Written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. Art by Rich Buckler. Cover by Joe Kubert. Published in April of 2012, Softcover, 528 pages, B&W. Cover price $19.99. If you want additional books, I ship as many books as you want for a low flat fee....
|Title||:||Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1|
|Number of Pages||:||528 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1 Reviews
Next up on the Shallow Comic Reader's Buddy Read is the theme Black AND White. In the late 70s and early 80s, there was an exodus of writers and artists from Marvel Comics to DC Comics. These creators were some of the most prolific creators that Marvel had, and seeing them jump ship to the competition was surprising and also exciting. Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, George Perez, John Byrne, and Roy Thomas were all some of the big guns who wrote series defining runs on titles from Amazing Spider-Man to Tomb of Dracula to Avengers and X-Men and more. This brought about a mini-renaissance at DC, and one of the books that came out of this was All-Star Squadron (ASS). Roy Thomas was one of the earliest comics fans that made it into the big leagues of comics publishing. After a brief stint at DC, he moved over to Marvel and became the second editor-in-chief, succeeding Stan Lee himself. The primary writer on the Avengers for a long while after Lee left, Thomas wrote the Kree-Skrull story line, and contributed a lot to the cosmic Marvel Universe. A huge fan of the Golden Age of comics, Thomas created a book at Marvel called The Invaders, set in World War Two and starring Captain America, Bucky, the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch, and others. So, naturally, when he went to DC, he was given the opportunity to replicate his success with The Invaders but with DC's vast catalog of Golden Age comics characters. Instead of a straight-up Justice Society of America title, though, he created a new team that would serve as a war-time battalion of super-heroes. Quite possibly, as the JSA actually had stories and comics published during the 1940s, the new take was to provide Thomas a chance to tell his own stories that would not conflict with established canon.(DC also seemed adverse to publishing a current-time Justice Society of America comic, as well. The JSA's one revival in the mid-70s was a continuation, of title as well as numbering, of the original All-Star Comics from the Golden Age. My guess is that there were fears of confusion with the Justice League of America comic.)The ASS was established right after Pearl Harbor, when President Roosevelt decided a group of heroes larger than the JSA was needed to protect America during the war. Roosevelt had already been involved in the creation of the JSA, so he was familiar with the group and the American super-heroes. Soon, the ASS springs into action to stop the advances of Per Degaton, a time-travelling villain who had capture and incapacitated the JSA (including reserve members Superman, Batman, and non-members Wonder Woman and Robin). Shortly thereafter, all the JSA members (who were all male at the time), joined the military in their civilian identities and the JSA disbanded, leaving the ASS as the only super-hero team in town.What is rather nice about reading ASS is that the characters are not the more-well known super heroes from the JSA. Hawkman and Atom are prominent characters, but the story focuses mostly on minor heroes like Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, the first Robotman, Shining Knight, and Thomas's new creation Firebrand, the sister of the original D-List hero, who is severely injured at Pearl Harbor. Soon, Hawkgirl starts hanging around, as well, and then The Tarantula. Plastic Man is the liaison with the FBI. This allowed stories to be told without worrying too much about continuity with the original 1940s comics. Even so, Thomas is meticulous with continuity, and there are frequent footnotes to check out such-and-such comic from 1942 to explain why a particular hero was absent from a mission, for example. That's really cool, in my opinion, and pleased the history geek in me. Thomas also referenced then-current events, and the artists made sure that movie posters, etc., all referred back to what was playing at the time, for instance.Thomas expanded upon some of the early comics, like making the guy who trained Wildcat, the Atom, and the Guardian the same guy. There's an explanation for why The Sandman ditched his trench coat for tights. These kinds of story elements showed just how dedicated the artistic team was in maintaining continuity without letting it be a stranglehold.President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, the President of Mexico, and other contemporary figures show up as characters, with Roosevelt and Churchill appearing quite often. There's some heavy-handed preaching on racism that seems a bit out of place (Firebrand hates all the Japanese, then gets confronted by Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick, and then her brother, and sees the light). I thought the writing holds up pretty well for 35 years later. Some of the dialog is clunky, and because many of the heroes were meeting for the first time in the pages of ASS, the reader has to read through various origins as the hero in question relates them to his or her new-found teammates. One exposition in particular was amusing. A villain captures Hawkgirl and the Atom, who try to get the villain to tell them what he plans to do. The villain responds with something like, "HA! You want me to tell you my plans in the time-old trick of giving time for a diversion to happen and to free you! I will indulge you, but no one is going to save you! HAHAHA!" Ok, that's not verbatim, and I think Thomas was having a bit of fun with the reader. The art is pretty good, as well. Roy Buckler starts off as penciller, followed by Adrian Gonzalez, and Jerry Ordway, just getting his start at DC, was the inker for most of the book. Covers were mostly drawn by Joe Kubert, who was, of course, mostly associated with DC war books and the Silver Age Hawkman, but who also drew many DC books back in the latter Golden Age as well. At the time of original publication, Kubert wasn't doing too many super-hero comics or covers, so they were a nice treat then and now.Being a Showcase Presents book, this collection is in black and white, which is unfortunate, but it's a hefty collection of the free 16 page insert that introduced the ASS, then the first 18 issues of the title plus the first annual. Around 534 pages of comics. Near the end there is a team up with the 1980s JLA and JSA, part of their then-annual team up, but this book does not collect the three parts that were published in Justice League of America. I don't know if this was the fist inter-title crossover or not, but the reader only gets two parts of the story here, and that is rather disappointing, particularly as the Showcase Presents: JLA volumes are about ten years behind. I hope DC comes out with another ASS volume of SP soon. Crisis on Infinite Earths was the death of this series, and the changes to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, et al., really messed with the book. Still, ASS had a long run of 67 issues and 3 annuals, so there's a lot more to be collected from this very interesting and well-put together book.
My tolerance for this volume of Showcase books is based on how much of Roy Thomas' writing I can take. Thomas is by no means a bad comic book writer, but his writing does have a certain style to it. Character personalities aren't particularly distinctive compared to other writers, and by this I mean all the characters he's written ever, not just the ones here. The All-Star Squadron's Johnny Quick could just as easily be the Avengers' Hawkeye. Most issues will feature a three to four page flashback narrated by one character. And there will be so-so attempts at humor and superhero one-liners. Basically, every superhero comic book story stereotype probably came from Roy Thomas. The stories have some charm, but if you aren't a fan of the man writing these tales, don't go any further.DC, by the by, gets some points off for this volume only including parts two and four of a five part JLA crossover. It might have been nice to know how the rest of that story turned out...
I really liked what they did with this storyline. I can't imagine that we'd have things like Marvels, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or The Twelve, a Watchmen movie, or as many Invaders stories looking backward as we have today if we didn't have these to show us how to fit stories into history seamlessly the way it was done here. The Invaders incarnation in the 1970s might have done it first (WWII tales written 30 years later), but these were better stories and had art.
A very sharply written all-star superhero book. A bunch of strange heroes who existed fo DC in the 40s and beat up bad guys. But the adventures are very clever, and there are actually some very funny and VERY sweet moments in this.It's also a very clever use of anti-Nazi sentiment and pro-humanity stuff (makes sense, being set in the 40s).If you like superhero comics, I think you'll like this. Roy Thomas is/was one of the greatest comic mag writers of the era, and enjoy him in his prime!
The reason I started reading and collecting comic books. Decided to revisit this comic book series in light of DC Rebirth and discovered little gems that I had missed before. Thomas was definitely a lover of the Golden Age when he write this series, but it is his attention to newer and long lost characters that made this series great.
I was a big fan of these comics when first released back in 1982. Great stories, characters and art. So glad they made the cut in DC Showcase.
Five stars out of pure nostalgia.
My comic book reading began in the 70's when Earth-2 was still a thing and the Justice Society was good reading. I remember how excited I was to hear that there would be a series focusing on the Earth-2 heroes set in their youth during World War 2, and All Star Squadron did not disappoint me.This anthology collects the first 18 issues, plus the preview story from Justice League 193 and All Star Annual 1. With information that there might be an attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent out a call to the Justice Society. Unfortunately, they were missing (captured by a collection of their super villain enemies- from the future!). FDR then let it be known that he wanted any and all "mystery men" to assemble so that they could be used effectively in the war and on the home front. Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite and the Atom survived their attack and became the nucleus of the Squadron. Along the way, they were joined by other heroes- Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, Robotman, the Shining Knight, Phantom Lady and Plastic Man, who was with the FBI. After dealing with the future attack by one Per Degaton, the heroes did what the president bid them do and formed one huge super-team. Members came and went- many of the Justice Society dropped their costumed identities for a time and enlisted in the Army (Johnny Thunder went into the Navy), leaving Liberty Belle to lead the Squadron forward. New members stepped up- Firebrand (Danette Reilly, sister of Rod Reilly, the original Firebrand), Hawkgirl, Commander Steel and the Tarantula to name a few- and the team served with distinction.I enjoyed seeing heroes like Johnny and Belle getting a history they never had before, and new creations like the female Firebrand written into continuity. This was when the original Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman still existed (before all the Crisis storylines started up), as well as the original Green Arrow and Speedy. It was great to see all the heroes that DC Comics acquired along the way added to the Squadron. Folks like Uncle Sam, the Ray, the Doll Man, Phantom Lady, the Human Bomb, the Black Condor, Captain Triumph, the Jester, both Manhunters, the Spider, Neon the Unknown, the Red Torpedo, Magno, Miss America, the Invisible Hood, the Red Bee and countless others whose companies folded and sold out to DC over time were available to be written into continuity as well, and many of them found their way into various storylines. I can't wait for the next compilation- as I recall, the series kicked into high gear with issue 19.
A really nice book to go into my Earth 2 collection. I really like the idea behind this book: The JSA members are off fighting in WW II so a new group of heroes come together to fight on the home front.The group itself is really well put together. I like that are no big powerhouses like the JSA has. Commander Steel and Robot Man might be the toughest guys on the team but even they aren't that strong. I also thought that Liberty Bell and Johnny Swift were some great characters.The book deals with the world war two aspect in a great way. The Naxis may be busy fighting a war, but they r still using spies and such to try and weaken America. It makes for some great story telling.The art is amazing. I'll bet it looks better in black and white than in color. It's very tight and very crisp. There a great amount of detail and nice placement of the blacks. It really works well for the showcase format.The one drawback is that you only get three parts of a big JLA/JSA/ASS team up. There is no explanation of what happens in the parts so you just miss out. It really feels like a rip off because the story is very good. I wish they would have just left those issues out altogether.All and all a really nice read. Hopefully DC will put out a second volume.