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All Star Comics Archives, Vol. 4

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Collects All Star Comics (1940-1978) #15-18. The handsome hardcover reprints of the Golden Age exploits of the Justice Society of America continue! Writer James Robinson (Starman) provides an introduction to this collection of stories that include the first appearances of the villainous Brain Wave, plus the JSA battles against spies and saboteurs during World War II.


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Collects All Star Comics (1940-1978) #15-18. The handsome hardcover reprints of the Golden Age exploits of the Justice Society of America continue! Writer James Robinson (Starman) provides an introduction to this collection of stories that include the first appearances of the villainous Brain Wave, plus the JSA battles against spies and saboteurs during World War II.

30 review for All Star Comics Archives, Vol. 4

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Graham

    This book collects four issues of All Star Comics from 1943 in Issues 15-18. This volume sees the Justice Society back off a bit from the war. While Americans were all for our War Efforts, they didn't want to hear about war in every book, movie, radio program, and certainly not every comic book. However, Issue 16 would be an exception to this. Each issue told one over-arching story with the Justice Society together at the end and the beginning of the story while each hero had his own six page mi This book collects four issues of All Star Comics from 1943 in Issues 15-18. This volume sees the Justice Society back off a bit from the war. While Americans were all for our War Efforts, they didn't want to hear about war in every book, movie, radio program, and certainly not every comic book. However, Issue 16 would be an exception to this. Each issue told one over-arching story with the Justice Society together at the end and the beginning of the story while each hero had his own six page mini-adventure. First off, Issue 15 has every member of the Justice Society so busy they can't attend the meeting but not too busy to send their secretary Wonder Woman their excuses. Wonder Woman's biggest role in this book is getting her and all the girlfriends of the heroes captures. (Wonder Woman couldn't take part in battles because she was only the secretary.) The story itself introduces a great supervillain for the Justice Society in Brain Wave. Still, his plot using mirror images does get a little old plus the nonsensical girlfriend plot weighs this down. Grade: B- Issue 16 has the Justice Society taking on a series of Nazi spies trying to pit Americans against one another. It's a beautiful patriotic story. For those of us who admire the greatest generation's sense of unity and purpose, this is a gorgeous illustration of that, particularly the last couple pages. Grade: A- Issue 17 marks the return of Brain Wave and this time he's shrunk the Justice Society. The story is better than the last time though there are a few sore points. It doesn't even make sense to shrink the Spectre given his powers, the Thunderbolt has to appear in all the stories to bail Johnny out. Grade: B+ Issue 18 sees the Justice Society battling King Bee who has turned men into human bug creatures with the powers of Insects. It's a fun concept and a b it educational too. Overall, a decent final story. Grade: B The book has a warm and nostalgic introduction by James Robinson who wrote the modern day Starman revival. Overall, this is an enjoyable installment and a step up in quality from Volume 3 and a very enjoyable chapter in the career of the Justice Society.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This volume is interesting in that the stories have stronger connectedness to them even though each team member basically has a solo adventure and little teamwork is at play. For example, clues about the identity of the Brain Wave are dropped throughout each of the stories, and we learn more about him as we proceed. It is also interesting in that only the second story is based on the war while the other three stories deal with supervillains, Brain Wave and the King Bee (the latter is more super- This volume is interesting in that the stories have stronger connectedness to them even though each team member basically has a solo adventure and little teamwork is at play. For example, clues about the identity of the Brain Wave are dropped throughout each of the stories, and we learn more about him as we proceed. It is also interesting in that only the second story is based on the war while the other three stories deal with supervillains, Brain Wave and the King Bee (the latter is more super-scientist than super-powered, though). The art is more innovative--a camera position inside Hitler's mouth, and a full-page image introducing the King Bee, who looks like he could be a Sam Kieth creation. Fox refers to spiders as though they are insects, but the "spider-men" in Doctor Mid-Nite's story are ultimately revealed to be a hoax, so we can't exactly say that DC introduced "Spider-Man". Fox displays a strange sense of humor when he has Johnny Thunder given the fly hormones. While Johnny is clearly the least intelligent of the JSA, his intelligence doesn't seem affected by the hormone the way it does the other men. He might be trying to say that Johnny is too dumb to be affected, but he sure seems more articulate than the other fly-men, even if he does fly into the flypaper. I think this is my favorite of the All Star Comics volumes so far. The stories are quaint and primitive, but enjoyable. Joe Gallagher's image of the Spectre on the next to last page is the eeriest Golden Age image of the character I've seen yet. Though Bernard Baily did numerous appropriately creepy stories for DC's mystery line in the seventies, his work on The Spectre during the Golden Age is surprisingly cheery and cartoony, at odds with the nature of the material, and I don't necessarily think in a way that works

  3. 4 out of 5

    The other John

    In 1943, Justice Society fans were treated to three outings against super-villains and one wartime sermon. This volume collects them all. In "The Man Who Created Images", we're introduced to the Brain Wave, the man whose mind is so advanced that he can create realistic mental images. The individual members of the JSA are so caught up in trying to thwart this villain's plans that they all skip the regular meeting, prompting secretary Wonder Woman to embark on an unusual plan of her own. In the se In 1943, Justice Society fans were treated to three outings against super-villains and one wartime sermon. This volume collects them all. In "The Man Who Created Images", we're introduced to the Brain Wave, the man whose mind is so advanced that he can create realistic mental images. The individual members of the JSA are so caught up in trying to thwart this villain's plans that they all skip the regular meeting, prompting secretary Wonder Woman to embark on an unusual plan of her own. In the second tale collected, the JSA seeks to stop Nazi-sown discord between workers and employers, natives and immigrants, and people of different ethnic groups. In the third tale the Brain Wave is back and he tries to eliminate the JSA by shrinking them to doll size. They go on to show that there are a force to be reckoned with, even when only a few inches tall. The final tale pits the JSA against men who have been transformed into insect powered slaves by the King Bee. Overall, the stories aren't quite as good as those in some of the previous volumes. But you still have a rollicking sense of fun and adventure that seems to be the hallmark of the era.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rich Meyer

    Fun volume of the All Star Comics Archives, though even golden age fans will probably be disappointed with most of the artwork. There are a few chapters of Sandman by Simon and Kirby, Spectre by Bernard Bailey, and Sheldon Moldoff does his usual great work on the Hawkman chapters, but most of these Justice Battalion tales are a bit lacking. Maybe it was the loss of the bullpen to the war effort or something, and I normally don't mind of the likes of Stan Aschmeier or Paul Reinman, but there's to Fun volume of the All Star Comics Archives, though even golden age fans will probably be disappointed with most of the artwork. There are a few chapters of Sandman by Simon and Kirby, Spectre by Bernard Bailey, and Sheldon Moldoff does his usual great work on the Hawkman chapters, but most of these Justice Battalion tales are a bit lacking. Maybe it was the loss of the bullpen to the war effort or something, and I normally don't mind of the likes of Stan Aschmeier or Paul Reinman, but there's too much of it here and I think it was done so quickly that it's really sub-par. The stories are great though, featuring the first two appearances of the Brain Wave.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven Heywood

    Golden Age fun stuff.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jack Holt

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  11. 4 out of 5

    Damon Williams

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robert Stubbs

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wt

  14. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ron McInnis

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karl Hickey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

  18. 5 out of 5

    Reyna

  19. 5 out of 5

    James Dotson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Richard Remigio

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Desmarais

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Webster

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Features the first and second appearances of Brainwave.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

  27. 5 out of 5

    Siddhant Nath

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Nerby

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

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