Justice Society Presents – Crisis! #3


To celebrate July 4th the CRISIS podcast is spending time with Uncle Sam! Shag and Rob discuss the JSA/JLA team-ups "Crisis on Earth-X" and "Three Against The Earth" from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #s 107-108 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano, guest starring The Freedom Fighters! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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40 responses to “Justice Society Presents – Crisis! #3

  1. was’nt justice squadron the big old team up of the Fawcett guys? I liked the WEEPER and Bulletman showing up. An earth 1 “Weeper” Showed up in Joker clown prince of crime 2. With NO MENTION of Bulletman. 10 year old ROB WAS really upset!

  2. Thanks, Shag and Rob for another fun episode about a JSA/JLA crossover. And thanks, Rob and Shag for another fun episode about a JLA/JSA crossover.

    One of the elements of the Arrowverse version of Crisis on Earth-X that makes it July 4 appropriate is that the wedding in the opening chapters is officiated by the “Greatest American Hero” — or at least a minister played by William Katt.

    As Rob McCarthy noted. the Squadron of Justice was “Shazam’s Squadron of Justice” — basically the “we can’t call them the Marvel Family on the cover” and some other assorted Fawcett heroes. That crossover features a rare appearance by the mostly-retired Earth-Two Batman in costume.

    Looking forward to your show about the SSOV crossover. Let me know if you need info on the medieval archer that the Earth-Two Green Arrow is subbing for.

  3. It’s funny how different your perspective of time can change. S we hen I was a youngster buying these two issue out of the buns at my local comic shop, I remember thinking I was buying some REALLY OLD COMICS. Of course, now that I know these two issue came out only weeks before I was born, I don’t think they’re that old at all!
    By the time I discovered this story, I had already been introduced to the Freedom Fighters from that fantastic five part story running through All Star Squadron 31-35. A terrific tale of triumph and tragedy that showed the Freedom Fighters as natives of Earth-2 but becoming the heroes of Earth-X as well as the death of The Red Bee.

        1. When I read those All-Star Squadron issues, I was being introduced to most of the characters for the first time. For all I knew, Human Bomb, The Ray and Red Bee were just as “big and important” as Hourman, Johnny Quick, The Tarantula or any of the other All-Stars. So his death had a significant impact on me at the time.

          1. Fair enough. I guess what I was trying to say is, like a person watching an episode of Star Trek for the first time, and has absolutely no knowledge of the characters involved in the show. That person would have no reason to suspect that LT. Smith in the red shirt won’t be beaming back to the ship with Kirk, Spock and McCoy

  4. The Freedom Fighters captured my imagination with that DC Comics Presents appearance they made (and which was covered on an episode of FW Team-Up), but that’s essentially wrapped into my interest in Golden Age characters, including the Quality heroes of course. Uncle Sam has roots in American history that predate the I Want You posters, so Shagg can dismiss him if he likes, but it’s a little like hating Santa Claus because Coca-Cola co-opted him. His old comic strips are quite fun (Uncle Sam’s, not Santa Claus’s).

    As to my favorite Freedom Fighter, I think it’s probably the Human Bomb even if I have love for all diminutive heroes and thus Doll Man. In the extended cast, the Red Bee of course holds a place in my heart.

    1. My favorite was always Human Bomb, too. As I got older, though, I started to think about the impossibility of the character. How does he take a shower or even go to the bathroom?!? I think he needed a bit more control of his “touch” ala Mano from the Fatal Five.

  5. Thanks for another great podcast, guys! This is one of my all-time favorite JSA/JLA team-ups, for several reasons. First, similar to Rob’s experience, this team-up was one of the first back-up issues I ever got. I definitely sent away for it, and can remember getting them and JLA #105 or something else non-sequential in the same package. Secondly, this story features some of my favorite characters. I always had a soft spot for the Sandman, Dr. Fate, and the Red Tornado. So this line-up was filled with JSA goodness! Thirdly, the concept of a “What If the Nazis Won WWII?” was awesome! Fourth, the art by Dicks Dillin and Giordano were at their zenith. As you mentioned, the panel of Batman climbing the Eiffel Tower is just the best example of beautiful, beautiful art in these issues. And lastly, the Freedom Fighters became some of my favorite DC characters. I devoured their book in the Seventies, even though it was mostly not very good.

    A few tidbits of trivia that I would like to share…..

    The Elongated Man, Batman, and the Sandman are the only members to appear in each of Len Wein’s JLA/JSA team-ups. They were three of his favorites. After Len left, Ralph and Wes basically stopped going to the get-togethers. Ralph appeared in one more, and the Sandman retired.

    Originally, Len wanted to call Earth-X something else, “Earth Swastika” or “Earth Nazi.” JLA Editor Julius Schwartz refused, and they compromised on “Earth X.”

    Dick Dillin drew the Silver Age adventures of the Blackhawks. When their book was cancelled, he moved over to JLA!

    The Ray had a one-issue solo series in the back of Black Lightning, before that book was cancelled as part of the DC Implosion. The story actually continues from an adventure that was never published! It references either Freedom Fighters or Secret Society, but both those series were abruptly cancelled before the adventure Happy references was published! And of course, his continuation was never published, either!

  6. Terrific episode guys. I love some JSA/JLA crossover mayhem and this is one of my favorites. A few thoughts:
    I always hated the way the League treated Red Tornado, too. He could have been the full-time hero in residence on the Satellite and they never treated him like a real member
    Thanks for the love to Dick Dillan, he deserves credit for his work.
    I’ll have to go back and find your first Earth-Prime review. Hard to believe you guys have been at it for 10 years! You’re even starting to get good at it!! Keep it up!

  7. I was always perplexed with Red Tornado’s motivations for wanting to return to Earth-Two. The Justice Society, and in particular Hourman (funny given an android was later modeled after him) always told him he was a liability. And in the proceeding tale, he met and fell in love with Kathy Sutton, although it would be years before he would reunite with him. So maybe he had a screw lose (metaphorically and literally) after all!

    And when the Nazis cry out, after seeing Batman climbing up the tower that “it’s the Bat” in German… was there once an Earth-X Batman? Like in modern Freedom Fighter takes, a Leatherwing who was grandson of Enemy Ace?

  8. 1) Rob & Shag, I know you had to cover the other crossovers, and your coverage was enjoyable, but thanks for finally covering a really good JLA/JSA crossover. This was better.

    2) Great question about the Bat, Netministrator! “Untold Tales of Earth-X!” The pulse quickens at the thought…

    3) Regarding Reddy, let’s look at the evidence. The League has taken Red Tornado to an unfamiliar location where he works for them, presumably without pay. They’ve cut off communication to the people who know him back home and left those people to think he’s dead. They’ve denied him every opportunity to leave.

    Red Tornado was clearly a victim of human trafficking. If the International Justice Mission had been around back then, they’d have been trying to get Reddy off that satellite and into a safe house.

    3) Just FYI, there was a problem with the recording toward the end. It almost sounded like Shag said, “The problem is Uncle Sam.” I knew that had to garbled, so I skipped a minute or so ahead to Max’s Human Flycast promo. The sound was all clear by then.

    Speaking of Max, your comparison with Red Tornado reminds me. I have a few questions about how Max came to work with the network…

    1. Forgot:
      4) Reddy is the All-Star, or In a League of His Own, or whatever you decided to call the MVP. (This podcast is new, so I forget.) Without him, Earth-X would still be under Nazi Skynet management

    2. Hi Captain Entropy – Thanks for the feedback and for calling me out on the Uncle Sam issue. I’m glad you brought that up. Listening back, I didn’t articulate my point very well. The trouble with podcasting or talk radio is thinking/speaking on your feet, and often not expressing your point very well.

      First, I want to make it clear I have the utmost respect for the folks who serve in our military. Their devotion and service to our country, and their willingness to protect our freedoms should always be celebrated and appreciated.

      Second, I was trying to make a point about a comic companies ability to sell comics. Specifically, in my mind Uncle Sam is very closely associated with the US Government. That leads people to think about the current government (whenever he is published in a comic, whether it be the 1940s, 1980s, 2000s, or today), and the people in governmental power. That unfortunately ties Uncle Sam to specific politicians, rather than the idea of America; whereas I feel Captain America is associated with a more general sense of American patriotism. Given the polarized political environment of today (whichever side someone is on), I feel bringing in Uncle Sam will automatically alienate half your audience based upon political lines. That would limit a comic companies ability to sell comics. That was what I meant when I said Uncle Sam was the problem; not the character or patriotic ideals, but the risk the reader may associate the character with a specific political party. That’s just my opinion, and maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it just needs the right writer, and readers willingness to give it a try.

      Thanks again for bringing up this point. I hope I articulated it better here.

      1. The poster version maybe. But whether it’s the Golden Age version or more modern uses of the character, writers have always used him as the “Spirit of America”, getting weaker when the U.S. was in turmoil, etc. Think of the American Scream as a corrupted version of that spirit.

      2. Shag, I was only funnin’, as they said in Tombstone. Obviously, I heard your whole argument. I did NOT take it as a personal expression of your opinion on the U.S. Government, the armed forces, or anything else. I really saw it as your professional opinion on what the public associates with the product being offered. Since you have a marketing background and you also used to work in a comic book shop, insights like these are one of the services we all expect you to provide here on the Fire and Water Network. So I was not offended at all. I also don’t think you came across as offensive, even to others like me who have a lot of their identity and their emotional attachment tied up in the flag and military service. Sincerely, though, thank you for being concerned with how I took it.

        Thank you also for the statement of respect and support to those who serve in the armed forces. You did nothing to necessitate it, and I was pretty sure you felt this way all along, but I appreciate the statement anyway. If you had a different opinion, I would disagree (boy, that sounds self-serving), but disagreements like that are part of what it means to live In a free society, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.

        I was trying to make a statement of support for the character Uncle Sam, whom I like. I was also trying to take a good-natured jab at you. You’re fun to pick on, ’cause you counterpunch (or often punch first) and you know we don’t mean it. Obviously, tone doesn’t come across well in text. With my need to express my sense of humor, that causes a misunderstanding like this… oh, once every couple of years. Since this happened here, maybe I get to skip my next “email incident” at work.

        On a side note, I perceive Uncle Sam the same way Rob and Siskoid do. But I wonder if that’s because comics shaped my perception of him. Obviously, the expression “Uncle Sam” often is associated with the government. I think some focus groups may be called for. If you want, I’ll go in with you on the consulting proposal to DC.

        1. Shag wasn’t garbled on my download, and I agree with everyone, didn’t sound disrespectful at all. I likewise never associated superhero Sam with the US military, I knew the poster but can’t remember a single story in which the Spirit of America was see as a representative of the Forces.

          I wonder if the DC has Lord Kitchener on a UK Freedom Fighters team, given it was the Great War poster of him that inspired the Uncle Sam posters.

          1. I’d like to see a UK Freedom Fighters team with Lord Kitchener leading the pack. If it happens, there must also be a cross-Atlantic team-up!

          2. Unfortunately being a real person Kitchener has a less than stellar reputation, being one of the incompetent generals of WW1, and some even less savoury activities during the Boer war.

            The best we can do is Biggles teaming up with the Freedom Fighters!

          3. Well, that’s unfortunate, but it sounds far more important than my desire to include Kitchener’s outrageous mustache. Based on the Wikipedia entry I read, Biggles seems a suitable sub. He already has comic book-style continuity problems!

          4. I won’t rehash my argument about why Uncle Sam is useful, and not a sign of the government (see my reply to Frank from Who’s Who #16 last month).

            I am especially sensitive to politics in my podcasts – I’ve dropped podcasts before when the hosts start sprinkling too much political talk (of any persuasion) into their non-political podcast (I’m looking at a couple of Doctor Who podcasts that I’ve dropped for that reason).

            Bottom line, I don’t think you crossed any line. I didn’t sense any disrespect or distrust of the military. I think you made a fine point about your perception of Uncle Sam, and how the audience reacts to the character. Personally, I didn’t think any clarification was necessary.

          5. I concur wholeheartedly about Balloon Buster (of course), and I actually laughed out loud at Mart’s crack about the danger of BB meeting PG.

            Biggles, upon meeting Lieutenant Savage: “Why, hello there, Mr. ‘Tha Gun.’ I’m James Bigglesworth.”

  9. it must have been so much easier for Roy thomas to write all star squadeon than invaders
    Marvel “uh sure roy write a monthly story in ww2 BUT dont change CAP,NAMOR,TORCH OR RED SKULL
    Dc Earth 2 superman, Batman Wonder Woman need to live but otherwise go nuts!

  10. Great episode, Rob and Shagg! Being a DC Newb it’s been fun and educational filling along with this show (and the network, honestly). You guys are a pair of aces! Many thanks for the promo play, as Herman and I greatly appreciate the love. You guys rock!

  11. Impressive podcast. Most Impressive. Ah so this is how the Police comic now in Dc as part of the Freedom Force in DC comics. Also cool to see Earth 2 Supes again. Though he did appear in the JSA movie. Since Kent Shakespeare is not our earths Supes. One he can’t fly. Note he jumps from plane to plane. He doesn’t fly. Barry thinks he’s his earths supes, but nope. 1 he has no idea what Barry is thinking about. 2 he doesn’t travel threw dimension when Barry and Jay go threw the speed force. And Our Supes has no idea what the Flash is talking about at the end. Any way back to this issue. Red T was cool in this. My Cuz had his action figure as a kid. So when we played super powers he’d use him.

    Yeah kind of oy of the heroes not lettings him go home. And not telling the JSA he was alive, Also cool seeing Earth X in this. I saw the CW verse thing. And the animated movie. It worked well. I had no idea it was a web show first. It works well all together. Not sure how it was bit by bit. Not sure how they coulkdn’t get a comic ware the Nazis won the war and only a group of Super Heros fight em. But, ah well. Can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  12. Listening now, but I just wanted to point out that I loved Wein picking up on the earlier “tough guy/scraper” personality with his portrayal of the Earth-Two Superman. When I wrote a history of the character for Back Issue magazine a few years back, I noted that this was the first time there was any real distinction made between the personalities of him and the much more sedate Earth-One version. Of course this all jibed with my fan-theory that the much more rough and tumble George Reeves was the Earth-Two Superman, while Christopher Reeve was our guy on Earth-One!

    And poor Red Tornado…ye gods he’s treated HORRIBLY during this period! He kind of was from the beginning, and it just continued on and on. Vision may have taught us an android can cry…but Reddy certainly has more reason to do so!


  13. Thanks, Shag for The Ray spotlight. I adored that Harris/Quesada Ray Terril miniseries and the subsequent Priest/Porter series. Yeah, the latter got a bit entangled in its’ own continuity, especially when Priest dragged in the Justice League Task Force book too. But there was no cooler looking hero in the 90s than The Ray; that jacket! The finned helmet! The way his look completely changed when he was in flight! That jacket! Those cool little pixie boots! And did I mention his freakin’ cool jacket?
    The book was a fun coming of age story, featuring tensions with his father Happy, mildly age-inappropriate romance with Black Canary and a confusing/dreadful arch-villain Death Masque (yes; terrible, terrible name. It was the 90s.)
    I’d love to see more of The Ray – incorporation into a rebooted JSA would certainly get my vote of approval.

  14. I’ve just done the last All-Star Comics, #74, (including the whole Wildcat saga you’ve just gone over) and just at the point where they go to Adventure Comics. It’s telling that the Levitz does the whole split up to solve problems then come together to beat the big bad. Though it’s not a terrible plot in the slightest and works many times in the comic.

    It’s obvious who’d I’d like if on the rebooted JSA, but you also make a strong case for the Ray. Though I’m worried about you Shag, considering how little you mentioned Phantom Lady, especially with her infamous costume choices!

  15. Thanks for another splendid show, what a terrific two-parter this was. And like everyone else, I feel sorry for Reddy, his life was terrible before he settled down with Kathy and Traya (‘John Smith’ is so dull, his secret ID should have been ‘Fred Tornado’). He should have told the JLA to bugger off and settled down with the Freedom Fighters.

  16. Thanks for a wonderful show! This brought back some memories!

    This was the first JSA/JLA team-up that I picked up as back issues, so it is in the top half of my favorite team-ups.

    I liked the choice of heroes for this team-up, especially since Green Arrow was included, especially since he got to be teamed with Phantom Lady. it was also nice seeing Sandman, the Earth-2 Superman, Red Tornado, and Elongated Man in these issues.

    Len Wein’s JLA was a fun read, and Dick Dillin was a very fine artist on the series.

    My least favorite team-ups were the ones that included Earth-1 Johnny Thunder. This would be the extremely painful JLA issues 37-38 (“Earth – Without a Justice League!” & “Crisis on Earth-A!”) and the unfortunate ret-conning of Black Canary’s origin in JLA 219 & 220 (“Crisis in the Thunderbolt Dimension!” and “The Doppelganger Gambit!”). Now there were two Johnny Thunders to deal with! Noooo!

    Thanks again!

  17. This is not only a favorite comic, it’s a sentimental favorite! I got this comic with a donation of clothes from another family. So, this would have been my first taste of the parallel Earths. I’m trying to remember the sequence, and I think that I read this this first (and many more times!) between the summers of 1975 and 1976. My sister had already bought a copy of JLA #121, and that was my introduction to Red Tornado. I saw JLA #135 on a newsstand the next summer, and I was soooo excited!!! Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth X, Earth S, got it. No problem. What a great way to meet so many great characters!
    Giordano was my favorite Dillin inker!
    re: the JLA’s treatment of Reddy; First, GL is showing real sympathy toward him. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT HE IS! Putting an android/robot/synthezoid into the matter-transfer machine could be like putting aluminum foil in a microwave! (Or, for Martin, aluminium foil.) “Here, take this thing made by a super-villain and put it in your experimental prototype!” What a good idea! Had it been established by this point that Flash could carry anything, or anybody, when he vibrated to Earth-2? And it hasn’t been that long since he returned, right? He was “dead” for two issues! Maybe the JLA wanted to surprise the JSA when they got together this year! “Welcome to the satellite, friends! Look who’s here!” Maybe they wanted Dr. Fate to try and determine if there was any T.O. Morrow left in him before they let him return. Besides, when was the last time Superman was at a meeting of the Society? It’s not like he’s in the loop on the comings and goings of the Leaguers!
    (Clearly. I would use more word balloons than Len was allotted!) Red Tornado wasn’t a victim of “human” trafficking, Captain, he was given sanctuary while he waited for his asylum case to be heard! Also, Len Wein needed a device to get the teams to Earth-X, and I think this is a better choice than some cosmic interference!
    I don’t mean to pile on Shag, but Captain America is literally a creation of the U.S. government for the purpose of advancing the interests of the U.S. as determined by the leaders of that government. Uncle Sam is more like Louis Armstrong as a jazz ambassador!
    As to the Freedom Fighters book, I say Shag the second half is much better! (No, it’s nothing spectacular, just good solid comics.) Bob Rozakis did a good job keeping storylines moving and including lots of action. Ironically, he split up the team to do it!
    The Freedom Fighter and the Justice Society are not the Defenders. Team members shouldn’t be coming and going. They have core groups, without whom there is no good purpose for the teams to exist. IMHO.
    I really love this podcast!

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