Back Issue #58 August 2012 (magazine review).

It’s very interesting with the TwoMorrows publications that if you think a particular subject hasn’t been covered, then you just need to look in the back issues, or specifically the 58th ‘Back Issue’, if you want to look at the Justice League Of America from the 70s-80s as it made its transition from Garner Fox to Dennis O’Neil to other writers and artists. Shannon E. Riley’s article interviews them and most of them were fans of the comicbook when young but also wanted to bring some younger energy to the book.

It was O’Neil who did the most changes, including putting the JLA on a space station. As a flagship title, the JLA had the most encounters with Silver Age teams making them busy and probably justifiable for so many members. Its only briefly pointed out why would Superman need to be part of a team but when you count up how many real powerhouses are on the team, they really were power heavy. Mind you, there is an argument that comicbook fans want their pages full of super-heroes.

Some of you should be familiar with Roy Thomas and Mike Friedrich wanting to do an unofficial Avengers/JLA cross-over but with alternative characters. Although Friedrich had to back down somewhat as editor Julius Schwarz looked at the plots too thoroughly, writer Mike Eury discusses with Squadron Sinister with Roy Thomas. The only reason why there wasn’t a Wonder Woman substitute initially was because there was a need for equal numbers in each team.

Writer Michael Browning continues with the then heroic version the Squadron Supreme and an interview with editor Ralph Macchio about Mark Gruenwald’s mini-series where they actively wanted to changed their reality. I have to confess I’d somewhat forgot about this mini-series and not even sure if I got it, although a look on-line does show its been reprinted as a volume in 2021. Originally, it came out a year before a certain ‘Watchmen’ series, although I doubt if either creative staff knew much about the other.

Writer Dewey Cassell’s look at ‘The Injustice Gang’ raises a good observation why such gangs don’t stay together because they don’t stay consistent in their aims. That doesn’t really explain why the Flash’s Rogue Gallery tended to stay together though.

Writer Michael Browning looks at Justice League Detroit where the major established JLA members leave to allow writer Gerry Conway to bring in new members that he could play with their personal lives and not worry about their regular titles. He draws comparison to how Stan Lee did this with the Avengers. The real problem, as I read them, was few if any were exactly likeable or people you would expect to come to the rescue. They tended to come over as second-raters with none of them likely to be breakout stars so I was never surprised when some of them were killed off.

Gerry Conway, his second time came back to the JLA with artist Dan Jurgens, recaps his history with writer Philip Schweier explores the problem of a lower readership and print run against his first time there.

If you can’t afford or find a paper edition, digital copies are still available.

GF Willmetts

February 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

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