"The World on Fire!": Starting some time before midnight on 7 December 1941, Hawkman flies from Washington to New York, with the wind against him, in "well over an hour," and arrives at JSA Headquarters at 1:00 am. He finds no evidence of his teammates' presence. Instead, he finds F.B.I. detect
- There's something wrong here -- something horribly, inexplicably wrong -- and it may be that only the Justice Society has a prayer of setting it right again -- in time!!
- — Hawkman
Synopsis for "The World on Fire!"
Starting some time before midnight on 7 December 1941, Hawkman flies from Washington to New York, with the wind against him, in "well over an hour," and arrives at JSA Headquarters at 1:00 am. He finds no evidence of his teammates' presence. Instead, he finds F.B.I. detective Plastic Man. They adjourn to Wes Dodds's penthouse (therefore Hawk must know Wes's secret identity, and Plastic Man just then begins to suspect it). They get some news reports (on Wes's primitive, experimental television set) of various JSA members being assaulted and kidnapped, by villains known as Professor Zodiak, the Sky Pirate, Solomon Grundy and Wotan. At Plastic Man's urging, they decide to fly to Washington, D.C. to answer a summons from the President. En route, they run afoul of a horde of winged drones, led by a strange man known as the King Bee. The drones are sluggish and glassy-eyed, and bare-fisted Hawkman knocks them out pretty quickly, which surprisingly causes them to vanish, then he tackles and defeats King Bee, during which fight the King Bee's remarks give enough clues (at least for the reader) to know he's a time-traveller. Then either he or a bomb concealed on his person explodes, knocking out Hawkman. Plastic Man forms a parachute and grabs Hawk, but the fall still knocks him out.
Elsewhere, the time-displaced swordsman, the Shining Knight lands on one of the Hawaiian isles. He meets vulcanologist Danette Reilly who tells him about strange seismic activity taking place on the island. Even more disturbing is that up until a few days ago, the island didn't even exist. Helpfully, Sir Justin whacks the side of the volcano with his adamantine sword, cleaving away some rock to reveal an unseen cavern, which he had no way of knowing was there, and which looks (to Danette's trained eyes) artificial. Leaving the steed outside, they investigate, and encounter Zobar Zodiak and Solomon Grundy; Grundy attacks. S.K. is quickly knocked out, while Prof.Zodiak's universal solvent dissolves Miss Reilly's handgun, then Grundy slaps her unconscious.
Sir Justin and Danette Reilly, who are now glowing, recover consciousness, manacled to the cavern floor with conventional shackles and "Wotan's aura-bonds," and are taunted by Per Degaton, self-styled "Master of Worlds and Time," and his remaining henchmen Zobar Zodiak "Alchemist Supreme," Solomon Grundy, the Sky Pirate, and the diabolical Wotan. Degaton reveals that he has come to this time and place from 1947 and plans on conquering the world.
At 8:00 am Hawaii time, Ensign Rod Reilly (formerly the masked crimefighter Firebrand) is chauffeured from Pearl Harbor to Wheeler Field by his old bodyguard, now enlisted sailor "Slugger" Dunn, and they arrive just as the Japanese dive bombers attack the base. Their jeep flips over and Slugger's leg is broken, so they can't get back to their unit, the USS Arizona, and Reilly catches at least three machinegun slugs through his torso, and Dunn is also seemingly killed.
Meanwhile, in Washington, it's afternoon, and Doctor Mid-Nite and the Atom, in costume, are attending the Redskins-Eagles game. They hook up with FBI agent Ed Simmons, who links them by phone to J.E. Hoover in New York and an agent in Hawaii, and they learn part of what's going on. Now they need to get to the White House right away. For some reason that makes sense to the Atom, the quickest way out of the stadium, from where they are, is through a big steel door, but it's locked, but Robotman has been shadowing them, and now reveals himself, by busting open the door. Robotman runs at taxicab speeds from the football stadium to the White House, with Dr Mid-Nite and The Atom perched on his shoulders. Other pedestrians running towards the same address are Johnny Chambers, Tubby Watts, and Libby Lawrence. Johnny & Libby collide, (an inauspicious beginning to their eventual romance, marriage, and divorce). Then Hawkman and Plastic Man arrive (from New York), then Johnny says "3x2 (9yZ) 4A!" and changes clothes, behind one thick bush, while behind another, Libby changes into her jodphurs. White House sentries don't recognize Liberty Belle, but Johnny Quick scoops her up and zooms onto the W.H. grounds, impersonating The Flash. He's already figured out who she really is, too, and about a minute later, she works out who he is.
Inside, these seven heroes meet FDR, and learn about the Japanese attack. FDR has changed plans since yesterday, and asks them to mobilize all costumed heroes, to form an "All-Star Squadron," responsible to no one but himself. Plastic Man is appointed their FBI liaison, and they will fly to the west coast to guard against any follow-up attacks.
That evening, Per Degaton DOES launch an attack, on San Francisco, from his gigantic submersible aircraft carrier, using submersible Zeroes, painted with Japanese military insignia. This thing has sailed 2000 miles in about 12 hours! Sir Justin and Miss Reilly are aboard the ship also. To Be Continued.
Appearing in "The World on Fire!"
- Danette Reilly
- Firebrand (Rod Reilly)
- J. Edgar Hoover
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Shining Knight & Winged Victory (Flashback and main story)
- Tubby Watts
- Justice Society of America (Flashback only)
- Seven Soldiers of Victory (Flashback only)
- King Bee (Apparent Death)
- Monster (Flashback only)
- Per Degaton
- Professor Zodiak
- Sky Pirate
- Solomon Grundy
- Ed Simmons
- Harry Hopkins
- Douglas Fairbanks (Mentioned only)
- Slugger Dunn
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Tom Revere
- Washington Redskins
- Karel Čapek (Mentioned only)
- Earth-Two (1941)
- California (Flashback only)
- Gotham City (Flashback only)
- Massachusetts (Flashback only)
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
- USS Arizona (Destroyed)
- (genuine) Japanese warplanes:
- Aichi D3A2 "Val" dive-bombers, several squadrons of them
- Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighter planes, several squadrons of them
- Per Degaton's submersible aircraft carrier
- (fake) submersible Mitsubishi Zeros, a squadron of them
- Reprinted in Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1.
- This storyline continues from the 2nd story of Justice League of America #193
- The events from this issue take place on December 7th, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.
- Hawkman had to have flown at a speed approaching 225 mph to get to New York City from Washington DC in "well over an hour."
- Per Degaton explains that he time-traveled from the year 1947 in this issue.
- King Bee's presence in this issue's story is due to an act of time-travel on the part of Per Degaton. At this point in time, Elmer Pane is still an exterminator, and will not embark on his criminal career until 1943.
- Professor Zodiak's presence in this issue's story is due to an act of time-travel on the part of Per Degaton. At this point in time, Zobar Zodiak is still a master of chemistry and mechanics, and a dabbler in the occult sciences, and will not embark on his criminal career until 1948.
- Sky Pirate's presence in this issue's story is due to an act of time-travel on the part of Per Degaton. At this point in time, Sky Pirate's criminal career, of 1947, had seemingly not yet begun.
- Solomon Grundy's presence in this issue's story is due to an act of time-travel on the part of Per Degaton. At this point in time, Grundy is still lying inert at the bottom of Slaughter Swamp and will not make his debut until 1944.
- Wotan's presence in this issue's story is due to an act of time-travel on the part of Per Degaton. Wotan's actual whereabouts at this point in time is unclear. It is known that he had been, earlier in the same year, seemingly killed in his second confrontation with Doctor Fate. Per Degaton found and extracted him, in the late 1940s, from an extra-dimensional limbo. It is unclear how Wotan got there, or how he survived his apparent death circa August 1941, or how Per Degaton was able to find and extract him.
- Rod Reilly and Slugger Dunn were regular characters featured in the Firebrand stories in Police Comics. Both are apparently killed in this issue, and now have risked their own lives to save each other's "for the last time."
- Issue includes an advertisement for Hostess Fruit Pies featuring Batgirl in "Fruit Pies for Magpies".
- Rod Reilly and Slugger Dunn were stationed aboard the USS Arizona, a Pennsylvania-class battleship that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
- Sammy Baugh was an actual quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He passed away on December 17th, 2008.
- The cover format is homaged in Justice Society of America (Volume 3) #1.
- Captain Triumph (Lance Gallant) is shown on the cover as one of the heroes being considered, however the Quality Universe character didn't debut until 1943 in Crack Comics #27.
- Justice Society Recommended Reading
- Adventure Comics (Volume 1)
- All-Star Comics (Volume 1)
- All-Star Squadron (Volume 1)
- America vs. the Justice Society (Volume 1)
- Infinity Inc. (Volume 1)
- JSA (Volume 1)
- JSA: All Stars (Volume 1)
- JSA Classified (Volume 1)
- JSA: Strange Adventures (Volume 1)
- JSA vs. Kobra (Volume 1)
- Justice Society of America (Volume 1)
- Justice Society of America (Volume 2)
- Justice Society of America (Volume 3)
- Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1