Thursday, March 8, 2007

All-Star Squadron #6

Cover Date: February 1982
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: November 26, 1981

“Mayhem in the Mile-High City!” -27 pages

Cover Artist: Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penicller: Adrian Gonzales
Inker/Embellisher: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Ben Oda
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Doctor Mid-Nite I, Firebrand II, Hawkgirl I, Hawkman I, Johnny Quick I, Liberty Belle I, Robotman I, Shining Knight I

Villains: Feathered Serpent, General Saukel, Unnamed German Soldiers, Unnamed Hypnotized Minions, German Ambassador to Mexico, Herr Blume, Zwerg, Baron Blitzkrieg

Supporting Characters: President Manuel Avila Camacho

Memorable Quote: “Those bumbling fools in Berlin! They spurned my advice - - and now their plans for Mexico lie in ruins. But tonight I shall carry the war to the United States itself - - and if any verdammt masked “heroes” rise against me - - they shall be smashed by the might of Baron Blitzkrieg!” –Baron Blitzkrieg

Synopsis

The Feathered Serpent continues to rage about his plans to sacrifice Shiera Sanders and to become the master of Mexico. Both the Shining Knight and Hawkman threaten the Serpent, who views this as their attempt to stall him. Because the stars are not in proper alignment for sacrificing he tells his captives how he came to become the Feathered Serpent. He claims to have been born on the peninsula that they are now on but was educated in the United States and Europe between the wars. He returned there months ago as an archeologist and discovered the hidden temple of Kukulkan and what he considered his heritage. He found that he could read the ancient pictographs and control those who had kept their bloodlines pure.

After a short, heated exchange with General Saukel the Feathered Serpent finally gets around to the sacrifice. Shiera surprises him and manages to kick free of her restraints. Chaos reigns as Hawkman and Shining Knight finally break their bonds as well and begin to fight not only the minions of the Feathered Serpent and the Nazi soldiers. In the tumult Shiera manages to change into her guise as Hawkgirl and joins her fiancé in battle. The Feathered Serpent takes advantage of the battle to kill General Saukel as his sacrifice and gains the powers he had been boasting about. Realizing that Mexico City is in danger the heroes quickly follow the villain as he races towards his conquest.

In Mexico City the citizens are shocked to see an ancient Aztec pyramid burst from the ground. Those of pure blood also fall under the Serpent’s sway and begin to march up the pyramid. With weapons supplied by the Nazis the mesmerized pure bloods open fire on those who try to stop them. The Nazis are surprised to see Dr. Mid-Nite, Firebrand, the Atom and Johnny Quick start to fight against the spellbound pure bloods. Not far away at the National Palace the Feathered Serpent arrives to slay President Camacho and assume his place as ruler of Mexico. Liberty Belle and Robotman are there in disguise as well and protect the President after he defies the Feathered Serpent. After ringing Mexico’s proud bell of freedom Liberty Belle feels the same adrenal surge as when the Liberty Bell rings out in Philadelphia and quickly the battle turns in their favor. The Serpent charges at Belle after tossing her aside, but she manages to use his momentum against him and he falls to his death. Suddenly the real Feathered Serpent flies by and the heroes realize that the Serpent they fought was a fraud.

At the German Embassy the Feathered Serpent confronts the Nazi agents who sent the imposter to kill Camacho for their own ends. After informing them that he has is the true ruler of Mexico Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Shining Knight arrive. As the Hawks tussle with the Nazis the Shining Knight chases the Feathered Serpent back to the pyramid. He manages to take out Johnny Quick before grabbing Firebrand. Firebrand proves to be a poor hostage and uses her newfound abilities to set the Serpent’s armor and wings on fire. The two begin to fall but Firebrand is rescued by the Shining Knight. As the hypnotized pure bloods begin to come out of their trance the All-Star discover that the Feathered Serpent is really German and that he wanted to be his own power after discovering the secret of Kukulkan. He makes one last ditch effort to kill the All-Stars with a hidden bomb but Robotman and a revived Johnny Quick waste no time in getting rid of it. Afterwards President Camacho holds a celebration in honor of Mexico and the All-Star Squadron.

Later that night Baron Blitzkrieg and his friend Zwerg discuss how it is now his turn to carry the war to the United States itself and woe to any hero that gets in his way.

Notes

-This issue was the late Adrian Gonzales’ first one as penciler.

-Another reference to Indiana Jones is made in this issue, this time a direct mention of the famed archeologist himself. One has to wonder what the Earth-2 Indiana Jones would have been like. This reference is interesting also because Marvel would eventually publish the Further Adventures of Indiana Jones.

-The Hostess ad this month has the Flash fighting against Dr. Sorcery who’s plan to mess with a police department marathon is halted by the Flash’s use of Hostess Cup Cakes. After Sorcery is in police custody everyone celebrates with more Cup Cakes. Because that’s what I want to do after running a marathon; eat a bunch of snack cakes.



-The Liberty Bell that Liberty Belle rings in this story first rang out in 1810 to announce Mexico’s independence from Spain.

-President Manuel Avila Camacho was President of Mexico from 1940-1946. While he was certainly soured on the Nazis after this issue’s adventure on Earth-2 it wouldn’t be until May 22, 1942 that Mexico would declare war on Germany when German U-boats sunk two ships carrying oil.

-Nearly a decade and a half before this issue saw print Roy Thomas introduced a super-villain named Kukulcan in the pages of X-Men, who wore an outfit very much like the Feathered Serpents.

-The supposed Feathered Serpent once again claims that he will be no Quisling and adds that he won’t be a Petain either. French general Marshal Petain, who served in World War I, tarnished his reputation with the British and the Americans by heading the government of the “Vichy France” from 1940 to 1944. Vichy was the capital of the one-third of France that while unoccupied by the Germans after their invasion in June of 1940 became politically subservient to the Third Reich.

-The last page of this issue introduces Baron Blitzkrieg into the series. On a very personal note I think that outside of Axis Amerika in the pages of Young All-Stars Baron Blitzkrieg is the best villain the All-Star Squadron ever faced.


-After Len Wein explained the gaff made with the Firebrand arrow on the previous issue’s cover and suggested that the reader could cut the arrow out of this issue and paste it over the mistake (if anyone actually did this let me know) the following letters were printed in this installment of All-Star Comments:

“War Correspondent” Dave Elyea of Cheboygan, Michigan wrote in praise of the use of Per Degaton as well as re-telling the JSA’s bomb defense formula story. He also requested that the story should be retold in a special all-new ALL-STAR DIGEST. Roy let Dave down gently by telling him that outside of the JUSTICE SOCIETY DIGEST there were no plans to reprint old DC and Quality stories.

Andy Glaess of Northglenn, Colorado started out with nothing but compliments but ended his letter by pointing out that the plane the All-Stars flew in issue two was not in use until 1944. Roy copped to the mistake and, as was covered in the entry for issue two, explained that there wasn’t enough time to fix the boo-boo once they caught it.

Dan Springs of Alt Springs, Florida begged to bring Hourman into the series and ended his letter with a play on the MAKE MINE MARVEL saying from old Marvel books. Roy caught the bit and explained that they are trying to figure out the story to explain how the Hourman worked with the JSA after he quit the team.

The Comments ended with two Nostalgic Notes from Roy. They are as follows:

NOSTALGIC NOTE: We just realized that, when we listed the origins and/or first appearances of all the various heroes and heroines who appeared in the first few issues of ALL-STAR SQUADRON we forgot to include Firebrand (Rod Reilly), because he didn’t appear in costume…so just for you completists out there: There was no origin story for Danette Reilly’s non-super powered brother, but his first appearance (like that of Plastic Man and Phantom Lady) was in POLICE COMICS #1, August 1941. Now are we friends again?

ANOTHER NOSTALGIC NOTE: We just wanted to make sure that no loyal fans of ALL-STAR SQUADRON and/or the original Justice Society of America accidentally miss out on our special JUSTICE SOCIETY issue of our THE BEST OF DC/BLUE RIBBON DIGEST series, now on sale! Editor Len Wein has packaged two JSA tales which form an integral part of the background of these first few issues of DC’s newest hit—namely, “The Day That Dropped Out of Time” from ALL-STAR COMICS #35, 1947 (the deathless adventure which introduced the time-altering Per Degaton to a waiting world) and the exciting, all-important, “Untold Origin of the Justice Society” from DC SPECIAL #29, back in ’77! See? Who said you had to fifty years old in order to understand what’s going on in an issue of ALL-STAR SQUADRON? As somebody once said—we do it all for you!

-Here’s the cover to that digest. Neat, huh?



-The back cover of this issue is the same from the last one. But here it is again anyway.


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