by Chris Swartzlander, creator/author of the Tripping Over Reality Sci-fi novel series
Justice League of America #183-185
Like Eminem says “It feels so good to be back!” Welcome to the first installment of I’ve Got Some More Issues, which is a continuation of my old review column called I’ve Got Some Issues (clever, huh??). This feature doesn’t review new comics, or comic movies, or red carpet dresses. Here I dig through my comic collection, pick out a comic or two, and tell you what I thought of ‘em. “What are my credentials?” one may ask (go on, ask it!). I’ve been reading comics for 45 years and I can type. Yup, that’s it! Be that as it may, this column is ONLY an opinion piece. I’m sure some of you will disagree with my keen-eyed observations, and I expect that. Just don’t show up at my house with torches.
Now that we have introductions out of the way, we are going to take a look at an INCREDIBLE classic story arc. Let me give you a little background for the uninitiated. Years ago, before the light bulb was invented, DC comics used to conduct a yearly crossover event between the Justice League of America of Earth one and the Justice Society of America of Earth two. These were amazing specials containing all kinds of spandex sporting superheroes (and villains), and they always managed to work the word Crisis into the title of each one of them. This eventually led to Crisis on Infinite Earths, infinite Crisis, Final Crisis…you get the picture, but I digress. On today’s menu is the JLA/JSA crossover that first threw Darkseid into combat with the League, Justice League of America #183-185! Let’s get moving:
Complete Arc: (#183) – Crisis on New Genesis or Where Have All the New Gods Gone?, (#184) – Crisis Between Two Earths or Apokolips Now!, (#185) – Crisis on Apokolips, or Darkseid Rising!
Year Released: 1980
Creative Team: Gerry Conway (Writer), Dick Dillin/George Parez (Artists)
Heroes: (Shew,,,here we go) Atom (Ray Palmer), Batman, Black Canary (Dinah Lance), Elongated Man, Firestorm, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Hawkman (Katar Hol), Hawkwoman (Shayera Hol), Red Tornado (John Smith), Superman (Kal-El), Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Doctor Mid-Nite (Charles McNider), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Huntress, Power Girl, Robin (Richard Grayson), Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton), Superman (Kal-L), Wildcat (Ted Grant), Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Big Barda, Hoghfather, Metron, Mister Miracle (Scott Free), Lightray, Orion.
Villains: Darkseid, Granny Goodness, Fiddler, Icicle, Shade
Notable Quotable: Big Barda (on what love is): “It’s need…and want…for something to care for you as you care for them. It’s knowing that someone does care. Love…is being loved.
Deciding to do something a little different for this year’s annual JLA/JSA reunion, each team sends three members, Doctor Fate, Wonder Woman, and the Huntress from Earth two and Superman, Batman, and Firestorm from Earth one, to visit the other team’s Earth. As usual (or it wouldn’t be much of an adventure) something goes wrong, and the transmatter machines malfunction. Our heroes find themselves on the strange world of New Genesis, a realm of which only Superman was aware. It seems the place is entirely void of its inhabitants, the New Gods. As Superman explains to the others what he knows of New Genesis and the people who should be living there, the ever-fidgety Firestorm takes it upon himself to go exploring and runs afoul of the New God known as Orion. Firestorm’s teammates come to the rescue and quickly subdue Orion. Suddenly, Metron appears with Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, and Oberon in tow. He quickly explains that it was he who caused their detour to New Genesis and reveals that the Injustice Society from Earth two (Icicle, Shade, and the Fiddler), working with the denizens of Apokolips, were responsible for the disappearance of the New Gods. As the story progresses, we find out that the spirit of despicable Darksied (who had been dead for many months) had directed the injustice society to enslave the citizens of New Genesis to force them to build a machine that would bring him back to life. Of course, Darkseid has plans to use the machine for a much more insidious purpose once he regains his body, ensuring that he will reign supreme once again! Will the combined forces of the Justice League, the Justice Society, and a handful of New Gods be able to overcome the might of Darkseid, his armies, and the Injustice Society? You’re going to have to read these comics to find out!
Gerry Conway (Spiderman, Batman) is an iconic comic book writer, and his writing on this arc, while slightly ham-fisted in places, is top notch. He pulls you in from page one and takes you on a wondrous journey full of remarkable heroes and dastardly villains. Most impressive is Conway’s ability to keep this arc completely self-contained. Anyone could pick this book up from issue 183 and understand what is going on throughout without having knowledge of anything that went on before.
Dick Dillin (Black Hawk, World’s Finest)/George Perez (Teen Titans, Avengers) – Dick Dillin was an extremely gifted artist. His lines, attention to detail, and panel layouts made the Justice League of America one of the best looking books in the industry for the twelve years he worked on it, and issue #183 was no exception. His character art was chock full of dynamic poses and his interpretation of New Genesis did Jack Kirby proud. Unfortunately. He died between issue #183 and #184, leaving the door open for a young artist named George Perez. Perez had done fill in issues of the JLA prior, and his tight line work made him a natural replacement. While not as individualistic and defining as it would eventually be, Perez’ art in issues #184 and #185 is phenomenal!
You have got to read this!! These books are more fun than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means). Enjoyment aside, this is the story that plants the Fourth World and its characters center stage of the Pre-Crisis multiverse, and I cannot stress its importance to DC’s history enough. If you love tons of colorful characters, adventures on amazing worlds, and heroes struggling against an ultimate evil, READ THESE BOOKS! You will not be sorry!!!!
Until next time, get some reading done! I’ll be back next month with look at another four color fantasy!!! Can you dig it!?!?!?!