Friday, July 15, 2022

Vigilante Meets The JLA

When is a first appearance really a first appearance?

Well, settle for a quick story of the Vigilante, and how this particular version of him had his first appearance here, meeting the members of the Justice League of America!

The Coming Of The Doomsters

First up, the debut of the Vigilante in Justice League Of America #78 (February, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella (with a cover by Gil Kane, also foreshadowing the debut of the Justice League's new satellite headquarters, to replace the now compromised mountain HQ).

This story starts in Star City, as Green Arrow and a night watchman dealing with a burning river....and Green Arrow calling in Superman and Green Lantern.  The three heroes take off after (though the night watchmen tries to get their attention).  Superman and Green Lantern take Green Arrow to the new teleporter to take him to the JLA's new satellite, with Batman, Atom, Hawkman and Black Canary meeting him there.  

The night watchman makes moves to meet the team at an event where they introduce new JLA member, Black Canary.  At the event, a fight ensues, and the team find out the watchman is the old Prairie Troubadour, the Vigilante (Greg Sanders).  Checking out their attackers, Superman and Batman head to a planet in the Sirius system, Green Arrow goes to check the zoning of the plant where the fire started, and Batman, Atom, Black Canary and the Vigilante check the plant.  At the plant, the heroes are captured in a net, and lowered into a vat of acid....

Come Slowly Death, Come Slyly

Then, Justice League Of America #79 (March, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella, (with a cover by Neal Adams) picks up where the last issue left off, with Green Arrow arriving just in the nick of time to save the heroes from a dip in the acid pit.  But, as they go to capture the villains, they lock themselves in a room with no known least until that section of the building blasts off and heads for space!

In space, Superman and Green Lantern arrive at the barely habitable planet Monsan, and find its last survivor, who relates the story of the Doomsters.  Their planet was dying due to pollution, and scientists came up with a solution to save the populace:  transform them to live on the pollution.  But, it also unhinged them, making them want to ruin other planets as well.  

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Hawkman goes from the JLA Satellite to his spaceship to stop the newly airborne building, but is blasted by the Doomsters for his effort, who step up their efforts to pollute the Earth.  The JLA unites, saving Hawkman from space, with Superman and Green Lantern leading the charge against the ship, as Batman, Atom, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Vigilante tackle Chokh, the leader of the Doomsters, exposing him to Earth's (relatively) clean air.  Green Arrow and Black Canary find they have feelings for each other, as they wonder if stopping the Doomsters will stop the pollution. 

Now, the Vigilante hinted at previous appearances, which at the time of this story might have referenced his run in Action Comics (read a little more of this with his Secret Origins)....but, thanks to the return of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Justice League of America #100, in a JLA/JSA team up, establishing an Earth-2 Vigilante, who was a member of that team with that Earth's Green Arrow and Speedy,    

So, this Vigilante was left to his own devices, staring in four features in Adventure Comics (but only making one cover), a team up with Superman in World's Finest Comics, and a run in the early dollar issues of World's Finest Comics before showing up in what was likely his last appearance before his retirement, working with Lois Lane, Congorilla, the original Robotman and the Challengers of the Unknown, cementing him as the Earth-1 Vigilante in a flashback tale set before the founding of the Justice League Of America, 


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