Crisis on Multiple Earths
By Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky
(collecting Justice League of America #21, 22, 29, 30, 37, 38, 46, 47)
These seemed like important comics, being the source for the Crisis comics, as well as inspirations for a Grant Morrison JLA story, so I was glad to see it in my local library. I had thought about reviewing it, but I just couldn’t. It’s just so damn goofy that it feels heartless to do it. Instead, here are some of the silly things that leapt out.
In the main image above, the JLA get a Reservoir Dogs/The Wild Bunch moment, but the JSA seem to be a chorus line.
The stories, about the crossing of vibrational planes to allow our heroes to meet, our wonderfully imaginative, but the story logic of characters gets in my way of really enjoying things. Dr Alchemy can seemingly turn anything into anything else, as seen by turning a van into a plane, but he pulls off amateur robberies. Why? Why not create whatever he wants? To foil the heroes, he turns Batman’s and Wonder Woman’s planes into horses. Why not turn their blood to liquid nitrogen, for example? Does. Not. Compute. Why does Batman have the Magical Crystal from Merlin with him? Why does Superman give Aquaman a water skiing pull on their way to a mission? Isn’t that a little demeaning? Meanwhile, fish have been studying human oceanography, as they can tell Aquaman that the villain is heading for the straits of Magellan.
The barely repressed homosexuality in this image is strangely erotic …
In order to have a world without the JLA, the Thunderbolt (or genie, if we go by Grant Morrison) stops the origins of the heroes (well, not all of them, as we skip over the ones that can’t be easily explained). Batman’s career is stopped before it begins by a bit of a beating. So much for the grim determination of his crusade to stop what happened to him happening to anyone else. Playboy pansy.
A triptych of images. On the left: I’m distrubed by how much Owl-Man looks like a pervert with nothing on under his cloak, as if he is going to flash us at any second. Even his grin looks sick. I know he’s a bad guy, but still … In the middle: The genesis of bobble head superheroes. On the right: The barely repressed homosexuality in this image is just plain strange …
Solomon Grundy, looking a lot like Charles Laughton, bitch-slaps Batman, Sandman and Wildcat. It’s the Three Super Stooges:
I did jiu jitsu for a few years, and this is the worst attempt at an ogoshi (hip throw) I have ever seen; you have to have your hips into your opponents, and have the arm wrapped around. So much for her vaunted ‘judo skills’ …
There is a lot of nonsense that permeates these old-fashioned but fun tales. However, one of the aspects that really bugs me is the way that, despite having the most powerful beings in the multiverse, from Superman to the Spectre, to the speed of the Flash and the mighty weapon that can conjure anything that is the Green Lantern ring, the only way for the heroes to defeat the villains is by hitting people. The Flash does fast punches. The Spectre uses Queensbury rules. Fucking Green Lantern creates fucking boxing gloves to fucking punch evil aliens. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh. They have powers. Please, for the love of God, let them use them. Even Dr Fate does little more than throw lightening from his fingers, poor sod. No, when in doubt, just fucking hit something:
I am obviously a cynical bastard, with no love in my shrivelled heart, but I can’t bring myself to enjoy these comics. I want to; the ideas are delightful and the spirit of heroism is inspirational, but I can’t see past the niggling story flaws. Modern storytelling has inured us to some of the simpler attitudes of another time, and these comics were probably mind-blowing when they first came out, but it looks like the appeal of the Silver Age is lost on me.