This examination of the Justice Society’s World War Two-era stories continues. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE
I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.
ALL STAR COMICS #21 (Summer 1944)
Title: THE MAN WHO RELIVED HIS LIFE
Heroes: HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR FATE, SANDMAN, WONDER WOMAN (Original), STARMAN, DOCTOR MIDNITE, JOHNNY THUNDER
Villains: SAPPHIRE SLIM, BIG MIKE MCCULLUM & PANCHO VILLA
Synopsis: Lab assistant Joe Fitch has volunteered to be a guinea pig for experimental medicine but winds up dying. To reward the man for his selfless contribution to science the Justice Society of America is called in (talk about overkill) to act on Joe’s request to make amends for his secret criminal past.
Dr Everson (From 500 Years into the Future) uses his time-travel technology to send the heroes back in time to straighten out Fitch’s past life, apparently not caring one bit about the danger of altering history by doing this.
JSA members are sent back to turn-of-the-century New York City, San Francisco just before the 1906 earthquake, Mexico when Joe rode with Pancho Villa (this guy got around) and on and on, through World War One and the Prohibition Era when Joe ran bootleg whiskey.
In the end the heroes save potential victims of Joe’s criminal conduct AND learn that he didn’t really commit some of the crimes he thought he did. Joe’s lost love Lily shows up and marries him on his deathbed as this silly waste of a story comes to a close.
How I Would Revise It:
A. For my revised lineup of heroes this time I would rotate Hourman back in as this issue’s replacement for the unbearable Johnny “Jar Jar Binks” Thunder. And I would always use Hawkgirl instead of Hawkman.
B. As usual I would also have Wonder Woman actively taking part in the adventure instead of the absurd way they had her serving as the JSA’s secretary.
C. This story is a such a trivial waste of time that I can’t believe it wasn’t used for a solo hero story instead of the entire Justice Society. I could not picture this as anything other than a very brief story, not a full-issue tale.
D. STORY – The time travel angle just to help one guy is absurd, since our heroes ran the risk of altering some pretty crucial historical moments. I would instead have Joe Fitch be a convicted criminal volunteering to be a medical guinea pig, like often happens.
Realizing he’s dying he could confess to the Justice Society of America that he was part of some really big Brinks Style robberies decades earlier. He could tell our heroes the scattered locations where he and his fellow gang members hid the massive amounts of money so that the by-now statute of limitations-free cash can be used for even more medical research.
A crooked doctor with gambling debts could funnel the location of the scattered money to the gangsters he owes money to in an attempt to get straight with them. We could use the names Sapphire Slim and Big Mike from the real story as those criminals who then send their thugs to get the money before the JSA can.
Two heroes, say Wonder Woman and Dr Midnite, could go to San Francisco for that stash and outfight the crooks for it. Two more heroes, say Hawkgirl and Starman, could go to New York for that stash and outfight the crooks for it. Finally, Hourman, Doctor Fate and Sandman could go to Mexico to outfight the crooks for that stash.
I WILL REVIEW THE NEXT JSA STORY SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE LIST OF ATLAS/ SEABOARD SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MEMBERS OF INFINITE HORIZON CLICK HERE
FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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