Wednesday, November 20, 2019

JLA JSA Fourth Multiple Crisis

More worlds for the discovery, as the Justice League of America and Justice Society of America make their way through another batch of team-ups.

These two teams from different Earths find their way together, and go to other Earths as well....and to other times!

Where On Earth Am I?

The first JLA/JSA team up this time around is Justice League of America #123 (October, 1975) by Cary Bates, Elliot S. Maggin, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, under a cover by Ernie Chan.

This issue starts with Cary and Elliot trying to plot an issue of Justice League of America for Julie Schwartz (yes, it is a trip to Earth-Prime, where the JLA are only comic book heroes).  Fooling around, Cary gets transported to Earth-2 on the Cosmic Treadmill, with Elliot getting help from Julie to do it himself.  Cary ends up meeting the JSA and developing super powers, while Elliot ends up on Earth-1, and is found by the JLA (and the Flash/Barry Allen helps convince them to listen to him).  Cary uses his new powers to face the JSA and defeat them, while Elliot and the JLA figure that Cary must have ended up on Earth-2, so they go there, and end up on an aircraft carrier...

...fighting the Injustice Society of the World (Wizard, Gambler, Icicle, Sportsmaster, Huntress and new member, the Shade)!

The JLA defeat them find that they were the JSA (Johnny Thunder, Hourman, Robin, Wildcat, Wonder Woman and Dr. Mid-Nite).

Who is responsible for this?

"Why, none other than that little old plot twister -- ME!" says Cary Bates.

Avenging Ghosts Of The Justice Society

Elliot S. Maggin, Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin serve up part two in Justice League of America #124 (November, 1975).

The JSA are dead from their battle with the JLA, and Cary Bates is continuing his crime spree for the ISW.  Feeling guilty, the JLA members are working to help Earth-2, while Cary goes to get Elliot to lure in the JLA, while ghostly spirit of vengeance JSA member the Spectre gets permission from God to resurrect the JSA with the Ring of Life (which he does during a battle with the ISW).  The heroes defeat the villains...and the writers go home to Earth-Prime, to try to sell Julie on this two issue story (in which he finds many a "plot-snag", including where Cary got his powers and the JSA's unlikely death and return).

After this JLA/JSA team-up, most of the members of the JSA (and ISW) show up in the start of the 1970s run of All-Star Comics (where Robin gets his new costume), except for Wonder Woman, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt (and the Shade), who show up in the next JLA/JSA team-up!  Earth-Prime would return as well!

Crisis In Eternity

The JLA and JSA (along with the newly minted Squadon of Justice) fight the large menace of King Kull across the Earths, starting in Justice League of America #135 (October, 1976) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin all under this Ernie Chan cover.

This time around, King Kull (foe of the Marvel Family and last of the Beast-Men) finds a way to freeze the Gods of Eternity and the old wizard Shazam (those who give the Marvel Family their powers) at the Rock of Eternity.  Shazam was able to send Mercury to go gather help, including the JLA from Earth-1 (including Hawkgirl, who has yet to join) and JSA from Earth-2 (Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Johnny Thunder, Robin and Batman - making an active debut in JLA/JSA team-ups)...

...and heroes other than the Marvel Family (Spy Smasher, Ibis the Invincible, Mr. Scarlet, Pinky, Bulletman and Bulletgirl).

Using the headquarters of the Crime Champions, the heroes are split into teams to stop King Kull's plans to destroy the three Earths (with Mercury sending Johnny Thunder on a special mission).

Saving Earth-2 are Superman and Green Arrow of Earth-1, Wonder Woman of Earth-2 and Spy Smasher from Earth-S (Earth-S named in this issue for the first time), who deal with a risen Atlantis, and Penguin and Blockbuster from Earth-1, Queen Clea from Earth-2 and Ibac from Earth-S.

Crisis On Earth-S

For this issue of Justice League of America #136 (November, 1976) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, the action switches to Earth-S, as calamities begin to strike across the globe (as reported by Billy Batson at WHIZ TV....who, along with Mary and Freddy Freeman, are unable to summon Shazam's lightning to turn into the Marvel Family).

This issue is about partners in teams, with the Earth-2 Batman and Robin and Earth-S Mr. Scarlett and Pinky facing the Earth-2 Joker and Earth-S Weeper (a foe of Bulletman's), and the Earth-1 Hawkman and Hawkgirl and Earth-S Bulletman and Bulletgirl facing the Earth-1 Dr. Light and Earth-2 Shade.  The heroes have to also deal with natural disasters, and unnatural disasters (where people are transforming into whatever substance is near them).  This was caused by two artificial satellites in the mimicking the sun, the other the moon.  The heroes figure out how to use them to annihilate each other, thus saving Earth-S!

Meanwhile, old wizard Shazam muses on Johnny Thunder's secret mission as Johnny arrives to see the Batsons and Freddy at WHIZ TV, revealing their secret identities!

Crisis In Tomorrow

The finale to this JLA/JSA team up in Justice League of America #137 (December, 1976) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin!

Superman, the Flashes, the Green Lanterns, Ibis the Invincible and Mercury face off against Brainiac and Mr. Atom in a future of Earth-1.  The heroes eventually defeat the two robotic menaces from Earth-1 and Earth-S, and all the heroes converge on the Rock of Eternity to face King Kull and free Shazam and the Elders, except King Kull exposes Superman to Red Kryptonite, sending him against everyone else.

Say, you might think Johnny Thunder would use his magic Thunderbolt to change Billy, Mary and Freddy into Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. (and you'd be right).

The Marvel Family show up at the Rock of Eternity, free Shazam and the other 11 Elders, while Captain Marvel prepares to battle Superman...but doesn't, saying "Shazam!" and letting the old wizard hurl a special bolt, that not only brings Billy Batson back, but cures Superman of his madness (this issue was only one lead up to an eventual "Superman vs. Shazam" battle). 

The JSAers all appear next in the 1970s All-Star Comics run, except for Jay Garrick Flash, who appears next in Flash #247, and the Marvel Family appears here between Shazam! #20 and #26 (with Captain Marvel appearing between Shazam! #25 and #26, and only Bulletman and Bulletgirl returning during Shazam's World's Finest Comics run).

Crisis In The 30th Century

The JSA ended up on Earth-1 (capturing the Psycho-Pirate, who fled there), they met up with the JLA quick (including their newest member, Power Girl) in Justice League of America #147 (October, 1977)  in a story by Paul Levitz, Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, under a Dillin/McLaughlin cover.

As the JSA tries to return home, a mystic hand invades the JLA Satellite, taking JLAers Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary and JSAers Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Hawkman and Power Girl to the 30th Century of Earth-1, where it is revealed that the hand is that of Mordru, mystic foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Mordru captures the JLA and JSA as well as some of the Legion (some of whom; Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy and Shadow Lass; he already had captive).

Mordru was trying to retrieve the Red Jar of Calytos, the Green Bell of Uthool and the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath from the JLA Satellite (as Mordru knew it would soon be destroyed in a Crisis).  Instead, he got these heroes and sent them to retrieve the items (and Legion members already sent to get them) in the 30th Century.

Superman, Hawkman and Dr. Fate go to get the Silver Wheel (and Sun Boy and Wildfire) from some shape changing aliens (Proteans) who are imitating the wheel; Batman and the Green Lanterns deal with an alien race (Vaxonians) who are using the Green Bell to keep a dragon from eating them and, with Brainiac 5 and Princess Projectra's help, find a way to scare away the dragon; and Flash and Power Girl go to an interdimensional space, where Power Girl gets the Red Jar away from an alien mother who had confused it for her egg (all while Green Arrow, Black Canary and other Legion member are held captive).

Returning the items, Mordru summons up the Demons Three (Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast; old foes of the JLA, but in the current 30th Century).

The Demons Three quickly turn on Mordru, and plot to end 30th Century Earth as time runs down on Green Arrow and Black Canary, trapped in a mystic hourglass around Mordru's neck!

Crisis In Triplicate

Paul Levitz, Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin conclude this JLA/JSA/LSH team up in Justice League of America #148 (November, 1977).

The Demons Three agree to destroy the three items and have some Legion members take Mordru's spirit back to be buried with his body (his power is stopped by being underground, saving Green Arrow and Black Canary for a bit), but disagree for the first time in eons, with Abenegazar loving the peace of the Legion, Rath wanting the riches of the future and Ghast wanting to end all who live.  The Demons Three find out they are equally matched, so hypnotize the JLA (Ghast) and JSA (Rath), with the Legion working with Abenegazar to stop them.

The teams prove relatively equally matched, so Rath and Abenegazar battle, exploding each other (with Dr. Fate absorbing their mystical energy).  Dr. Fate uses that extra energy to pull back the pieces of the JLA Satellite, trapping Ghast in there, and ending the future menace of the Demons Three, with Superman and the Green Lanterns returning the JLA and JSA to their home time (and putting in a post hypnotic suggestion to all that they shall not remember what they learned of their own futures, like the destruction of the JLA Satellite).

These were five of the most popular JSAers, so they all appeared next in the 1970s run of All-Star Comics, and the Legion of Super-Heroes was here between Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #231 and #232 (and how weird for the Legion to see Superboy as they normally did, then him aged a few decades, then "back to normal").

All of these stories expand the knowledge of the JLA and JSA, and can be found in the Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume 4; a natural continuation from Volumes 1, 2 and 3!

Still, will even what they have learned (and what they have kept from themselves) help them in future crises, especially if the menaces come from the past?

1 comment:

  1. I really hated that issue where the writer inserted himself. It was nearly as bad as that issue with Harlequin Ellis. Ugh. What a waste of pages at a time when the comic wasn't even monthly!