Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of the Justice Society’s Golden Age 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 #27 (Winter 1945 – On sale date Nov 13th)
Title: A PLACE IN THE WORLD
Heroes: WONDER WOMAN (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE, FLASH (Original), WILDCAT, HAWKMAN (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER, GREEN LANTERN (Original)
Villains: ASSORTED GANGS OF CRIMINALS (I would revise it to have PER DEGATON, the JSA’s Nazi foe, as the villain)
Synopsis: In very late 1945 some superhero comic books featured their last few World War Two-centered stories, with the implication being that they had happened earlier in the year when the war still raged. Others moved on into the Post-War Era while others were a mixture, like this Justice Society tale.
This story dealt with the heroes helping assorted veterans fit back into society, though many of them now had serious physical handicaps due to their wartime injuries. The JSA members – aided by the injured veterans – thwarted assorted criminal gangs, then used the attendant publicity to draw attention to each veteran’s plight.
This was certainly a noble effort, and the vets in A Place in the World all got happy endings (don’t go there) and new careers. Some of the handicapped supporting players had ailments unrelated to wartime service in order to expand the message.
The disabled supporting characters helped our heroes battle a gang of bank robbers operating near the Everglades, a mad arsonist burning down acres of woodland, a ring dealing in stolen goods, a Wild West gang, Hollywood mobsters and a criminal gang preying on Native Americans.
How I Would Revise It:
A. For my revised lineup of heroes this time I would rotate Mister Terrific back in as this issue’s replacement for the unbearable Johnny “Jar Jar” 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. As noble as this story’s motives were I would write it to simply include a few messages here and there about helping veterans and other handicapped people, but the bulk of the tale I would devote to action. (Tasteless, I know, but what can ya do?)
D. For a second time I would use Per Degaton as the main villain, given his Nazi background. Taking a cue from the real story, which dealt with mechanical limbs and such, I would feature Per Degaton leading an army of cyborg soldiers which he would have created from wounded soldiers of all the Axis Nations. These would all be die-hard fanatics wanting to continue the war despite Japan’s (and earlier Germany’s) surrender.
E. PART ONE – In September of 1945 the Justice Society of America would be scouring plenty of isolated Pacific Islands to take out the many (real life) Japanese soldiers who legendarily refused to surrender or didn’t know the war had ended. On a fictional island the heroes would clash with Per Degaton and his army of German, Japanese and Italian cyborgs. The cyborgs’ built-in weaponry and super-strong limbs would be formidable. The JSA would defeat their attempt to keep the Axis cause alive but Per Degaton would escape, vowing to strike again with even more cyborgs.
F. PART TWO – In October of 1945 Per Degaton and his New Axis cyborgs would strike in Alaska and part of Canada, burning away countless miles of woodland in a spiteful campaign of destruction. The Justice Society of America members would eventually track the villains to their underground cavern HQ and battle them. After the resulting cave-in our heroes would assume that Per Degaton had perished with his New Axis cyborgs.
G. PART THREE – Mere weeks later Per Degaton and his remaining cyborgs would be striking along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as well as along port cities in the Gulf of Mexico. After an indecisive battle or two between them and our heroes the campaign of terror would end when the JSA fight them in their Everglades lair. Mr Terrific by this point would have come up with a way of electronically overriding the cyborg upgrades, making them attack each other or just plain break down. Per Degaton would escape but, thanks to Mr Terrific he could never again use cyborgs.
I would write our heroes making with the Pulp Fiction trope about how “if only their foe would devote his genius to positive achievements instead of destructive ones” his cyborg tech might have genuinely been used to improve the lives of maimed veterans, but you readers can donate to blah, blah, blah, etc.
NOTE: I left out the Wild West gang, the Hollywood mobsters and the Native American bit since upcoming Justice Society stories feature actual supervillains using those kinds of gimmicks as their shtick, so it will be better to feature such story elements in those tales. +++
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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