BHOC: SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #4

New DC titles quite often had spotty or no distribution in my area, at least as far as my regular 7-11 was concerned, so there were several books over teh years that I became aware of in ads but never saw until much later. SUPER-TEAM FAMILY was one of those. The first issue’s cover had been in House Ads previously, and I was interested because the Flash was on that cover–but none of the first three issues materialized in my neck of the woods. Fortunately, this fourth one did–and it was a whopper!

Behind another Ernie Chua cover that I don’t much like at all was a grand slam as far as I was concerned: a full-length golden age adventure of the Justice Society of America! And it was one in which I was already familiar with their antagonist, the monstrous Solomon Grundy. I was already a huge JSA fan, and I presume this selection of reprint was intended to help promote their then-new series in ALL-STAR COMICS. 

The story itself doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense in one regard, but it is good fun. Having previously been imprisoned in a bubble by Green lantern, Solomon Grundy is freed by a stray lightning bolt, and he makes his way towards the city to take his revenge. Meanwhile, Green Lantern is early for the JSA meeting, when he’s surprised by the appearance of a mysterious figure. When the rest of teh team arrives, they find their headquarters trashed and no sign of GL. Radio reports alert them to Grundy’s rampage, and give them a list of the places he’s already been–that’s an important point–so the JSAers split up to go to each of those sites, hoping for a clue as to Green Lantern’s whereabouts.

From there, we get a series of short five-page sequences in which each member reaches his objective city, only to run afoul of Solomon Grundy in it (along with whatever other trouble is being caused that they can take care of along the way.) Which doesn’t make sense as the radio report indicated that Grundy had already left each of those spots, and there’s no indication in the story that he’s doubled back. But whatever! We get to spotlight each member of teh Justice Society in action individually, but none of them have the wherewithal to bring Grundy’s rampage to a halt.

Thereafter, we wind the clock back to reveal that Green lantern’s visitor at JSA headquarters had been his pal Doiby Dickles, with news of Grundy’s rampage. GL jets off to track down the monster–narrowly missing him, as Grundy appears and then trashes the JSA’s meeting room. Green Lantern has built a radio that’s attuned to “the mental wave-length of Solomon Grundy”, which he’s able to use to chart the creature’s progress. He phones this information in to the radio station (becoming responsible for the broadcast that put the JSA on the trail–it’s possible that writer Gardner Fox’s intention here was that GL’s gizmo was predicting Grundy’s path, but that’s not what’s on the page.) and by using those locations as a vector, he’s able to predict where the beast will be at a certain point in time.

And Green Lantern’s prediction is correct! But that’s not enough to save him from a pummeling at Grundy’s hands, all of his will-power not enough to subdue the creature. He’s saved at the last moment by the arrival of his assorted JSA teammates, who together are able to hold Grundy down with their combined power–but that’s no long-term solution. Johnny Thunder accidentally hits on the answer: Green Lantern uses his Power Ring to once again entomb Solomon Grundy, and then he transports Grundy to the surface of a barren planet. So even if Grundy’s prison is once again shattered, he will have no way back to Earth. 

Next was the second in the public service series Justice For All Includes Children, illustrated by Neal Adams. This was an ad rather than content, but it’s worth looking at for the naivety of its message. The intention was good, but the situation being dramatized would likely have played out a different way in real life–especially for the two black kids.

The back-up story in this issue was a fun World’s Finest story illustrated by the always-wonderful Dick Sprang, in which exposure to a strange comet while on a moon mission transforms Pilot Rogers (he’s never given a first name anywhere in the story) into the crazed super-villain Moonman whenever the moon is in the sky. Your two favorite heroes Superman and Batman (and Robin!) contend with Moonman, and are able to bring him back to sanity, while also corraling a bunch fo generic criminals who try to use Moonman for their own gain.

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