Writer – Roy Thomas
Penciller – Rich Buckler
Inker – Jerry Ordway
Colours – Carl Gafford
Letterer – John Costanza
The book begins with Hawkman heading over to the JSA meeting rooms in Manhattan where he encounters Plastic Man and learns that the team has been kidnapped by various costumed villains. They decide to head to Washington to meet with the president, and almost get abducted themselves in a confrontation with King Bee along the way. Cut to the Shining Knight and his steed Winged Victory as they are flying over Hawaii where a mysterious and active volcano makes an appearance. Landing and investigating, he manages to get himself and a volcanologist captured by Solomon Grundy and other nefarious villains at the behest of Degaton. Eventually, as Pearl Harbour is getting bombed by the Japanese, the president gathers a number of the remaining heroes together in his office including Hawkman, Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, Robotman, The Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite and Plastic Man and sends them to the West Coast to stop a possible Japanese attack on the mainland.
Thus the All-Star Squadron is born, though this was technically their first coming together as a team, they had a preview issue appear in Justice League of America #193. It is also the beginning of one of the best books DC was to ever publish in the 1980s. Written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Rich Buckler with helpful inking from ‘Jeremiah’ Ordway, it was a strong debut for our alternate Earth heroes. Set in 1941, the book features some heroes we know and love, some new and some we have not seen in many years.
The Shining Knight is a fantastic character with his pegasus, coupled with his unbreakable sword and armour, but he is so impractical in this day and age, not to mention during the war years, you just have to suspend your disbelief and roll with your imagination on it. Liberty Belle is a great and patriotic character, only the first of many which will soon appear in the book and a great addition to the roster. Robotman has little to do this issue, but at least gets introduced as does Johnny Quick who seems to have a certain thing for our Miss Belle. It is good to see Plastic Man as well, in a role that is a little more serious for the traditionally funny character.
A really good choice on Thomas’ part to feature the time-travelling mad-man named Degaton as the first villain in the book. Degaton being as smart as he is, has recruited King Bee, Solomon Grundy and others which also happens to set up a rogues gallery for the book, and all in one issue. Also very smart to tie the book into ‘current events,’ as well as having the team answer directly to Roosevelt.
If you have never read this book, then what are you waiting for? This is one of the best super-teams that either of the Big Two has ever released and is still a really fun read these many years later. It may not feature the biggest or most recognizable heroes in the DCU, but they are some of the best and only get better as every issue passes. Great job from Buckler and Thomas!
5 out of 5