:jsa_book_club: In Battle Joined [Jan. 16-31]

Hello again members of the JSABC. I hope you enjoyed the reading for the last session. This session we will once again be revisiting the All Star Squadron. Last time the All Star Squadron had just been formed and had faced off against the Axis powers, Degaton and Feathered Serpent, rescued members of the JSA and prevented Hawkgirl from being sacrificed. In these issues they will face Baron Blitzkrieg and Akhet plus the Origin of the hero Steel. So let’s call this meeting to order and get to reading these adventures shall we.

THE JSA BOOK CLUB ROLL CALL

Club Leaders

@JasonTodd428 & @Aurora

Standing Members

Abrax, AggressiveIntellectual219, anthony.javier3, Applejack, Blake, bbzo24, bigblock66, BlueBeetlesAssistant, Brenticus_Rex, CassTheStreet, CrazyQuilt, Daffern, dave7atgotsky, 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, PaintEater, parzival27, ProActress, ralphsix, Ravenrifft, Remember5NovEveyHammond, RickTylerHourman, rlynchfamily, rspezzano, rwm, scoop001, slowp0ketail, SuperBlueGrodd, TheCosmicMoth, TK52, TurokSonOfStone, YolandaMontezz, ZacharyLee1995

WHAT TO READ THIS SESSION

* All Star Squadron #7-12

Discussion Questions

  1. I really loved how the newspaper was utilized here to also show the creatives involved in this along with the JSA headline. Here’s the panel for reference.

Did you have a favorite panel in these issues?

  1. What did you think of the news that members of the JSA are now in training to fight in the war effort as regular soldiers?

  2. What did you think of Steel’s Origin story as told in his own words?

  3. Akhet sure made quite the entrance at the end of issue #10 by announcing that he was here to claim Earth for the Binary Brotherhood… Was he a good antagonist for the Squadron or was Dr. Hastor a better one?

  4. They also snuck in another origin story here. Did you find the story of Hawkman and Hawkgirl interesting or is there a different origin for the them that you like better?

And that concludes this meeting. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

Join the JSA BOOK CLUB. We’d love to have you and we welcome new member whether your a long time JSA fan or just getting started.

Next month we have a very special event planned. We are teaming up with the Justice League Book Club to present a quartet of crossovers between the JSA and the JLA. We hope to see you all there.

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Oh yes must-read must-read!!!

First I’ll go catch up on the spy stuff with your other club but this one’s on the chart too now, nice long weekend for me.

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Definitely a must read @Don-El_52. I enjoyed it myself.

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1 issue in. I dislike Quick and Libby’s costumes, but I am enjoying Al (of course), Robotman, and the world building. I hope to finish reading on Wednesday.

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Yeah, I’m not overly fond of Quick and Libby’s costumes either @MatthewHecht.

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No panel really stuck out.
2. I liked it. They naturally want to fight evil, and this is a method they can use and shows their willing ness to die for the cause. A few should stay behind to guard the homefront, but the All-Stars have that covered.
3. I was much more interested in the art, and I remember enjoying it.
4. As a big Hawkman fan I found Ahket to be more interesting. My actual favorite villain moment was when one could transform into animals. That is normally a hero power, and it was refreshing giving it to a villain.
5. I like the way the same general story was told in JLU best.

My favorite character was Churchill. He was just so easygoing in his towel compared to how he managed the war. He was much more interesting here than Hitler or Roosevelt.

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These comics came out at the same time I was a teacher at a small private school for 4 years in the early 1980s. It was kinda obvious then as it still is now that Roy Thomas started out as a teacher and loved to use his stories to educate those reading them. In fact, I’m not sure which part of the storytelling is better at times, the plot / dialogue or the great historical accuracy of the times.

Issue 7: It really was a big big deal when Churchill and Roosevelt met soon after Pearl Harbor. Up until then, America was very divided about joining a war in Europe. It also showed and inspired bravery for both nations that Churchill dared to cross the Atlantic when nazi submarines roamed free and sunk many a ship.

  1. Here’s a panel for now, I plan to keep reading and reflect some more later if possible:

With a caption from me, “wow, hard to imagine American Nazi sympathizers in 1940.”

  1. Thoughts on the JSA joining the army: well, I’m pretty sure when that happened it was to promote people joining up at the time (assuming that happened in the Golden Age JSA stories we tried reading in this club at first). As a plot device, it does remind me of the main plot device of the early '40s Captain America stories by Stanley Lieber where Steve Rogers and Bucky served but then went on missions.
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Issue 8 featured the origin of 1940s Steel (this issue included reprinted material from the series “Steel” of the 1970s, a series featuring artwork by Don Heck which is not in the DC digital library aka DCUI).

The interior was mighty fine and Winston Churchill was well illustrated usually, although I do feel sorry for the poor fellow constantly being strangled and otherwise pummelled by war villains in these issues. The cover however for issue 8 not so much and frankly I don’t know who that is but that certainly can’t be Winston Churchill lol.

Once again Roy Thomas the school teacher has again instructed me. It never occurred to me that Winston Churchill went North to Canada right after he crossed the Atlantic to meet Franklin Roosevelt. But that makes total sense with Canada being part of the British Commonwealth, and both countries having the same monarch. The actual quotes included from Churchill’s speech to Canada’s parliament were much appreciated!

  1. Thoughts on Steel’s origin: His origin seems a bit copycat; it’s a little reminiscent of other origins like Golden Age Robotman or 1960’s Iron Man ( heart augmentation), but it does kind of make sense. The technology described creating him isn’t too wild for that decade of the century.

I actually enjoyed the other Steel that appears in Justice League 5 or 6 years later where a younger person is tragically Steel and the older Steel is in the background.

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I found Akhet more interesting as well.

The old towel gag gets me every time although normally people seem to be embarrassed but not Churchill. He remained calm and cool there.

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I’m a bit of a history buff so I really like it that the setting around this story ‘feels’ accurate to the times. It really gives this the correct mood. Reminds me a bit of old war movies.

It’s also another thing that gives this an authentic feel to me. People at the time this was set were urged to fight whether it was in actual military service or on the home front. Makes sense the JSA would want to do so and would also make that fact know to the populace. Same thing happened with movie stars and athletes and you can be sure it was hoped that seeing ‘famous people’ joining up would encourage others to do the same if they hadn’t already.

Yeah, that cover was not a good one. Everyone looks weird there and Churchill looks oddly like Mikhail Gorbachev. :man_shrugging:

I thought that too but maybe that’s sort of what they were going for there. I agree that the tech isn’t to out of place though.

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It’s time for issue 9! Since the last two questions for discussion revolve around issue 10, I’ll just wing it here lol.

First, another Joe Kubert cover, woo hoo!!

The look on Shining Knight’s face is classic J Kubert dire emotion! If only his kids could draw like this, but I guess they do ok too.

I’m not real convinced Steel or anyone can be hypnotized to do something they are morally against like attacking Churchill, but if Steel had gone through a more focused brainwashing over a year with a trigger word thrown in, I think that might be sadly possible if not guaranteed like in Homeland the HBO series (at least I THINK that’s what happened the first 3 seasons…).

The story had a good fictional logic. Nice ominous touch before the appointed time as Steel notes “to be honest, I don’t recall anything from the past few weeks until I appeared here” uh danger Will Robinson All Star Squadron…

Fun to have Steel and Robotman fight. The ending of Firebrand winning the conflict with a fireball aimed at Steel’s head in desperation was perfect:

Aces I say Aces! The accident that caused dear ol’ Baron Blitzkreig to have a disfigured face snapped the mental connection, and voila, everyone is hugging again in Canada!!

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A little late but I try to get it done.

  1. I liked this panel because of all the Hawkman masks. It’s cool that they pay homage to all the weird ones.

  2. It’s a bit weird but they also want to be proud to serve their country not only as costumed heroes but Americans fighting against the axis.

  3. I thought it was neat that he detailed it in a journal. I thought it was a nice flashback.

  4. I think Dr. Hastor and was the clear menace. At least the group he was associated with had good intentions to unite the world Ozymandias style. Well not as devastating…

  5. I enjoy most of their origin stories. This one was a little odd with their Astral projections but not a bad origin.

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Hawkman makes everything better.

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I really liked that panel too. Just seeing all those masks together was pretty awesome and inspiring too.

I’m a sucker for characters that journal so I personally thought it was really cool.

I very much agree with you there.

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Hawkman does make everything better.

Sorry for the late reply! I’m behind on all my book club replies!

  1. My favorite panel from All-Star Squadron #12:
    SpiritHawks
    I really enjoy the metaphysical stuff, and it was touching that Carter and Shiera needed each other to overcome Hastor.

  2. I like the fact that the JSA joined the military because it did happen in the Golden Age, @Don-El_52. It happened in All-Star Comics #11, to be exact. And, yeah, back then it was part of a recruitment drive. It was the JSA’s response to Pearl Harbor. Thomas’ meticulous devotion to Golden Age continuity is something I really love about All-Star Squadron.

  3. Outside of Legends of Tomorrow and his offspring, I struggle with Commander Steel. First, because I don’t find him very interesting. Second, because he’s not actually a Golden Age character. He first appeared in 1978. I do like reading the younger Heywoods, but… with so many Patriotic/military themed heroes from the Golden Age at DC’s disposal… I’m not sure why Commander Steel was necessary. I can take or leave him in the All-Star Squadron.

  4. Akhet’s appearance had me worried, at first. I was like, “Oh boy… another generic alien invasion plot…” Then Hastor showed up and I was relieved. Hastor is a much better antagonist being Hawkman’s first foe. Also, weird fact: Hastor reincarnates as the “other woman” in Hector Hall’s life (if any of you remember back from the Infinity, Inc. reading).

  5. I don’t know this for sure because I’ve never been able to read Hawkman’s origin story from Flash Comics #1 (please bring this story to DC Universe Infinite, thank you), but, knowing Roy Thomas, I would bet American dollars this was an almost exact retelling of Hawkman’s Golden Age origin. I’ve also never read any other Hawkman/Hawkgirl origin… that I can remember. So, I’m fine with it. It fits everything I know about Hawkman and Hawkgirl from other books and it sets Hastor up to plague the Hall family for generations.

That’s it! Sorry again for the late response! Keep 'em flying!

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Maybe we should take a look at that issue sometime specifically to compare the two. Maybe in April or so since I already posted March’s schedule. Strangely enough I did want to do a single issue from the Golden Age in April anyway. Might make that one a monthly session even. :thinking:

I did remember that and I was wondering who else noticed that. Good catch.

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I would be down for that! I loooove Golden Age comics, and All-Star Comics #11 is almost a historic, cultural artifact at this point.

Thanks! Glad I’m not the only one.

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