Thursday, August 15, 2019

What If There Were Two Versions Of Batman

Dealing with the death of Batman.  Seems odd but true, hinted at in this issue of Detective Comics, but not something come about in the normal way.

Spoiling the secret hinted at on the cover....so, read on only if you dare!


The Strange Death Of Batman

In the main part of the story of Detective Comics #347 (January, 1966) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, the Dynamic Duo faced off against a new foe, the Bouncer.  The Bouncer was a criminal metallurgist, who created a suit out of a special combination including metal and plastics that he called Elastalloy, which allowed him to rebound off of any material.

The Bouncer was able to best Batman and Robin multiple times, before Batman had figured out a way to beat him, using science to stress the material of the villain's costume (and gun), which prevented them from bouncing, allowing Batman to be victorious against this baffling bad guy.


What If

Here's where readers are suddenly introduced to Gardner Fox, the man who had penned this very tale!


The writer of the tale takes you through his thought process for the issue, but then takes the reader along a different path...one where Batman's plan was not successful, with the Bouncer killing Batman with his gun. 

Robin mourns his mentor, with the Justice League promising the lad that they will bring in the villain, but Robin does it on his own anyway, instead of finding the elastic limit of Elastalloy, he gives it elastic fatigue.  Robin defeats the villain, but is still alone....until he hears the voice of Bruce Wayne! 

 
It is the Silver Age introduction Batman of Earth-2, who, since his Robin had grown up, came to Earth-1 to now be a mentor to young Robin, bringing along the Earth-2 Alfred as well (Alfred had been thought to be dead at this time).

Now, this was still early in the history of the multiple Earths, taking place between the 3rd and 4th JLA/JSA team-ups, and certainly before readers had been introduced to the grown up Earth-2 Robin...

....but, a real interesting little tale allowing Gardner Fox to quietly sneak a little of the DC Universe into Batman's Detective Comics.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

1990s Batman Trash

"Time to take out the trash"....

....might not have been a line Batman used when dealing with criminals, but it might have been for a special tale in a 1990s issue of Detective Comics.


Here's a little on that issue....and more!

Detective Comics 613

"Trash" from Detective Comics 613 (April, 1990) by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell was a story about...trash.


Following a family where the dad was head of waste disposal company, this being Gotham...

....the rival company was up to crooked shenanigans, that required Bruce Wayne to put on his Batman persona and costume to deal with the problem, in a issue that felt very inspired by the classic Will Eisner Spirit as well.


All this and Vicki Vale, Bruce's reporter girlfriend who was making a bit of a 1990s return as well!


DC Retroactive: Batman-The '90s 1 

The above story was reprinted in DC Retroactive: Batman - The '90s #1 (October, 2011) along with a new story by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle (featuring some of the very last work on Batman by Breyfogle before his untimely passing), with Batman facing Scarface and the Ventriloquist (a villain created by Grant and Breyfogle in the late 1980s), taking its cue from the above issue, and adding these odd villains to the mix in what could have been an issue done in the 1990s.

Basically, recycling something new from something old, and getting something good out of it in the process.

A good thing to do with trash.




Thursday, August 8, 2019

Flash Green Lantern Dr. Fate First Multiple Crisis

While the JLA and JSA team ups usually got more attention, that tradition began with the Flashes of two worlds, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, teaming up for a few times.

Then, they got comfortable, and brought in their friends, and those friends, like the Green Lanterns of two Earths, as well as JSAers Dr. Fate and Hourman as well as Starman and Black Canary, had team ups of their own....

Flash Of Two Worlds

This was the big one.  The first time Barry met Jay, in Flash #123 (September, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella (with Infantino and Murphy Anderson supplying the cover).

While helping Iris by putting on a show as the Flash at the Central City Community Center, Barry ends up on another Earth, that had subtle differences.  The big difference between Earths was that Jay Garrick had been the Flash in Keystone City, and had retired for a time.  But, with his old foes on the loose (Thinker, Fiddler and the Shade), Jay was coaxed back into action by Barry, and the two Flashes defeated the three villains, with Barry vibrating home at the end (and Jay watching, so he'd know how to do that trick.

This was the first appearance of the Flash (Jay Garrick), his wife (Joan Garrick) and the Fiddler, Thinker and the Shade since the Golden Age.

Double Danger On Earth

Next up for the two Flashes was Flash #129 (June, 1962) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, under another Infantino/Anderson cover.

This time around, Jay's Earth was menaced by a mysterious radiation coming from a comet that had crashed into the sun, with a meteorite in Arizona that was absorbing the radiation...but it vanished.  Jay figured out it went to Barry's Earth, and quickly went there for help, but encountered Captain Cold and Trickster (who were both robbing the same location).  So, Jay fought the villains, and quickly got help from Barry (as the Flash).  The villains decided to team up s well, but were promptly defeated, with the Flashes taking the meteor back to Jay's Earth to coat the atmosphere to protect it from the radiation.

The JSA's last case (or at least the one readers saw), All-Star Comics #57, was referenced in this issue, as was both Jay and Barry's origins, as well as Barry's copy of All-Star Comics #37 (the first appearance of the Injustice Society of the World).

Vengeance Of The Immortal Villain

Though mostly a team-up of Barry and Jay, the JSA returns in Flash #137 (June, 1963) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, under an incredible Infantino/Anderson cover.

Barry sees problems in cities that seem familiar.....the cities on his Earth that are having problems are the homes of JSA members (heroes from Jay's Earth).  A quick jump to that Earth finds trouble, as Jay suspects someone has captured the JSA.  The two start to leave Keystone City to investigate, when Jay is captured in a stasis cube.  Barry frees Jay from a stasis cube, and after being manipulated into fighting each other by Vandal Savage (the villain who captured the team), the two Flashes defeat the immortal villain, freeing the other Justice Society members,  who decide that they need to meet more regularly in the future.

This story has the first appearances of the JSA's Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Johnny Thunder and Wonder Woman, as well as Vandal Savage .


Invader From A Dark Dimension

This is the first solo team up of Barry and Jay, Flash #151 (March, 1965) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, under an Infantino/Anderson cover, since the JLA and JSA met.

Barry Allen faces a new menace, a black goop that Iris finds in a jewelry store (which keeps the Flash busy, and allows the store to be robbed).  Similar thefts keep happening all over Central City, while, on Earth-2, Jay finds his foe, the Shade, with plenty of money to burn.  The Shade was using his powers to rob on Earth-1, then take the loot to Earth-2, and the Shade traps Jay in darkness after Jay confronts him.  Barry covers himself in gold on Earth-1, so Shade takes him as "loot", and, inside the dark dimension Shade accesses, Barry defeats the Shade, using his cane to free Jay and return the stolen goods.

This is the first time Barry and Jay's Earths are referred to as Earth-1 and Earth-2 in a Flash comic book, after their being named in the first JLA/JSA team-up.  Jay appears here between the second and third JLA/JSA team-ups.


Solomon Grundy Goes On A Rampage

A team up of two JSAers happens in Showcase #55 (March-April, 1965) by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson (with cover by Anderson), as Dr. Fate and Hourman team-up to save the original Green Lantern from his foe, Solomon Grundy.

Solomon Grundy ends up back on Earth, after the globe Green Lantern (Alan Scott) created crashes to Earth thanks to striking a comet.  Grundy heads to home, Slaughter Swamp.  Dr. Fate has a mystic alarm go off, which puts him on Grundy's tale, as Hourman gets involved as his chemical plant is close to Slaughter Swamp.  Grundy fights the two, countering their magic and miraclo powers, escaping from them.  Grundy then faces Green Lantern, and beats him, taking the original emerald crusader back to Slaughter Swamp, changing him into a Grundy like monster.  Dr. Fate cures Green Lantern with his magic, and using their combined magical might, capture Grundy in a new sphere.

This issue recaps Solomon Grundy's origin and battle with the JSA from All-Star Comics #33 (as will as being his first appearance since the Golden Age), but how Grundy got back in that prison is recounted as part of the origin of the All-Star Squadron, and Grundy returns soon, in the fourth JLA/JSA meeting.  It is also the first appearance of Inza Nelson, Kent's wife (with their marriage being revealed first here; as she was just Inza Cramer when she worked with Dr. Fate in the Golden Age).

Perils Of The Psycho-Pirate

Next up is a story by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson (under a cover by Anderson) from Showcase #56 (May-June, 1965), with Dr. Fate and Hourman facing a new villain with a familiar name.

Archeologist Kent Nelson finds a set of Medusa Masks on a dig, and financier Rex Tyler finds his fiancee, Wendi Harris, fascinated by them (so much so she tries to steal them when displaying them at a party she held).  Roger Hayden manipulated her into doing that, as he planned on taking the masks to take over the identity of Psycho-Pirate.  Hayden was a cellmate of the original Psycho-Pirate (Charley Halstead), who taught him how to manipulate emotions and about the masks.  The new Psycho-Pirate sets Dr. Fate and Hourman against each other until they are able to defeat him.

This issue has the first Silver Age appearance of the original Psycho-Pirate, as well as the reporting of his death.  Dr. Fate appears here between the second and third JLA/JSA team-ups, and Hourman between the first and fifth.

Secret Origin Of The Guardians

Green Lantern #40 (October, 1965) is a big issue, revealing much of the origins of the DC Universe in this story by John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene, all under a great cover by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.

This story stars with a reunion of Alan Scott and Doiby Dickles at Gotham Broadcasting, with Alan having to ring-sling as Green Lantern to stop a meteor, which his ring seems to have no effect on, then to save Doiby from a falling tree, which oddly works as Alan's ring usually doesn't against wood.  Alan goes to show Hal his new trick....which now doesn't work.  Alan explains, with the help of his ring, that the comet was really an ancient Oan scientist named Krona, that ended up being freed from his prison by exposure to Alan's magical based ring.

Krona was an Oan scientist, long ago, who performed experiments trying to find the origins of the universe.  He succeeded slightly, seeing a "cosmic hand" of creation (but his activities were also destructive, causing evil to be unleashed in the universe, and later, more trouble like the creation of the Multiverse, according to the Crisis on Infinite Earths).  So, the Oans banished him in comet form (and eventually became the Guardians of the Universe, who formed the Green Lantern Corps).

Krona planned on doing more experiments, and was possessing Alan Scott's body (with Alan hiding in Hal's mind).  The two battled, with Hal winning (as he had secretly switching rings with Alan, exchanging a weakness for yellow for one for wood), allowing Hal to defeat Krona, with the Guardians of the Universe returning Krona to comet form, the Green Lanterns swapping rings back, and Alan heading back to Earth-2.

This issue is the first appearance of the "Cosmic Hand", hinting at the foundation of the DC Universe (and Multiverse, all revealed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths), as well as Krona's first appearance, and the first appearance of Doiby Dickles, Alan Green Lantern's Golden Age partner.  Green Lantern Alan Scott appears here after his appearance in the third JLA/JSA team-up, and appears next in another team-up with Green Lantern Hal Jordan.

Mastermind Of Menaces

Another focus on a team-up of two JSA members, Brave and the Bold #61 (August-September, 1965) by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson (under a stunning Anderson cover), sees the gathering of Starman and Black Canary!

Ted Knight (Starman) is visiting Park City, and drops by the florist shop that is owned by Dinah Drake Lance, the Black Canary.  Larry Lance knows there is a rash of robberies in the town, traceable back to Dinah's flower shop.  Investigating, Starman finds that his old foe, the intangible Mist is behind it, having hypnosis, but Starman has problems working his Cosmic Rod near the Mist's men (due to frequencies given off by Mist's hypnotic flowers).  Working together, Starman and Black Canary are able to defeat the Mist and his men.

This issue sees the Mist return from the Golden Age, as well as Larry Lance (a detective who was friends with Black Canary, and is now revealed to be her husband).  Black Canary and Starman were both last in the second JLA/JSA team-up, and appear next in the next issue of B&B (which is reprinted in the second volume of this Crisis collection).

The Hour Hourman Died

The last story in this collection is from Spectre #7 (November-December, 1968) by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, and is a back-up story featuring Hourman in a bit of a problem.

Returning to his HQ under Tyler Chemical Company from a JSA meeting, Hourman encounters Tricky Dick Arnold, a thief phasing through the door.  Taking a Miraclo pill for an hour of power, Hourman faces him, but the thief hits him with a beam from his Metalizer....which seems to kill Hourman!  Normally only working against metal (allowing Arnold to phase through items to thief), that unique radiation seem to spell doom for Hourman....except his Miraclo was keeping him alive for one last hour.  Tracking down the thief and analyzing the Metalizer, allowed Hourman to make an antidote before he faced his last hour.

Hourman appears here between the sixth and eighth JLA/JSA team ups.



All these stories are reprinted in the Crisis On Multiple Earths the Team-Ups Volume 1, with a cover by Jerry Ordway.

More JLA/JSA collections, including a second one of team-ups with team members will be forthcoming, as these meetings of members of teams from Earth-1 and Earth-2 foreshadow the Crisis On Infinite Earths.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

JSA vs. Solomon Grundy Hot

Wally Wood worked on the Justice Society of America title of All-Star Comics for a time in the 1970s (including the Star-Spangled Kid and Power Girl), and got a chance to put the team to work in the heat of Egypt.....

....with a battle against Solomon Grundy from the 1977 Super DC Calendar for August!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Origin Of The Justice League Minus One

Think the Justice League of America formed fighting against the threat of the Appellaxian meteors?   Think again!   Here is the story, as focused around the Martian Manhunter....and how the Justice League really formed, and had quite a few more potential members involved, as well as one less, as Superman and Green Lantern gave the facts to Green Arrow one day.....in Justice League of America #144 (July, 1977, and told by Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin).

The Origin Of The Justice League  -- Minus One

Martian Manhunter was the start of all this.  Brought to Earth by Dr. Erdel and his Robot-Brain in Detective Comics #225 (November, 1955), J'onn J'onzz had to hide in American society as detective John Jones, struggling to find a way to return home to Mars after his appearance startled Dr. Erdel to death.  Using his Martian abilities in secret, J'onn fought crime on Earth.

After destroying a cache of Martian weapons found on Earth (in Detective Comics #264 in February, 1959), J'onn was confronted by Commander Blanx, the white Martian who had sent J'onn into exile.

Narrowly escaping, J'onn was chased by Flash (Barry Allen), fresh from having confronted the Mirror Master (in Flash #105 from February-March, 1959).   J'onn and the other Martians escaped the Flash when confronted by paranoia from the residents of Middleton, who felt they were being invaded.

They were even suspicious of new hero, Flash, so he went to Metropolis to attract the attention of someone everyone would trust....Superman.  Superman did indeed show up (from Action Comics #249 of February, 1959), with Batman and Robin in tow (these three already a team), but, they also attracted the attention of Roy Raymond, TV Detective, who advertised for more heroes to come....and boy did they!  All the heroes (plus Daily Planet reporters Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen) split up to cover three different reports of alien invaders.

Team One

The first team was composed of:

the Blackhawks (Blackhawk, Andre, Chuck, Olaf, Hendrickson, Stanislaus and Chop-Chop), international ace aviators who had fought in World War II, but now were professional adventurers.  Their Earth-1 adventures started in  Blackhawk #108 (January, 1957),  where they fought foes like Killer Shark and the War Wheel, were aided by Lady Blackhawk, and they had last appeared in Blackhawk #133 (February, 1959).

Plastic Man, the stretchable sleuth, had had a few variations across the cosmos, but this was the first appearance of this version, the Earth-1 Plastic Man, who would appear next (in what was chronologically his first appearance in Brave & the Bold #95 of April-May, 1971), and later in issues #11-20 of his own title, and a run in Adventure Comics.

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, or at least the Earth-1 version of the reporter who first appeared in Superman #91 (August, 1954), rounded out the team (with Jimmy coming fresh from Action Comics #249 of February, 1959), and even had his own title, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, that lasted 163 issues from September-October, 1954 to February-March, 1974.

The heroes faced off against a mysterious man in a cabin, who disappeared from that house, even though it was surrounded by the heroes.....and where (and when) he went to was revealed as he first appeared a little later, in Showcase #20 (May-June, 1959), and you can figure out who he is by going here!

Team Two

The second team was made up of:

Congo Bill first appeared in More Fun Comics #56 (June, 1940) as a big game hunter, but added a magic ring that allowed him to exchange minds with the golden gorilla, Congorilla, in Action Comics #248 (January, 1959), and the two last appeared in Action Comics #249 (February, 1959).

The Challengers of the Unknown (pilot Ace Morgan, acrobat Red Ryan, boxer Rocky Davis and scuba diver Prof. Haley), who were men living on borrowed time since Showcase #6 (January-February, 1957), when the group survived a plane crash together while headed for a TV Show appearance.  They remained together to fight odd menaces like Ultivac, as well as alien invasions, adding June Robbins as a member, with the team last in Challengers of the Unknown #6 (February-March, 1959).

Vigilante has a bit of a confusing history, looking just like his Earth-2 version, but this Vigilante first appeared in Justice League of America #78 (February, 1970), so this is a chronologically earlier appearance of the western warrior, who uses six-guns, motorcycles and lassos to hunt modern criminals.

Robotman is even more confusing, having started out on Earth-2 in Star-Spangled Comics #7 (April, 1942), having his human brain transferred out of his dying body into the robot form, later retroactively appearing in World War II group All-Star Squadron as a member, he must have left Earth-2 for Earth-1 sometime after Detective Comics #202 (December, 1953), his last Golden Age appearance.

Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane rounded out this group, having first appeared (as an Earth-1 version) in Superman #46 (May-June, 1947), and Lois used her reporter's savvy well here (having last appeared in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #56 (April, 1965, a flashback story itself), and Lois' title lasted 137 issues from March-April, 1958 to September-October, 1974.

This batch faced a flying menace in the woods, who was chased by all the heroes, except Lois, who figured out the mysterious figure was trying to get them to leave and area, but, that spaceman did disappear after being hit by an energy beam (and he explained it to his girlfriend, as these two were appearing between Showcase #18 and #19 of 1959; he later helped Superman save Lois and Earth, as explained here).

Team Three

The third team was made up of the future charter members of the Justice League of America:

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman (coming from Wonder Woman #104 of February, 1959), Aquaman (last in Adventure Comics #256 of January, 1959), and the Flash!


These heroes ended up out on the west coast, in Coast City.


There were a few others investigating this with them as well...


Batman's partner, Robin (who first appeared as an Earth-1 version in Superman #76 from May-June, 1952, and was last in Detective Comics #264 from February, 1959 with Batman).


Roy Raymond, TV Detective, who was the host of the Impossible But True TV show, and premiered in  Detective Comics #153 (November, 1949), but appeared here along with his assistant, Karen Duncan, fresh from Detective Comics #264 (February, 1959) and getting the scoop for his viewers.

Rex the Wonder Dog was the last of this group, with this intelligent canine having premiered in the  Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #1 (January-February, 1952), where Rex was trained as a part of the K-9 Army Dog Training Corps.  Rex and the Dennis family would help people who needed it (though none of the Dennis' appeared here).  Rex had appeared in the Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #43 (January-February, 1959).

These heroes did work together safely, after finding the captive Martian Manhunter and defeating Commander Blanx and his Martians at the Ferris Aircraft facility (where the activities of the aliens were reported by test pilot, Hal Jordan).  Deciding it was still a little too soon for these heroes to gather as a team, as people were still a little too paranoid, they waited a few months (to when Earth was being invaded again) to band together and form the JLA (along with new hero, Green Lantern, who, unbeknownst to the heroes at the time, was test pilot Hal Jordan!).

Green Arrow had not been present (and joined the JLA later), as he and his ward, Speedy, had just solved a case on the island that created the Green Arrow (as revealed in Adventure Comics #256 of January, 1959) and had stayed for a little vacation, missing out on the invasions)...

...and Green Arrow was sad to have missed the original JLA meeting (As well as the time they formed again facing the Appellaxians), and the recent brief return to Earth for a bit of the Martian Manhunter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Superman Times Two Plus One

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  That's true wherever you might go, even across the reaches of the DC Multiverse.

Not sure about that?  Well, here's a look at that philosophy in action, with DC Comics Presents Annual #1 (September, 1982), by Marv Wolfman, Rich Buckler and Dave Hunt, all under a cover by Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano.

Crisis On Three Earths

It all stars with a battle between Superman and Luthor, as Lois watches.  But, it plays out a little differently depending on which Earth you live on.

On Earth-1, reporter Clark Kent has to avoid Lois Lane to go and fight bald Lex Luthor as the JLA's Superman, saving the Daily Planet (a subsidiary of WGBS Communications) from his attack.

On Earth-2, editor Clark Kent gets help from Lois Kent to go and fight red haired Alexei Luthor as the JSA's Superman, saving the Daily Star from the extreme attack.


Still, the Luthors end up captured and in jail, with the Supermen victorious, and Metropolis safe.

But, a new twist...in jail, the Earth-1 Luthor plans his escape, by switching places with the Earth-2 Luthor....leading to each Luthor taking on the other's Superman...with similar results, and the two Superman deciding to imprison the two Luthors in the Limbo dimension between worlds.


Still, the Earth-1 Luthor was ready....and using equipment in his green and purple suit, take the two to a third Earth, Earth-3, which has its own version of Superman... Ultraman.  But, this is no hero, he's a member of the evil Crime Syndicate of America, and is powered by Kryptonite.

The three villains go off to make plans, observed by this Earth's Lois Lane.  This Lois goes to warn Earth-3's Alexander Luthor....who calls in the two Supermen for aid, and, spurred on by Lois, puts on a super suit of his own, to finally give Earth-3 its first hero.

Meanwhile, the villains have continued their plan, albeit working against each other as much as together.  While the Earth-1 Luthor was looking to conquer the world, the Earth-2 Luthor planned on destroying Earth-1 and Earth-2 (while Ultraman was to betray them both).

Still, the heroes united battle their foes, with Alexander taking out Ultraman while Superman-2 takes down both Luthors, and the Superman-1 prevents the two Earths from merging into the same space.

The villains defeated, the heroes each end up dealing with their own version of Lois, with slightly different results.

All the while, awaiting an approaching bigger Crisis On Infinite Earths..... 




Thursday, July 25, 2019

JLA JSA First Multiple Crisis

There shall come a Crisis.  Worlds will live, worlds will die.

But, long before the Crisis On Infinite Earths happened, the Justice League of America and Justice Society of America were dealing with a Crisis every year.

Let's take a look back, and see how these started....with the return of the JSA!

Crisis On Earth-One

It really started with Flash (Barry Allen) who found Flash (Jay Garrick), and after a few team-ups, the JSA.  The JLA and JSA first met in Justice League Of America #21 (August, 1963) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson, and summers were never the same!

This story was where the JLA's Earth (Earth-1) and JSA's Earth (Earth-2) were named, making this the start of the DC Multiverse.  The Crime Champions (villains from Earth-1 and Earth-2) gathered as the Earth-2 villains escaped to Earth-1, then the villains came up with the idea to rob from their own world, and spend their cash on the other Earth.   To prevent the heroes from catching onto their scheme, they imprisoned the Flashes of Two Worlds (Barry Allen and Jay Garrick), who had first traversed the Earths. 

But, the Earth-2 villains got greedy, and faced the JLA (minus Barry) disguised as the Earth-1 villains, magically trapping them in the JLA's Secret Sanctuary.  Using Merlin's Crystal Ball that they had from a previous adventure, they contacted their Flash, who then instructed the JLA how to contact the JSA, whom they teleport to Earth-1 to go face their villains, while the JLA goes to Earth-2 to stop theirs (with Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Alan Scott going between Earths to rescue the Flashes).

Crisis On Earth-Two

Picking up from where the last issue left off, Justice League Of America #22 (September, 1963) under a cover by Murphy Anderson, and story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, the Green Lanterns were searching for the Flashes, while the JLA and JSA were to take down the Crime Champions.

Hourman and the Atom stopped the Fiddler, Dr. Fate defeated Icicle, and Hawkman and Black Canary beat the Wizard on Earth-1, while Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and the Atom stopped Felix Faust, Batman and Wonder Woman beat Dr. Alchemy and Superman and Aquaman defeated Chronos on Earth-2.  But, as the Green Lanterns were freeing the Flashes, a spell placed by Felix Faust and the Wizard trapped both teams of heroes in cages in space designed to neutralize their powers.  Still, working together, the heroes escaped, and came back to Earth to beat the combined Crime Champions. 

These two issues started an annual tradition of JLA/JSA team-ups, and was the first Silver Age appearances of Dr. Fate, Hourman, Black Canary, the Wizard and the Icicle.

 

Crisis On Earth-Three

The first pairing of the JLA and JSA proved so popular, that with Justice League Of America #29 (August, 1964) it began again, with this story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson, introducing the teams (and readers) to the menace of Earth-Three!

Adding an "evil" Earth to the Multiverse, the Crime Syndicate of America was comprised of villain versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern called Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring.  These villains defeat the JLA members via trickery (using a magic word to imprison their opponents in the JLA's Secret Sanctuary), and with Aquaman and Martian Manhunter otherwise occupied, the Crime Syndicate goes to Earth-2 to face the JSA (with the JLA having warned them of the villains plans).


The Most Dangerous Of All

Justice League Of America #30 (September, 1964) picks up where the last issue left off, with the JLA  trapped and JSA in trouble with the Crime Syndicate Of America, as shown on the cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson, and story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

The JSA (composed of Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Starman and Black Canary) take on the five members of the Crime Syndicate, but, a new wrinkle of the villain team, that of the heroes disappearing to Earth-3 when they claimed victory over the villains.  The Crime Syndicate decide to directly face their Earth-1 dopplegangers, and the JLA beat the CSA, by helping to increase their powers, which makes the CSA defeat themselves by not being able to control their powers.  The JLA and JSA trap the villains between worlds, ending their menace.

This pair of stories was the first Silver Age appearance of Starman.

Earth--Without A Justice League

Time to slow things down, and look at Earth-2's Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, returning to the fold, and introducing an Earth-1 Johnny Thunder, who causes trouble in Justice League Of America #37 (August, 1965) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.

Say, you'd think the JSA's Johnny Thunder would be smart enough NOT to summon his magical Thunderbolt, find the Earth-1 version of Johnny Thunder (who was evil), then lose control of his magical T-Bolt to the villain, wouldn't you?   You'd be wrong, as JSA Johnny did.  The evil Johnny then used the Thunderbolt to commit crimes, and, to stop the JLA from interfering, send the T-Bolt back in time to stop the origins of Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern and Atom, creating an alternate Earth (not a parallel world) called Earth-A. 

The JSAers (Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Atom, Hawkman and Mr. Terrific) go looking for their missing Johnny Thunder on Earth-1, find out all that has happened, and try to stop the Earth-1 Johnny disguised as JLAers (Flash, Green Lantern, Superman, Atom, Martian Manhunter and Batman), but fail, with the evil Johnny sending his gang back in time to take the place of the JLA which didn't happen, making his gang into the Lawless League.

Crisis On Earth-A

Earth-1's Johnny Thunder has made quite the mess by making Earth-A, home of the Lawless League, who feature in Justice League Of America #38 (September, 1965) under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson, with story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

The JSA quickly defeat Ripper Jones as Superman, Bill Gore as Batman, Eddie Orson as Martian Manhunter, Race Morrison as Flash, Monk Loomis as Green Lantern and Barney Judson as the Atom, because the thugs didn't get any experience with their powers.  Evil Johnny creates new villains, Medusa-Man, Absorbo-Man and Repello-Man, which do defeat the JSA except for Dr. Fate, who, after beating them, takes on Johnny's Thunderbolt, with the evil Johnny giving the Thunderbolt one last command...to undo all he had done, returning everything to the way it was before he met his double.  Then, only the Thunderbolt remembered this adventure....maybe.

This batch of stories marked the first Silver Age appearance of Mr. Terrific and Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt.

Crisis Between Earth-One And Earth-Two

Batman features on the cover to Justice League Of America #46 (August, 1966) by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella (due to the Batman TV show), and even in the story by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene.

The two Earths were having multiple menaces this time....with people mysteriously transferring from one Earth to another, while the Anti-Matter Man headed towards the two Earths, now being drawn together.  Solomon Grundy was sent to Earth-1, where he faced the JLA's Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman with the JSA's Black Canary and Dr. Mid-Nite.  On Earth-2, the Earth-1 Batman worked with Dr. Fate, Sandman (returning in his original costume) and Wildcat to stop Blockbuster.  The Spectre became aware of the Anti-Matter Man's approach and went to stand between the Earths to try to hold them apart....while, on Earth-1, Ray Palmer (the Atom) was unable to help as his size-control unit on his suit would not function.

The Bridge Between Earths

Holy crossover, Batman.  Batman continues to be a big part of this issue, Justice League Of America #47 (September, 1966), by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene, under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella.

The Atom is finally able to get involved after he finds the problem with his suit...a space warp machine created by his assistant, Enrichetta Negrini.  That machine was also causing the transference between Earths, so stopping it exchanges Solomon Grundy with Blockbuster.  Dr. Fate finds out about Spectre's problems, and brings the heroes to him to help against the Anti-Matter Man while Atom and Spectre find a way to restore the Earths to their proper location.  Meanwhile, Green Lantern kept Grundy and Blockbuster busy by having them fight each other!

This is Sandman's first Silver Age appearance, but fellow charter JSA member Spectre and later inductee Wildcat only are a part of their first JLA/JSA team-up, having returned in Showcase and Brave and the Bold just before this meeting.



This seems a natural spot to end the summaries of the JLA/JSA team-ups, as this is where the Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume 1 ended (with a wonderful painted cover by Alex Ross).

But, there were more Crises for the teams to face, as there were more volumes in this series of reprints!