Monday, July 11, 2011

Crisis Part 5 - The Super-Team Supreme!


After the success of Justice League and Justice Society crossovers, there was an attempt to break some of the JSofA stars out on their own. But still leary of their ability to draw an audience I assume, it was decided to bring them out in pairs. So Gardner Fox was tapped again, this time partnered with Murphy Anderson, to team up Dr.Fate and Hourman in the pages of Showcase.


"Solomon Grundy Goes on a Rampage" begins with an introduction to DC's Golden Age swamp monster. When last seen he was in a green bubble created by Green Lantern and whisked to another planet. As this story opens a green meteor crashes into the Earth in a swamp next to the Tyler Chemical Company, and out of the rubble strides Solomon Grundy eager for revenge on Green Lantern.

Almost at once Dr.Fate (in his tower in Salem with his wife Inza) is alerted magically and darts off to face the menace. Hourman too is alert since his company is alongside the returned menace and he downs his Miraclo pill and his costume and heads out. Both heroes face off against Grundy but are ulitmately defeated when their team work goes awry ending the first chapter.

Grundy having become also somewhat radioactive due to wastes dumped from the Tyler company starts to drag along wooden objects in his wake. He eventually comes across Green Lantern who tries to imprison him, but the assault of the wooden material defeats him. By this time Dr.Fate and Hourman have recovered and again face off against Grundy, but the radiation seems to affect them too and they end up fighting one another as the second chapter closes.

They battle briefly and knock each other out as Grundy takes Green Lantern and tosses him over his shoulder and lumbers off. He immediately runs into some thugs who once were members of his gang and he tells them out he used his might and will to get off the planet he was trapped on and how he'd returned to Earth. They plot a robbery, but the recovered Dr.Fate and Hourman intervene defeating the thugs. Meanwhile Grundy has taken Green Lantern to Slaughter Swamp and is pursued by the Super-Team Supreme. Dr.Fate confronts a Green Lantern who has been transformed into a creature similar to Grundy and they battle using their respective magics. Dr.Fate wins and then he and Hourman team up to defeat Grundy after which the recovered GL and Fate work together to forge an even stronger prison for Solomon Grundy and put him in orbit around the Earth.

Also included in the issue is a text page with the origin stories of both Dr.Fate and Hourman.


"Perils of the Psycho-Pirate!" is the second adventure for the Super-Team Supreme.The tale begins at an archeological dig in Asia Minor where Kent (Dr.Fate) Nelson and his wife Inza find the Medusa Masks, twelve gold masks which gave rise to the myth of Medusa. The dig was funded by Tyler Chemical and so at a grand party to introduce this great find we discover Rex(Hourman)Tyler and his fiance Wendi Harris. Harris is overcome by the emotion of greed and steals the masks and gives them to a bum in the street while the crowd is overcome with the emotion of humor. It's soon revealed that Roger Hayden is the culprit, a man who spent time in jail with the original Psycho Pirate and learned his tricks. Now armed with the Medusa masks which generate intense emotions in others he plots a life of crime. A bank robbery by the Pyscho Pirate's gang brings Dr.Fate but he is overcome by the emotion of frustration and begins to see mirages of his old foes who he sets about fighting while the gang escapes.

In Part Two Hourman powers up in his secret vault and pursues the bank robbers, but after a vigorous fight is overcome by the emotion of charity and releases the gang.

Part Three has the team of Dr.Fate and Hourman actually team up and compare notes. They realize what has happened to each of them and then Fate using the "magical scent" of robbers traces them to their hideout. The team battles the villains but have overcome waves of emotions of fear, specifically different phobias unleashed by the Pirate. Despite the fear they overcome the villains, but Hourman's powers fade. Then the Psycho Pirate attacks the team with jealousy and they attack each other. The Pirate assured they now helpless strikes first Hourman then Dr.Fate. But Fate responding with pure reflex knocks out the Psycho Pirate then covers his face with a mask to stop him using his powers. With the villains captured, the Medusa Masks are returned. Wendi Harris is cleared of all charges and the couple announces their engagement. Dr. Fate looks on wit approval.

Also included is a one-page text piece with the history of the Pyscho-Pirate from the Golden Age.


This is clear attempt to find out if the modern readers will respond to these Golden Age characters. Dr.Fate and Hourman are chosen likely because they don't have Earth-1 counterparts and won't confuse the readers, a concern the editors seemed to have out of all proportion to the problem.

The artwork in these two issues is magnificent, Murphy Anderson at his best. Gardner Fox's stories are spirited and energetic and make great use of classic Golden Age villains, in the case of the Psycho-Pirate giving him a great modern upgrade.

Dr.Fate and Hourman are not a natural team though in my mind. Fate is extremely powerful and Hourman is a low-grade hero at best. I guess it might be argued this team up is similar to the classic Superman-Batman teamings in World's Finest and a hint of what is to come when Green Arrow finds himself allied with Green Lantern. But while the two heroes are colorful, I have to say the story seems overwrought a bit. Fox is sometimes guilty in my opinion of adding one too many twists in a story, and that happens here, especially in the Solomon Grundy story.

It was kind of neat though to see Grundy often referred to as a "Man-Thing", a "macabre" at one time. Actually it occurs to me that in both of these stories the villains are extremely interesting and outshine the heroes.

Next time we go to Earth-A.


This digest has a reprint of the Psycho-Pirate tale.


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