"Day of the Dragon King!": On December 8, 1941: Of the 20 superheroes left standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, at the end of last issue's story in the wee small hours of 1941-Dec-08, 18 are now flying west towards Japan, with the Spectre providing most of the flight power. Phantom Lady ha
- Green Lantern! Bring these other clowns and follow me -- and I'l fight you to the DEATH! That way, you can get us ALL AT ONCE!
- — Hawkman
Synopsis for "Day of the Dragon King!"
On December 8, 1941: Of the 20 superheroes left standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, at the end of last issue's story in the wee small hours of 1941-Dec-08, 18 are now flying west towards Japan, with the Spectre providing most of the flight power. Phantom Lady has her worried father to attend to and Plastic Man has to report back to FDR. The Spectre has whisked Green Lantern to L.A. and back, to fetch his power battery. Dr. Mid-Nite has examined Miss Reilly and found no after-effects, and she is riding pillion behind the Shining Knight, hitching a ride to Pearl Harbor. The intermittently omniscient Spectre is unaware, as are we readers, of Dr.Fate's new ramped-down powers, and we first learn that it's connected to his new helmet.
Soon they all arrive at Oahu, which is a big mess. Meanwhile and elsewhere, the Japanese are invading the Philippines, Guam and Hong Kong. U.S. troops on the ground, aware of this and UN-aware that flying mystery-men are inbound, open fire on the incoming All-Stars. Antiaircraft fire is working its way closer to the 18 flying heroes, so Johnny Thunder has his T-bolt do some ill-spelled skywriting "DON'T SHOOT! WE'RE FREINDS!", then they all land at Hickam Field. And sure enough there's another B-29 Superfortress sitting there.
They call on the commanding General, and are eager to carry the war directly back to Imperial Japan. The unnamed General is aware of FDR's preference for the All-Stars staying stateside to guard the home front, but Superman argues persuasively for ending this war now, today. Hawkman wants to wait until there's a congressional Declaration of War, but Liberty Belle puts it to a voice vote, and he's resoundingly over-ruled, and one panel later, he's on board too, and appoints Starman to stay behind and guard Hawaii.
As the 16-hero invasion force steps outside to begin their search for the retreating Japanese task force, Green Lantern notices that the Shining Knight and Miss Reilly are missing, but Superman reassures him that they're okay. With that, the JSA and their All-Star allies get airborne.
The Shining Knight and Miss Reilly have quietly adjourned from Hickam to Wheeler Field, looking for her brother Rod, and Admiral Kimmel has called ahead with clearance. Sir Justin notices that Danette is oddly warm to the touch, and again wonders what all happened last night. His memory blanks out right after he first spied her on the fake volcanic island. Then Seaman Slugger Dunn, on crutches, finds them and leads them to Ensign Reilly's bedside. Ensign Rod Reilly formerly dba Firebrand is in a coma, diagnosis uncertain. Over the Pacific, 12 heroes are searching the ocean, in vain. Batman, Robin, Flash, and Sandman are left behind, presumably with Starman, on Oahu. The Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, and Robotman are riding in a green force field, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Johnny Thunder, the Spectre, Superman, and Wonder Woman are flying in their own distinctive ways. Neither Superman nor The Spectre can find that Japanese fleet. As they approach Wake Island (the halfway point between Hawaii and Japan), they cross the International Date Line, and it's now tomorrow.
On December 9, 1941: Knowing that Wake Island is under attack, the heroes decide to pitch in at that battle before continuing on to Japan. On an unnamed small island east of Wake Island, the Dragon King is visiting a Japanese outpost. He has rigged up a bunker with gadgets, connected to a dynamo, connected remotely to The Holy Grail, a cup carved wholly of stone and graven with ancient mystic runes, which is in Tokyo, where Premier Tojo is ready to begin a mystic rite, synchronized with Reichsfuehrer Hitler wielding the Spear of Destiny. This will set up an intercontinental mystic field that makes their combined territories impregnable to counterattack by American super heroes. (The Dragon King has emerged from the Black Dragon Society, but now he despises them.)
The magical ritual begins, "activating the unconquerable dynamo, sending invisible, inaudible vibrations of force, waves of energy, ... into the very ether, to transform the greatest, most dedicated foes of the Nipponese Empire into its most deadly and unstoppable warriors." And at that very moment, a dozen of them have already entered his base's airspace. Almost immediately, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Johnny Thunder (but not the T-bolt), the Spectre, Superman and Wonder Woman fall under the Dragon King's control.
Hawkman tries to reason with Green Lantern, and when Doctor Fate sucker punches him, Hawk retaliates with that morningstar mace, but Fate is still pretty much invulnerable. Green Lantern Alan Scott places the five pedestrians safely onto the outpost island, where they are immediately attacked by Japanese soldiers, while still trapped inside G.L.'s ring sphere. Liberty Belle knocks out G.L. with a flung hunk of driftwood, and the sphere dissipates. The Japanese open fire, but Robotman gets between most of them and most of the All-Stars.
Aloft, the Spectre and Superman and Wonder Woman are resisting the mojo but can tell they don't have much time. Johnny Thunder orders his reluctant T-bolt to fly to Wake Island. On the ground, the All-Stars start punching out the well-armed Japanese marines, but clearly it's Johnny Quick who carries most of that fight to a successful conclusion. Dialogue in the bunker reveals that the loyalty-changing whammy is effective only while the targets are within the energy zone, aka the Sphere Of Influence. Soon in her invisible airplane, Wonder Woman succumbs to the hoodoo, and flies west after the Thunderbolt, while, possibly by sheer luck, Dr. Fate chases Hawkman eastward, OUT OF that zone, and comes to his senses just as Hawkman whacks him again with the mace. So these two figure out what's going on, and Hawkman flies back into the zone, to try to get chased out of it again.
On the ground, Robotman gets into the shack which conceals the bunker and finds a tunnel, but it's booby trapped, and blows him right out of there, plus knocks off his left arm. Hawkman shows up, and taunts Green Lantern into scooping up the five pedestrians and flying after him, for a fight to the death, then flies east at top speed. The Spectre and Superman join Lantern in chasing him, then they are joined by Thunder and Wonder, then VERY QUICKLY, they're outside the Sphere's range. The All-Stars retreat, realizing that they now must fight the war from Allied territory only. That whole fight might've lasted fifteen seconds, despite all the dialog. Had it lasted sixteen seconds, it quite likely would have gone the other way.
Dragon King departs the unnamed island on a submarine, and explains to a subordinate that the range of the Grail's power cannot be yet increased, and implies that its range is partly a function of conventional military success by Japan's armed forces. Then he's gone (for at least the whole rest of that war, maybe the whole rest of that century).
Appearing in "Day of the Dragon King!"
- All-Star Squadron
- Adolf Hitler (Flashback only)
- Dragon King (First appearance)
- Hideki Tojo (Flashback only)
- Imperial Japan
- According to Roy Thomas: "The Rod Reilly introduced in ALL-STAR SQUADRON is, of course, not the one from Earth-X who appeared in FREEDOM FIGHTERS, nor is our Plastic Man the same as any other who has appeared in comics since his original title folded in the mid-50's. In our view, all 1940's DC and Quality Comics Group stories occurred on Earth-Two, even though some of these events were duplicated on Earth-One."
- Green Lantern says that had left his magic lantern in Los Angeles before the previous arc of stories; He was "zipped" there by Spectre in order to recharge his ring.
- Superman (in thoughts) refers to himself as an "orphan from space". However, the Golden Age Superman didn't discover his extraterrestrial origins until 1949 in Superman #61.
- Reprinted in Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1.
- Dragon King threatens his subordinate on page 18: "Don't mention to me (...) the Black Dragon Society if you wish to see cherry blossoms in bloom again!" In fact, cherry blossoms are part of a cultural comemoration in Japan.
Links and References
- "All-Star Comments", this issue