Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All Star Comics Archives: Volume 3

By Gardner Fox, Sheldon Mayer and numerous artists

The Justice Society goes to war! This volume reprints All Star Comics issues 11 to 14, originally published between June and December of 1942. Written in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, these stories feature the JSA facing off against the threat of the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany. In "The Justice Society Joins the War on Japan", the mystery men (somewhat illogically) disband in order to join the armed forces in their civilian identities. But being a mystery man is a hard habit to break and our boys--and guest star Wonder Woman--end up finding an excuse to slip into costume and repel sundry attacks by the Japanese military. They do so well, in fact, that the Army recalls each member back to Washington to keep them from disrupting the normal forces. Instead, the JSA is reformed as the Justice Battalion, presumably to take on special missions against the Axis powers. The first mission is detailed in the next story, "The Black Dragon Menace". In that one the JSA thwarts the efforts of the secret Black Dragon society to steal weapon prototypes from across America. The third story, "Shanghaied Into Space", only tangentially involves the war. A Nazi scientist, in an attempt to rid the world of the Justice Society, knocks them out, places each into a separate rocket and sends them off to various planets in the solar system. (The premise sounds lame, but the adventures on the different planets are fun.) In the final tale, "Food for Starving Patriots", features the members of the JSA delivering miniaturized food to resistance fighters in the occupied nations of Europe. All of the tales are typical 1940s fare, filled with crude plots and overt racism. The art ranges from fair to excellent--the draft had yet to snatch up All American's better artists. All in all, it's one of the better volumes of the series.

It's on my shelf. (The comic shelf, in a long box.)
LibraryThing link

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