Now that Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 5 is officially on the schedule for this year, we can turn our attention to other vitally important comics reprint matters. Namely, when are we going to get Volumes 6 and 7 in this series?
OK, no, I'm really not that impatient. But it has been a long time between volumes, and I'm more than ready to see ALL the classic JLA/JSA team-ups back in print. I fully realize some of these tales are more classic than others, but they are still a lot of fun and they'll still sell to cats like me.
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 would lead off with Justice League of America #195, #196, and #197. This three-parter is a justly-famous one that involves our heroes being targeted by a new version of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. I shouldn't say too much about it, because this story is also slated to be reprinted in DC Comics Classics Library : The Justice League of America by George Perez Vol. 2 in a few months. It is a definite winner, though, and this upcoming reprint will make it that much easier for it to be included in another book.
Volume 6 would only have room for one another team-up, but that's only because it's quite a doozy. "Crisis on Earth-Prime" encompasses an incredible by 1982 standards FIVE separate comics : Justice League of America #207, #208, and #209 AND All-Star Squadron #14 and #15. It takes us through three separate decades, and has a cast that spans four separate universes. Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas weave a tale that is worthy of being the 20th anniversary team-up just in terms of sheer scope, and Don Heck and Jerry Ordway bring it to life with their pencils. I was 10 years old when it came out, and while it isn't necessarily my favorite of these team-ups, it is the one of which I have my most vivid memories.
Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 7 is, I'm sorry to say, the runt of the litter of this line of books. If it wasn't for the nagging insistence on a complete run in my head, it's one that I'd say should be skipped altogether. It's not that these stories are horrible or anything, but the luster of the JLA/JSA tradition was wearing off by this point. I can't really call any of the stories that would be reprinted in a Volume 7 especially memorable, though they have considerable curiosity value.
My favorite of the lot is the one from Justice League of America #219, and #220. It has an easy charm to it, and pleasant Chuck Patton pencils. It also has one of the biggest DC retcons of the Pre-Crisis era. It makes sense, I suppose, but in retrospect may be one of those things that made people label DC "too confusing". Gosh, what do they think now???? (Sorry, editorializing there...)
In the midst of a massive reshuffling of the deck chairs in the title, we got Justice League of America #231, and #232. It's a fill-in story by Kurt Busiek, of all people, and I'm sure his name would attract attention to the collection. He's not quite reached the level he would in another decade or so, but it's a decent enough story told under a lot of constraints. I just wish he could've had more freedom in what he was doing, instead of having to tiptoe through a ton of then-current continuity.
At last, we reach the finale, and it's...well, it's a disappointing one. In theory, the idea of bringing Infinity, Inc. into the mix during the Crisis on Infinite Earths sounds like a lot of fun. In practice, it's somewhat less. I tend to blame that on the Crisis, as I do many things. (oops, editorializing again!) The crossover between Infinity, Inc. #19 and Justice League of America #244 has way too many loose ends, and I honestly have no idea if all of them were ever resolved or not. It's a generally unsatisfying conclusion to a comics tradition, in service to a big "event". Too bad. It does, however, boast the unique virtue of being a story begun by Todd McFarlane and concluded by Joe Staton!
In spite of my reservations, I feel strongly that these two books would be an asset to DC's somewhat embattled collected editions program, and would garner enough orders to make them profitable. They'd also be attractive backlist items, in creating a series that was finite and very easy to complete, but deep enough to involve some investment. Let's make it happen!