[JSA Book Club] Week 20: Yesterday Begins Today [Dec. 1-15]

Welcome back JSA fans to another session of the JSA Book Club. I hope everyone is staying well and healthy. This week we will be delving into some more JSA action with another visit with the team in All Star Comics. So lets get this party started!

JSA BOOK CLUB ROLL CALL

Club Leaders

@JasonTodd428 & @Aurora

Standing Members

Abrax, AggressiveIntellectual219, anthony.javier3, bbzo24, bigblock66, BlueBeetlesAssistant, Brenticus_Rex, CassTheStreet, CrazyQuilt, Daffern, dave_worrell, DCUniverse, Deathstroke’sPunisher, december360, djganon, DocterFate1, Don-El, fawsid, frankie.lacy79, Frostbite30, ganaoque, harrist, HombreDeMaiz, hotstufflouie, Jay_Kay, Jflow, jlevin, kaliym73, lunalane, MatthewHecht, mbpbinder, _meegs, Meisaj, mgeiler, Midnitehour, MisfitCMJ, mitchellbpearson ,msgtv, OldBoyWonder, PaintEater, parzival27, ProActress, ralphsix, Ravenrifft, Remember5NovEveyHammond, RickTylerHourman, rlynchfamily, rspezzano, rwm, scoop001, TheCosmicMoth, TK52, TurokSonOfStone, YolandaMontezz, ZacharyLee1995.

What to read

•All Star Comics #64-68

For Discussion

  1. What did you think of Vandal Savage’s plan here to capture Superman and Powergirl?

  2. What about his Master Plan to gain back his immortality using Superman’s life force?

  3. Looks like Green Lantern has gotten himself in a bit of a financial bind and all because of superheroics. Do you think his anger and despair made him more susceptible to suggestions from the Psycho Pirate?

  4. The Injustice Society is back. What did you think of the fight between them and the JSA?

  5. What did you think of Ayrn the Underlord?

  6. Psycho Pirate is causing a lot of problems for the JSA in these issue. He got to both Green Lantern and Flash and he managed to turn Commissioner Wayne against them. What do you think of him as a villain?

And that’s all for this week. Next time the JSABC gets into the holiday spirit with two holiday stories so don’t miss it.

JOIN THE JSA BOOK CLUB for all your JSA needs.

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Bookmarked for Saturday, hooray for more 70s All Star Comics / Wally Wood artwork!

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Can’t wait to see your post @Don-El. I always enjoy them so much and learn some things I didn’t know before.

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1&2. I know some stories have indicated that Superman can live forever, so it makes some sense that Savage would try to regain his immortality by stealing Superman and Power Girl’s energy.
3. Yes, his existing anger and despair were amplified by the Psycho Pirate.
4. The Injustice Society were fun to see, although they didn’t give the JSA much trouble.
5. I found Ayrn the Underlord a generic and forgettable villain.
6. I like Psycho Pirate and his powers. Being able to control others emotions can cause a lot of problems.

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I am not yet ready to post my answers, but I have to say this- it is so weird seeing Power girl in that (much more kid friendly) outfit.

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The Comic Code was still in effect so that is likely the reason for that. I know a lot of people prefer the more revealing ones but I have a problem with that because they always make it seem like her “costume” and “attributes” are more important than her actual character and the things she does are. I find that sexist and as I guy I’m not afraid to say so.

I’m not saying that you personally think that @MatthewHecht. It’s just a feeling I get from some PG fans.

This is the costume I would use if I had to update it especially for live action (being a Stargirl fan this comes up quite a bit). I view her as the team’s equivalent to Aquaman, is sacrificial with real leadership talent and technology expertise, but has flaws of stubborness, rashness, and too determined to prove him/herself.

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Yes it does cause all sorts of problems. I like Pyscho Pirate though because I feel he’s a pretty interesting character. Last year Characters of DC even discussed his character more in depth. If you are interested in reading more about him here’s a link to that discussion.

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I think it would be a perfect costume for a live action version of the character and it would fit in nicely with those in Stargirl. :thinking: I wonder what the chances of PG being added to the JSA’s roster at some point?

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The reason I don’t read modern Power Girl (not to be confused with Power Man who we’ve been reading about over in the Superman Fan Club recently) is I have no idea who she is supposed to be anymore. The Power Girl I enjoyed reading about is the one we have here in the current JSA Club reading, who is really Supergirl, Superman’s cousin from an alternate Earth.

New 52 revived that idea for a bit, but at this point I’m just dizzy trying to figure out is she from Atlantis, is she from Earth 2… what is Power Girl these days? I don’t think she’s been published for many years.

A very similar sloppy continuity issue exists with Donna Troy. Basically, at DC, if you’re second or third level character infrequently published, good luck with continuity.

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Me too @Don-El. This is my favorite version of the character.

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1-2. If you can build kryptonite suns I think there is an easier way to kill Superman. Obviously I loved his battle and role. It is some good lighthearted fun.
3. Yes. I think most superheroes would be in Spider-Man’s financial situation rather than being CEOs.
4. Great build up, but they were beaten too easily. At least Braiwnave put up an awesome fight.
5. Not very memorable apparently.
6. I think he needed a longer story arc, but plenty of great potential (JSA Classified). I do like that Wildcat of all people is the one who was not fazed by him at all.

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Thanks again @JasonTodd428 for the time you are volunteering to arrange the JSA readings along with other clubs you are leading or co-leading, your efforts greatly enhance the “bang for our buck” here. I can go weeks without reading anything on other Unlimited platforms I subscribe year round to, but these curated “fan club” readings make if fun and easy to dig into the almost incomprehensible pile of digital storylines here.

  1. What did you think of Vandal Savage’s plan here to capture Superman and Powergirl?
    Let’s call it the very new to writing comics Paul Levitz’s plan, lol. I get the sense the editor was busy elsewhere and maybe a ghost writer or two assisted young Paul L in writing this one, as there are some head-spinning midstream changes as the storyline bolts forward. You know the decades have come and gone when you see Paul Levitz now holding forth with such knowledgable authority during the DC Fandome event on DC continuity and storywriting, but back in 1977 being the individual responsible for this rudderless lost ship of a Vandal Savage tale.

But first, let’s gaze and be astonished by a fairly senior at this point Wally Wood doing what looks like far more than just inking:

Coming up with medieval outfits for the Justice Society is pure gold! It reminds me so much of modern day “Primal Age” Justice League of a few years ago, or the current Death Metal versions of the costumes.

One of the first big “uh oh” editorial moments is when the medieval gear just disappears once they are in Merlin’s presence and never comes back. The modern day JSA contraption created the outfits before they left, and no explanation was given for the way-cool knight outfits disappearing.

2. What about his Master Plan to gain back his immortality using Superman’s life force?
The master plan assumes there is some energy or essence in Superman to absorb. I guess considering how the built up solar energy in his body’s cells is an often repeated theme in storys like “Death of Superman”, it isn’t the worse plan. The machine taking energy from Power Girl made sense; fighting Superman in an arena (being watched by robots???!!?? not at all, lol.

The master plan actually is part of why I get the impression this is either written by two people with one being a “ghost” or the editor was just working two jobs at once that month- I still am trying to figure out, did anyone ever really travel back to Camelot, if so, how did Vandel Savage get there? At times the storyline sounds like this Vandel Savage is the one who would have been alive back in the 6th century AD or so, but that makes zero sense. And then suddenly they all travel 50,000 light years away to a place that has two “Kryptonian” suns…only to find out that isn’t quite right either, it’s just all in modern day with gadgets creating the effect of Kryptonite suns. Mommmieeeee

(and I do like how Vandal Savage is stylized and drawn thoughout the two issue story, and the fact this series brought him back nicely “refurbished” from the “hair in his ears” Golden Age version).

Before moving on to the other storylines, I did want to post more Wally Wood art: these robot henchmen dressing in snappy matching uniforms reminds me so much of Wally Wood’s '60s Thunder Agents series, where both the heroic and villainous teams made sure to dress sharp for the occasion!

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Yeah, it’s been tough for Power Girl since Crisis on Infinite Earths. After Crisis, she violated two major tenets of the Post-Crisis DC Universe: 1) No Earth-Two. 2) No Kryptonians outside of Superman. This is what lead to the clumsy Atlantean origin (see Secret Origins #11). If you think about it, though, it’s a testament to how beloved PG is that she stayed around despite those things. They brought back her original Earth-Two origins in 2006 with Infinite Crisis #2. Then, in the New 52, she was obviously the Kara Zor-L of the new version of Earth-2. The last time I saw her in any significant capacity was in the New 52’s World’s Finest book. However, she did make a cameo in Doomsday Clock that suggests they were planning on staying with her original JSA origins. That being said, I think her fate rests on how they decide to clean up the Earth-2 continuity from New 52 and what they ultimately decide to do about the JSA. I hope to see her back soon.

On to my reactions:

  1. What do I think of Vandal’s plan to capture PG and Supes? I would hate to be Vandal’s logistics expert. “Okay, let me summarize what you want to do here. First, you’re going to travel back in time to King Arthur’s Camelot with a robot army to defeat the JSA. Then, you’ll use Merlin’s magic to capture the Kryptonians so you can travel to another world where we will have built Kryptonite suns and another robot army. Okay… The projected cost of that plan is 400 trillion dollars. How about, instead, we hire Professor Zodiak to help us capture Superman by making synthesized Kryptonite and we build the one robot army to help contain him in a secret location in Metropolis. That way we avoid the JSA, time travel, and basically terraforming an entire planet. Projected cost of this alternate plan is 1 million dollars max. …You still like your plan better?.. sigh… okay, sir, I’ll get right on that.” The only reason not to resign from that job would be fear of Vandal Savage.

  2. As has been mentioned before by others, Vandal’s plan to regain his immortality using Superman’s energy works in theory based on what we know of Superman’s ability to absorb solar energy. That being said, if I were Vandal’s logistics expert, I would point out there may be alternate approaches like finding a similar meteor to the one that made him immortal in the first place. An alternate approach may help him avoid trying to defeat and contain the most powerful being on the planet. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just middle management…

  3. I do think Alan’s financial struggles with the Gotham Broadcasting Company did make him more susceptible to Psycho Pirate (not that the Pirate needs much help). It’s a tough thing in life when you feel like you have been acting selflessly and still seem to be punished for it. It’s hard to compartmentalize your selfless acts from your struggles and realize that one may have nothing to do with the other. Basically, Alan was primed for that manipulation. Worse, it made his actions under the Pirate’s control that much harder to understand. You can’t blame some if they thought that Alan simply just snapped.

  1. I think the Injustice Society should have pressed the advantage when they had it. It looked like they had the JSA on the ropes at their headquarters. Then they suddenly decide to depart and split up which lead to their defeat. Like splitting up and tackling different missions is not a specialty of the JSA… Yet another example of self-limiting behavior from the Injustice Society.

  2. Ayrn the Underlord reminded me of Mole Man from Marvel Comics. His fight with Power Girl also reminded me of Mole Man’s duel with Reed Richards from Fantastic Four #1. That shows how influential those classic Marvel stories were on the Bronze Age. Past that, Ayrn was pretty forgettable.

  3. Psycho Pirate is definitely underrated considering how much chaos he tends to cause when he does show up. I also think there’s a lot of untapped narrative potential in his character. The fact that he’s a villain who controls emotions, but can’t control his own would be fertile ground to discuss real-world emotional disorders. I see a lot of potential in Psycho Pirate. He was recruited by the Anti-Monitor for a reason.

That’s it from me. Hope everyone is well!

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Vandal does have a lot of great ideas in that head of his. This one was a bit more lighthearted for him than some of his other schemes but so still enjoyed it as I always do when it comes to him.

I did wish he’d have had more buildup but then again there is always COIE as well. As for Wildcat he has always struck me as the kind guy who isn’t fazed by much.

Thanks a lot @Don-El. That means a lot to me. Thank you for the time you put into your clubs as well.

I feel the same. These clubs are a great resource for readings and through them I have gained an appreciation for characters titles and creative’s that I was either unaware of or maybe hadn’t looked into before. Its been fun.

Those outfits were my favorite thing about this story honestly.

Guess we’ll never know which it was but it does have a bit of a ghost writer-y feel to it.

Those robots were sure snazzy dressers and Wally Wood’s art as fantastic.

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Tell me about it. I 'd also hate to be his tactician. You want to do what!?!? Look your plan has to many moving parts so it’s bound to fail. You need to keep it simple. Just capture the Supers, get the heck outta Dodge and then keep them somewhere secret and fortified.

It is at that and while Psycho Pirate doesn’t really need the help I’m sure it did cause Alan to fall deeper into those emotions than maybe he would have ordinarily.

Bruce sure seems to think Alan just went off the deep end.

I agree. They had the advantage here so they should have used it. I know the JSA would have won in the end but still. Priorities people!

It was very reminiscent of that fight but otherwise I am inclined to agree that Ayrn is pretty forgettable.

I’m actually surprised that no writer has used him to explore that idea.

And I’m doing well. Hope you are too @TheCosmicMoth.

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