Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Immortal Foe Of The Challengers, Multi-Man

The Challengers of the Unknown were four extraordinary men who survived a near death experience, then promised to use their skills (and now borrowed time) to help others.

So, it would make sense that there most dastardly villain, Multi-Man, would be a man who was looking out for himself, gaining powers, but losing the fear of death....becoming an immortal!

The Man Who Conquered The Challengers

It all began in Challengers of the Unknown #14 (June-July, 1960) by Ed Herron and Bob Brown, when we met archeologist assistant, Duncan Pramble.

To be fair, it started a little earlier than that, as the Challengers were helping archeologist Dr. Charles Ferriss to find an immortality elixir created  by ancient alchemists on a small island.

Pramble wanted immortality for himself, and found and drank the elixir.  This "liquid light" gave him powers...and the ability to gain new powers after facing fatal events (translate: dying).

Pramble had made himself immortal!).  Pramble started with energy powers, then, after dying twice (and being reborn with new powers each time, first aquatic powers, then aviatory), the Challengers finally capture the villain they have dubbed Multi-Man alive, and have him imprisoned (for though the antidote takes his powers away, it does not remove his ability to be resurrected).

The Return Of Multi-Man

Of course, Multi-Man returns, rather quickly, in Challengers of the Unknown #15 (August-September, 1960) in an issue likely still written by Ed Herron, with art by Bob Brown.

Getting help from a man named Gurk who smuggled explosives into his cell, Multi-Man escapes with a blast, with new powers of strength and invulnerability (which allow him to temporarily defeat the Challengers).

Meeting up with Gurk, the two go to look for a Golden Turtle (an artifact that leads its possessor to a treasure trove in South America).  The Challengers douse Multi-Man with the antidote again, but Pramble gets a native to kill him with a spear, returning to life with increased brain power (and the bald, diminutive look that becomes his signature look).

The Challengers are able to defeat him and Gurk, but Pramble is now stuck in this form, being too smart for his own good.

Multi-Man Strikes Again

No prison can hold the Multi-Man, as he escapes yet again in Challengers of the Unknown #20 (June-July, 1961) by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown, using simple materials found in his cell (as June Robbins, an addition to the Challengers team reports to Prof and Red).

Multi-Man breaks into a rocket plant, making off with the payroll, as well as building himself a flying device which allows him to escape Rocky and Ace.

The team eventually reunites to battle Multi-Man and the new gadgets he's invented (which approximate other powers he has had, like taking oxygen directly from water and projecting energy beams), all to help him get the pieces that will allow him to create an ultimate machine for himself.

The five Challengers are able to stop him before he finishes, vowing to put him away in an escape proof cell.

Multi-Man, Master Of Earth

That escape proof cell only worked for a short time, as Multi-Man was back to being a menace on the loose in Challengers of the Unknown #24 (February-March, 1962), likely written by Arnold Drake, with art by Bob Brown.

This time around, Multi-Man has isolated the Element of Change in the formula which changed him, allowing him to take it, and manifest new powers...

...such as an energy form and a sponge form (then a combination of the two), all as he battles the Challengers on Owapu Island.

Multi-Man is building an energy device which he plans to use to take over the world, but, the Challengers defeat him with a new antidote Prof has made.  But, instead of dying this time, Multi-Man only gets a bump on the head, trapping him in a new prison, his own mind, as he now seems to have amnesia.

Multi-Man...Villain Turned Hero

Multi-Man is wondering who he is, as we wonder who the writer of Challengers of the Unknown #30 (February-March, 1963) is (likely Arnold Drake), with art by Bob Brown.

This time around, the Challengers work with Multi-Man, who has no knowledge of his past criminal life, but still possesses his super smarts.  The team and Multi-Man work to stop the no longer dormant Okaluna Volcano, activated by a meteor.

The group successfully plugs the volcano with the meteor, but an electric shock that Multi-Man receives, revives his criminal memories.  Pretending to still be afflicted, Multi-Man remains with the team as a rash of chemical thefts plague the area.

It was Multi-Man, gathering the chemicals he needed to create a new ultimate form for himself that allows him to manipulate the spaces between his molecules.  This allows him to capture the Prof (to prevent him from creating another antidote).  Still, Prof is sneaky, and finds a way to send smoke signals to Ace, which allows him to create the antidote, stopping Multi-Man again.

Multi-Woman, Queen Of Disaster

They might as put a revolving door on that prison, as Multi-Man gets loose again in Challengers of the Unknown #34 (October-November, 1963), in this tale by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown.

This time around, Multi-Man creates a magnetic device with which he threatens the United Nations....all to get them to give him his own criminal country.

But, even if they follow his demands, he worries he will be lonely, so he creates himself a giant robot female companion (oh, the innocence of the Silver Age), along with making a new liquid light formula to give himself a new giant form which he feels will be worthy of his giant Multi-Woman.

The Challengers battle Multi-Man and Multi-Woman (and she exhibits powers similar to those Multi-Man had previously, all made mechanically, of course).  The team does douse him in the antidote, shrinking him to his previous, big brain size....which repulses the giant woman....but, now how to stop her?
The Challengers get help from Multi-Man, who creates a vibratory device hidden in a gem.  Multi-Woman picks up the faux diamond (even a robot woman thinks diamonds are a girl's best friend), and the heroes use it to vibrate her to pieces!  In all the confusion....Multi-Man escapes, ready to plot new evil.

The Spy In Challenger Cave

It took a little time for Multi-Man to have a new plan, but he finally put it into motion in Challengers of the Unknown #40 (October-November, 1964) by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown.

This time around starts with the Challengers stopping Mr. Voodoo from stealing from an art gallery...

....only the Challengers don't know that he was really Multi-Man, using the theft as a feint to sneak a robot spider aboard the Challengers' plane, so it can transmit plans of Challenger Mountain back to Multi-Man.  With the layout of their headquarters (provided in a diagram in the issue), Multi-Man plans a new attack on the team in an insect form, using that new form to lead a group of robot bees against the least until Prof distracts him by releasing a tse-tse fly, which sends him into a panic, setting the robot bees on each other without Multi-Man control, and allowing the team to capture him again....with the last of Multi-Man's solo battles with the Challengers for a while.

Multi-Man does return to face the Challengers again, this time with other foes like Kra, the Volcano Man and Drabny (with the team getting coverage in a later article, as they each have their own story), the team appears in Challengers of the Unknown #42, #45, #48, #55, #60 and #61, as well as Doom Patrol #102) in the aptly titled League of Challenger-Haters.  Multi-Man returns with a new team, the Injustice League, this time working with Major Disaster, Clock King, Cluemaster and Big Sir, starting off they team-ups during the Invasion! crossover in Justice League International #23 (January, 1989), facing the JLI not the Challengers (but the Challengers were in existence before the JLA), he works with these people, even when in prison during Joker's Last Laugh (and, during that, Joker needs a specific power from Multi-Man, so has to kill him again and again to get him to that power)..

Between those times of working with teams, Multi-Man  returns on his own, in Super-Team Family #10 (April-May, 1977), and in Challengers of The Unknown #81 and #84 of 1977, creating his usual brand of menace after escaping the Challengers again... ...even with a little resurrection at the end as he faced the team, along with their new allies of Deadman and Swamp Thing, then a one issue battle against Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman #257 in July, 1979.

A good enough place to mention that this blog is participating in the Super Blog Team-Up, which is part of the reason that Multi-Man was an immortal villain!

Here are a few others that are participating, and hope you enjoy them as much as you did checking out what has been written here!  Check hashtag #SuperBlogTeamUp or #SBTU or below....

(all links should be live soon, keep checking back).

Comic Reviews By Walt: TMNT and Highlander

The Superhero Satellite: Super-Blog Team-Up Presents IMMORTAL: Peter Loves Mary Jane

Between The Pages Blog: Big Finish: Doctor Who’s Finest Regeneration

DC In the 80s: The Second Life Of A Bug

Black, White and Bronze: What Price Immortality? A Review of Red Nails 

Comics Comics Comics Blog: The Immortal Dr. Fate 

Chris Is On Infinite Earths: Podcast Episode - Resurrection Man 1997 & 2011 

In My Not So Humble Opinion : It Came from the 1990s: Ivar theTimewalker

Vic Sage of Pop Culture Retrorama: I Am Legend

The Source Material Comics Podcast: Vampirella “Roses For The Dead”

Radulich Broadcasting Network: TV PARTY TONIGHT - Jupiter Ascending commentary

Thursday, August 22, 2019

JLA JSA Second Multiple Crisis

The DC Universe will never be the same!

Part of the advertising for the original Crisis On Infinite Earths, but could just as easily apply to the JLA/JSA team-ups that were an inspiration for DC's Crisis.

Time for a second look back at the team-ups of the Justice League and Justice Society, and all the varied Crises that brought them together.

The Super-Crisis That Struck Earth-Two

Another Crisis, and time for another JLA/JSA team up in Justice League of America #55 (August, 1967) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene (all under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson), highlighting the newest addition to the JSA (sporting a new, Batman inspired costume)....the grown up Dick Grayson....Robin, the ex-Boy Wonder, taking over for a retiring Batman!

Four criminals on Earth-2 were suddenly found by Black Spheres and granted incredible powers, enough for them to be menaces to be handled by the Justice Society of America.  Robin and Wildcat faced the Smashing Sportsman (Marty Baxter), Wonder Woman fought Gem Girl (Claire Morton), Hawkman and Mr. Terrific battled the Money Master (Horace Rowland) and Hourman faced How Chu the Chinese Bandit....but all the JSAers lost.  Johnny Thunder showed up and sent his Thunderbolt against them, who also failed.  He then had the T-Bolt bring 4 JLAers into the fight....and they also failed.  The Thunderbolt was able to explain (after Johnny asked) that the Black Spheres were ultra evolved lifeforms from another dimension, who ended up here to escape their dying universe....and grafted onto these four humans.  But, how would the combined JLA and JSA members defeat their foes?

The Negative-Crisis On Earths One-Two

It was in the second half of the fifth JLA/JSA team-up where the teams figured out how to beat the Black Spheres in Justice League of America #56 (September, 1967) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene, under a stunner of a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

The Thunderbolt gathered the remaining energies of the Black Spheres and put them in the JLA's Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and JSA's Wonder Woman and Hourman, but....while giving them the power to fight the other villains, also turned them evil.  The others JSAers along with the JLA's Superman and Green Arrow, had to fight their possessed friends, as well as the other villains, eventually defeating them.

This set of stories was the JLA debut of the Earth-2 Wonder Woman, as well as the first appearance of the Earth-2 Robin in the Silver Age, with Hourman coming fresh off his Showcase appearances with Dr. Fate.  This was also the last JLA/JSA story illustrated by Mike Sekowsky.

The Stormy Return Of The Red Tornado

A whirlwind of a story, so busy that the JLA really didn't appear in Justice League of America #64 (August, 1968) by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene (with Dick Dillin and Jack Abel supplying the cover with the "return" of the Red Tornado).

To be fair, this wasn't a return of the original Red Tornado, but an android (with no face under his mask) with wind based powers who wanted to join the JSA.  Black Canary, Starman, Hourman, Dr. Fate and the Flash (Jay Garrick) deal with the Red Tornado, and take him along to face attacking faceless androids, which the heroes drive off, but with all but Dr. Fate thrown into a coma. Calling in the JSA's Atom, Sandman, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite and Hawkman, who are defeated by a program triggered in the Red Tornado by one of the faceless android's weapons.  The villain behind this is revealed as T. O. Morrow...who had previously faced Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), who was doing all this to defeat the Justice League.

T. O. Morrow Kills The Justice League -- Today

The pay off of T. O. Morrow's plan unfolds in Justice League of America #65 (September, 1968) by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene (under a Dick Dillin and Joe Giella cover).

Energy duplicates of Steve Trevor, Mera, Jean Loring, Hawkgirl and Midge, take out their respective paramours (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Atom, Hawkman and Snapper Carr) at JLA HQ, with Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Green Arrow facing creatures created by T. O. Morrow, then Amazo, Dr. Light, the Crystal Creature, Starro and Super-Duper...eventually defeating the heroes.  But, the android Red Tornado on Earth-2, finds his way to Earth-1, gets the better halves of the JLA to revive those members.  With them, they defeat T. O. Morrow, revive the rest of the JLA, as well as the JSA, with Red Tornado finally finding out he was created by T. O. Morrow as a part of his plan.

Reddy wonders what will happen to him now (which was joining the JSA), with the JLA bidding farewell to writer Gardner Fox (and seeing the start of Dick Dillin's incredible run on the Justice League of America). 

Star Light, Star Bright --  Death Star I See Tonight

The seventh JLA/JSA story starts on Earth-1, picking up from the issue before Justice League of America #73 (August, 1969) when the Red Tornado suddenly appeared to the JLA.  Now, Reddy (and Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene) relate what happened to the JSA, all under a cover by Joe Kubert.

The JSA (with Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Dr. Mid-Nite, Superman, Starman, Black Canary and Red Tornado; along with Black Canary's husband, Larry Lance) faced the living star, Aquarius.  This being was exiled from his people, and had gone mad, attacking Earth.  The heroes were captured, with only Red Tornado escaping, with Dr. Fate sending him to the JLA for help.

Where Death Fears To Tread

The JLA goes to Earth-2 to face Aquarius and free the JSA in Justice League of America #74 (September, 1969) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, all under a shocking Neal Adams cover.

Aquarius hypnotizes the JSA into battling the JLA, with Batman fighting Dr. Mid-Nite, Atom and Flash vs. Dr. Fate, Hawkman (E-1's Katar Hol) vs E-2's Wonder Woman, Green Lantern vs. Green Lantern, Superman vs. Superman (being the first known meeting of the two Supermen, as they didn't know about a previous one), and Green Arrow vs. Black Canary.  The JLAers all win eventually (with the Supermen fighting to a draw), but Black Canary is nearly killed by an energy blast from Aquarius (but Larry Lance takes it instead, dying).  The teams bury Larry, and then unite to defeat Aquarius.  Black Canary feels drained by the death of her husband, and asks the Earth-1 Superman to take her to his Earth, where she plans on joining the Justice League of America.

This issue marks the first Silver Age appearance of the Golden Age Superman (who has yet to be depicted as much different than his Earth-1 counterpart).  

Peril Of The Paired Planets

Superman and Batman are mysteriously disabled, prompting a call for the whole Justice League of America in Justice League of America #82 (August, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, all under a Neal Adams cover.

Meanwhile, aliens capture the Red Tornado, and the Creator Squared plans on using him to draw Earth-1 and Earth-2 together to destroy them.  These aliens defeat the Earth-2 Superman and Dr. Mid-Nite (striking down the Earth-1 Superman and Batman, with Batman/Dr. Mid-Nite likely being linked from their battle with Aquarius).  They then take out Flash (Jay Garrick) which causes Flash (Barry Allen) to fall.  Both teams call in all members (with the JSA including the Earth-2 Batman and the Spectre) as the Earths begin to merge.  On Earth-1 aboard the JLA Satellite, Black Canary, who came from Earth-2, figures she is the cause of the problem, as she came from Earth-2.

Where Valor Fails -- Will Magic Triumph?

The united JLA/JSA are dealing with the merging of their Earths in Justice League of America #83 (September, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella, all under a Murphy Anderson cover.

While the Earths are merging, the aliens stop all of the JSA members except for Dr. Fate, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt (which takes out most of the JLA, except for Green Arrow and Black Canary).  Fate, Johnny and the T-Bolt go to crypt to free the Spectre (perhaps he sent them a ghostly apparition in the previous issue so they knew how to find him, as Spectre had been busy in his own 10 issue series before this).  The Spectre prevents the Earths from colliding (at the temporary cost of his own cohesion), while Dr. Fate and the Thunderbolt defeat Creator Squared.  The menace averted, the teams revive, with Green Arrow to wonder about the return of the Spectre (who does come back later, on Earth-1 in the pages of Adventure Comics).

This eighth JLA/JSA adventure sees the first appearance of the Earth-2 Batman (briefly, other than an imaginary story) as well as the what happened to the Spectre after his own series.

These tales begin to show a larger DC Universe, all collected in the second volume of DC's Crisis On Multiple Earths, with a cover by Jerry Ordway.

Building upon the previous batch of stories, even more adventures were in store for the JLA and JSA!


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Black Lightning Fights The Heat Wave

It's a hot time in the town tonight, as the electrical hero, Black Lightning, faces the heat....Heat Wave, Flash's hottest rogue!

This was the image for the 1978 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters, for August in this shot by Rich Buckler and Vince Colletta.

Flash, of course, was busy....facing colder foes with Kid Flash!

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, 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 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.