Monday, November 20, 2006


You can tell by the cover that this comic kicks total ass.

OK, to be honest, Justice League of America #208 doesn't kick total ass, but the George Perez cover certainly does. The cover alone is worth the price of the comic. I'm a huge sucker for the whole floating-head-roster motif on display here, with all three super-teams collectively gasping at the scary face nuclear explosion. When I was a kid I remember just staring at this cover, absorbing the superhero goodness like some sort of awesome radiation. And as a kid I probably had the same question then that adult Dave has today: Look at the left hand side of the inset picture. What the hell are Firebrand and Liberty Belle swinging from? They're out in the middle of the ocean! Maybe it's The World's Longest Flagpole.
Justice League of America #208 was part three of Crisis on Earth-Prime! an epic seventeen-hundred part dimension-hopping extravaganza uniting heroes from different parallel Earths and time periods against the time travelling madman Per Degaton.
You see, back in the day DC Comics had a number of parallel universes populated by different groups of heroes. For instance, the Justice League of America (aka the Super Friends) existed on Earth-1 while the Justice Society of America (Dr. Fate, Power Girl, et al) existed on Earth-2. So did the All-Star Squadron (Robot Man, some other losers), but they were in the WWII era on Earth-2. Incidentally, you and I exist on Earth Prime.
Here, let's listen while Superman explains the whole concept to Commander Steel from the All-Star Squadron in a really condescending way:

"You poor backwards people live on Earth-2, or Earth Poo as we like to call it. Ha ha!" Superman is a dick.
Speaking slowly and using small words so the Earth-2 primitives can understand, Superman tells them about the Age of Wonders he comes from, the Eighties...
I'd be pissed if I found out I lived on Earth-2. I mean, who names these things? It's so arbitrary. Maybe I live on Earth A-1, how about that? Or, since we're making up Earth names, maybe I live on Earth Dave. Welcome to Earth Dave everyone. I've long suspected that you were all robots or holograms and that I was the only real person in the world. So welcome to Earth Dave hologram people who disappear when I'm not there!
Okay, let's get to the story. The Justice League and their allies are trying to stop Per Degaton (rhymes with "Hair Megaton"), a time-travelling fascist red-haired villain who is sort of like Saddam Hussein as played by David Caruso. The JLA, consisting of Superman, Hawkman, Aquaman, Zatanna, and Firestorm travel back to 1940 on Earth-2, where they team up with the Golden Age heroes of The All-Star Squadron.

Of course, the two teams must fight before they team up. It's a rule.
Superman doesn't like conflict, it freaks him out and reminds him of when Ma & Pa used to fight in the kitchen. He screams really loud and stamps his feet and shakes his head and just basically has a tantrum:

Yowtch! That'll get your attention, being on the business end of a Super Hissy Fit. Everybody stops dancing.
The only hero not affected by the Super Shout is Robotman, the lone cool member of the otherwise lame All-Star Squadron. What's up with that name, BTW? All-Star Squadron? I guess it's better than All-Winners Squad or All-Protestant League.
After their hearing returns to them the All-Stars and the Superfriends compare notes and formulate a plan against Per Degaton - a plan that involves lots of flying and hitting.
Meanwhile, the Justice Society of America, that group of heroes from Earth-2 in the 80's, is trapped on your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland, complete with mutants. Dr. Fate, who has the 9th Coolest Costume Ever, figures out that Per Degaton is responsible for nuking this earth while his teamates take on a pack of sad, deformed monstrosities with skin like leather whose numbers give them strength, or so Power Girl and Huntress tell us:
Back in the 40's, the All-Star Squadron and Justice League stand too close as Per Degaton detonates one of the nuclear missiles he stole from the future. Inexplicably, Superman doesn't even try to stop the missile, he just kind of wigs out and screams. What is wrong with him this issue? If I didn't know better I'd say Superman has been drinking. Again.
Luckily Zatanna and Firestorm are both more than powerful enough to absorb that silly nuclear blast. Zatanna wins a quick rock/scissors/paper match and gets to whip up a huge wall of water to absorb the heat and shockwave from the blast.

Zatanna is an insanely powerful sorceress who casts her spells by saying them with the words backwards but the word order forwards. This would be hard. She basically has to come up with a backwards freestyle rap on the spot. Sure, Zatanna would have some of her more common spells memorized, like "Nrut snug ot oop!" or "Nummos azzip!" But what about those one-off situations, scenarios where you have to come up with some fresh backwards lyrics on the fly? You try pronouncing the word "meteor" backwards while a huge flaming space rock is bearing down on you. Zatanna has to trust in her freestyle skills and just flow. She rules, although I prefer the top hat and fishnets look.

The story continues in the pages of All-Star Squadron. Will Per Degaton make the Allied forces of WWII surrender before the threat of nuclear annhilation? Or will the combined might of our heroes kick that ginger-haired bastard's ass back into the time stream?

While the interior pages of this comic by the legendary Don Heck (no relation to Dick Hell) may not live up to the promise of the Perez cover, Justice League of America #208 still delivers wall-to-wall superhero goodness in the mighty DC manner. Dna s'taht on eil!


Anonymous said...

Um, Dave? It's backwards words, forward sentences.

Anonymous said...

"Azzip nummos!" was probably one she mastered in college.

And where's her costume if Doc F's is #9, huh?

David Campbell said...

Right. Backwards words, forward sentences. Thanks Al!

Unknown said...

I still can't believe that DC, the acronym-happy home of the JSA, JLA, and the LSH, published ASS. A lot of the time, the book was indeed ASS, but that's beside the point.

Edward Liu said...

I now understand the rationale how talking backwards was a "concentration aid," as it's most commonly justified.

Is it out of line to suggest Zatanna Week? Or rather Annataz Keew?

Also, Augie De Bleick wants Dave's Long Box in printed book form. This has nothing to do with Zatanna at all, really.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think it's odd that Huntress is taking out that mutant with and explosion from her crotch? Did that power ever resurface post-crisis?

Anonymous said...

Chud said...
"Nummos azzip" is "sommun pizza" which just goes to show how hard Zatanna's power is to master.

You have much to learn in the ways of the delievery black arts, my young friend.

Ironically, it's actually "nommus azzip," I believe. An exchange that does not at all detract from its funniness.

Anonymous said...

a time-travelling fascist red-haired villain who is sort of like Saddam Hussein as played by David Caruso.

So waaaaaiiiiittt, you're saying David Caruso is NOT, in fact, Saddam Hussein? I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

It might just be me, but that floating thought-bubble image of Per Degaton in the Robotman panel you posted makes him look an awwwwful lot like Guy Gardner.


Anonymous said...

As a founding member of the All-Protestant League I object to you insulting our glorious name.

Christian said...

Been reading your blog for a long time, and I'm usually on-board with you, but I've got to call you out when you say Robotman is the "lone cool member of the otherwise lame All-Star Squadron."

That's pretty much saying that every Golden Age character DC has is lame. Generally, yes, the All Star Squadron comic focused on characters like the Shining Knight, Liberty Belle, and Johnny Quick. However, the actual roster included essentially every Golden Age hero, even those from other teams like the Justice Society.

So, saying Robotman is the "lone cool member of the otherwise lame All-Star Squadron," is like saying Batman, Superman, Plastic Man, Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Dr. Fate, etc. are all lame.

Say it isn't so, Dave!

McGone said...

For the record, I've been reading your blog from the comfort of my work desk here on Earth-YngwieFuckin'Malmsteen. Superman's Super Tantrum wouldn't affect us, because, well, we're used to wailin'-n-shreddin' noise.

Somewhat ironically, on my earth, our version of Per Degaton is actually pronounced "Hair Megaton."


David Campbell said...

I should definitely set the record straight re: All-Star Squadron. I think that Robotman was the lone cool character in the Squadron line-up for this issue that consisted of Liberty Belle, Steel, Johnny Quick, and Firebrand, who all kind of suck. Shining Knight would have been an improvement! Aside from those guys, I have nothing but love for the Golden Age.

Except Air Wave.

zailo said...

Possibly Zatanna's coolest power would be able to drink an drive. Because if an officer of the law pulled her over and made her recite the alphabet backwards she should rule that particular sobriety test.

zailo said...

Did I say "coolest"?
I meant should-never-be-abused-in-such-a-wayest.

Anonymous said...


I also had this issue when I was a kid, and I shared your awe for Perez's cover.

I'm not usually one to get caught up in nostalgia, but that cover was, and remains, about twelve kinds of awesome!

Sknaht rof eht seiromem, Evad!

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time commenter.
I agree with the unnecessary complexity/illogic of Zatana's spell casting.
The reason I write, however, is your proclamation that Dr. Fate has "the ninth Coolest Costume Ever" has me wondering if you have come up with a list already, or if this was an off-hand remark. If such a list exists, please share, for awesomeness' sake.

Alastair said...

"Liberty Belle, Steel, Johnny Quick, and Firebrand, who all kind of suck"

Firebrand? Despite being based on RT's wife, she did not suck AT ALL.

JYD said...

Great post Dave! Although I'm also kind of intrigued by the coolest costumes ever thing too.

DO you have an official list already drawn up? Does it feature Johnny "awesomely cool helmet" Alpha?

Anonymous said...

As a big All-Star Squadron fan, I have to stand up in defense of Johnny Quick, who I thought was great in that series. When he showed up in the short-lived 90's JSA book as a Jack LaLanne type, it worked only because his cocky wiseass personality was so well-defined by Thomas.

Yes. I'm serious.

Also, no matter what you think of the core team, ASS has to win points for being the craziest damn thing ever. Anyone who would deny the appeal of Mr. Mind coming to Earth to meet Charlie McCarthy obviously hates comic books.

Anonymous said...

All of the German that I know was learned in ASS. Gott in Himmel! Haumpman Wunderbar! Vas is das?

In high school, I took German just so I could translate the All Star Squadron comic that Uncle Sam on the cover and featureed Midnight running around with Doll Man in a box. He was being chased by some Nazi who was shooting and screaming and....

..this is probably why I never touched a booby until I was 17.

Anonymous said...

That german-booby post was mine. I was too enthraleld in my nerd frenzy to notice that I hit the anonymous button. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Monday, November 20: Dave reviews Justice League of America #208 on his blog.

Monday, November 20: Craig Bogart reviews Justice League of America #200 on our group blog.




Or just plain freaky!

paperghost said...

for some reason, I have this comic. it came with a bunch of stuff I ordered from ebay, though I didn't ask for it. When I saw this I thought you'd been creeping round my house and stealing my comics :S

Johnny Bacardi said...

Gonna have to pull rank on you in regards to "Earth-Dave", Dave- I've been Dave longer than you so I've got seniority!

"Earth-Campbell" is up for grabs, though...

Anonymous said...

Here's another vote for a 'coolest costumes' column. You can probably do two, one for males and one for females. Can I take a flyer and guess that Power Girl and her Magical Cleavage Window will make the cut?

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Per Degaton (rhymes with "Hair Megaton"), a time-travelling fascist red-haired villain who is sort of like Saddam Hussein as played by David Caruso.

So does he stand there with one arm akimbo, whip off his sunglasses, then say something real cool in a condesending manner?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the fact you managed to throw a Richard Hell reference into the blog.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will, Firebrand has one of the more awesome Golden Age costumes. In a day where every hero outfit was cobbled together from stuff laying around the house, the red bandana mask is as rad as you can get. The pink shirt needs to go - not because it looks gay, but because nobody's afraid of a guy in a pink shirt.

By the way, anybody who complains about the old-school Firebrand obviously hasn't seen the new one.

Of course, I also think that Shining Knight is totally rocktober, so this may be indicative of some basic flaw in my reasoning.

Anonymous said...

I always liked the original Firebrand - I mean, to have no powers at all and yet wear a red bandana and transparant pink chiffon shirt in the 1940s has to earn anyone points.

Anonymous said...

"Who says there were no gay 40's heroes?"

Well of course Firebrand was. At least 90% of the Quality Comics characters were totally gay(*). Take a good look at Black Condor and Doll Man sometime.

(*) The Spirit, Plastic Man, and some of the Blackhawks were probably straight. But even Uncle Sam had a boy named Buddy following him around...

Anonymous said...

Actually, now that I think about it, Firebrand weirds me out. He had that shirt laying around the house.

Dar-EL said...

a George Perez cover followed by Don Heck interior art...?
Talk about bait and switch!!!

Anonymous said...

First time commenter. I've got a complete set of All Star Squadron, including the JLA issues and all I can say is it rocks.

Anonymous said...

I loved All Star Squadron, but while CRISIS improved DC overall, it ruined All Star Squadron, and it was never the same--the CRISIS crossovers didn't work.

Pre CRISIS All Star Squadron is one of my al time favorite series.

Anonymous said...

dave, you seem so link-happy that i was confused, nay, saddened that there was no link away from your comment: superman is a dick. there's a fantastic site all about this dicking of super proportions: it's called and it has tons of covers and other neat-o keen stuff all about superman treating other people like pissants and generally being a dick. if you haven't seen this yet, well...

yes i am aware how much i like to type 'super' and 'dick' in the same sentence.

shane o-face

Anonymous said...

Geez, Superman speaking that way makes me want to puke.
Really, who decided that one earth is Earth-1?
He could've sounded less moronic if he said "We call your world Earth-2".

Also, I fail to realize how having an actor elected president could be a sign of advanced civilization comparable to rockets and space stations.


Anonymous said...

My list of coolest costumes would have Dr. Fate up there, but I think the best couple (not necessarily in this order), would have to be Mr. Miracle, Stingray, Wolverine (brown), Adam Strange, Juggernaut, and Deathstroke/Taskmaster (basically the same)...

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Dave, but ASS rocked. Libby and JQ rocked. Robotman and (his life partner) Commander Steel (the gayest couple in the WWII era Earth-2) and they rocked. Fiery hot Firebrand and the prissy Shining Knight rocked. Bottom-line? (Insert pun here.) ASS rocked.

Now if you'll pardon me I'm gonna go pull some ASS out of my long boxes and reminisce.

Anonymous said...

I totally have to stick up for All-Star Squadron. It was way awesome. Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Shining Knight, they were great and the guests stars were like ... Superman, Green Lantern, Oom the Mighty, Wonder Woman, Mr. Mind, Bat-Man, FDR, Winston Churchill, Captain Marvel, Johnny Thunder, Hawkman, the Atom,

Have I made my point? No?

Brain-Wave, the Ultra-Humanite, Plastic Man, the Freedom Fighters, the Red Bee (just kidding), the Spectre, Zatara, the Flash, Starman, Tsunami (nice outfit), Prince Daka, Baron Blitzkrieg, the Sandman

And it had art by Jerry Ordway.

There were times when the only DC comic I bought regularly was ASS. The Crisis RUINED IT!

Anonymous said...

"You poor backwards people live on Earth-2, or Earth Poo as we like to call it. Ha ha!"

This is an example of Superman's quick thinking and imposing presence combining to leave a Superpheromone-rich scent on Earth-2's global self-image.
He might be a dick, but his Superbitch power totally pwned Earth-2, who could have wriggled out of his semantic Superheadlock by declaring themselves Earth-0.

Verification word: whwsm. What you say when you're awoken by an indeterminate noise at night.

Anonymous said...

I actually think that Firebrand and Commander Steel are two of the cooler All-Stars. At least the All-Stars that teamed up with the JLA in this story didn't include lame-os like Captain Triumph, Tarantula, or Midnight.

Cool costumes? My list would definitely include Dr. Fate. His action figure from the 1980s is probably the coolest-looking action figure of that entire decade. Boba Fett and Snake Eyes action figures mixed drinks for him and picked up his dry cleaning.

Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Booster Gold, Batman (don't mess with a classic), Spider-Man (the black costume, of course), Paladin, Captain Commando (from the short-lived Impact comics), Black Knight, Black Panther, and Stingray would definitely make my top 10 list, or at least my top 20 list.

Anonymous said...

How exactly did Stingray's costume become so much cooler than actual Stingray?

There's gotta be a story there.

Anonymous said...

Because nobody asked for it, the All-protestant league:

While meditating in a tower, humble monk Martin Luther received the divine power of revelation. He uses his ability to shape the universe through faith as DR. FIDES!

By day, John Calvin is one of Europe's most respected theologians. By night, he stalks the streets of his city combatting adultery, fornication, gambling, cardplaying, excessive display, revealing costumes and religious deviation as THE GENEVA GUARDIAN!

Anabaptist Menno Simons, through his adult baptism, gained mastery over water, which he uses as THE REBAPTIZER!

Given a sixth finger as a mark of a league with the Devil, Anne Boleyn has instead turned to the side of good. Now she uses her demonological knowledge as THE CRIMSON QUEEN!

Foes include Ignatius Loyola and his Jesuit Society of Evil.

Anonymous said...

Francesco "Also, I fail to realize how having an actor elected president could be a sign of advanced civilization comparable to rockets and space stations."

Bah! Next you'll fail to be moved by the emergence of a Jamaican bobsled team! The 80s were an age of unparalleled awesomeness, the like of which ain't been seen since!

Kids these days, I swear...

Anonymous said...

Stingray's problem is that Marvel does absolutely nothing with the guy. How can they let such unparalled visual radness idle in the garage?

I think 2007 should be THE YEAR OF STINGRAY! He should become leader of the Avengers, headmaster of Xavier's School, and the 5th member of the Fantastic Four. He should get his own ongoing series, and in the first issue he should be depicted beating up Namor, then taking an interdimensional trip to the DC Universe and beating up Aquaman and the Sea Devils. Stingray's undisputed underwater awesomeness cannot be contained by dimensional barriers! RAY IS THE WAY, and THAT'S ALL I GOTTA SAY, YO!

Anonymous said...

Stingray's always been Namor's Pal Jimmy Olsen. it's crippling. I mean, he was never even a full-fledged Avenger, was he? And they let Justice and Triathlon be full-fledged Avengers.

thekelvingreen said...

I've long suspected that you were all robots or holograms and that I was the only real person in the world.
Bugger. How did you find out?

Saddam Hussein as played by David Caruso
That's the most terrifying thing ever.

When Superman shouts a the Justice Guys, why has he Turned Japanese? (I Really Think So)

Oh, and Johnny Alpha should definitely be on any top costume list. Along with Judge Dredd, Jack Hawksmoor, Black Spider-Man, and, yes, Stingray.

Anonymous said...

This post was the absolute total awsomeness. Yllatot flowria!

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Sina said...

...I've only been here a *very* short time, but it's been long enough for me to know that you're the *only* person who could/would make a joke vis-a-vis Don Heck :P ie: "Dick Hell" :P

I...don't even know if that's a compliment or not, tbh :D :P ;)