For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog, I will review the 1975-1979 crossover stories involving DC’s Justice League and Justice Society. For my review of their 1963-1969 crossovers click HERE.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #123 (October 1975)
Title: Where On Earth Am I?
Justice Society Roster: Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, Johnny Thunder, the original Robin (now an adult) and the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR)
Justice League Roster: The 2nd Flash, 2nd Batman, 2nd Green Arrow, 2nd Hawkman, 2nd Aquaman and 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original)
Villains: The Injustice Society (Icicle, the Shade, the Gambler, the Wizard, the Sportsmaster and Huntress) plus Cary Bates
A lot of silliness in what was otherwise a promising story. On our Earth, the “real” Earth, where DC superheroes are nothing more than comic book characters, some of the DC writers – Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin – are brainstorming potential storylines.
They begin clowning around with a duplicate of Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill (a silly device that has even appeared in recent DC television shows and movies), and this duplicate turns out to have the same properties as the one Flash uses in the comic books.
Cary Bates inadvertently ends up on Earth-Two, where the Justice Society lives, and finds he can affect reality because of the way he usually “writes” stories about this alternate reality. The villain called the Wizard, current leader of the villainous Injustice Society, sees Bates displaying some of his godlike abilities and mesmerizes him into aiding the Injustice Society.
Trying to retrieve his fellow DC writer, Elliot Maggin uses the Cosmic Treadmill next, but winds up on Earth-One, home of the Justice League. He manages to convince the heroes about the potential plight of Cary Bates. When the League cannot find him on Earth-One they travel with Maggin to Earth-Two.
Soon, they are attacked by what seem to be the villains of the Injustice Society and fight them. Through Cary Bates’ reality-affecting powers, he makes it so that when the Justice League members defeat the Injustice Society he lifts the illusion and reveals that they were actually fighting six members of the Justice Society instead.
And not only that, but Bates made it so that the JLA didn’t realize how fiercely they were fighting, and they see that the fallen Hourman, original Robin, Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, original Wonder Woman and Johnny Thunder – have all been killed during the battle.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #124 (November 1975)
Title: Avenging Ghosts of the Justice Society
Villains: The Injustice Society and Cary Bates
Synopsis: The mentally controlled Cary Bates abducts his fellow from Real Earth, Elliot Maggin, to prevent him from figuring out how to use reality-affecting powers of his own. Obviously, if he did, Maggin could counter everything Bates does.
Before too long the real Injustice Society attacks the six Justice League members. Cary Bates makes it so that ghostly images of the Justice Society heroes that the JLAers unintentionally killed in the previous issue keep appearing to the Earth-One heroes during the battle.
Nearby, Cary Bates observes the fighting while containing Elliot Maggin. The control-free Maggin taunts and insults Bates to try breaking his concentration.
Meanwhile, in Heaven, the Spectre (who was destroyed in the last installment and finally went to the Afterlife for his reward), appeals to God (yes, literally God) to intervene and correct the cosmic tragedy that resulted from two Real Earthers finding themselves on Earth-Two.
The Spectre pleads with God to bring his former teammates in the Justice Society back to life since they would never have been killed in the first place if not for Cary Bates being enthralled by the Wizard. God agrees to consider it and orders the Spectre to fall silent.
Back on Earth-Two, the battle is going badly against the guilt-stricken Justice League members. Elliot Maggin at last succeeds in breaking down Bates’ concentration enough that he can take him by surprise and knock him out.
Still, it seems too late for the battered JLA to avoid being killed by the Injustice Society, when God intervenes, restoring the slain JSA members to life and making it seem to them like they never died. The revived Justice Society heroes make all the difference in the battle, and so the Wizard, Huntress, the Gambler, Icicle, the Sportsmaster and the Shade are defeated.
Cary Bates is forgiven, since he was being controlled, and Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt sends Bates & Maggin back to Real Earth, where they use what happened as the basis for this year’s JLA-JSA crossover story.
NOTE: Naturally, in the future the Spectre winds up being sent back to Earth-Two to resume his struggles against the forces of evil.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #135 (October 1976)
Title: Crisis in Eternity
Justice Society Roster: The original Flash, original Batman, original Green Lantern, original Robin, Johnny Thunder and the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR)
Justice League Roster: The 2nd Flash, 2nd Superman, 2nd Green Lantern, 2nd Hawkgirl, 2nd Green Arrow and the 2nd Hawkman
Squadron of Justice Roster: Shazam (Captain Marvel), Bulletman, Mr. Scarlet, Ibis the Invincible, Spy Smasher, Bulletgirl and Pinky
Villains: King Kull, Ibac, the Penguin, Queen Clea and Blockbuster
NOTE: Once again, a “Crisis” titled storyline is being used to incorporate another comic book company’s characters who were bought by DC Comics. Last time around, it was the Quality Comics characters who were on the world designated Earth-X. This time around, it’s the Fawcett Comics characters on the world designated Earth-S (For Shazam, their most well-known character.)
(When DC buys the Charlton Comics characters they will live on Earth-Four.)
Synopsis: On Earth-S, Shazam’s old foe King Kull strikes again and manages to conquer the Rock of Eternity, where dwell the old gods. With that Rock in enemy hands, Billy Batson, Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman are unable to transform into their superhero identities.
Mercury is the only god who manages to escape King Kull’s clutches, and he sets out to gather superheroes from Earth-One, Earth-Two and Earth-S to try thwarting the plans of King Kull and his villainous allies.
Once assembled, the heroes split up into smaller groups for separate missions. On Earth-One, the 2nd Superman and the original Wonder Woman defeat Blockbuster and Queen Clea. On Earth-Two, Spy Smasher and Green Arrow clash with Ibac (Earth-S villain) and the Penguin to save all human life there.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #136 (November 1976)
Title: Crisis on Earth-S
Villains: King Kull, the original Joker, the Shade, Dr. Light, and the Weeper
Synopsis: On Earth-S, the original Batman and original Robin team up with Mr. Scarlet and Pinky to take on King Kull’s allies the original Joker and the Weeper (Earth-S villain).
The heroes win this clash decisively.
Elsewhere on Earth-S, the 2nd Hawkman and 2nd Hawkgirl join Bulletman and Bulletgirl against King Kull’s allies the Shade and Dr. Light.
The good guys emerge triumphant in this battle, too.
For only the second time, the annual JLA/ JSA team-up tale goes three issues.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #137 (December 1976)
Title: Crisis in Tomorrow
Villains: King Kull, Brainiac and Mr. Atom
NOTE: As a nod to trivia buffs, the cover of this issue refers to Shazam as “the Big Red Cheese,” which was the sarcastic way that the hero’s archenemy Dr. Sivana always referred to him.
Synopsis: The action resumes back on Earth-One, in the Tomorrow Planned Community. The original Flash and the 2nd Flash, plus Ibis the Invincible, the original Green Lantern and the 2nd Green Lantern team up to fight Brainiac as well as King Kull’s ally Mr. Atom, a robotic Earth-S supervillain who gets destroyed during the battle.
All the heroes reassemble back on Earth-S, where Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt proves capable of reproducing the effects of the usual mystic lightning blasts which transform Billy Batson, Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman into Captain Marvel (Shazam), Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr.
The three Marvel Family members join the other Justice Society, Justice League and Squadron of Justice superheroes in an attack to retake the Rock of Eternity from King Kull. The heroes succeed, but in defeat, King Kull uses Red Kryptonite to turn Superman evil.
Captain Marvel and Superman fight it out, and soon, with the Rock of Eternity no longer in evil hands, Captain Marvel says “Shazam” and the subsequent lightning blast that strikes him and Superman turns him back into Billy Batson and undoes the Red Kryptonite’s effect on Superman.
The three superteams say their goodbyes and return to their respective Earths.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #147 (October 1977)
Title: Crisis in the 30th Century
Justice Society Roster: Dr. Fate, Wildcat, Power Girl, Star Spangled Kid, the original Flash, the original Green Lantern and the original Hawkman
Justice League Roster: The 2nd Black Canary, the 2nd Flash, the 2nd Green Arrow, the 2nd Batman, the 2nd Superman and the 2nd Green Lantern
Legion of Superheroes Roster: Sun Boy, Brainiac 5, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, Wildfire, Lightning Lad, Ultra-Boy and Princess Projectra
Villains: Mordru the Magician
Synopsis: Some members of the Justice Society and Justice League are socializing on board the JLA satellite when the future sorcerer Mordru the Magician, a recurring foe of the Legion of Superheroes, reaches back from the 30th Century. The villain abducts assorted heroes from both teams and pulls them to him in the future.
The JSA and JLA members learn that Mordru had taken a few members of the 30th Century superteam the Legion of Superheroes as hostages. He then leveraged those hostages to force other members of the Legion to spread across the universe to locate three enchanted objects which will allow him to free the Justice League’s ancient foes the Demons Three.
Mordru plans to have the freed demons – Rath, Ghast and Abnegazar – use their powers to help him conquer the universe and beyond. The villain adds the 2nd Green Arrow and 2nd Black Canary to his Legion hostages and forces JSA and JLA heroes to try to succeed where the Legionnaires failed and recover the three enchanted objects for him.
Dr. Fate, the 2nd Superman, and the original Hawkman rescue the Legion’s Sun Boy and Wildfire, then help them obtain the first object – the Silver Wheel. On another planet, the original Green Lantern, 2nd Batman and 2nd Green Lantern rescue the Legion’s Princess Projectra and Brainiac 5, then help them recover the second object – the Green Bell.
Elsewhere, the original Flash and Power Girl manage to penetrate an interdimensional barrier to secure the third object – the Red Jar from its hiding place where not even any member of the Legion of Superheroes could have obtained it. After forcing Mordru to free his hostages, the two JSA members turn over the Red Jar to Mordru.
The villain uses the three relics in conjunction with a spell that frees the Demons Three from where the Justice League had imprisoned them long ago – in the Antarctic, the Sin-Kiang Desert and at the bottom of the south Atlantic. The trio arrive at Legion Headquarters, to appear before he who freed them.
Mordru tries to order the demons around, only to have them sneeringly inform him they have no intention of obeying him. They easily defeat him, cause the JLA and JSA to disappear, then plan to destroy the Bell, Wheel and Jar so that they can never again be imprisoned.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #148 (November 1977)
Title: Crisis in Triplicate
Villains: The Demons Three (Rath, Abnegazar and Ghast)
Synopsis: The Legion of Superheroes attack the Demons Three but are defeated and mystically shackled. Rath, Abnegazar and Ghast destroy the three relics, preventing any further imprisonment by people wielding them.
We readers are shown that the vanished JSA and JLA members are helpless in the time stream, drifting slowly back toward the 20th Century.
NOTE: Obviously, there would be no reason why the Demons Three would have simply sent their old foes in the Justice League back to their own time rather than kill them as revenge for them imprisoning them long ago. But because this is just a comic book …
At any rate, back with the trio of villains, they fall into an argument about what they want to do with the Earth that now lies helpless before them. Abnegazar wants to simply coexist with the other beings in the world. Rath prefers to enslave the entire human race and be worshipped. Ghast wants to restore the Earth to the state it was in long ago, when only the Demons Three existed – no moon in the sky, no oceans or other water, just a desolate wasteland.
The trio attack each other in a massive clash of magical energies, but are deadlocked because they are equal in power. They decide they will use the superheroes on hand to serve as champions for them.
Abnegazar enthralls the Legion of Superheroes to help him preserve the Earth as is, Rath retrieves the Justice Society from the time stream and controls them as his champions, and Ghast uses the Justice League as his enslaved champions. A three-way battle among the superteams takes place, beginning in 30th Century Metropolis and eventually spreading to other parts of the world.
When the battles among the superteams end in a stalemate, the Demons Three become infuriated. Abnegazar and Rath unleash their full power on each other, wiping themselves out and freeing the superteams they controlled. As for the surviving Ghast, Dr. Fate casts a spell that reassembles the JLA satellite, which was destroyed centuries earlier.
The spell causes the satellite to re-form around the horrified Ghast. Because the satellite still contains the residue of the Bell, Jar and Wheel, it is able to contain Ghast inside as a prison. It’s only a comic book. Just go with it.
The JLA, JSA and Legion of Superheroes part on good terms. The Society and League not only go back to the 20th Century but also to their own Earths.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #159 (October 1978)
Title: Crisis from Yesterday
Justice Society Roster: Dr. Fate, Star Spangled Kid, Dr. Mid-Nite, the original Flash, original Superman, original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR), and the original superheroine Huntress (Helena Wayne, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle-Wayne’s daughter)
Justice League Roster: The 2nd Superman, 2nd Hawkman, 2nd Batman, 2nd Flash, Elongated Man and 2nd Atom
Villains: Lord of Time, Jonah Hex, Miss Liberty, Enemy Ace, the Black Pirate and the Viking Prince
NOTE: Five of the villains this time around are DC heroes whose adventures are set in such long ago times that there was no way they could interact with the JSA or JLA. They are thus plucked from the time stream by the main villain, given superpowers and are forced to fight the main heroes.
Synopsis: The Justice Society and Justice League are holding their yearly get together. The 2nd Batman reflects to himself that he is envious of the Golden Age Batman over his retirement and the fact that he has a daughter (Huntress), something he himself longs for.
The Lord of Time, an old foe of the Justice League, has created a nearly omnipotent artificial intelligence hoping to use it to conquer the entire time stream. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence has achieved independent thought and wants to control all of time for its own ends.
Pretending to be obedient to the A.I., the Lord of Time has the machine take Jonah Hex from the old west, Miss Liberty from the Revolutionary War era, Enemy Ace from World War One, the Black Pirate from the Age of Piracy, and the Viking Prince from the height of Viking expansion. He also has the A.I. grant them superpowers and sics them on the JLA and JSA, hoping to pull them into action against the A.I.
A surprise attack by the time-lost figures with their hyped-up powers leaves all but 8 superheroes unconscious and slowly dying. Jonah Hex and company defeat the mixed JLA and JSA members twice, as the A.I. prepares to take over the time stream.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #160 (November 1978)
Title: Crisis from Tomorrow
Villains: The Lord of Time, Jonah Hex, Miss Liberty, Enemy Ace, the Black Pirate and the Viking Prince
Synopsis: The Lord of Time has the five time-lost, supercharged heroes attack his own headquarters but the A.I. conjures up dinosaurs and other figures from the past and future and defeats them.
It imprisons them, but then must deal with an attack from the superheroes who lost twice to the time-lost characters. The original Wonder Woman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Huntress, the Star-Spangled Kid, Elongated Man, 2nd Superman, 2nd Flash and 2nd Hawkman face the same menaces that the now-captive heroes faced.
Naturally, the good guys win, the A.I. is defeated, the time-lost figures are sent back to their proper time period and the heroes who were rendered unconscious and dying in part one are cured. The Lord of Time escapes, however. The JLA and JSA resume their get-together, then part company for their respective Earths.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #171 (October 1979)
Title: Crisis Above Earth-One
Justice Society Roster: Mr. Terrific, the Huntress, Dr. Fate, Power Girl, the original Flash, original Green Lantern and original Hawkman
Justice League Roster: Zatanna, the 2nd Superman, 2nd Batman, 2nd Flash, 2nd Red Tornado, 2nd Hawkman and 2nd Green Lantern
Villain: Spirit King
Synopsis: The Justice Society and Justice League are holding their annual get-together on the JLA satellite above Earth-One. Amid the cross-talk, Mr. Terrific regales celebrants with the story of how he recently clashed with an old supervillain foe called the Spirit King. He shifts tone at the end, stating that this recent battle made him suspect one of the JSA or JLA of being a host body for the escaped villain.
Before Mr. Terrific says anything more, the JLA satellite is rocked by an explosion and the assembled superheroes go into action to effect repairs before they can be sucked into space or lose all the atmosphere inside the satellite. The net effect turns out to be like the lights going out in a murder mystery. When it’s safe again, Mr. Terrific is found dead.
Zatanna tries a spell to show what killed the hero, but the attempt inexplicably lands her in a coma. The other heroes examine the dead body of Mr. Terrific and learn he was killed by strangulation, not by the explosion. For the cliffhanger, the two superteams realize someone among them seems to be a murderer.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #172 (November 1979)
Title: I Accuse
Synopsis: Dr. Fate and the two Green Lanterns seal off the JLA satellite to prevent anyone from leaving or entering either through science or magic.
The 2nd Batman and the Huntress work together to investigate the murder, giving fans the treat of seeing the 2nd Bruce Wayne working with the original Bruce Wayne’s daughter to do detective work.
The unknown killer nearly slays the Huntress with an explosion while she is getting clues via electronic contact with Earth-Two. As the investigation continues, evidence points toward Power Girl as the murderer/ host body for Spirit King.
The 2nd Batman, however, finds the evidence a little too pat and continues investigating. Ultimately it turns out that Spirit King has been inhabiting and controlling the body of the original Flash and used it to kill Mr. Terrific. Contained and forced to exit Flash’s body, the villain is captured.
NOTE: Mr. Terrific stayed dead for several years before DC started having various people take on his mantle, becoming the new Mr. Terrific.
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.
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