Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Retroactive - The 70's Part 1

As DC Comics are celebrating the creators that made an impact in the 70's, 80's and 90's, I thought I'd wander through the same decades and pull out my favourite comic of each year.

Any excuse to look at old comics, eh?


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #78 - The Coming of The Doomsters, written by Dennis O'Neil with art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.

As so often happens with comics, that cover bears no resemblance to the events within! At no point does the Vigilante curse the Justice League for abandoning Earth - in fact he teams up with them, even going so far as to say "it's a privilege" to be working with them. But hey, why let the story get in the way of a fantastic cover?

And while that story's not exactly one of the greatest, it does usher in a whole new age for the League. Only the issue before their Happy Harbor Secret Sanctuary had been infiltrated by the Joker, helped by a disgruntled Snapper Carr. In no time at all, the League leave their dingy cave and take up residence elsewhere:

Yep, the JLA satellite makes its first appearance, kicking off the satellite era which would last for another fifteen years or so. If I'm honest, this is the main reason I chose this issue as the story - involving a plot by aliens to pollute the Earth - isn't the best as I said. Though it does give Green Arrow an opportunity to vent his socialist, liberal spleen:

Remember, kids: cigarettes are hazardous to health!


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #95 - The Private War of Johnny Dune, written by Mike Friedrich with art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.

Now this issue does have something of a story and one which probably could only have been written in the early 70's. Young Johnny Dune, recently returned from Vietnam, wants to change the world and convinces the city's political boss to back him in his run for Mayor. He finds fame as a singer, using his popularity to play benefit gigs and keep the kids cool and on his side so once elected, he can make the changes that need to be made.

But the city politicians renege on their deal and so Johnny takes his revenge Pied Piper style. You see, he discovered something during the war: his voice has the power to control people - any kind of people:

"Blue-eyed, slant-eyed, Afro or what-ever!" Anybody else cringe when they read that?

Everything goes according to plan for a while - Johnny even manages to take control of some of the League before the kids themselves get out of line and he's forced to rein them in. With Johnny distracted by his captives, Green Arrow steps up:

Isn't is some sort of universal law that a suction cup arrow solves all problems?

With Johnny out of action, though, the march turns into a riot and he realises that it's down to him to stop it, by reabsorbing all the anger he's unleashed. And how best to do that? By turning the kids on to himself in a selfless act of sacrifice.

And attack him they do, beating him into unconciousness, finally freeing themselves from his control. The League take him to hospital where he recovers and, upon release, determines to head into politics, his mind-controlling powers now gone. But while he's willing to work at things, he offers up a warning:

Ah, the 70's - what a time of optimism. Shame the kids grew up to give us the 80's.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #100 - The Unknown Soldier of Victory!, written by Len Wein with art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.

The one hundredth anniversary meeting of the Justice League was a big deal as long as we ignore the fact that some of the earlier issues had contained reprints only and other events were later ret-conned in - or out - thus muddying the waters. But we're comics fans, so we're not going to mention anything about those.

No, this was the 100th meeting and as such the League abandoned the brand-new satellite and went back to basics, heading to their original cave hideout.

They invite the whole gang as well, dragging along members past and present to celebrate with a big cake. This being the early 70's, guess who gets to cut it:

The women, of course. What else would Zatanna, Wonder Woman and Black Canary be good for?

The festivities are cut short, though, by the whole gang being transported to Earth-Two to team up with the Justice Society against a villain who literally holds the world in his hand. There they learn that to defeat the bad guy, they need to find the Seven Soldiers who were last seen being defeated by the Nebula Man:

The Nebula Man would later (much later) appear as part of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers epic. In a story that spans the next couple of issues, the teams are sent through time to track down the Seven Soldiers before we meet the villain of the piece on the last page:

That's a great shot, I think, and a heck of a cliffhanger . . . particularly when you note that Justice League of America #101 would be on sale "on or about July 18th"

Looks like shipping problems aren't a recent thing for DC!


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #106 - Wolf in The Fold!, written by Len Wein with art by Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano.

The centennial story featuring the Seven Soldiers had culminated with Red Tornado sacrificing himself for the sake of the other heroes, reasoning that as he was just a machine it would be no big loss. The League were more than a little surprised to find him turn up apparently alive and well. He spins them a tale of being found after the battle against the Nebula Man by a blind sculptor who gave him a face and set him loose in the world. In thanks for all he's done - and as an apology for treating him as just a machine all these years - the League induct him as a member.

And how does he show his gratitude?

Talk about ingratitude . . .

It turns out, of course, that the blind sculptor was none other than T.O. Morrow, Tornado's creator who was controlling him in order to destroy the League, a plan which predictable comes to naught.

What marks this issue out, though, isn't Morrow and his half-arsed plan but the introduction of someone who would become very important to Reddy:

Kathy Sutton - girl-Samaritan! One of the few lasting relationships in the DCU (at least at the time of writing) Kathy and Tornado have had their ups and downs but are still an item. Of course, this was just the beginning; to get closer to Kathy, Tornado would have to work out whether he was just a machine after all . . .

. . . or if he were "vulnerable to -- love!"

That's the end of Part 1 of the 1970's - apologies for the preponderance of the JLA but that's mostly what I own from these years!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for wanting to leave a comment, but this blog is no longer maintained. Feel free to visit my new site/blog over at


Look forward to seeing you there. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails