Balladeer’s Blog’s 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 #23 (Winter 1944)
Title: PLUNDER OF THE PSYCHO-PIRATE
Heroes: HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE, THE ATOM (Original), STARMAN, THE SPECTRE, JOHNNY THUNDER
Villain: THE PSYCHO-PIRATE, whose name and power to affect emotions seem to have inspired Marvel’s much-later villain Psycho-Man.
Synopsis: The Courier newspaper has been covering the crime-spree of a supervillain calling himself the Psycho-Pirate because of his power over emotions. The Psycho-Pirate contacts the Courier to issue a challenge to the Justice Society of America to try to stop his crimes.
The villain preys on the emotions of his victims AND our heroes as he continues his criminal activities.
He pulls off bank robberies and art thefts plus holds an entire town for ransom against the threat of unleashing germ warfare agents. The Psycho-Pirate also pits assorted millionaires against each other in all-out war and even arranges duels between them at his high-priced underground Hate Club. (Insert your own “The first rule of Hate Club” joke here.)
In the end the Psycho-Pirate decides to administer his coup de grace on the newspaper and the Justice Society by inflicting despair on them. The Atom resists, figures out the supervillain’s secret identity and, though injured, exposes him as Charles Halstead, an employee at the Courier.
The JSA members then overcome him and have him carted off to jail.
How I Would Revise It:
A. For my revised lineup of heroes this time I would rotate the original Batman 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. In this story I would substitute Wonder Woman for the Spectre since it makes no sense for the undead Spectre to be affected by Psycho-Pirate’s powers.
C. 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.
D. PART ONE – The Psycho-Pirate is at large and on a crime-spree. I would have him already be using his supernatural ancient Greek Psycho-Drama Masks/ Medusa Masks, giving him maximum power. Like in the real story I would have him taunt the Justice Society through the Courier newspaper. The heroes would thwart the villain’s latest bank robbery and his attempt to steal the priceless art objects called the Grinning Guardians.
Next the JSA would end the economic and p.r. warfare among various millionaires AND shut down Psycho-Pirate’s Hate Club, but he would escape. Rather than have the Psycho-Pirate use paid thugs like in the real story I would just have him prey on the emotions of random bystanders to make them unwitting accomplices to his crimes.
E. PART TWO – This part would deal with the Psycho-Pirate holding an entire city for ransom through the threat of unleashing biological weapons on the populace. Through manipulating crowds of the city’s citizens into becoming terrified mobs or angry mobs and attacking the Justice Society as well as hindering their attempts to capture Psycho-Pirate as he loots the chaotic city. Our heroes would defeat their foe’s latest plan but he would escape again.
F. PART THREE – As in the real story Psycho-Pirate would ultimately concentrate his efforts on destroying the JSA and the Courier newspaper through despair. The Justice Society members would be overcome but the Atom would resist and get injured. He would expose Charles Halstead as the Psycho-Pirate and free his teammates from the grip of despair so they could capture the villain. +++
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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