A Tribute to the of






Well, here we are, folks. All these years, reviews, interviews and other adventures later and the Silver Age Sage marks installment #400! I can hardly believe it myself and I’m the guy who’s been cranking them out every two weeks for all this time. What a great thrill it’s been as a jump-off point to talking with so many creators, too many of whom have since left this world. Being able to even meet some at conventions and to branch out into work for BACK ISSUE, Ditkomania and other places has just been the greatest. As always, I give full credit to my lifelong best friend and collaborator, the webmaster, who encouraged me from the start and continues to boost me when needed and to provide this space for what seems more like play than work. All hail the Silver Age of DC Comics!

So, the daunting task then became, how do we mark this occasion? Believe me, I gave it quite a bit of thought. I like to think we’ve covered nearly every major title and genre, though we’ve shied away from funny animal stuff and the romance comics. It just didn’t seem like they’d work well here. We’ve further delved back into the Golden Age from time to time and gone forward into the Bronze Age and once in a blue moon, even done something completely different, like taking a look at Joe Kubert’s last mini-series, “Joe Kubert Presents”[Sage #303] along with Kingdom Come [Sage #300] and material from the Amazing World of DC Comics. You just never know for sure what you’ll find when you tap into this page, but we always try to make it something we’d like to seek out and read for ourselves and hopefully you’ve felt the same.

So, without further ado, I concluded it might be a good time to do a quick overview of DC’s love letter to the Silver Age from the year 2000, when a special series was rolled out. Issue #1 was called simply, “Silver Age” and featured a DC bullet logo, evocative of the one that graced covers from 1949-1970, a comics code approval stamp and a 395 cent cover price all on a Brian Bolland cover. This first issue featured interior art by Terry and Rachel Dodson interpreting a Mark Waid script and was titled “Pawns of the Invincible Immortal!

Now before I really get going, have no fear. There are a total of 11 issues involved and it climaxes with a good old 80-page GIANT. The wizards behind this series really left no stone unturned in making it as authentic as possible, but I won’t go into the usual detail I do, because the sucker would end up being 30 pages or so long. I don’t wanna do that, nor do I wanna subject you to it, so I’ll be trying to hit the highlights and give you a feel for what this series was all about and how it’s a wonderful tribute to our favorite era.

Incidentally, each issue, which crosses nine beloved titles is marked as issue #1 from July 2000, so it gets just a trifle confusing as to what goes where, but I’ll do my best.

Right out of the gate we’re introduced to Agamemno, nearly as old as time itself and unbelievably powerful. He is descended directly from a being who pretty well ruled the universe, but was eventually taken down and now his bouncing baby boy is ready to take his rightful place after roaming the cosmos for millennia and using his ability to shapeshift or simply move about as a mental essence.

His travels and study have shown him that he must collect three artifacts of incalculable power, combine them and then take his place as ruler of the universe. He does, however, need a little help, so he’s searching for “champions” to help him in his quest. He came across the Justice League of America, but soon realized, using a mindscan that they would not help in this quest, despite their attachment to two of these desired artifacts. The mindscan did help Agamemno discover others with similar abilities who would be more aligned to his goals in the JLA’s rogues gallery.

Agamemno is making his pitch to a man in shadow who is soon revealed to be Lex Luthor and Lex is fully on board.

In fact, it isn’t long until the efforts are fully underway. Beginning in Metropolis, when Clark Kent is alerted by Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch that something is amiss. Clark feigns gastrointestinal distress and slips away, to find Felix Faust, of all people, causing a ruckus. Then Luthor arrives with Agamemno in tow and with a particular bit of other worldly power, touches the Man of Steel and suddenly Luthor and Superman have switched bodies.

Similarly in Gotham City, Batman finds himself up against Dr. Light and then the Penguin arrives and pulls the same switcheroo. Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter are pitted against Mr. Element when Black Manta and Dr. Light, again with Agamemno nearby, switch with their respective foes. Next is the Atom and the Flash vs. Chronos and Mr. Element when Sinestro arrives and a familiar change in our heroes takes place. Felix Faust shows up again, this time in Star City where a clean shaven Green Arrow and a luscious Black Canary find themselves battling both Faust and Catwoman, who are touched and changed, but interestingly the Faust/GA grip is wrist to wrist, which will come up again.

Later, Green Lantern is ambushed at the JLA cavern near Happy Harbor by his colleagues who aren’t what they seem when Sinestro changes bodies with Hal Jordan.

So, ultimately the JLA, who have been transformed into their own foes, are locked up via power ring in their own headquarters when Snapper Carr arrives, but is quickly dismissed as “Superman” explains they’ve imprisoned their foes and are off on a space mission with their alien ally.

Before they depart via power ring, “Batman” is left behind to keep watch on things with Snapper. Meanwhile our heroes, a bit downcast at their situation, ponder what they can do. Fortunately Green Arrow palmed an explosive arrowhead when he was being changed into Felix Faust, which explains the odd grip mentioned above. He cobbles together a makeshift bow and arrow with parts from the Penguin’s umbrella and fires it at the nearby weapons of their foes, shooting in particular for the power ring of Sinestro, succeeds and then, armed with what they have on hand, they are spirited away by the power ring to the Batcave. Green Lantern decides to give chase to their foes while Batman lays out a plan. First: Contact sidekicks and allies to try to gain their trust and second, destroy the reputation of the Justice League. Batman’s reasoning is that in their new guise, their foes will take advantage of the trust they’ve built up and wreak plenty of havoc when they return to earth.

Back at HQ, Snapper summons JLA allies to try and capture the nine escaped villains, including the Teen Titans, Doom Patrol, Metamorpho, Elongated Man, Challengers of the Unknown and Blackhawk.

Thus this extra-long opening issue sets the stage and like any classic Silver Age Justice League of America tale, they peel off into team-ups to take on their collective mission.

Again, I’m going to try to just hit the highlights here, but do want to give credit where credit is due and the credits for this series are impressive, to say the least. Justice League of America #1 for only 250 cents is written by Mark Millar with art by Scot Kolins and Dan Panosian and is called “The League Without Justice!” The classic roll call is on the splash page with images of our heroes, but named with who inhabits those bodies.

The drama in this issue is ratcheted up as tensions arise amongst the villains, including sexual tension with Black Canary showing interest in one member, who does not reciprocate and then “Flash” hitting on her only to be rebuffed. Felix Faust proposes they unmask and reveal for themselves the identities of their greatest foes, adding a new dimension to their threat. Furthermore, privy to the thoughts of Luthor, we learn that the genius is already plotting an overthrow of Agamemno.

One of the grimmer aspects in this story is the arrival of the most powerful members of the League at a gathering of the Green Lantern Corps. Their objective is to steal the massive power battery that runs the show as one of the three critical artifacts and they use the speed of the Flash to take each power ring from the assembly and then destroy them with Martian vision. One Green Lantern managed to maintain his ring and makes a valiant effort and then is choked to death by Dr. Light, using his Martian abilities to turn himself totally yellow.

Elsewhere Superman, the Atom and Aquaman arrive at a world nearly submerged by water to find the crashed ship of Brainiac. Their objective is the bottle city from Krypton containing the last fragment of the jewel mountains, which the Atom shrinks down to retrieve.

One other bit of trivia is that the cover, done by Ty Templeton, was originally to be crafted by the great Murphy Anderson, but Murph was sidelined with an illness at the time. Shame.

Challengers of the Unknown #1 has a cover by Joe Kubert. “A Small Matter of Time!” is written by Karl Kesel and illustrated by Drew Johnson and Randy Elliott and features, naturally, the Challs facing off against “Chronos,” or the Atom if you prefer. It depicts our heroes getting the word from Snapper Carr and soon they’re engaging Chronos at Ivy University, where he’s attempting to make use of the time pool. As they intervene, they’re shrunk by a device Chronos was going to use and a melee begins until Prof Hailey deduces that Chronos is really the Atom. Then the race is on to re-enlarge our heroes before they explode and roadblocks continue to pop up before ultimate success, but in the process they see some events from the future in the time pool, to include some odd characters in heroic garb unknown to any of them.

Teen Titans #1, appropriately enough, is graced with a classic Nick Cardy layout and cover and “Tyrannical Terror of Sheriff Law!” is written by Marv Wolfman with Pat Oliffe and Andrew Hennessy illustrations. Black Manta, Mr. Element and the Penguin are trying to reach the Titans, to no avail. Sheriff Law is an overbearing authority figure, trying to rein in the teenage population. He manipulates the Titans, who battle the villains, ultimately to a stalemate, but they overthrow Law and his minions while we move on to “Dial H for Hero” #1 (interestingly not the House of Mystery) and “The One-Man Justice League!” by Mark Waid with Barry Kitson art. This tale includes some good backstory on Robby Reed and some clever use of Dr. Light’s abilities by J’onn J’onnz to aid him in impersonating himself.

And so it continues through the Flash #1 with a dynamite cover by Carmine Infantino and interior credits for “The Flash’s Big Day!” by writer Brian Augustyn with Ty Templeton art, though the first story is more of a buddy tale with Barry Allen and Hal Jordan and the Flash taking on the Turtle. The second story, “Mystery of the Thieving Thunderbolt!” is also by Brian Augustyn with Norm Beyfogle illustrating. Both Kid Flash and the Elongated Man, sporting his old Lone Ranger mask are dealing with “Mr. Element,” who handily mocks up some super-speed shenanigans with his police scientist abilities.

Doom Patrol #1 features classic DP villains Garguax and General Immortus in “The War of the Super Weapons!” with a script by Tom Peyer and art by Bachan and Ray Kryssing. It did my heart good to see in the credit box: “Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani – Inspiration.” Chief Niles Caulder, using his scientific genius, determines that Lex Luthor is not acting himself and at the end of the story, he is proven right as “Lex” allies with the World’s Strangest Heroes.

Green Lantern #1 features a wonderful Gil Kane cover that may have been his final published work. “Alone Against Injustice!” sports a Kurt Busiek script with Brent E. Anderson and Joe Rubinstein doing artwork. In this segment, the villains are headed for Thanagar and the final artifact, the Absorbascon. “Sinestro” has been pursuing them and he has a distinct advantage in that he’s accustomed to wielding a power ring, while the “heroes” are still learning their new abilities. The downside? The yellow ring, lacking the yellow impurity in all the other power rings, has the potential to drive Hal Jordan insane. In a bold move, “Sinestro” makes a beeline for the power battery and invokes that familiar oath and abruptly the heroes and villains are restored to their normal forms.

Unfortunately, the masters of evil aren’t neutralized yet. They’ve used the recently acquired Absorbascon to place the Green Lantern Corps in what amounts to a state of suspended animation.

Next up is the 7 Soldiers of Victory in Showcase presents under a Dick Giordano rendered cover with Geoff Johns as writer, Dick Giordano providing interior art and an interesting mix comprising the 7 Soldiers with Mento from the Doom Patrol, Batgirl, Metamorpho, Adam Strange, the Shining Knight, Blackhawk and Deadman. As per usual, our heroes are working together to the very best of their abilities, while the bad guys are in-fighting and squabbling. Agamemno leaps into the power battery only to discover Luthor has double-crossed him. One more stop before the grand finale, with Brave and the Bold #1 featuring a team-up with “Batman” and the Metal Men. I’m not sure who did the cover art, but it has a Jim Aparo feel. Not that I think it’s Jim, mind you. Interior credits are Bob Haney doing the script with Kevin Maguire and Mark Farmer on art. “The Great Gotham Switcheroo!” absolutely has a Haney feel to it and at one point the Metal Men are made human, tipping the hat to another old Silver Age trope when they faced The Sizzler. In the end, “Batman” is transformed back to his Penguin form and now onto the the 595 cent 80-page GIANT Silver Age issue.

Cover art is provided by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer and “S.O.S. to Nowhere!” is written by Mark Waid with Edurard Barretto on art detail. There’s plenty of recapping and now that the fiends are back to their regular selves, they’re preparing to deal the death blow, but first, they let the Justice League know that their secret identities are no longer a secret, upping the ante quite a little bit.

Each rogue now sports a power ring in every color of the rainbow and their ability to learn all the secrets worth knowing is now within their grasp. Our heroes are soon gathering up their loved ones to protect them and they take them where they hope they cannot be discovered: Gorilla City. The hidden enclave known only to the Flash. What our heroes failed to take into account is that all their secrets have been laid bare, to include the existence of Gorilla City.

Throughout the next few chapters, various teams take on various situations, just like a classic Justice League tale with some successes and some setbacks, but one by one our heroes are contacted to rendezvous when the Manhunter from Mars suddenly has an inspiration. He mentions that he may have stumbled upon a solution, but is using all his telepathic efforts to shield his mind from the absorbascon and the villains using it.

Meanwhile, we discover Agamemno is actually gaining strength within the massive power battery and waiting to strike.

Soon it’s all-out war, but the power-ring clad villains have a decided advantage. Just when it seems all is lost, however, a boy shows up with a strange dial and uses the unconscious Flash’s hand to manipulate it to spell H-E-R-O and soon the other members of the JLA follow suit until we have a new fighting team. The Atom is now Mod-Man; Black Canary is Miss Fortune, Superman is Doc Fission, Batman is Minuteman, the Flash is Marionette, Aquaman is Terra Firma and Green Arrow is Poltergeist. This game changer will allow the League to operate with the element of surprise and a bag of new tricks. They quickly move to take advantage, using their new abilities to put the baddies on the ropes. One final transformation takes place when the Martian Manhunter is transformed into the black and white checked Go-Go.

Each villain is felled and it looks like justice will save the day when a transformed, massive Agamemno arrives. His power seems to overwhelm our heroes but before he can finish them, the cavalry comes over the hill, or from the sky, to be more precise, when a legion of Hawkmen descend to join the fray. How did they get there? Why, they were brought by the Green Lantern Corps, who comprise the second wave. In a wonderful bit of tribute, a note is in the bottom gutter of page 46 stating simply, “To Gil Kane.”

The combined force of 3600 Green Lanterns is brought to bear and just as an insurance policy, Go-Go, with the ability to pop into and out of places, shows up with the jewel from Krypton and the Absorbascon that had been part of the Power Battery, severely weakening Agamemno. With that, the villain is defeated and imprisoned temporarily in the power battery pending it’s return to Oa.

In the epilogue, we learn a few key facts that led to the victory, which hinge heavily on Boston Brand, aka Deadman. Using his ability to inhabit and take over bodies of the living, he hopped the zeta beam with the aid of Kid Flash, leaped out of his body and hopped from static Green Lantern to Green Lantern, freeing them from the mental imprisonment they were under and allowing them to help save the day.

So, criminals incarcerated, after GL with the help of the Absorbascon wipe the critical information from their minds and the Earth can go back about its business.

Again, I synopsized the living crap out of this storyline, but obviously the writers and artists all had a solid handle on the Silver Age and did things up right and proud. I especially appreciated them giving the reins to Silver Age artists and at least one writer to add authenticity. I called it a love letter to the Silver Age and stand by it. By all means, read it for yourself if you get the chance. Three are so many Easter eggs hidden and in plain sight throughout that it’s just a wonderful, nostalgic romp, covering pretty much every imaginable base. Julie Schwartz, Gardner Fox, John Broome and all the rest would be proud.

This still got a lot longer than I planned and if you made it all the way through, kudos to you, dear reader. Thanks for joining us on this journey, which has now hit 400 editions.

When New Year’s Day of 2017 arrives, we’ll be right back at it with another review, though nothing as epic as this one, as you can see from the previous installments in the archives. Be sure to check out the webmaster’s meticulously researched and prepared reference pages as well. There’s much to see and enjoy here at the Silver Lantern, which I’m proud to continue to call my home base on the web.

As always, I’m just a few keystrokes away. E-mail me with questions, comments and all other feedback at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and…

Long live the Silver Age!



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