Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween Super Friends

Happy Halloween!

Ramona Fradon and Robert Allen Smith gave us the cover of Super Friends #28 (January, 1980) which teased a confrontation among DC's top heroes and most villainous monsters (but they were only magically transformed guests).

Here, a look at when these monsters first appeared, and when they met who they faced!

Bizarro

The first adult Bizarro version of Superman appeared in Action Comics #254 (July, 1959) by Otto Binder and Al Plastino as an imperfect duplicate of Superman created by Luthor, but, Superboy had faced an earlier Bizarro back in Superboy #68 (October, 1958), though that version was destroyed.


Swamp Thing

The Alec Holland version of Swamp Thing first appeared in Swamp Thing #1 (October-November, 1972) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, a scientist burned in an accident and healed by the swamp.  He first met Batman in Swamp Thing #7 (November-December, 1973).


Demon

Etrigan the Demon first appeared in The Demon #1 (August-September, 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer, as an agent of Merlin, bonded to human Jason Blood during the fall of Camelot to fight evil.  He first met Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman #280 (June, 1981).


Man-Bat

Kirk Langstrom created a formula that turned him into a half-man, half-bat creature, called Man-Bat in Detective Comics #400 (June, 1970) by Frank Robbins, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.  While Batman and Man-Bat faced off in that issue, Robin didn't meet Man-Bat until Power Records 30 in 1976 in the aptly titled "Robin Meets Man-Bat".

Solomon Grundy

Now, Solomon Grundy first appeared in All-American Comics #61 (October, 1944) by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman fighting the Golden Age Green Lantern as the animated corpse of Cyrus Gold, but, even with multiple encounters with the JLA...never really ran into Aquaman before the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Though, well after, Aquaman and Solomon Grundy were in JLA: Year One #2 (February, 1998) in a retroactive retelling of the JLA's first year (which, itself, was a story of how five heroes became...super friends!).

How's that for a tricky treat?



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The End Of The House Of Mystery



Mike Kaluta gives us the image no one wanted to see....

....a true horror....

....the end of an era, with Cain leaving the House of Mystery, from House of Mystery #321 (October, 1983).

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Bernie Wrightson Halloween

Remembering the late Bernie Wrightson (October 27, 1948 to March 18, 2017), an incredible artist taken from us too soon.

This classic cover of House of Mystery #256 (January-February, 1978) features the host of the house, Cain, about to play some Halloween tricks on a group of holiday mirth makers.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Watching The Monitor: Swamp Thing, Blue Devil, Amethyst, and Warlord

Taking a supernatural turn, the Monitor and Lyla continue their investigation of all things in the DC Universe, this time exploring the magic contained within the multiverse.....

....with a look far and wide, going from the Hollywood hijinks of the Blue Devil, to the swamps of Louisiana, to the far off realm of Gemworld, and even deep into the Earth and the hidden land of Skartaris.

Viva Nebiros

First up is Blue Devil #5 (October, 1984) by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Paris Cullins and Gary Martin.  Dan Cassidy, the stuntman who was bonded into his mechanical suit by magic, becoming the hero known as Blue Devil, was facing the forces of the demon, Nebiros, with help from the JLA's Zatanna, all as the Monitor and Lyla watched their progress.

This story was reprinted in digest form in the Best of DC #61 (June, 1985).

A Halo Of Flies

Next up, is Saga Of The Swamp Thing #30 (November, 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and Alfredo Alcala, where Swamp Thing had ended a confrontation with old Atom foe, the Floronic Man/Jason Woodrue, as Jason was beginning to tap into the Green, the source of power for protector of the Bayou (with Monitor and the future Harbinger observing as even the Joker found these proceedings not worth a laugh).  The Monitor begins to show the depth of what he watches here....and the evil that was growing in Louisiana was getting worse, with Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane in the middle of it, with Matt Cable, or was he?

The Brimstone Ballet

Continuing with Swamp Thing, from Saga Of The Swamp Thing #31 (December, 1984) by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch and John Totleben, wherein the Monitor and Lyla watch the returned Anton Arcane (mystic foe of Swamp Thing and uncle of Abby Arcane, Swamp Thing's love), and all the horror that is unleashed at this time.

Both Swamp Thing stories has seen many reprints, most recently in both hardcover and softcover, in volume 2 of the Saga Of the Swamp Thing collections.

Sleepwalkers

Taking a slightly different look, Monitor and Lyla peer into the doings of Amethyst, young Amy Winston who was really a princess of the other world known as Gemworld in Amethyst #2 (February, 1985) by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, Ric Estrada and Romeo Tanghal, under a cover by Paris Cullins and Ernie Colon.


This story has only been reprinted in black and white in the Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld.

Demons Of Days Past

This time around, Monitor and Lyla looking into the lost world of Skartaris, in Warlord #90 (February, 1985) by Cary Burkett and Rich Buckler, with a cover by Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins.  They observe Travis Morgan, a USAF pilot who landed in this land in the center of the Earth, and a little of his battles with the primitive and sometimes supernatural forces that live there along with the woman he loves, native Tara.

This story establishes the Warlord as a part of the DC Universe, which Warlord creator Mike Grell would detest, even though later, Mike Grell did team Travis Morgan with Green Arrow in two issues of Green Arrow, after the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Reminiscing

Last but not least this time around is Warlord #91 (March, 1985) by Cary Burkett, Dan Jurgens and Dan Adkins, with a cover by Rich Buckler.  The Monitor and Lyla look into the past of the Warlord and his daughter, Jennifer, as he prepares for a desperate battle.


Neither of the two Warlord tales have been reprinted.

Still many lands and times to be explored in the DC Universe, as Monitor and Lyla will continue to serve as our guides for now (as they had already taken a look at Wonder Woman's Paradise Island)....taking us to see the Justice Society of America, as well as Jonah Hex, Superman, Batman and the Outsiders and more, all as these heroes were being prepared for the Crisis On Infinite Earths!



 








Wednesday, October 23, 2019

First Issue Plus One: Doctor Fate

Digging into the history of Doctor Fate, one sees that he had one era where he had shown as a particularly bright light....

...that of the 1970s.

Being a major player in JLA/JSA team-ups was not his only function at this time, as he had two solo ventures worth taking a look at!

Here they are, appearing as if by magic!

The Mummy That Time Forgot

First up is the first Dr. Fate solo tale since the 1940s, 1st Issue Special #9 (December, 1975) by Martin Pasko and Walt Simonson, all under a cover by Joe Kubert.


This issue was a great showcase for the golden gladiator, introducing readers of this issue to Kent Nelson, archeologist, who lives in a mystic tower in Salem, MA, with his wife, Inza...

...all the while harboring the mystic entity of ancient Lord of Order Nabu, which when Kent dons his helmet..

...turns Nelson into the protector of the universe, Doctor Fate!



This issue starts in the Boston Museum of Egyptology, where a great evil breaks loose, one that Dr. Fate has feared...that of Khalis!  This animated mummy attacks the doctor, taking away his mystic amulet, with Fate heading back to his sanctuary, and removing the helmet of Nabu, allowing Inza to care for the injured Kent Nelson.   Inza tries to care for her husband, but curses the fates that make her share him with Nabu, and leaves their tower.

Kent awakens, to go to study about Khalis....who was a follower of Anubis in 2030 B.C., and causing chaos in the Egypt of that time, until Nabu came and stopped the mad sorcerer, who was punished by being mummified alive, with Anubis insuring Khalis would stay alive, to come back at some future point to retrieve the amulet of his power...and that day was today!

Kent also reflects on his own origins (more on this later), and Inza feels she stormed out too quickly, yet goes to investigate the museum Khalis came from.  Nelson becomes Dr. Fate again, chasing after Khalis, and using what power he has available, but still unable to defeat his foe, at least until Inza arrives with a piece of Khalis' sarcophagus with Nabu's seal....giving Dr. Fate the ability to stop Khalis' plan to turn modern Boston into ancient Egypt by invoking the power of the Egyptian sun god, Amon-Ra.

Once the battle is completed, Inza and Kent reunite, getting back the amulet, and figuring out a way the three of them can live together.

A stunning story by Marty Pasko that added a little of the Egyptian look to Dr. Fate's bag of tricks, especially the use of the Ankh, all thanks to Walt Simonson's vibrant art.



This Immortal Destiny

All that, but only a hint of the origin behind Dr. Fate.  DC Special Series #10 (1978) by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Michael Netzer explores his origins more fully, expanding upon the original tale told back in More Fun Comics, all under a cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.

This issue starts with Inza brooding in Dr. Fate's Salem Tower, poring over the tomes that give life to Dr. Fate's history.


Young 12 year old Kent Nelson was accompanying his archeologist father, Sven Nelson, onto a dig in Sumeria, when the boy stumbled upon the sleeping form of Nabu, releasing him from his suspended animation (with the gas keeping him under killing Kent's dad).


Now alone and grief stricken, Kent's anguish was replaced by Nabu's magic, as the Lord of Order explained that he was a host to an ancient mystic power, that had been hibernating since his battles in ancient Egypt, waiting for this day, when he could teach a new student the mystic arts, to prepare that body to be his new host to fight the forces of chaos across the multiverse.  Nabu gave Kent the amulet of Khalis and helm of Nabu, and, accepting them....became Doctor Fate.

But, Kent didn't know that would also mean handing control of his body over to Nabu, a fate which Inza was still wrestling with....

This issue also contains origins of the New God, Lightray, and Dr. Fate's fellow Earth-2 inhabitant, Black Canary (though her origin is more complex than the one told here, as it is the Earth-1 Black Canary relating the origin of her mother, the Earth-2-Black Canary).


These will be tales explored at a different time.

Looking for an inexpensive way to read these classic tales?  Look no further than The Immortal Doctor Fate #1 (January, 1985), that reprints these two stories, along with a classic Golden Age adventure of Dr. Fate vs. Wotan, all under a wraparound cover by Walt Simonson, the first of three issues reprinting Dr. Fate (the next two focusing on stories from his time as a back up in the Flash), showing off the magic that is Dr. Fate! 


 


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Watching The Monitor: Justice League of America

The Monitor and Lyla weren't just watching Green Lantern and the Titans.

His interests lie beyond...and that started to show has he watched rest of the Justice League of America as well.

Here are a few observations on those encounters.

Battleground

Justice League of America #232 (November, 1984) by Kurt Busiek and Alan Kupperberg, under a cover by Chuck Patton and Dick Giordano.  The Monitor is watching during the last of the JLA/JSA team-ups (with special guest, Supergirl), including being watched by the Commander, before the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Sadly, this story has yet to be reprinted.

The End Of His Rope

Fury Of Firestorm #28 (October, 1984) by Gerry Conway, Joey Cavalieri, Rafael Kayanan, Pablo Marcos and Rodin Rodriguez, has the Monitor and Lyla providing their services to Firestorm foes, the 2000 Committee, in capturing Firehawk, connecting them with the assassin, Slipknot (this being his first appearance).

This story has, sadly, not been reprinted as of yet.

The Revenge Of The Rogues

Flash #338 (October, 1984) by Cary Bates, Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin, see Flash's foes, the Rogues (including Captain Cold, Mirror Master and Trickster), tired of being beaten by the Flash.  So, they get hi-tech armor from the Monitor (though he and Lyla don't appear physically in this issue) and provide to Dufus P. Ratchet (a victim of a health problem that saw his body grow, while his intelligence shrank) with the means to take on the Flash as Big Sir.

Sadly, this story has yet to be reprinted.

Warday

Flash #339 (November, 1984) by Cary Bates, Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin, see the work Monitor put in behind the scenes pay off, as Big Sir attacks the Flash over confusion and a dead mouse.  Lyla questions the Monitor's choice, but he defends himself.

This story has, sadly, not been reprinted as of yet.

Claws

Justice League of America #234 (January, 1985) by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton and Bill Anderson sees the Monitor and Lyla checking out the new Justice League of America, as Steel and Vibe follow Vixen through Detroit.  The Monitor checks on the formation of the Cadre of the Overmaster.

This story has been reprinted in the Justice League of America: The Detroit Era Omnibus.

Night Of Many Wonders

Wonder Woman #323 (February, 1985) by Dan Mishkin and Don Heck sees the Monitor and Lyla arrange a gathering of Wonder Woman foes (Dr. Psycho, Cheetah, Silver Swan and Angle Man) to fight "Wonder Etta" Candy as Wonder Woman's life gets more complicated before the Crisis.

Sadly, this tale has yet to be reprinted.

The Monitor watched more than these Justice Leaguers (including Green Lantern, previously covered), as will be shown, as future installments show his involvement with Superman, Batman (and the Outsiders), Blue Devil, Swamp Thing, Infinity Inc. and more!




Wednesday, October 16, 2019

DC Special Wanted Joker Luthor Sinestro And More

Wanted -- The World's Most Dangerous Villains!  

And they were!

Joker, Luthor, Mirror Master, Sinestro, Shadow-Thief....this issue of DC Special, (#8 of July-September, 1970) was a chance for editor, E. Nelson Bridwell, to put together stories of the greatest villains of the DC Universe, all under a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

So, as villains are quite impatient folks, let's get at them!

Joker-Luthor, Incorporated!

First up is the second team up of Luthor and Joker in World's Finest Comics #129 (November, 1962) by France Herron, Jim Mooney and Sheldon Moldoff, under a cover by Mooney and Moldoff.

Joker started to work Metropolis, bringing Superman into the mix.  Joker had some help from Luthor, with Lex using a new ray beam to turn Superman into a stream of atoms.  Batman and Robin show up, but the villains escape.  The villainous duo, inspired by success, try again, transforming Superman again, with the Dynamic Duo unable to stop the villains alone.  The third time, Superman had figured out the villains plan, capturing a disguised Luthor before he could grab the loot, allowing both villains to be captured.

Luthor and Joker would have their individual origins reprinted later in a treasury edition.


Who Doomed The Flash?

Next up is a bit of a mystery for Flash #130 (August, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, with cover by Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

Central City seemed to be plagues by many of Flash's old villains, but, when Barry checked up on each of them, they were all still in prison.  Tracing back the connections of his foes, the only name in common was attorney Paul Bennett.  Investigating him, Flash came to be knocked out.  Putting on a Flash costume, Bennett goes to break out Mirror Master, who was the mastermind behind this scheme.  Working his way freem from a trap Mirror Master put him in, Flash goes and defeats the villain and free the lawyer from Mirror Master's control.

This story sets up for the eventual team up of Flash's Rogues.



The Day 100,000 People Vanished

This story by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella from Green Lantern #7 (July-August, 1961, under an original cover by Kane and Giella), sets up major storylines for Green Lantern Hal Jordan!

After the population of Valdale vanish, Green Lantern goes to investigate (as he had business there as Hal Jordan, but was delayed).  While on his way there, Hal's astral form is summoned by the Guardians of the Universe, who tell him the tale of the renegade Green Lantern - Sinestro - who tried to take over his own space sector of 1417, until the Guardians stripped him of his ring, and banished him to the anti-matter dimension of Qward, where Sinestro came to work for the Weaponeers of Qward.  That was why the population of Valdale was taken, in an attempt to get at Hal. 

Returned to his body with memories intact for the first time, Hal gets to work to trying to attract Sinestro's attention by making the citizens of Coast City disappear.  Hal is successful, as Sinestro brings Green Lantern to Qward.  Thinking Hal helpless, Sinestro is surprised when Green Lantern uses his ring against him.  Green Lantern makes a deal with Sinestro, himself and his ring for the citizens of Valdale. 

Sinestro sends them home, with Green Lantern in a yellow bubble trap, waiting for his ring charge to deplete in 24 hours.  Green Lantern is able to use his ring to speed up the Qwardian clock, making them think his ring was decharged, and after being let out of the bubble, uses the ring to escape.


Sinestro would return, uniting with other villains over time, and even gaining a special yellow power ring of his own.


Shadow-Thief Of Midway City!

Last but not least is the last of the introductory stories of the Silver Age Hawkman from Brave and the Bold #36 (June-July, 1961) by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert (with original cover by Kubert), introducing Hawkman's main Silver Age foe.

Katar and Shayera Hol were being recalled to Thanagar to give their report on Earth, when a shadow started to rob banks in Midway City.  Becoming Hawkman and Hawkgirl to investigate, they also were unable to beat the Shadow-Thief.  Investigating, they found that he was Carl Sands, a low level thief, fascinated by light, who found a way to another dimension, and meeting Thar Dan there, got an invention of his that would allow Sands to become a shadowy being. 

Problem was, over use of the device would plunge Earth into an ice age, but Sands was unconcerned about Thar Dan's warnings.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl do figure out that gravity still works against him, and find away to suspend him in air, so that he has to get rid of his Dimensionmeter to save his own life, which also saves the Earth from an ice age.


Shadow-Thief would also return with other villains, in both the Injustice Gang of the World and the Secret Society of Super-Villains (both with Mirror Master), to menace Hawkman and the Justice League of America over the years.



Plus, in addition to those stories, there was a page dedicated to A Gallery Of Batman's Deadliest Foes, and one to Flash's Rogue's Gallery (which had appeared before, in 80 Page Giant Magazine #4 from October, 1964).  All in all, a nice start to what would be a longer series focusing on DC's villains.




Thursday, October 10, 2019

Watching The Monitor: New Teen Titans and Green Lantern

Starting a look into the man who was investigating the DC Universe, the Monitor.

In his earliest appearances, he spend his time watching and planning.....and, planning right now to look at what he did during those brief appearances.

First up, a look at issues of New Teen Titans and Green Lantern.

Beware The Wrath Of ...Brother Blood

New Teen Titans #21 (July, 1982) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal, was the first appearance of the Monitor (such as it is  - that's him watching in the satellite), as well as the first appearance of Brother Blood (a villain that would continue to vex the Titans), as well as a hint of problems with Raven.

A quiet start, showing the Monitor's interest in events, but little more.  This story has been reprinted a few times, including in the New Teen Titans Volume 4 TPB.

The Murder Machine

New Teen Titans Annual #2 (1983) was the next appearance of the Monitor by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Pablo Marcos.  This issue also introduced the assassin Cheshire (along with others) as they were hired from the Monitor (who revealed an assistant, Lyla, later to be known as Harbinger) to deal with the Vigilante (the identity assumed in this book by Adrian Chase, to deal with the crime syndicate that killed his family).

This issue has been reprinted many times, including in the New Teen Titans Volume 5 TPB and in Vigilante by Marv Wolfman Volume 1 TPB.

Old Friends, New Foes...

Green Lantern #173 (February, 1984) by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons was where the Monitor and Lyla next showed up, as Hal Jordan settled back to life on Earth and at Ferris Aircraft (and to being Green Lantern).  To stop Green Lantern, the Monitor was hired, and provided the villain, Javelin (in his first appearance).

This story was reprinted in Green Lantern Sector 2814 Volume 1 TPB.

Mind Games

Green Lantern #176 (May, 1984) by Len Wein, Dave Gibbons and Dick Giordano, with the Shark taking a bite out of Green Lantern is the next appearance of the Monitor and Lyla.  The Demolition Team (a team of villains) premiere in this issue, again, with help from the Monitor. 


This story was reprinted in Green Lantern Sector 2814 Volume 1 TPB.

A Bad Case Of The D.T.s

Green Lantern #178 (July, 1984) by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons helps firmly entrench the Monitor and Lyla in the DC Universe, as Congressman Jason Bloch tries to get out of deal with the Monitor, and you can see that doesn't go well (ending this little subplot with the Monitor, Lyla and the Congressman, establishing that the Monitor knows where to find villains)...

This story was reprinted in Green Lantern Sector 2814 Volume 1 TPB, with many more great Green Lantern stories (not unlike those here).

Final Conflict

Tales of the Teen Titans #47 (October, 1984) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Mike DeCarlo, is the last of the appearances of the Monitor and Lyla we'll be looking at now, as the Titans (working with returning member Aqualad and his girlfriend, Aquagirl), defeat the H.I.V.E...with the Monitor and Lyla providing the epilogue to this story.

This issue was reprinted in the New Teen Titans Volume 7 TPB.

These appearances just give a slight tease as to what the Monitor might be up to in his satellite, watching the Earth, but future appearances will show more, including the Justice League of America, Infinity Inc., the Legion of Super-Heroes and more spots of the DC Universe as the Monitor continues to catalogue.....as these heroes and more head to meeting in the Crisis On Infinite Earths.










Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Flash Facts: Jay Garrick Villains

Flash had gotten away from his team-ups with his alternate Earth friend for a while, but that changed with a few tales....

...as quickly presented here.

A look at a couple of team-ups of Flashes Barry Allen (from Earth-1) and Jay Garrick (from Earth-2), featuring Golden Age villains like Vandal Savage and Rag Doll (plus one or so.....).

Death Of An Immortal

Barry and Jay have their first team up since the pair worked with their other similar named JLA/JSA members against Solomon Grundy, in Flash #215 (May, 1972) by Len Wein, Irv Novick, Frank McLaughlin and Dick Giordano, under an emotional cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.


The team up does being with a little confusion...


...as Barry wakes up thinking that he is getting ready for a medal ceremony for the Flash in Central City (Earth-1), but finds he's really in Keystone City (Earth-2), as Jay's wife Joan gets to explain, much to both of their surprise as Barry has woken up in Jay's bedroom!


Nothing illicit going on, just a little multiple Earth confusion.  Jay was suppose to get an award as the Flash from Keystone City, but he's missing....so, Barry jumps in Jay's costume to take his place, hoping to spot someone that will be surprised that he is there.  That doesn't pan out, and on his way to his next idea, Barry saves an old man from an out of control truck...who surprises Barry by letting him know that he isn't the Flash (of Earth-2). 

The old man, Dalvan, takes him to his fortune telling business, where he reveals to Barry that he knows Jay is trapped in limbo, and, giving Barry his own uniform, opens up a doorway to limbo for him.  In Limbo, Barry finds Jay, who says he is there to track down a meteor, which, if he doesn't find and return to Earth-2, his world will die.

But, what about the old man?  He wasn't what he appeared to be....he was Vandal Savage!  The immortal villain found out that he wasn't as immortal as he thought, and needed to be exposed to the meteor again to keep his life going, and sent Jay into Limbo to retrieve it, yet found the powers of one speedster wouldn't be enough, so came up with this plan to get it, using items he got from his fellow Injustice Society of the World members. 

The Flashes found the meteor and used their super speed backdraft to send it where it is needed, but, nearly kill themselves, only to be saved when they encounter Tempus, the Guardian of the Time Stream.  Tempus blocks them from going back to the time when Limbo opened to let them in (as they figure that is also their way out). 

They defeat Tempus, and work their way through other time hurdles to leave Limbo after passing through the End of Time, and back to where they entered (finding out of Vandal Savage's role as they go).  The meteor shows up and Vandal is there for it to strike him....and both disappear!  

Did time catch up to Vandal Savage?

Jay returns next in the 11th JLA/JSA team-up, that introduces the Freedom Fighters, with his wife Joan having last appeared in a Jay Garrick solo tale in Flash #201 (November, 1970) and appearing next in the next Flash team-up...and villain Vandal Savage was last in the Flash team-up that revived the JSA, and appears next in an upcoming Flash team-up to be covered later.

The Rag Doll Runs Wild

Before Vandal Savage returns, time to check in on another of Jay's old foes, Rag Doll, in Flash #229 (September-October, 1974) by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin, all under a cover by Nick Cardy.


Barry Allen decides to have lunch with an old friend's wife...

...but, to do that, has to travel to Earth-2 to meet Jay's wife, Joan Garrick. 


Along the way, he stops a break in at the Central City Community Center (the place where Barry first went to Earth-2), quickly dispatching the Walton Gang, and heads off to the alternate Earth.


Joan confides in Barry that she has seen something wrong lately in Jay.  Barry goes off to find him, with Jay in action as the Flash, looking for an old foe of his, the Rag Doll, on a new crime spree, stealing old dolls.  Jay had trouble catching this old foe, and was concerned about it, as Rag Doll should have no additional tricks other than being a contortionist.  Jay is worried he is losing a step, so Barry helps out, and, with a little extra effort, Barry helps Jay beat Rag Doll.

Barry sees an odd energy around both Rag Doll and Jay-Flash's head, and wonders what that means.  While interrogating Rag Doll at police headquarters, Rag Doll puts on his mask...and becomes a real rag doll?  How did he pull off that trick?   Jay and Barry call it a day, with Barry going back home...or did he?  Barry came back to find the Thinker, the mastermind who had manipulated Rag Doll's return, and Jay's mistakes, using his Thinking Cap. 

So, Barry came up with his own plan, switching out Peter Merkel for a real Rag Doll to confuse the Thinker, which worked, or would have had the Thinker not been able to shock Barry Allen.  Thankfully, Jay showed up to take on the Thinker, his confidence now better, and defeated the villain with a little helmet switch of his own.  Barry returned to his home, and explained to Iris that he faked being duped by the Thinker, so Jay could defeat him to get his confidence back!

Jay was last in the 12th JLA/JSA team-up featuring Sandman and Sandy, Rag Doll makes only his second appearance here (after Flash Comics #36) to return with the Secret Society of Super-Villains in a later JLA/JSA battle, and the Thinker, without his snazzy purple costume he got fighting the two Atoms, returns with the Injustice Society of the World to face the JSA with Power Girl in their return in All-Star Comics in the mid-1970s.  The issue also has reprints, including some of the Golden Age Flash and Johnny Quick!

Something to think on over time....and more alternate Earth teams to follow in the future!