This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero post from Balladeer’s Blog will look at DC’s team-ups between their Golden Age superheroes – the Justice Society – and their Silver Age superheroes – the Justice League.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #21 (August 1963)
Title: Crisis on Earth-One
Justice Society Lineup: Hourman, Dr. Fate, Hawkman (original), Flash (original), the Atom (original), Green Lantern (original) and the 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original)
Justice League Lineup: Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, the 2nd Aquaman, the 2nd Batman, the 2nd Superman, the 2nd Wonder Woman, the 2nd Atom, the 2nd Flash and the 2nd Green Lantern
Villains: Crime Champions (The Wizard, Icicle, the Fiddler, Chronos, Dr. Alchemy and Felix Faust)
NOTE: For people who are not really into comic book history, I’ll mention that the “Crisis” referred to here was a forerunner of so many other DC stories that start with the word Crisis. In the late 1950s DC wanted to reinvent many of their late 1930s to early 1950s superheroes.
The company’s method of adapting more “up to date” versions of their Golden Age heroes without losing the copyrights on those figures was to state that the original versions of all their old heroes came from an alternate Earth, designated Earth-Two. The Earth with the newer heroes was called Earth-One, since they were the newer, CURRENT versions.
Previously, DC had established this notion in the pages of Flash #123 (September 1961), when the new Flash, Barry Allen, first met his Golden Age counterpart, Jay Garrick. Now both “Justice” teams, the older Society and the newer League, were meeting for the very first time.
What started for practical, real-world reasons became a repeated element of the DC universe, much like the first regeneration of the title character of Doctor Who started from necessity, then became a permanent feature. In the decades ahead, as DC bought and absorbed superhero lineups from defunct or competing comic book companies, each new pantheon of heroes were placed on an additional alternate Earth. Multiverses in comic books were born.
Synopsis: Assorted supervillains from Earth-One and Earth-Two have established a secret headquarters for themselves in the space between alternate Earths. They call themselves the Crime Champions – the Wizard, Icicle and the Fiddler from Earth-Two – and Chronos, Felix Faust and Dr. Alchemy from Earth-One.
The Earth-Two villains defeat the Justice League members on Earth-One, while the Earth-One villains defeat the Justice Society members on Earth-Two. The Justice League manages to establish contact with the Justice Society and Dr. Fate uses his magic powers to teleport himself and the rest of the Justice Society to Earth-One.
The two teams piece together what is going on with the Crime Champions and resolve to work together to defeat them.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #22 (September 1963)
Title: Crisis on Earth-Two
Villains: The Crime Champions
Synopsis: The villains have stranded both Flashes (Jay Garrick and Barry Allen) in energy cages between the alternate Earths to negate their abilities to traverse the Multiverse. While the Earth-One and Earth-Two Green Lanterns try to free the two Flashes, the Justice Society and Justice League members break up into teams to take on the Crime Champions.
The League’s Wonder Woman & Batman battle Dr. Alchemy, the Society’s Atom and Hourman fight the Fiddler, the League’s Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter and the 2nd Atom tackle Felix Faust, the Society’s Hawkman and Black Canary clash with the Wizard, the League’s Superman and Aquaman take on Chronos, and the Society’s lone Dr. Fate faces the Icicle.
Ultimately, the Society and the League wind up in energy cages in the space between alternate Earths, just like the two Flashes. The two Green Lanterns work together to free themselves and their teammates, following which the good guys beat the bad guys. The two Justice teams go back to their respective Earths with their world’s supervillains in custody.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #29 (August 1964)
Title: Crisis on Earth-Three
Justice Society Lineup: Dr. Mid-Nite, Starman, Dr. Fate, the 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original) and the original Hawkman
Justice League Lineup: 2nd Wonder Woman, 2nd Batman, 2nd Superman, 2nd Flash, and the 2nd Green Lantern
Villains: Crime Syndicate of America (Ultraman, Super-Woman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring and Owlman
Synopsis: On the alternate Earth designated Earth-Three, superheroes have all been defeated and the supervillains called the Crime Syndicate of America rule over all. That syndicate’s members are alternate Earth versions of DC superheroes: Johnny Quick – a villainous version of DC’s Golden Age hero Johnny Quick, a variation of the Flash … Ultraman – a villainous version of Superman … Super Woman – a villainous version of Wonder Woman … Power Ring – a villainous version of Green Lantern … and Owl Man – a villainous version of Batman.
The CSA learn about the existence of Earth-One and, looking for new challenges, attack the Justice League, ultimately defeating and imprisoning them. Next, the Syndicate turns its eyes on Earth-Two, intending to take down the Justice Society next. The Society detects the impending attack and brace themselves.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #30 (September 1964)
Title: The Most Dangerous Earth of All
Villains: The Crime Syndicate of America
Synopsis: The CSA clashes with the JSA on Earth-Two and eventually manage to transport the heroes to Earth-Three as prisoners. The JLA are freed and once again take on the Syndicate, this time on Earth-Two.
The League emerges triumphant and banishes the CSA to the space between alternate Earths. The JLA then frees the Justice Society from imprisonment on Earth-Three, following which each team returns to their respective Earth.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #37 (August 1965)
Title: Earth – Without a Justice League
Justice Society Lineup: Mr. Terrific, Johnny Thunder, Dr. Fate, original Hawkman, original Flash, original Green Lantern, and the original Atom
Justice League Lineup: Prevented from ever existing
Synopsis: The semi-retired Justice Society of America is holding a meeting for those members who can make it. Johnny Thunder (whose power is his control of a powerful djinn in pink humanoid thunderbolt form) is on his way to that meeting, but is distracted by his curiosity about what his Earth-One counterpart might be like if he has superpowers.
The Thunderbolt transports itself and Johnny to Earth-One, where it turns out Johnny’s Earth-One counterpart is a criminal with no superpowers. Evil Johnny Thunder knocks out his Earth-Two counterpart and assumes control of the Thunderbolt.
Evil Johnny has the Thunderbolt alter time so that the Justice League members and other superheroes never receive their powers. The resulting superhero-free Earth is designated Earth-A by the evil Johnny.
Back on Earth-Two the Justice Society worries about how late Johnny is to their meeting. Dr. Fate’s magic locates Johnny on what the JSA know as Earth-One (but now Earth-A) and he transports the Society there to see what is up.
The heroes clash with the Thunderbolt and are on the verge of defeating it when evil Johnny orders it to teleport the JSA back to Earth-Two. When the Society members simply return to Earth-One and realize that the Justice League was prevented from existing, they battle evil Johnny and the Thunderbolt again.
The villainous Johnny orders the Thunderbolt to free several of his criminal associates from prison and endow them with powers similar to those possessed by the now-nonexistent Justice League. These supervillains, Johnny’s “Lawless League”, now take on the Justice Society.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #38 (September 1965)
Title: Crisis on Earth-A
Villains: The Lawless League (Villainous versions of Superman, Batman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and the Atom)
Synopsis: The Justice Society of America meets in battle with the Lawless League and defeats them. The Society takes the League members captive and interrogates them about why the JLA doesn’t exist and how they got the JLA’s powers.
The JSA then travels back in time to try setting right the events that gave Earth-One’s superheroes their powers, but the evil Johnny and the Thunderbolt stop them. Evil Johnny has the Thunderbolt transport him and his villainous lackeys plus the JSA to a neutral location, where the heroes battle additional supervillains created by the Thunderbolt.
Once again, the Justice Society defeats evil Johnny’s forces, and out of disgust and resignation he has the Thunderbolt restore everything to normal in the timeline, with Earth-One’s heroes all getting their superpowers. The story ends with the JSA and JLA back to business as usual on their respective planets.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #46 (August 1966)
Title: Crisis Between Earth-One and Earth-Two
Justice Society Lineup: Spectre, Sandman, Wildcat, Dr. Fate, the 2nd Black Canary and Dr. Mid-Nite
Justice League Lineup: The 2nd Batman, 2nd Superman, 2nd Hawkman, 2nd Flash and 2nd Green Lantern
Villains: Anti-Matter Man, Blockbuster and Solomon Grundy
Synopsis: A cosmic-level villain called Anti-Matter Man distorts physics to put Earth-One and Earth-Two on a collision course with each other. A side-effect of this distortion causes a few superheroes and supervillains from each Earth to transport to the other Earth.
The Earth-Two hero the Spectre investigates the situation, while Earth-One’s Batman finds himself on Earth-Two. Earth-Two’s heroes Dr. Mid-Nite and the 2nd Black Canary find themselves on Earth-One. The Earth-Two supervillain Solomon Grundy finds himself on Earth-One, while the Earth-One supervillain Blockbuster finds himself on Earth-Two.
While the Spectre battles Anti-Matter Man, back on Earth-One Dr. Mid-Nite, the 2nd Black Canary, 2nd Flash, 2nd Hawkman and 2nd Green Lantern clash with the transplanted Solomon Grundy. Back on Earth-Two, Wildcat, Dr. Fate, Sandman and the 2nd Batman take on the transplanted Blockbuster.
The Spectre fails to defeat Anti-Matter Man and desperately uses all his mystical powers to their utmost in an attempt to prevent Earth-One and Earth-Two from colliding.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #47 (September 1966)
Title: The Bridge Between Earths
Villains: Anti-Matter Man, Blockbuster and Solomon Grundy
Synopsis: While the Spectre continues struggling to prevent Earth-One and Earth-Two from making contact, another distortion caused by the Anti-Matter Man’s presence in the matter universe causes Solomon Grundy to teleport back to Earth-Two and Blockbuster to teleport back to Earth-One.
The 2nd Black Canary, Dr. Mid-Nite, the 2nd Flash, 2nd Green Lantern and 2nd Hawkman now must battle Blockbuster on Earth-One, while Wildcat, Sandman, Dr. Fate, and the 2nd Batman now must battle Solomon Grundy on Earth-Two.
Dr. Fate’s mystic abilities alert him to the Spectre’s efforts to prevent a crash between the two Earths and to the presence of the real villain, Anti-Matter Man, in the space between alternate Earths. Green Lantern uses his power ring to put Solomon Grundy and Blockbuster on the same Earth to keep them battling each other while the JSA and JLA members battle Anti-Matter Man.
Meanwhile, on Earth-One, the 2nd Atom, a physicist in his secret identity, realizes that an experiment by his colleagues is what accidentally freed Anti-Matter Man from the antimatter universe, setting in motion the current crisis. Contacting the Spectre, the Atom combines his science with the Spectre’s magic to send Anti-Matter Man back to the antimatter universe.
This undoes the danger of the two Earths colliding. Solomon Grundy and Blockbuster have fought each other to a stalemate and have made friends. With the adventure over, the JSA and JLA members return to their respective Earths, taking Blockbuster and Solomon Grundy back with them.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #55 (August 1967)
Title: The Super-Crisis That Struck Earth-Two
Justice Society Lineup: Hourman, Mr. Terrific, Johnny Thunder, Wildcat, the original Robin, the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR) and the original Hawkman
Justice League Lineup: 2nd Superman, Green Arrow, the 2nd Flash and the 2nd Green Lantern
Villains: Money Master, Gem Girl, How Chu and the Smashing Sportsman
Synopsis: On Earth-Two, mysterious black spheres appear and transform random civilians into supervillains. Those four superpowered beings then go on criminal rampages.
Meanwhile, at the headquarters of the Justice Society of America, the team is welcoming the adult (original) Robin as their newest member. The original Batman is so old now that he has retired, and Robin has taken over for him fighting crime in Gotham City.
After the ceremony for Robin, the heroes are alerted about the four rampaging black sphere supervillains and leave to battle them. Robin and Wildcat take on the Smashing Sportsman, Hawkman and Mr. Terrific face Money Master, Hourman clashes with How Chu and Wonder Woman fights Gem Girl.
The Justice Society members are defeated by the new villains and meet back at their headquarters to regroup. Johnny Thunder is there waiting for them. His Thunderbolt informs our heroes that black spheres created the new villains, and identical black spheres have randomly created new supervillains on Earth-One as well.
The Thunderbolt transports the 2nd Superman, 2nd Flash, 2nd Green Lantern and Green Arrow away from their battles with the new Earth-One villains and into JSA headquarters. The two teams compare notes and decide to work together against the black energy menaces.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #56 (September 1967)
Title: The Negative Crisis on Earths-One & Two
Villains: Money Master, Gem Girl, How Chu and the Smashing Sportsman
The combined members of the Justice Society and Justice League scour Earth-Two in search of the remaining black spheres which have not yet come into contact with human beings. Most of those spheres of black energy are already near death, having never found a host body.
The heroes decide to use four black spheres which still retain their charge to increase the powers of some of their own team members and sic them on Gem Girl, the Smashing Sportsman, Money Master and How Chu.
For the JSA the black spheres are used to supercharge Hourman and the original Wonder Woman. For the JLA the spheres are used to supercharge the 2nd Flash and the 2nd Green Lantern.
Those supercharged heroes soon succumb to the way that the spheres turn their hosts evil. The other superheroes fight to contain them and study the weaknesses in the powers granted to Hourman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern. After defeating those four and driving out the black sphere energy, the teams use their new knowledge to defeat and “cure” Gem Girl, How Chu, the Smashing Sportsman and Money Master.
The Justice League members are sent back to Earth-One to instruct the rest of the League on how to defeat and cure the black sphere villains on that Earth.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #64 (August 1968)
Title: The Stormy Return of the Red Tornado
Justice Society Lineup: Hourman, Dr. Fate, Starman, Mr. Terrific, Sandman, Dr. Mid-Nite, the original Flash, the original Hawkman, the original Green Lantern, the original Atom and the 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original)
Villains: T.O. Morrow and the 2nd Red Tornado
NOTE: The Justice League plays no real part in this first chapter but will be back for the next part.
Synopsis: T.O. Morrow, a recurring foe of the Justice League, has used his future technology to hide out on Earth-Two. As part of his plan to conquer both Earths he constructs an android version of the Golden Age superheroine the Red Tornado (Abigail Hinkle). He designs this robot version as a male-appearing figure, though, for some reason.
The new Red Tornado shows up at JSA headquarters insisting on becoming a member as the “new” Red Tornado, the same way Dinah Lance replaced her mother as the new Black Canary. In the middle of trying to understand what is going on, the Society are interrupted by reports of robots running amok elsewhere.
The Justice Society battle T.O. Morrow’s robotic armies in assorted locations, but, unknown to the android Red Tornado, the villain programmed it to secretly sabotage the JSA in each clash. It does so, and with these Earth-Two heroes defeated, T.O. Morrow destroys the Red Tornado android and leaves to battle the Justice League on Earth-One.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #65 (September 1968)
Title: T.O. Morrow Kills the Justice League – Today!
Justice League Lineup: Green Arrow, the 2nd Aquaman, the 2nd Atom, the 2nd Flash, the 2nd Batman, the 2nd Green Lantern, the 2nd Superman and the 2nd Wonder Woman
Villains: T.O. Morrow and Red Tornado
Synopsis: On Earth-One, T.O. Morrow uses his future technology to defeat the Justice League, then sets about constructing a device to wipe out both Earths. Back on Earth-Two, it turns out that the android Red Tornado survived the villain’s attempt to destroy it.
Using its cyclone powers, the android manages to reach Earth-One, where it revives the fallen Justice League and explains what happened back on Earth-Two. Next, Red Tornado helps the JLA defeat T.O. Morrow and his robots.
Red Tornado takes some of the villain’s tech back to Earth-Two, and uses it to cure and revive the fallen Justice Society members. The JSA accepts that the android did not know that it was being used as a pawn and offer it a place on their team.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #73 (August 1969)
Title: Star Light, Star Bright, Death Star I See Tonight
NOTE: This was years before Star Wars, so obviously the Death Star reference is not about that movie.
Justice Society Lineup: Dr. Fate, Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite, the 2nd Black Canary, the original Superman, the original Green Lantern, the 2nd Red Tornado, and the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR)
Justice League Lineup: The 2nd Superman, the 2nd Atom, the 2nd Hawkman, the 2nd Green Lantern, and the 2nd Batman
Synopsis: Far off in space live a species of stars which are living, sentient beings. Those beings banish a criminal member of their race named Aquarius. While wandering the universe, Aquarius found himself drawn, guided to Earth-Two by Starman’s Cosmic Rod, which draws its power from starlight.
On that planet, Starman detects Aquarius’ arrival and flies out to investigate the entity. Aquarius defeats the hero, steals his cosmic rod from him and seriously injures him. Witnessing this are Larry Lance and his daughter, Dinah Lance, the second Black Canary (her mother was the first).
The Black Canary and Larry Lance realize they are not powerful enough to oppose Aquarius, so the Canary summons any available Justice Society members. The original, greying Superman, the original, now-married Wonder Woman and the original Green Lantern arrive on the scene, as do Dr. Fate and Dr. Mid-Nite.
Aquarius, drawing ever more power from the stars via Starman’s Cosmic Rod, is having no problem taking on the entire JSA and uses extra energy to try wiping Earth-Two out of existence. Dr. Fate uses his magic to block Aquarius’ attempt to eliminate Earth-Two while the rest of the Society continues fighting the star-being.
Dr. Fate also helped the android Red Tornado teleport to Earth-One to seek help from the Justice League.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #74 (September 1969)
Title: Where Death Fears to Tread
Synopsis: Red Tornado, the second Superman, second Batman, 2nd Atom, 2nd Hawkman, and 2nd Green Lantern arrive at the scene of the battle and attack Aquarius. With the Justice Society members exhausted from their marathon fight with the star-being, they easily fall under the mental control of Aquarius and are forced to battle the Justice League.
The villain cruelly observes the fighting, and at one point tries to take advantage of circumstances to kill Black Canary with an energy bolt. Larry Lance sacrifices his own life to save his beloved daughter Dinah.
The shock of seeing her father slain before her eyes lets Black Canary break free from Aquarius’ control, and like dominoes tumbling, the rest of the JSA members break free as well. Now facing both super teams at once, Aquarius stops his attempt to annihilate Earth-Two and flees into space.
Members of each team pursue the villain and after a lengthy battle, trick him into being sucked through a vortex leading to the antimatter universe. Upon contact with the antimatter, Aquarius is completely destroyed.
After funeral services for Larry Lance, the second Black Canary says that she has nothing but sad memories left for her now on Earth-Two and asks the Justice League to let her move to Earth-One as a member of the JLA. Goodbyes are said all around and the Black Canary relocates to Earth-One for good.
FOR MY LOOK AT DC’s NEGLECTED 1930s and 1940s SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE.
FOR MY REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY’S WORLD WAR TWO-ERA STORIES CLICK HERE.
8 responses to “JUSTICE SOCIETY/ JUSTICE LEAGUE CROSSOVERS: THE 1960s”
Not to change the subject, but did I hear DC comics is going to make Capt. America pro-America again? Wouldn’t that be nice.
Captain America is from Marvel, not DC (I’m not trying to be a dork, but hundreds of fans will leave comments correcting that if I don’t say it right at the top here). I had not heard that, but yeah, that would be nice.
Thank you! I almost DDG’d that to check my (failing) memory. Seems I should have!
No problem at all! I only mentioned it to stave off the inevitable rush of comic book guys addressing that remark. Have a great weekend!
Sigh. The truth is now out about me, and I tried so hard to hide it. Yikes.
Ha! What can ya do?