I’ve been featuring Marvel Comics for the last two months in my RETRO REVIEWs, so I thought I’d switch over to DC Comics, for a couple of columns, if that’s okay with you, my readers. So this week I’ve have pulled from the comics vault my copy of Justice League of America # 21. Then next week, I’ll forgo the next Fabulous Find, for another RETRO REVIEW and showcase the second part of this two part storyline, in Justice League of America # 22. So grab a prefered beverage and sit back, relax and let the wonderfulness of the 1960’s comic book world take you away!
Justice League of America # 21, has a cover date of August 1963. The pencil artist is Mike Sekowsky and the inks were provided by Murphy Anderson. The title of the story is clearly listed on the cover itself; “Crisis on Earth-One!”. The big surprise is that the Justice League’s predecessors, from the Golden Age, The Justice Society of America are back after twelve (12) long years! Look, it says so right on the cover! And what a cover! Take a look:
And once we got tired of staring at this cover and finally flipped it open, we find out that the story is written by Gardner Fox, with the pencils done by the aforementioned, Mike Sekowsky and the inks slung by Bernard Sachs. Well, I guess that’s not true, since DC Comics wasn’t listing their creators back in 1963, like Marvel did. But trust me, that’s who is responsible for the comic writing and art!
The cover features a cool look at the Justice League holding what appears to be a seance, and the Justice Society of America appearing above them. The splash page shows the reverse, the Justice Society is holding the seance and it’s the Justice League that appears above them. An interesting transportation. I wonder why Sekowsky did that? On his own, or at Julius Schwartz‘s request? I guess we’ll never know.
The two pages after the splash page, show the JLA holding a meeting discussing a challenge thrown their way by the Crime Champions. The Crime Champions are made up of three villains, Chronos, Felix Faust and Doctor Alchemy. The criminals plan to rob three locations and say the JLA will not be able to capture them.
The scene then switches to Earth Two and the JSA, on a duplicate Earth occupying the same space, but separated by vibrating at a different speed as ours and the JLA’s world. The original explanation and story can be found in Flash # 123, and you can also check out my RETRO REVIEW of that issue, here: http://gobacktothepast.com/retro-review-flash-123/
It seems that the JSA have also been challenged by three of their foes, the Fiddler, the Wizard and the Icicle to try to stop them form robbing three locations, as well. Each team divides up their ranks to form smaller teams and rush out to stop the crimes from taking place. Thus ends chapter one!
Chapter two begins with Felix Faust robbing gold from a sunken ship. Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter and the Atom appear upon the sea to stop him, but they fail miserably. Next up is Dr. Alchemy robbing an armored car/truck. Superman, the Flash and Green Arrow confront him, but the good doctor turns a telephone pole to Kryptonite and the asphalt to glue, thus trapping Green Arrow, then he converts GA’s arrows to harmless weeds and escapes with the money. Making it look easy against someone as powerful as Superman.
Next we have Chronos, who is stealing a million dollars from a bank vault. It’s Wonder Woman, Batman and Green Lantern who attempt to stop him and like the heroes before them, they come up short! In each case after completing their crimes the villains fade away with their ill gotten gains! As Chapter two comes to a close we see all six (6) of the villains celebrating together in a sphere of vibratory energy between the two Earths!
We also find out what has happened during the Wizard’s crime where he defeated Green Lantern and the Black Canary, the Fiddler’s outing where he faced off against Hawkman, the Flash and the Atom and the Icicle’s caper where he had to battle Hourman and Doctor Fate! Needless to say, as with the Earth One villains, the Earth Two villains all came out on top!
The plan is for the villains to switch places with there fellow villains form the other earth and that way they will be able to enjoy their stolen monies, without anyone recognizing each of them. And the only two heroes that might just be able to see through their plan, the two Flashes have been caught in vibratory traps and held in spheres created by the Fiddler.
But eventually the bad guys get bored and decide to challenge the heroes once again, expecting the same outcomes, of course. This time they switch places with each other, so the Wizard disguises himself as Dr. Alchemy, the Icicle transforms into Chronos and the Fiddler becomes Felix Faust and with their mixed-up powers, they again overcome the Justice League of America and then transport them back to their headquarters where they are trapped and unable to get out.
Batman gets the idea to use Merlin’s crystal Ball to try to contact their missing comrade the Flash to see if he has any valuable information that might help them. They raise the Flash who tells them he is also trapped, but that they should use the crystal Ball to contact their Earth Teo counterparts, the Justice Society of America.
They successfully reach the JSA and soon both teams meet for the very first time! The comic ends with the Justice Society staying on Earth One to combat their Earth Two villains and the Justice League are transported to Earth Two where they will seek out and fight their Earth One foes.
Wow, what a comic! This two part story line is likely my all time favorite Justice League of America story and a gem of my collection! But with only half the story told, be sure to return next week for part two; “The Crisis on Earth-Two”, in a rare back to back RETRO REVIEW.
So stay tuned Bat fans and I’ll hopefully see you next week!