Paul Levitz (w) Joe Staton, Bob Layton (a)
“Frankly Fate, I’ve had enough of your crying cosmic calamity every time we have a tough case!” Jay Garrick, Earth 2 Flash
Before Marvel launched it’s Ultimate universe. Before DC gave us the Elseworlds. Before Joss Whedon gave us Firefly, Serenity and their ‘verse there was the DC Comics multiverse. And once upon a time, readers were delivered monthly tales from Earth-2 where Bruce Wayne was police commissioner of Gotham City and Golden Age Hawkman roamed the skies as a member of the Justice Society of America in a costume that today would make us all come up with some truly tasteless jokes (a couple of which I recall all too fondly when the All-Star Comics DC Direct action figures came out a few years back).
For the uninitiated, we are of course referring to DC Comics’ All Star Comics, specifically, issue #68, which featured the legendary Justice Society of America, complete with Golden Age Hawkman and the current roster you are familiar with today (albeit with a bit different look) – Power Girl, Jay Garrick as the Flash, Alan Scott as the Green Lantern, Wildcat, Dr. Fate and more.
And before Marv Wolfman and George Perez brought him back in the Crisis of Infinite Earths, the Psycho Pirate was wrecking havoc with the JSA, and of course their emotions, controlling Scott and leading the team to despair to make his getaway.
Meanwhile, a very civilian Wayne after watching the Green Lantern hold his airport hostage and then battle his teammates has great concerns over just how the JSA is doing business. But that is a story for another issue (cliffhanger anyone?).
Not only does this issue give readers a chance to be in the upcoming Superman movie, it also features travel across the multiverse into Earth 1! And before there was a GPS system or even Google maps, there was the JSA computers, which could not find Green Lantern on Earth 2 – maybe they did need the new-fangled GPS or Google maps? Can you guess where he was?
None of the above however rivals the Green Lantern’s debut in the issue, when he holds Gotham Airport for what he is owed – demanding one million dollars. And he means it. Of course he is not in his right mind, thanks to one Mr. Levitz and a certain pirate.
Couple of interesting notes, the more things change the more they stay the same as Power Girl still is the one attempting to keep the team together in “Divided We Stand” as Psycho Pirate threatens to tear the team apart.
GL uses his ring to conjure salad tongs to take down a British Airways jet and a old school radio microphone, complete with a GL, to give Gotham his list of demands.
Levitz keeps the story moving with quick dialogue, although boy was this team a bunch of whiners. Meanwhile Staton turned in his usual strong work with Layton finishing. Loved the panel of Power Girl jumping into the air searching for a fleet-footed Flash. The panel comes complete with a “Spoinng!” as if on a spring. Although many current readers maybe disappointed that Staton keeps PG’s backside pretty much covered in her one-piece, leg-exposed costume.
A couple of epilogue’s later, complete with a cameo by Earth One’s Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and the rest is history. But issue #69 looks to be just as promising. Just let me dig that out of the back issue box to find out just what Commissioner Wayne is up to.
Check out previous Random Retro Comic Reviews below.