I got this issue of DC SUPER-STARS while visiting my grandparents in Valley Stream, New York. They were weekly visitors to our home in Farmingville, making the hour drive up virtually every Saturday, but on occasion we would go out to meet them at the home they shared with my Aunt and Uncle–possibly for some event, though I have no memory of what that event might have been in this case. I believe I got this in a little candy store in the local supermarket mall, where I occasionally was able to score comic books. I can clearly remember being fascinated by the cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #169 in the window on a previous trip, even though I wasn’t yet a Marvel reader–now that’s a good cover.
I’m sure that it was the origin of the Huntress that was the selling point to me on this book, as I was not a huge aficionado of either Green Arrow or the Legion of Super-Heroes. But this whole package, it turns out was great. It opened with a retelling of the origin of Green Arrow ably illustrated by Mike Grell and Bruce Patterson. This was far from the only time that this story, which I had earlier read in SECRET ORIGINS OF THE SUPER DC HEROES, was updated to conform to a later time–Grell himself would do this years later in THE LONGBOW HUNTERS, as would Andy Diggle and Jock decades later, in a version that would directly influence the ARROW television show.
In the framing sequence, Green Arrow has tracked a man around the world who is in possession of documents proving that he was framed for the financial malfeasance which cost Arrow his company and personal fortune. As Oliver relives his origin, when he was washed overboard and forced to make his way alone on a remote island, teaching himself to hunt with a bow and arrow, he finds a renewed sense of purpose, and the fact that the evidence he needs goes over the side into the ocean as he saves the life of the criminal’s hostage is of no great consequence to him at all. It’s a nice story, and expertly drawn.
The middle story is the least effective of the three in this issue, but it’s still pretty good. The Legion has been called in by the Science Police because the Quintile Crystal that powers Metropolis in the 30th Century is just about exhausted and due for replacement. It’s an object of significance for the Legion because it factored into their very first case, undertaken at R.J. Brande’s suggestion after the three founding Legionnaires had saved his life and shown that they could be heroes like Superboy was in the 20th Century.
But at this point, the Legion had no status, and so even when they waylay the diplomat who is stealing the crystal, the Science Police read them the riot act for almost starting an interplanetary incident. Unfazed, the Legion members infiltrate the secret meeting where the alien ambassador is selling the crystal and steal it from them–they’re not from Earth so there’s no chance of an incident, and the ambassador can hardly report the theft of something he himself stole in the first place. By story’s end, the Legion has the apologies of the Science Police and are granted official status on all United Planets worlds. And in the present, the now-depleted crystal is given to them as a gift by the very Science Police officer who years before had tried to arrest them.
Next came a two-page text column/featurette on the making of the issue by editor and writer Paul Levitz. Among other things, Levitz revealed that an Aquaman origin story had been considered and discarded, that Bob Layton was as responsible as anybody for the creation of the Huntress (Bob wanted to introduce an Earth-2 Batgirl) and that Joe Staton’s original character design for the Huntress had been reworked into this issue’s cover. It was a treasure trove of insider information of the sort I loved.
And the issue closed with the origin of the Huntress, whom we learn is the daughter of the Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman, who had married several years earlier. But when an old confederate who as proof that Catwoman was responsible for a killing, Selina has no choice but to give in to the man’s blackmail and pull one final score with him, to safeguard her new family. But when Batman intercedes, Selina is killed in the crossfire, and the caped crusader hangs up his cowl forever.
But her mother’s death drives daughter Helena Wayne to adopt the guise of the Huntress and to bring her killer to justice. Along the way, she proves that Catwoman was innocent of that earlier murder–the evidence against her was faked. And as far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, it must have been Robin who brought the bad guy in–he has no clue that his daughter has now taken up the family mantle.