It’s a two-fer this time around. Firstly a quick look at DC-17 , the first Justice League Super-Spectacular, from around the time of my tenth birthday. Inexplicably, and maddeningly, this is one I didn’t bring up from Glasgow with me. It’s also one that I probably bought at a comic mart, sometime in the late 80s. Editor Bridwell had trailed this one for months, because of the scarcity of Justice Society reprints.
Drones of the Queen Bee: an example of the sci-fantasy quest formula used a shade monotonously by Fox and Sekowksy in the early JLA. Zazzala is a glamorous and yet somehow icky villainess, obsessed with immortality, like many DC baddies. This original iteration made a reappearance in the charming Super Friends series a year or two ago.
Injustice Society of the World: considering I’d waited some fifteen years or so to see them, I was unimpressed when I finally read the debut of the Wizard’s evil mirror-image society. The Gambler and the Thinker are particularly low-key antagonists in Bob Kanigher’s epic and the plot to replace key figures with literal men of straw is silly. Fortunately, the second Injustice Society are a bit more exciting. Amusingly, The Wizard is eventually apprehended by fictional versions of the Junior Justice Society fanclub- a bit like Dr. Doom being corralled by the Friends of Ol’ Marvel.
The Magnesium Formula: an utterly forgettable Craig Flessel antique. This story features the gasmask/ slouch hat Wes Dodds. I prefer the Simon/Kirby Sandman as seen last time.
Card Crimes of the Royal Flush Gang: I have a soft spot for this band of crooks. They’ve been used very effectively in the Johnny DC line (especially in Batman Beyond) and were fleshed out memorably by Gerry Conway in a JLA 3-parter in the early 80s. Unfortunately, here they appear in a heavily edited slice of mid-Sixties camp. Prophetically, Edd Kookie Byrnes stand-in Snapper Carr dons a joker costume, prefiguring the villain who later tricks him into betrayng the League.
I bought the second issue of Secret Origins earlier this year on ebay, having only seen the vibrant yellow cover once before, when the late Pete Root sold back issues in the back of Forbidden Planet Glasgow.
There are two Gil Kane stories in this issue and I had read both before: the GL tale in a b/w Australia reprint in the late 70s. Apart from a brief spell under Wolfman and later then with Englehart, I have rarely read any Green Lantern comics and was baffled by the cosmic cop’s prominence in recent years. Similarly, I’ve groused before at how boring the Atom’s adventures were- aside from the Time Pool stories- even though they were graced with Kane dynamics.
So it’s the Supergirl debut that I favour in this issue. The sunny, helpful personality of the Girl of Steel makes her appear bland when contrasted with her spikey, Marvelized E-2 counterpart Power Girl. However, I wish Conway had added her, hot pants and all, to the Satellite League because the only memorable thing she got to do in 25 years was die in the Crisis, dressed as Olivia Newton John.
Next time: I Sustain the Wings
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