"Justice Society Vol. 2" (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All-Star Comics is perhaps best known as the comic title which introduced the world’s first Super Team, the Justice Society of America, not to mention Wonder Woman.  In the early days of All-Star Comics, the various heroes were still only featured in solo stories but they became so popular that they soon began teaming up to fight crime. All-Star ran for 57 issues but by 1951, superheroes began to fall out of popularity and the title was changed to All Star Western.   

In the early 60’s the Golden Age heroes began to return to DC culminating in the return of the Justice Society in the Justice League of America #21 (1963).  The Justice Society proved popular enough that they would make several more appearances in the JLA and yet it would not be until 1976 that All-Star Comics was revived by DC, picking up where it left off with issue #58.  This was probably not the most prudent of decisions by DC considering the 25-year gap.  For collectors and fans, they would have been better off by restarting the title with issue#1.  The first volume of the Justice Society reprinted issues #58 – 67.  This second volume features issues #68 –74, as well as the JSA’s appearances in Adventure Comics #461 – 466. 

The stories in this volume were written by Paul Levitz with art by Joe Staton. The stories are fairly typical of the 1970’s…They are action driven and fairly straight forward, with little complexity in the plots.  Staton to me was like DC version of Sal Buscema…he was a reliable works horse, but not spectacular.  In the opening two-part tale, “Divided We Stand”, Green Lantern has seemingly gone crazy, holding an entire airport hostage and demanding a one million dollar ransom.  This story continues into the next issue as police chief Bruce Wayne, retired from his life in costume, is hunting down members of the JSA by using other members such as Hourman, Wonder Woman, Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Robin.  This results in an all-out battle between the two factions and Powergirl is nearly killed by one of Wayne’s officers.  Interestingly, when Power Girl is hurt, her costume goes all the way up to her neck.  When she returns to action several pages later, her costume now has a plunging neckline revealing her ample cleavage. 

In #72, the Thorn, and old nemesis of the Flash, has returned and is on a murder spree, killing cops in Keystone City.  In #73, the original Golden Age Huntress returns to battler her present-day namesake. 

The series must have ended rather abruptly because on the last page of issue #74 it does proclaim that the story will continue “next issue!”  It would continue, but not in All-Star Comics which was canceled. The story picked up in Adventure Comics #461 but now it was splitting time with several other features and the stories were only 13 pages long.  The run ended when the JSA was brought before a congressional hearing where they are asked to remove their masks and reveal their identities.  They decline and effectively the JSA is disbanded until the 1990’s mini-series and eventual regular series.  The new JSA series has proven to be enormously popular and we can only wish that DC had seen the light a little sooner in their commitment to bring back the world’s first super team.

Mania Grade: B
Story and Art By: Paul Levitz and Joe Staton
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 224
Price: $14.99