to open the “chronal corridors”, and send our heroes on their way…

As I’m sure will come as no surprise to most of you, the preceding page and 2/3 is a recap of the events from the Seven Soldiers’ initial outing way back in Leading Comics #1.  And while if may be counter-intuitive to provide the provenance of that story’s villains before we’ve done as much for its heroes, well, we’re going to do it anyway:

  • Professor Merlin first appeared in More Fun Comics #75 (Jan., 1942), in a story by Mort Weisinger and George Papp.
  • The Needle debuted in Star Spangled Comics #5 (Feb., 1942), courtesy of Jerry Siegel and Harold Sherman.
  • The Red Dragon first menaced society (and the Shining Knight) in Adventure Comics #59 (Dec., 1941), in an adventure drawn by Craig Flessel.
  • Finally, Big Caesar, The Dummy, and The Hand all showed up for the first time in Leading Comics #1 itself; Mort Weisinger wrote, and Mort Meskin drew, the segment of the story that introduced them.

And now that you’ve learned all that you can forget it, as none of those characters will appear again over the course of our present three-issue tale.  Well, OK, one will (and I’ll bet you can figure out who that’ll be, without even thinking about it for very long… though if you can’t, Wein is about to give you a really big hint in the very next panel).

The individual logos used to introduce each of the chapters detailing the seven teams’ separate exploits are a nice touch, I think.  In this first example, the logos for the Atom and the Elongated Man are recognizably derived from those that had graced their own solo features; Dr. Fate’s, on the other hand, appears to a one-off.

Cover to Detective Comics #22 (Dec., 1938). Art by Jim Chambers, who drew most of the Crimson Avenger’s earliest adventures, and may have created the character.

Though relatively little-known today, the Crimson Avenger was one of the very first examples of the type of adventure character that would eventually come to be known as the superhero; making his comic-book debut a mere five months after the introduction of Superman in Action Comics #1, the C.A.’s advent in Detective Comics #20 (Oct., 1938) anticipated Batman’s first appearance in the same title by a full seven issues.

Of course, being early didn’t necessarily mean being original — and the Crimson Avenger, at least initially, was about as blatant a knockoff of radio’s Green Hornet as could be imagined.  As detailed by Don Markstein on his Toonopedia web site, the correspondences between the characters were many:

The Hornet was newspaper publisher Britt Reid. Crimson was newspaper publisher Lee Travis. The Hornet had a Japanese chauffeur, sidekick and confidant named Kato (whose nationality became Filipino after Pearl Harbor). Crimson had a Chinese chauffeur, sidekick and confidant named Wing. Both wore color-coordinated cloaks, slouch hats, masks, etc. to conceal their identities. Both were themselves suspected of criminal leanings, at least at first. Crimson, in fact, once had his newspaper post a reward for his own capture.

Panel from Detective Comics #44 (Oct., 1940). Art by John Lehti.

Of course, in this iteration, one might quibble over whether the Crimson Avenger was technically a “superhero” at all, or merely a disguise-wearing crimefighter in the pulp mode, a la the Shadow.  But all such doubts would be laid to rest after Detective #44 (Oct., 1940), when writer-artist John “Jack” Lehti (successor to the Avenger’s original artist, Jim Chambers) brought the character in line with the caped, colorful-bodysuit-wearing crusaders that had taken the fledgling comic book industry by storm by replacing Lee Travis’s cloak and slouch hat with — what else? — a cape and a colorful bodysuit.  (His sidekick Wing followed his boss’ lead some months later, ultimately ditching his chauffeur’s uniform for some bright yellow tights.)

This is the version of the Crimson Avenger that would appear in all of the Seven Soldiers of Victory’s adventures in Leading Comics, as well as in all of C.A.’s subsequent Detective stories.***  His run as a solo feature in the latter title came to an end with issue #89 (Jul., 1944), while his final exploit with the Seven Soldiers appeared in Leading Comics #14 (Spring, 1945).  That would have seemed to be that for the Crimson Avenger, and so indeed it was — at least until Justice League of America #100.

And as we return to that very issue, we pick up our narrative with the three heroes from 1972 waiting until the Aztecs’ ceremony has concluded and the crowd has dispersed, after which they stealthily enter the pyramid, where they find the Crimson Avenger sitting enthroned…

The Elongated Man goes into action against the Avenger’s guards, who are in no way a match for him, even with their pointy-ended weapons.  Meanwhile, Dr. Fate attempts to subdue the Avenger himself — and runs into a bit of trouble, as the latter’s mysterious new energy powers are able to counter his magic, at least for the moment…

Yeah, the Big Bad behind this whole thing is the Hand — or the Iron Hand, as he seems to prefer to call himself these days.  You knew it all along, right?

Anyway, that’ll about wrap it up for this first chapter of our story.  Until next month, when I hope to see you all back here for “The Hand That Shook the World” … oh, right, I almost forgot.  Who was keeping up with “33*HEROES*33“ for us?  Great!  Let’s see what you’ve got…

Aquaman, Black Canary, Green Lantern, Green Arrow (Earth-One), Hawkman, Atom, Flash, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Metamorpho, Snapper Carr (really?  Oh, well, why not), Batman, Adam Strange, Superman, Zatanna, Wonder Woman (Earth-One), Starman, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, Red Tornado, Sandman, Wildcat, Johnny Thunder, Wonder Woman (Earth-Two), Hourman, Vigilante, Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy, Crimson Avenger, Shining Knight, Green Arrow (Earth-Two), Speedy, and Wing… yep, that’s 33, all right.  Well counted, anonymous DC cover-blurb author of 1972!

See you in July, everybody!

 

*Before anyone point this out, let me assure you all that yes, I’m aware that the League appeared in three tryout issues of The Brave and the Bold prior to getting their own title, which by some reckonings would make issue #97 the “real” 100th adventure.  On the other hand, six issues of Justice League of America had been giant-sized all-reprint issues, so you can’t really count those.  And does a continued story, like all the previous JLA-JSA team-ups, count as one adventure or two?  Hmm, maybe we’d better just stick with the story’s own internal conceit — which is that the team is celebrating the occasion of their 100th meeting.

**There was even a line of dialogue in JLA #99 — the issue right before this one — in which Sargon was said to have been granted “honorary JLA membership”.

***Make that more-or-less the same version; “the Crimson” ended up ditching his cape after Detective #54 (Aug., 1941), and never wore it in any of his Leading Comics appearances.

20 comments

  1. slangwordscott · 16 Days Ago

    I was smiling uncontrollably throughout this entry. Although I had bought previous issues of JLA, this was THE issue that made me a regular reader. Although I can now see some of the flaws you note, at the time this was super-hero heaven for me. To this day, Len Wein’s run on JLA is one of my favorite comic runs. Thank you for making my day.

    Incidentally, I read somewhere that one of the original plans if the “Bigger and Better” format had continued was to serialize a Seven Soldiers of Victory reprint through these issues. I probably read that in one of Roy Thomas’ ALL-STAR COMPANION volumes, or possibly in ALTER EGO.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DAVID HITCHCOCK · 16 Days Ago

    Every summer, I eagerly awaited the annual JLA/JSA team up, though by 1972 I still yearned for the Fox/Sekowsky/Sachs/Greene team ups of the sixties. I still have this and subsequent issues, but did not enjoy them as much as the Sekowsky drawn issues. I wasn’t that keen on the post Fox stories by the likes of O’Neill, Friedrich or Wein and did not appreciate Dick Dillin’s art after the departure of inker Sid Greene (around 1968 ?). I still purchased Justice League for years after this issue, though I never enjoyed it as much as the Sekowsky years !!.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marcus · 16 Days Ago

    When I first read this issue when it came out, I was surprised that Sargon wasn’t included, since he was around just two issues ago. Later I assumed that Wein had no interest in him, preferring to use the Phantom Stranger who he was more familiar with.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. popGeezer · 16 Days Ago

    Among my favorites of all-time. The JLA/JSA annual team-ups always pleased. And I, too, learned about the Seven Soldiers in this storyline.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 · 15 Days Ago

    Like everyone else commenting here, I also looked forward to the JLA/JSA team-up every year. Not because the stories were always great (some were, some weren’t), but because it was such a treat seeing those old Golden Age heroes again. And then, in this one to also get the Seven Soldiers, who I’d never heard of? This was a well-spent quarter, my friends.

    I’d never been the biggest Dick Dillin fan (sometimes he was great, sometimes, not so much), but I didn’t hate him and the arrival of Wein as scripter was a breath of fresh air for a book that had become seriously bogged down in it’s own mythology and had failed to rise up to the new standard set by the Avengers book across town. It’s a shame Wein felt led to continue the sexism of his predecessors in regard to Black Canary, Diana Prince and Zatanna (I was so excited to see Wonder Woman back in the JLA and then after that cake-cutting scene, not so much). Oracle was hardly the “character find of 1972,” but he did what the story required and thankfully, was never seen again. Otherwise, this story did such a great job of spanning worlds and time and doing all the things you’d want a hundreth issue to do…in 1962, as opposed to ten years later, but DC did ultimately catch up so I’ll stop complaining.

    I know I bought this book and the two that followed it, but my memories of them are so vague, I believe I’ll just sit back and enjoy them. Thanks, Alan, for this hundreth issue treat!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Leonardo (Scout) Ledesma · 15 Days Ago

    Congratulations for such an excellent article. God gave me a pretty good memory and I remember very well that comic and I find you nailed things right in every comment. I’m also a very big fan of the Golden Age Heroes since my childhood (I’m 61 now), as was my father.

    I will read your other articles with great interest. I like to do some comic studies myself (apart of all.that information absorbed through decades of reading comic books) and like very much a publication that pays such attention to detail and facts. Congratulations again and thank you very much for share it, with deepest regard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wire154 · 15 Days Ago

    It would be a pretty funny inside joke if Dillon intentionally drew Batman looking where he’s very blatantly looking when Black Canary makes her comment concerning the only thing men think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. crustymud · 15 Days Ago

    Number five in my all-time countdown! http://crustymud.paradoxcomics.com/?p=884&page=4

    The annual JLA-JSA crossover was such a beloved tradition from my childhood and one I looked forward to getting every summer. Great review— ‘Nuff Said!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. frednotfaith2 · 15 Days Ago

    Curious that although the JLA was the first Silver Age super-hero team book and the inspiration for both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, both of those latter mags reached their 100th issues before JLA, although if those three B&B stories are counted, JLA #97 might be considered a tie with Avengers #100. JLA’s early publication history must have been less issues per year than those of the FF & Avengers. Also interesting how differently the “anniversaries” were treated in each of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • crustymud · 15 Days Ago

      For most of its earliest existence, JLA was published 8 or 9 times a year, I think. In any case, it was certainly less than 12.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brian ONeill · 13 Days Ago

      JLA was bi-monthly for about the first 15 years, then upgraded to 8 issues per year in the mid-70s. It finally went monthly somewhere in its 1977-78 run of ‘Giant’ 50 and 60 cent issues.

      Like

  10. Several years ago I bought the two trade paperbacks reprinting the mid to late 1970s revival of the Justice Society of America. The Star Spangled Kid was prominently featured in those comics, and so this JLA storyline was alluded to on several occasions. Since then I’ve been at least mildly curious about how the Seven Soldiers of Victory returned from limbo, both figuratively and literally. I certainly enjoyed this write-up, and I look forward to your retrospectives on the remaining two chapters.

    Quick question: Was the Nebula-Man a villain from an actual Golden Age story, or did Len Wein create him for this issue as the device to explain away the Seven Soldiers’ disappearance? I’m guessing it’s the later; he seems a bit too “cosmic” for the comic books of the 1940s.

    Oh, yeah… I know Dick Dillin was an absolute workhorse when it came to drawing comic books, but I wonder how he must have felt to have this new young writer Len Wein come on JLA and on his very first issue hand in a story requiring Dillin to draw 33 different costumed heroes?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alan Stewart · 15 Days Ago

      Ben, you’re right about Nebula Man — like Oracle, he was invented by Wein for this story, and then pretty much forgotten. (Except by Grant Morrison, who would bring both characters out of mothballs in 2005 for their “Seven Soldiers” project.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. bluesislove · 15 Days Ago

    I had been reading JLA for about a year, coming in with the previous summer’s JLA/JSA meeting. While I enjoyed it a lot, I really got into it during Wein’s tenure. I loved that he reintroduced this new (to me) group, the SSV….I had read a Star Spangled Kid story in one of their 100 pagers, and I was familiar with Green Arrow, but didn’t know much if anything about the rest of them.

    The new team was part of what I enjoyed about subsequent JLA/JSA team-ups….especially their next one, one of my favorites.

    One of my strongest memories was how hard it was to wrap up this trilogy. I had no problem finding 100 and 101, but 102 never made it to my store, the only store with comics in my town. I had pretty much given up before stopping at a drug store with my mom after a doctor visit in a neighboring town and, son of a gun, there was 102 sitting in the back of a spinner rack.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Kenny Thompson · 14 Days Ago

    You continue to bring back fond memories. While I enjoyed the Starbreaker saga, I was ready for some old-fashioned Justice League of America stories. Luckily, Len Wein delivered. Not just in issues #100-102 but #103, #105 and #106 especially. The only run on JLA series one I probably enjoyed more was Steve Englehart’s from issues #139-150.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. frednotfaith2 · 13 Days Ago

    Seems symbolic of a changing of the guard and beginning of a new age that even at DC they were putting a relative newbie like Wein on JLA, one of their top titles, and for the 100th issue to boot! And within a month or so of Conway, not quite yet 20, taking over Spider-Man. Although Wein & Conway could arguably be considered to have started their careers during the waning days of the Silver Age, they both clearly made their marks during the Bronze Age, and both went back & forth between DC & Marvel during the ’70s and famously were roommates when Wein wrote the first Swamp Thing story and Conway the first Man-Thing story, and more oddly Wein wound up writing the 2nd Man-Thing tale for Marvel prior to returning to DC and helping launch the first Swamp Thing series. And as evidenced by this story, Wein, like Roy Thomas, was keen on comics history. Maybe it was pure coincidence that like Thomas on Avengers #100, he managed to feature a knight on a winged horse in JLA #100, although the Shining Knight didn’t get to ride in on a glorious full page entrance on the first page as the Black Knight did in Thomas’ tale.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Brian Morrison · 6 Days Ago

    I remember reading JLA 99 and at the end of the main story there was a third of a page advert for JLA 100, inviting you th the 100th meeting of the JLA. It detailed the 32 heroes who would be participating and those who know the conclusion to the story will know which one was missed out (and it wasn’t Snapper!). I so wanted to get issue 100 that I visited the newsagent where I got my comics every day for the two weeks before it actually appeared to try to make sure that I didn’t miss it or to make sure that nobody else got it before I could snatch it off the spinner rack. Distribution of comics in the UK was so uncertain that you never knew if you had missed the issue of if it had never got to the shop where you bought your comics. Most shops only got one copy of each of the comics, so if you weren’t there first, you missed out. Happily It was waiting for me in the spinner rack one day and once it was in my hands nobody else was getting it. I can’t remember there being any adverts for the issue in any other DC comics that month and in those pre-internet days the first time you saw the illustration on the cover was when you bought it. I loved the cover, it promised a mystery to be solved and I dived right in to it. I had been aware of the Seven Soldiers of Victory through a pin up of them that Murphy Anderson had done of them for the Giant JLA issue 76 (it’s a great pin up, Google it and see). Of course I was familiar with Green Arrow and Speedy and I had recently read a reprint of a Star Spangled Kid and Stripes story in the May Superboy Super Spectacular but Vigilante, Shining Knight and the Crimson Avenger were unknowns to me. I don’t think I had seen any reprints of their adventures so I was eager to learn more. Like many of the others who have commented this is one of my favourite stories. I had enjoyed the O’Neill and Friedrich issues but I did find them a bit earnest and sometimes slightly preachy or downbeat. I was looking for some old fashioned superhero team up adventure and Wien delivered in spades. I hadn’t known that the origin of the SSOV actually recounted their first adventure, I though Wien had made it up for this issue. This begs the question – how did Wien know of it? I think that the original story must have been published before Len was born. Was Len a comic historian who knew about it or did Julie Schwarz have a hand in this, telling Len how their career as a team started? Alan, or anyone else, do we know.
    Alan, like slangwordscott commented above, I smiled all through reading through this review as it brought back such happy memories. I had been hoping that you had had the good sense to buy this one 50 years ago so that you could give us insights and memories on it. I thought “he must have bought it, he has blogged about every one of the JLA/JSA team up from 1966 onwards but then again he passed on Green Lantern/Green Arrow 87!”. Thank you for having the foresight to buy JLA 100 and I look forward to reading you posts on 101 and 102 in the coming months and the revelation of which of the SSOV sacrificed themselves to save Earth 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alan Stewart · 5 Days Ago

      “Most shops only got one copy of each of the comics, so if you weren’t there first, you missed out.” Damn! And I thought newsstand distribution here in the States was bad.

      “This begs the question – how did Wein know of it? I think that the original story must have been published before Len was born.” It was, and it hadn’t been reprinted yet — but Wein was a fan and collector before he went pro, so he could have scored his own copy at some point. Or maybe he read a synopsis of the story in a fanzine. I also figure that he would have had a DC office file copy of Leading Comics #1 available to him once Schwartz approved the story idea.

      “I thought “he must have bought it, he has blogged about every one of the JLA/JSA team up from 1966 onwards but then again he passed on Green Lantern/Green Arrow 87!”.” I’ve made a lot of boneheaded comics purchasing decisions in my time, Brian, but with the exception of JLA #82 (first half of the 1970 edition), I never missed a JLA-JSA shindig from 1966 on up. 😉

      Like

      • Brian Morrison · 4 Days Ago

        By that stage in my comic collecting career I had identified which shops in all the towns within a 10 mile radius of the farm that I was brought up on sold comics. Normally I got my comics in one of two shops in Banff on the Moray Firth coast where I went to school. If I had missed issues I would try to persuade my mum to go and do her shopping in one of the other towns which I know had shops which stocked comics. If I couldn’t persuade her then I would set out on my bike. You can imagine the disappointment when I arrived at the shops and found that none of them had any comics that I didn’t already have. Then I had to cycle all the way back home with nothing to show for my efforts. 😢 But there often was the elation of finding an issue I didn’t have. 😀
        I’ve made my share of bonehead comics purchasing decisions too. I never bought any issues of Kirby’s Demon, Kamandi or OMAC because I couldn’t get my head round his Fourth World Series. In the eighties I also passed on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen and his run on the Swamp Thing.
        Enjoy your holiday weekend and birthday.

        Liked by 1 person

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