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""Justice Society of America"": Ian Karkull was an enemy of Doctor Fate, who was presumed dead. Karkull was not dead however, but fled to the Dark Dimension worshiped by the denizens of Ragnor known as the Shadowlands. The priests of Ragnor sacrificed the shadows



Appearing in "Justice Society of America"

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Synopsis for "Justice Society of America"

Ian Karkull was an enemy of Doctor Fate, who was presumed dead. Karkull was not dead however, but fled to the Dark Dimension worshiped by the denizens of Ragnor known as the Shadowlands. The priests of Ragnor sacrificed the shadows of their victims to the forces of the Shadowlands and Karkull collected these shadows to empower himself. In 1941, he used the arcane forces in the Shadowlands to learn the names of future presidents of the United States and dispatched a strike force of super-villains to murder them (The villains: Alexander the Great, Catwoman (Selina Kyle), Doctor Doog, Ian Karkull, Lightning Master, Sieur Satan, Tarantula, Wotan and Zor). This effort was opposed by the Justice Society, which thwarted each of the villains except for Karkull's ally, Wotan. What effect the murder of Wotan's victim was has never been revealed. Tracking the trails of the emissary villains, the JSA confronted Karkull, blasting him with their combined powers. The forces exceeded Karkull's ability to contain the ancient shadows, which then exploded out of him, seemingly tearing him apart. The radiation of the shadows' departure bathed the assembled heroes, apparently extending their lives and affecting them in other, unknown ways.

The people affected included Atom (Al Pratt), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Hawkman, Hourman (Rex Tyler), Johnny Thunder, Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Spectre (Jim Corrigan) , Starman (Ted Knight) and non-members Hawkgirl and Joan Williams. The radiation vastly extended their lifespans.



Notes

  • Final Annual for the series.
  • Includes a four-page preview for the Jemm, Son of Saturn limited series.

Pre-Crisis Story

  • The framing sequence of this story takes place in Late February, 1942. The flashback takes place on June 28-29, 1941, immediately following the events depicted in All-Star Comics #7, where each JSA member raised $100,000 for war orphans.
    • Superman finally reveals where he got $100,000, more than 40 years after the publication of All-Star Comics # 7: He took some coals from a coalyard and turned them into diamond. Batman obviously used some of his vast wealth; and as for Flash... "this is a story for later", according to him.[citation needed]
  • Most of Ian Karkull's underling villains were already dead in their own timelines, to which they seemingly returned at the end of this story. This implies, but never states, that Ian Karkull's henchvillain-recruiting technique was the same one used by Per Degaton, in the first through fourth issues of All-Star Squadron.
  • Wotan's powers of science and magic are vast, plus more importantly, ill-defined. By late June 1941, Wotan (4th scheme, 2nd team-up w/ Karkull) had already escaped Hades, escaped the earth's core, and “seemingly perished” in one fire. Also he packed a ray-gun whose crimson rays negated GL's green flame. Of Karkull's eight hench-super-villains, Wotan is the only one who accomplished his assigned assassination.
  • Zor's powers of magic are also vast, and also ill-defined. By late June 1941, Zor (3rd scheme) had already 1/ escaped paralysis in a distant dimension and 2/ escaped paralysis encoffined in ectobane in the far-flung depths of the universe. "Once he had been stronger than The Spectre, but the tables had long since turned." The chronicles are unclear as to what exact steps The Spectre took in 1941-June to disable or kill or paralyze or neutralize the threat of Zor, but it is clear that they were effective.
  • According to Green Lantern, Dr. Fate's most recent victory over Karkull & Wotan (in More Fun Comics #70, Aug 1941) had been “last year.” Therefore the Dr. Fate stories in More Fun #s 58 ~ 70 all need to have happened during 1940, at an average of about three per month.
  • Ian Karkull much later returned to menace the JSA, in 1999, after a very long convalescence.
  • Catwoman (named only as "The Cat" here) wears her literal cat mask, the same as in Batman Vol 1 3.
  • When Catwoman invades the Warner Bros. Studios, Ronald Reagan is performing in the filming of Kings Row, which most film critics considered his best movie.
  • At this story's end:
    • 1/ Dr. Fate starts to realize that Nabu is taking control of him whenever he dons the Helm of Nabu.
    • 2/ Hourman starts to reassess his dependency on Miraclo, and leaves the JSA to refine his Miraclo formula.
    • 3/ Green Lantern, shaken by his failure against Wotan, opts for honorary membership, naming Hawkman the new chairman.

Post-Crisis Notes

  • Various Post-Crisis stories (including Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #1 and JSA #7- #9) have referenced this story, establishing that it still happened post-Crisis, and that exposure to the exploding Ian Karkull's "chronal energies" was the reason why many JSA members were physically vital well into their later years. However, this story couldn't have happened exactly as first presented, post-Crisis, as some of the story elements (including the characters Earth-Two Batman, Robin, and Catwoman) no longer existed in that era.
    • In the Supermanless 1941 of New Earth, it is an open question whether Ian Karkull would include Lightning Master in his plan. Lightning Master presumably existed, on New Earth in the 1940s, based on the existence of another Superman villain, the Ultra-Humanite.
    • In the Batmanless, Robinless, and Catwomanless 1941 of New Earth, the events of this story would be very different.
    • In New Earth continuity, Ian Karkull's counterpart to the JSA's Sandman might have been Mr. Crossart the Tarantula (first seen on Earth-Two in June 1939) or Roger Goldman the Tarantula (first seen on New Earth in Jan or Feb 1938).

Future History Notes

  • Age/occupation/location of the future presidents at the time of the story, and their designated would-be-killers:
    • 33rd President, Harry S. Truman: age 57, senator, Army-Navy Hospital at Hot Springs, Arkansas (but referred to as "Georgia" at page 9), Lightning Master;
    • 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower: age 51, he was a colonel at Fort Lewis, Washington, and the designated killer was Sieur Satan;
    • 35th President, John F. Kennedy: age 24, co-writer[1], New England, Tarantula;
    • 36th President, Lyndon Johnson: age 33, congressman, Texas, Alexander the Great;
    • 37th President, Richard Nixon: age 28, lawyer, he was on a Caribbean cruise trip, Ian Karkull.
    • 38th President, Gerald Ford: 28, he opened a law practice on Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zor;
    • 39th President, James Carter: age 17, student in Plains, Georgia, Dr. Doog;
    • 40th President, Ronald Reagan: age 30, actor at Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood, Catwoman;
    • 41st President:
      • In the original Earth-Two context of this story, the future president killed by Wotan was probably ‘’not’’ George H. W. Bush, who was born in 1924 and was 17 years old at the time of this story. The boy killed in the story looked much younger than that.
        • It is possible that Karkull succeeded in eliminating the "rightful" 41st President, and arranged for him to be replaced by a president of his own choosing (who in turn might or might not have been G.H.W. Bush).
        • It is not possible, from the existing evidence, at this late date, to discern the goals of Ian Karkull’s scheme. One reason for this is that Karkull was insane. His plan, in 1941, was to alter the future history of the presidency of the United States, for some unstated purpose.

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Links and References

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  1. In early 1941, Kennedy left Stanford Graduate School of Business and helped his father write a memoir of his three years as an American ambassador. See John F. Kennedy