Thursday, July 2, 2015

Seven Soldiers of Victory In Leading Comics

If you've followed this blog, you might remember a little about the Seven Soldiers of Victory's members, the Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante, The Shining Knight, the Star Spangled Kid, Stripsey, the Crimson Avenger and Wing (and yes, that was 8 members, but hey...what's one extra between friends?).

See, when they started in Leading Comics #1 (Winter, 1941-1942, overall story by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin, with chapters by Jerry Siegel, John Lehti, George Papp, Hal Sherman and Craig Flessel), there WERE eight members...the Law's Legionnaires included their sidekicks!

Leading Comics #1 

This bunch of heroes gathered in Leading Comics #1's "Blueprint For Crime" to fight the Hand, a criminal who thought he was dying, and gathered the greatest villains of the time (or at least those he had access to)...

…Green Arrow’s foe, Professor Merlin from More Fun Comics #75…Star-Spangled Kid’s adversary, the Needle, who first appeared in Star-Spangled Comics #4…Red Dragon, who fought the Shining Knight in Adventure Comics #69…and a few new villains, Big Caesar to fight Crimson Avenger and the Dummy to face the Vigilante; these were to be his “fingers of crime”…

...and the team continued to fight on!

Leading Comics #2 to #4

For 14 issues of Leading Comics (up until Spring, 1945), the 7 Soldiers fought many menaces, including criminal master mind Black Star in Leading Comics #2 (Spring, 1945, by writers Mort Weisinger and Bill Finger, and artists Mort Meskin, Craig Flessel, Harold Sherman, George Papp and John Lehti) who led small-time crooks False Face, Captain Bigg, Hopper, the Brain and the Rattler against the team; time traveling Dr. Wilfred Doome in Leading Comics #3 (Summer, 1942 by unknown writers, but art by Mort Meskin, Craig Flessel, Harold Sherman, George Papp and John Lehti and the story being adapted in All-Star Squadron #29); the Sixth Sense (aka Dr. Brett) in Leading Comics #4 (Fall, 1942, by Bill Finger and Ed Dobrotka and the story being adapted in All-Star Squadron #56).

Leading Comics #5 to #8

Master manipulator the Skull in Leading Comics #5 (Winter, 1942, with art by Ed Dobrotka and no identified writer); the treasure hunting Copperhead (Scrivener) in Leading Comics #6 (Spring, 1943, by writer Joe Samachson and artist Maurice Del Bourgo) and a new wrinkle of the heroes working in teams in individual chapters; the Wizards of Stanovia fighting to keep a country free in Leading Comics #7 (Summer, 1943 by Joe Samachson and Pierre Rice); the Dummy returns (after facing Vigilante alone in Action Comics) to send the team through time in Leading Comics #8 (Fall, 1943, by Joe Samachson and artists Jon Small and Maurice Del Bourgo).

Leading Comics #9 to #14

Mr. X bets with other villains like Red Heister, Dopo the Dip, Blackie Kraul and Lazy Dyers that he can defeat the Law's Legionaries in Leading Comics #9 (Winter, 1943, by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve); getting shipwrecked on an island and switching partners to face Baby-Face Johnson in Leading Comics #10 (Spring, 1944 by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve); deal with where the winds take the hat of Handsome Harry in Leading Comics #11 (Summer, 1944 by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve); working to get money for a charity from millionaire Weldon Darrel in Leading Comics #12 (Fall, 1944 by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve); facing crime trophy collector Barracuda who was filling his Museum of Crime in Leading Comics #13 (Winter 1944 by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve)...

...and taking on fictional characters (like Long John Silver) freed from their books in Leading Comics #14 (Spring, 1945, by Joe Samachson and Arthur Cazeneuve, the last of the Golden Age adventures of the Seven Soldiers); getting aid from Vigilante’s partners, Billy Gunn (first in Action Comics #43, December, 1941) and Stuff the Chinatown Kid (Jimmy Leong, premiering in Action Comics #45, February, 1942) and the Shining Knight’s flying horse, Winged Victory!

No Longer Leading!

Then, the team disappeared….at least, for the world to see. Crimson Avenger and Wing had lost their spot in Detective Comics, but the other members still had individual adventures (and, one last Seven Soldiers story saw print in the mid-1970s in Adventure Comics, from Adventure Comics #438-443), using a script from Joe Samachson, who wrote most of the team’s last Leading Comics stories, with art by Dick Dillin on the whole team, Howard Chaykin on Shining Knight, Lee Elias drawing Green Arrow & Speedy, Mike Grell working on Crimson Avenger & Wing, Ernie Chan doing Star-Spangled Kid & Stripsey, and Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez rendering the Vigilante, all during their magical battles with Willie Wisher…and, oddly enough, this is the only Seven Soldiers story pre-1980s that has NOT be reprinted, as DC has gathered the 14 issues of Leading Comics in three Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives.

In the real world, the team resurfaced in Justice League of America #76 (November-December 1969), but only as a drawing by Murphy Anderson, and a text page, detailing the members. Still, the characters made a return in Justice League of America #100-102 (1972, by Len Wein and Dick Dillin), where the Hand (now, the Iron Hand) had made a deal to restore the Nebula Man, who the Seven Soldiers stopped in an untold tale of the 1950s…with a loss of one of their own, and the rest being scattered in time, to be rescued by the members of the Justice League of America and Justice Society of America (this story collected in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #11 in 1981 and in Crisis on Multiple Earths #3 in 2004.

It was the Crisis on Infinite Earths that messed up the Law’s Legionnaires taking out Green Arrow and Speedy’s World War II tales (which we saw a little more of in All-Star Squadron) and, eventually having them replaced by the Squire, an English youth that befriended the Shining Knight in Roy Thomas Young All-Stars (who would be a Knight of his own, who first appeared as the Knight in Batman #62, December, 1950)..

...the aforementioned Billy Gunn and Stuff, as well as archer Alias the Spider (Thomas Ludlow Hallaway, first in Crack Comics #1 in May 1940) in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 (April, 2000) by Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins, and explosive heroes TNT (Thomas N. “Tex” Thomas”) and Dan the Dyna-Mite (Dan Dunbar, both first in World’s Finest Comics #5, Spring, 1942) by Len Wein & J.H. Williams in DCU: Legacies #2 (August 2010)

This was not the end of the Seven Soldiers of Victory...

...but it is the end of our coverage for now!


No comments:

Post a Comment