"Justice Society of America: "The Black Dragon"": PROLOGUE: A secret organization of Japanese spies in America known as the Black Dragon Society strikes across the country, abducting eight inventors to seize their inventions for Japan. The War Dept. asks the


Quote1.png Goodbye, Everybody! I wish I had a couple more lives to give for my country! Quote2.png
Johnny Thunder

All-Star Comics #12 is an issue of the series All-Star Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 1942.

Appearing in Justice Society of America: "The Black Dragon"

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Other Characters:

  • Charles Reagan
  • Dr. Stander
  • Ivoren
  • Weldon
  • W.P.A.

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Vehicles:

  • The Sandcar

Synopsis for Justice Society of America: "The Black Dragon"

PROLOGUE: A secret organization of Japanese spies in America known as the Black Dragon Society strikes across the country, abducting eight inventors to seize their inventions for Japan. The War Dept. asks the Justice Society to investigate the Black Dragons and recover the inventors in order to keep their work out of Japanese hands.

HAWKMAN: Hawkman must locate a giant propeller that is guided by a human brain. But when he finds it, he is shot and tied to the propeller, which is sent to bomb New York. He escapes, and then he and his hawks catch all the bombs. He then sends the propeller to destroy the Black Dragon hideout.

SANDMAN: The Sandman sets out to find the lost "Greek Fire" which can burn on water. He investigates reports of burning water in a desolate spot in northern New England and finds the kidnapped inventor, but is knocked out. When he awakens, he is thrown into a flaming lake. Using sand to smother some of the fire, he escapes the flaming lake and finishes off the rest of the Japanese.

ATOM: The Atom heads to San Francisco to retrieve a powerful explosive. Aided by a Japanese-American man, he locates the local base of operations and learns that the Black Dragon intends to blow up the city of San Francisco. He overpowers the workmen tunneling under the city and recovers the explosive.

STARMAN: While flying, Starman finds a huge dirigible with stolen U.S. dive bombers hanging from it. He fights off the bombers but the dirigible climbs out of his range. Returning to a military base, he rigs up a warming system with his gravity rod that allows him to pursue the stolen craft into the stratosphere. Using his gravity rod, he rescues the scientist and lands the dirigible.

DR. FATE Doctor Fate finds and captures a flame-thrower tank, but the Japanese force Native Americans men to get the tank back by taking their women and children hostage. Fate tracks down the Japanese, and seeing that Fate is fighting for them, the Indians help Fate round up the enemy forces.

DR. MID-NITE: Doctor Mid-Nite tracks down Dr. Stander, inventor of the healing Y-Ray. To find the Black Dragon, he goes to Stander's lab and forges a note that says Dr. McNider (Mid-Nite's alter ego) also has a copy of the Y-ray formula. Newspapers run the story, and the Black Dragon locks Dr. McNider in a cell with Dr. Stander, where he learns that the Y-ray has been reversed to make a death ray. Dr. Mid-Nite escapes and frees Dr. Stander. In the melee the death ray kills the kidnappers. Dr. Stander then destroys the ray to prevent it from ever harming anyone again.

SPECTRE: The Black Dragons kidnap Charles Reagan, inventor of the rocket bomb, and torture him until he tells how to build the one. Once they do, they launch it on a collision course with Chicago. The Spectre sees the launch and diverts the bomb to Japan. He traces the launch back to the submarine, rescues the inventor, and captures the sub.

At the end of each of the previous member's missions, the Thunderbolt whisks them away before they can finish their debriefing with local authorities.

JOHNNY THUNDER: Johnny's orders from the War Dept. are to stay out of the way of the other members. Frustrated, Johnny wishes aloud that he could get to the bottom of the situation. The Thunderbolt obliges, putting him in the middle of the Black Dragon Society’s headquarters. After bumbling around, Johnny is captured by the Black Dragon, but not before sending his Thunderbolt to stop a Black Dragon raid on a nearby airplane factory.

EPILOGUE: Believing the Thunderbolt needs more time to save the factory, Johnny refuses to call his Thunderbolt back to save his life. After resolving himself to dying as a martyr for his country, he wishes the other members of the Justice Society could see what a hero he is. The Thunderbolt happily brings every member to his rescue. They round up the entire Black Dragon Society on the spot.

Appearing in Hop Harrigan: "Mystery Island"

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Synopsis for Hop Harrigan: "Mystery Island"

Hop Harrigan and Tank Tinker investigate a mysterious light coming from a deserted island, only to be shot down by Japanese fighter planes. Hop and Tank manage to get ashore and overrun the hidden base.

Notes

  • Reprinted in All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 3.
  • While racist depictions of Japanese people were sadly pretty common in comic books of the Golden Age, this issue of All-Star is a particularly infamous example. The entire plot of the JSA's story is predicated on a treacherous cabal of American-based (grossly caricatured) Japanese spies performing espionage acts against the USA. In the time period this issue was published, there was widespread belief in unfounded conspiracy theories about real-life Japanese-Americans being sabatours. Modern historians have re-examined the brutal incarceration of Japanese-Americans in containment camps and shed light on the massive civil rights abuses which took place. To depict a team of the most popular superheroes of the day patriotically defeating a society of Japanese-Americans in defense of the country perpetuates an appalling stereotype. For comparison, imagine an issue of Marvel's "The Avengers" being published mere months after 9/11 in which the team ferreted out a secret society of Muslim-Americans bent on destroying the U.S. from within.

Trivia

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