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Friday, 4 August 2017

All-Star Comics 66 - The Injustice Society captures Hourman and Wildcat

With All-Star Comics 66 (May/June 1977) the Super Squad logo finally gets dropped in favour of a more appropriate Justice Society of America one. As well, the overall logo for All-Star is altered and minimized. While it was pleasant to see the original logo for the book again, it was, frankly, a messy one, and the new version is an improvement.

Joe Staton and Bob Layton join Paul Levitz as the bring the long Injustice Society plot thread to a conclusion. Superman, Power Girl, the Flash, Hawkman and Star-Spangled Kid return to the present, and make mention of the fact that the Shining Knight did indeed travel with them back to Camelot, but decided to stay there. They head to their base, only to find it occupied by the Injustice Society, holding Wildcat and Hourman prisoner. The Icicle is now working with the Thinker, Brainwave and the Wizard. The story will, later, make it clear that this is taking place before the run of Secret Society of Super-Villains, so the Wizard's chronological last appearance before this was a couple of years earlier in Justice League of America. The Thinker had last been seen the year before that, in 1974, in the Flash. The villains are not prepared for the heroes, even though Superman had flown off by that point, and flee with their captives, leaving hints as to where they are headed.

Dr. Fate's wife, Inza Nelson, gets a cameo in this story, her first appearance since the Dr. Fate and Hourman tale in Showcase back in 1965. As usual, she does not want Kent to become Dr. Fate, but he has learned of the danger from the Injustice Society, and flies to the Middle East to join some of them.

Hourman is there, bait lid out by the Icicle and the Thinker, but the pair prove no match for Fate, Flash and Hawkman.

Before picking up on the other Injustice Society members, the story shows Green Lantern under the spell of the Psycho-Pirate. Aside from his appearance in the previous issue, the Psycho-Pirate had not been seen since 1968, in the pages of the Spectre. He sends Green Lantern on a destructive rampage.

The news of Green Lantern's actions, though not of the villain behind it, reaches the desk of Gotham's police commissioner, Bruce Wayne. As Batman, he had last been seen in the JLA/JSA crossover in 1976.

The tale concludes in Alaska, as Power Girl and the Star-Spangled Kid take down the Wizard and Brainwave, freeing Wildcat. In this fight, the Wizard makes reference to moving to Earth-1, which is what sets the tale before the stories in SSoSV. At the end, Power Girl notices a pipe from deep underground siphoning off the oil derrick, and decides to explore it, which gets followed up on in the next issue.

All in all, not a great Injustice Society story, although it did make use of a lot of classic villains. But it was too spread out, and took the back seat too many times for such a quick conclusion.

Aside from the Wizard, Brainwave is the next member of the villains to appear, the following year in Power Girl's run in Showcase. The Thinker and the Icicle return in 1980, in the Huntress' series in Wonder Woman, and in a JLA/JSA crossover, respectively.

The Superman of Earth-2 heads over to join his Earth-1 counterpart in the pages of Superman Family shortly after this.

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