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Monday, 7 August 2017

All-Star Comics 74 - the Justice Society of America ends


All-Star Comics comes to an abrupt end with issue 74 (Sept/Oct 78), another casualty of the DC Implosion. Fortunately, Levitz, Staton and Layton tie up the storyline they had been building for the past few issues, so the book does come to a solid conclusion.


The friendship between Huntress and Power Girl gets established right at the top of the issue, as Helena Wayne and Karen Starr discuss the ins and outs of maintaining a secret identity.


Then they, and the other members of the Justice Society, get an alert from Dr. Fate and Hawkman, and rush back to headquarters. The two inform the others about their encounter with an ancient being, the Master Summoner, who has warned them about deadly events about to take place around the world.


So the team splits up. Power Girl joins Green Lantern and Hawkman as they head to China to try to stop a war. Though they succeed, we see that one of the soldiers seems to gain Green Lantern's magic energy.


In Montreal, Huntress, Dr. Fate and the Flash prevent an attack by a Hawaiian separatist group, at a meeting where a new universal translator is being introduced. The translator suddenly starts working, but in a way that prevents anyone from understanding anyone else.


It's not too much of a surprise that the Master Summoner is really the villain of the tale. The entity has been stealing the power of the Justice Society members when they go into action, which has caused the strange events. To prevent the Master Summoner from achieving its goal, they contact all the other former members of the team, Star-Spangled Kid, Hourman, Sandman, Superman, Robin, Dr.Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman, Starman, Atom and Johnny Thunder. For Sandman, Atom and Johnny Thunder, this marks their only appearance during this run of the book, which is a bit of a shame, as none of them get to do anything.


In fact, the Society become victorious primarily by not doing anything, denying the Master Summoner their energy at the critical time when he needs it. It's sort of an unfortunate note to go out on, despite being the largest line-up of the Justice Society yet in any one tale.

Most of the team return when the Society does, in the pages of Adventure Comics, though some appear before that, in the JLA/JSA crossover that takes place right after this story. For Sandman, this is his only appearance between the crossover that revealed how he transformed Sandy, and the DC Comics Presents stories in the 80s that follow up on that. 

And though this series has to be credited for introducing Huntress and Power Girl, and bringing back a lot of classic villains, to me it just isn't as good as it might have been. Ironically, the run in Adventure Comics that follows this is, on the whole, much stronger.

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