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Sunday, May 04, 2008

All-Star Squadron #60 - Aug. 1986

sgComics Weekend This is the issue where the Crisis Wave literally hits the All-Star Squadron. In DCU Continuity terms, the world DC comic readers knew when they opened the book was a different one by the time they closed it.

This is also probably the first wave that Aquaman really didn't want any part of.

After several members of the All-Star Squadron--Hawkman, Starman, The Atom, and the Sandman among them--return from the mission they were shown to be on in previous issues, and some of the other heroes confront Robotman and Mekanique, they all receive a signal from Squadron chairwoman Liberty Belle to return to their HQ.

Turns out the signal wasn't, for once, anything life threatening, but was in fact to have all the heroes compare notes and be present for the group photo of them asked for by President Roosevelt.

The presence of Aquaman--who first showed up last issue--surprises even some of the other heroes who weren't there to see him arrive
"Yes, Starman, there really is an Aquaman!"

Anyway, the heroes do indeed pose for the picture, and it's an awesome spectacle indeed:
We then cut back to the more pressing matters involving Robotman and Mekanique, where we see that whatever is "in" Mekanique has started devleoping feelings for Robotman, who saw more in her than anyone did.

Meanwhile, Hawkman, Johnny Quick, and Liberty Belle deliver the picture to FDR, and, well...
...the Golden Age Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are no more.

I must admit, I was a little surprised that Aquaman got swept along with his more famous contemporaries. I guess that, with Aquaman's Atlantis-based origin, having two different, totally unrelated guys (now on the same Earth, due to the Crisis) just happen to become superheroes named Aquaman was too incredulous even for comic book readers to bear.

So Aquaman showed up for his first All-Star Squadron meeting, only to be wiped from existence one issue later. Sometimes comics can be cruel.

Update: I had the chance to ask comics legend himself Roy Thomas about these two issues, and it turns out all the assumptions I made above were just plain wrong:

Roy Thomas: "DC didn't really like my mentioning Aquaman, adding yet another doppleganger on Earth-Two just for the sake of my own feelings of rightness. And there were a couple of other editors (not Dick Giordano, who was over me) who particularly at the end didn't want Aquaman brought in.

I didn't do it to spite them...I did it because it was my concept of Earth-Two and All-Star Squadron, not theirs, that interested me.

I don't recall precisely why I never got around to using Aquaman
[more in All-Star Squadron]...I should have."

...so DC was more interested in just forgetting the Golden Age Aquaman entirely than giving him any sort of official send-off.

Well, as brief as it was, I'm glad Roy thought to give the original Aquaman one last chance in the spotlight...and flanked by his fellow Super Friends, no less. Thanks for that, Roy, and thanks for setting me straight!

Update 2: For the sake of completeness, and the fact that it'll probably never come up again, here's the Golden Age Aquaman's one other "appearance" in All-Star Squadron, from issue #31, nicely drawn by Rick Hoberg and Mike Machlan:
Even when Aquaman does appear, its in reference to how he never appears!


Rick L. Phillips said...

So Plastic Man and the Freedom FIghters replaced the core of the group. At least Aquaman would have become a core member if he had lasted longer. I like how they have Johnny Quick saying "Cheese" in the first frame. It made is seem more human that way.

Kanto do Kova said...

Hello, I'm from Brazil, and I am a great All-Star fan (even that comic book have not been published in my country). The second photo is yet not really Post-Crisis compatible. It have the presence of Earth 2 Green Arrow and Speedy. The most interesting: Green Arrow died in Crisis on Infinite Earths but Speedy's fate was never revealed.

Phoenix Alvarado said...

Wonder why Green Arrow and Speedy got to stick around and didn't leave with the rest of them. Also what about Plastic Man. I remember having a comic that came out just when the first Crisis was over with and they were pushing for a modern day Plastic Man comic I believe.