So what did you think? As I mentioned in the Forward, of the three *new* adventures I have shared so far, this one is my favorite. This might be because I love the Justice Society so much, but I think it's also because it's the best plotted of the three. I sat down and thought about the JLA and JSA as if they were similar to two companies. I work for a company that has offices in other parts of the world, and we often have "guest" engineers or auditors come, or we go someplace else. So I tried to think what really would happen if they had an exchange program or a business trip between "sites." And the story went from there.
Originally, I was only going to follow one group of heroes. Then I couldn't decide which group to use, as I wanted to use The Horned Owl Gang on the JSA world, but also liked the idea of visiting Atlantis with Star Girl and Aquaman. So then I decided to split this into a two-parter. THEN as I plotted it I realized that the action didn't really warrant two full issues. So I combined them again, deciding to go back-and-forth within the issue. Let me know if the juggling of plots worked or not.
If you are a long-time reader, you may notice that this issue starts in the exact same way as my first JLA-JSA team-up in Number 21, except from the JSA point-of-view instead of the JLA. I actually went back to Number 21 and wrote this opening sequence based off of the first one.
In lieu of "roll call portraits" I showcased the three new members, with some extra time devoted to each...
In the original comics, Red Tornado leaves the JSA world and relocates to the JLA world. Only once does he try to return to his old life; after that he is never even shown teaming up with his previous team-mates. So there is never any scene such as this as the JSA learns that he is not dead. I would have liked to have seen this scene.
Speaking of guest-appearances in origin stories, I also decided to include The Spectre, who, even more so that Superman or Thor, should never have been a member of any group. If The Spectre can't solve whatever the problem is by himself, characters like Mr. Terrific or Black Canary aren't going to be able to help him! I did always like that The Spectre was instrumental in the creation of the new Mr. Terrific, though.
More recently, Courtney changed her name from Star-Spangled Kid to Stargirl. I am not really a fan of that name, but I did like the reasoning behind it: as a continuation of the Star MAN legacy. When or if I do another JSA story, I promise to re-visit this idea.
As I mentioned earlier, I originally was going to have the JLA-JSA team-up to fight a new and improved Horned Owl Gang. I even did research on owls and came up with new character names and looks for characters like Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, and Barn Owl. However, that seemed like a lot of work for characters that will never be seen again...so I decided to "dumb" them back down to more closely match their "true" appearance, from JUSTICE LEAGUE 113 (Oct 1974). Check out my version, and my inspiration (by Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano):
This panel tells you about Obsidian and how he and Star Girl relate more easily and naturally than anything I would have had to force into the dialogue. I liked how I handled this.
I included this flash-back to remind the readers that my JLA-JSA history is basically the same as that established in the comics. Trivia freaks, can YOU spot the two continuity errors in these two panels?
The Wizard attacking with flying monkeys is a direct plot assist from my friend Terry Castle. When I told him I needed the Wizard to do something to keep our heroes occupied, he came up with the idea of turning people into flying monkeys. Thanks, Terry!
And lastly, I wanted to include some Aquaman foe at the end to disrupt the visit to Atlantis. With the newer versions of Ocean Master he is a would-be sorcerer, so him wanting Dr. Fate's helmet or Green Lantern's ring made sense to me. Of course, even with all of his super friends around, Aquaman had to be the guy to take Ocean Master down.