Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Retroactive - The 70's Part 2

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 #109 - The Doom of The Divided Man!, written by Len Wein with art by Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano.

One of the great antagonistic relationships in comics has long been between Hawkman and Green Arrow and it was probably at its height during the 70's when they were both members of the Justice League. The liberal, socialist Green Arrow often butted heads with the more conservative, rigid Hawkman so when the latter announced he was leaving the League to return to Thanagar, you'd expect Ollie to be happy, right?

Not a bit of it. Before they can do anything to stop Hawkman leaving, though, their meeting is interrupted by the arrival of a damaged Red Tornado and Bruce Gordon which sets up a quick adventure where the League battle Eclipso and his fiendish weapons.

For all those reading Justice League of America at the moment, you may want to wonder if James Robinson's current League vs Eclipso story will feature a tower that shoots "Eclipso-type energy blasts!" . . . and how it may be better if it did.

During the fight, the heroes team up and, unlikely though it may seem, Green Arrow actually asks to be teamed up with Hawkman. Of course, that doesn't stop him getting a few barbs in:

Kind of ironic seeing as it was only a few years before that Arrow had changed dramatically.

With the bad guy put away once more, though, Hawkman returns to the satellite to say farewell (again) to his friends, noting the absence of Green Arrow, figuring the archer's not bothered by the Hawk's departure.

Oh, bless you Ollie, you poor, sensitive soul!


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #123 - Where on Earth Am I?, written by Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin.

Waaaaay before Grant Morrison appeared as himself in the pages of Animal Man, writers Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates pulled the same trick by dropping themselves into this issue of Justice League of America by means of a Cosmic Treadmill left in the DC Comics offices on Earth-Prime by the Flash during an earlier visit to our world.

No, seriously!

Cary Bates is the first to leave Earth-Prime, appearing on Earth-Two in time to witness a robbery being stopped by Johnny Thunder and Robin. For some reason never totally explained, Bates decides to help not the heroes but the villains with newly discovered mental powers:

The path to villainy is that easy, folks.

Maginn, on the other hand, ends up on Earth-One where he manages to convince Aquaman to introduce him to the League. His story of coming from Earth-Prime is bolstered by his knowing the identities of the heroes around him:

and by the Flash who whips their masks off.

Bates teams up with the Injustice Society of the World and single-handedly defeats the Justice Society before his new villainous team-mates launch an attack against the League. They're no match for the League, though, who dispatch their enemies easily . . . perhaps too easily . . .

Maginn may not have been able to come up with a plot twist but his co-writer has:

The Injustice Society was actually the Bates-mind-controlled Justice Society all along!

This issue's just completely nuts - can you imagine, for example, Geoff Johns or Dan Jurgens writing themselves into an in continuity superhero story these days?! Glory days, my friends.


GREEN LANTERN #90 - Those Who Worship Evil's Might!, written by Denny O'Neil with art by Mike Grell.

With absolutely no sense of modesty or decorum, the GREATEST COMIC OF THEM ALL (that's what it says on the cover) returned in 1976 after a four year or so hiatus. After winning plaudits galore for the relevant stories during their trek across America but unable to sustain sales or readers, Green Lantern and Green Arrow had been cancelled. Their return saw less of an emphasis on social ills and more on science fiction. This issue starts, for example, with Hal Jordan visiting Oa to receive an improved power ring.

Teaming up with Ollie again, they're found keeping an eye on a space craft, unearthed by a recent atomic test and no sooner has Jordan started to charge his ring than someone escapes from the craft:

Trying to get away from the "bad guys", the mysterious alien shrinks down and enters Jordan's ring, telling him to fly to a moon of Jupiter while Arrow sorts out the guys with guns.

It's all fairly standard stuff from there-on out: the alien turns out to be the villain who double crosses Jordan and leaves him for dead. He survives and recaptures the alien then learns what Arrow's picked up in the interim: the "bad guys" are actually cops and not just any sort of cop:

"Predecessors of the Green Lantern Corps!"

So presumably between the Manhunters and the Corps, these guys with their stun guns were the Guardians' police force. This is the sort of throw away detail Geoff Johns can spin epic story arcs from! Johns, I demand you do this now!

Tune in next week for the end of the 70's!

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