"Carnage for Christmas!": On Monday, Dec. 22nd 1941, in Washington, D.C., the first newspaper stories appear about the JSA disbanding and joining the armed forces under their private identities. On one street, Baron Blitzkrieg and his dwarfish henchman Zwe
- He can fly ?! Then why the roadster?
- -- Robotman
Appearing in "Carnage for Christmas!"
- Justice Society of America (Flashback only)
- Fala the dog
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Gudra the Valkyrie (Flashback only)
- Harry Hopkins
- Myra Mason (Flashback only)
- Winged Victory
- Winston Churchill
- HMS Duke of York
Synopsis for "Carnage for Christmas!"
On Monday, Dec. 22nd 1941, in Washington, D.C., the first newspaper stories appear about the JSA disbanding and joining the armed forces under their private identities. On one street, Baron Blitzkrieg and his dwarfish henchman Zwerg, incognito in trenchcoats and fedoras, encounter and exchange snappish words with U.S. Army Private Al Pratt, with neither side recognizing the other. Also unbeknownst to Pvt. Pratt, the German-American Bund has a secret HQ, reached via a sliding wall, at the end of an alley off Connecticut Avenue. Once inside, the Baron confers with his fifth-columnist underlings, who are setting up an elaborate plot to assassinate President Roosevelt with a bomb-rigged robot disguised as Winston Churchill. There are problems with this plan, but Zwerg and Blitzkreig are both satisfied that it should still work. And if it doesn't, Blitzkreig has a fallback plan and a superhuman pawn with which to carry it out.
Al Pratt meanwhile changes identities and sneaks across the White House grounds, and enters the Oval Office via an open window. He and President Roosevelt discuss White House security, and recollect their prior encounter, just over a year earlier, when the Atom had thrown himself into the path of a magical bolt, shot at FDR by an actual mythological Valkyrie. (Crucial details are added to the account, in this retelling.) The Atom, as Private Pratt has been granted special leave from the Army Tank Corps by President Roosevelt, for this meeting, in which FDR persuades Al to join the non-enlisted All-Stars (Hawkgirl, Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Robotman, Firebrand, and the Shining Knight) in providing security for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s impending visit.
Until mid-afternoon of that day, Hawkgirl, and the Shining Knight with Liberty Belle astride Winged Victory, patrol the Atlantic waters off Norfolk, Virginia. On the highways near town, Firebrand (in a fast car) and Johnny Quick (on foot) are zooming around looking for trouble. At the piers in the Norfolk Naval Station, Robotman and the Atom are waiting for something to happen. At all three locations, a sudden, very dense fog appears. Churchill’s ship arrives and approaches the piers, but a U-boat is lurking somewhere in the harbor’s waters, and hits the ship with a torpedo. Robotman and the Atom leap aboard the battleship, and there is some small-arms fire directed their way, until an officer recognizes the American mystery men, and has his men hold their fire. Robotman gets to the siderail and uses his photo-electric cell “eyes” to seek out the position of the enemy sub. Meanwhile out at sea, Hawkgirl and company have found a second U-boat, this one equipped with a weird apparatus that seems to be creating the heavy fog that now blankets the entire area. Before they can engage it, they get a call from Robotman, who needs their help at the piers, where the first submarine is escaping. Quickly equipped with a length of steel cable, Liberty Belle dives and swims after the U-boat, in the very cold Hampton Roads harbor, and manages to loop the cable around its hull. After that stunt, her adrenal rush crashes off, and hypothermia becomes a problem, so she’s whisked away to a hospital by Johnny Quick. Robotman gets the other end of the steel cable, and actually manages to drag the diesel-powered enemy craft onto Ocean View Beach, Norfolk, and hold it long enough for some Navy men to jerry-rig a hydraulic winch in place. A company of Navy riflemen take up firing positions, and everybody waits for the crew to come swarming out of the hatches. The senior officer on the scene is frustrated by the unlikelihood of capturing any of the enemy submariners alive, but the Atom has an idea ...
The regular military withdraw from the beach, leaving the five All-Stars to combat the submachinegun-armed crew, and a few moments later most or all of them have been captured alive.
Meanwhile belowdecks on the Duke of York, Winston Churchill is confronted by Baron Blitzkrieg and a second Winston Churchill. This doppelganger, a robot, rigged with a bomb, is then disembarked from the ship, packed into the waiting limosine, and whisked away to the airport. Blitzkrieg, assisted by Zwerg, escapes undetected with the real Churchill.
That evening, at the Washington, D.C. airport, it turns out that Liberty Belle has talked Johnny quick out of taking her to the hospital, and with a little bit of high-speed drying, she’s recovered enough to make the (200 mile) trip from Norfolk to D.C. There they observe as “Churchill” disembarks from his plane and approaches a car where FDR is waiting. They shake hands, and the fake Churchill detonates itself, but FDR also is a fake; he’s Plastic Man, standing in for the President.
Meanwhile back at the Norfolk Naval Base, Robotman has been scouting around, and he spots Baron Blitzkrieg in an open car, leaving the base very suddenly. He pursues and catches the car, lifting the back end clear of the ground, but he’s unprepared for the superhuman speed and strength of Baron Blitzkrieg. Fortunately Firebrand and the Atom charge onto the scene. But really, not even all three of them are a match for the Baron, who grabs his hostage Churchill, and flies away. He’s intercepted by the Shining Knight and Hawkgirl, but with a quick hostage-toss, and a bodily-energy-eyebeam blast at the flying horseman, the frustrated Baron diverts their attention long enough to escape. Zwerg also escapes.
Two days later, the afternoon of Dec. 24th 1941, at the White House Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, Churchill delivers a stirring speech.
- This issue is divided into four chapters:
- Part I: Carnage for Christmas
- Part II: In Battle Joined
- Part III: Divided We Stand
- Part IV: Tragedy and Triumph
- This story takes place on December 22nd through the 24th, 1941, and includes flashbacks to events chronicled in DC Special #29 (the origin of the JSA) and All-Star Comics #11 (the JSA men enlist in the military).
- In their conversation in the Oval Office, it seems as if the Atom is trying to conceal the identities of his JSA colleagues from FDR, or at least he refrains from naming them out loud, but given that the President already knows who the Atom is, it seems likely that these other secrets are known to him also. Either way, according to the Atom:
- The Sandman is in the Army’s Artillery Corps, mastering 37-mm antiaircraft cannons and presumably other weapons as well.
- Dr. Fate is in paratrooper training.
- Hawkman and Starman are both in the USAAF, undergoing pilot training, on the West Coast and at Fort Randolph, Texas, respectively. (FDR definitely knows Starman’s secret identity, as revealed in All-Star Squadron #10.)
- Dr. Mid-Nite’s alter ego has joined the Army Medical Corps, at the rank of Captain, and is stationed, with his civilian assistant Myra Mason, on a Pacific island, to work on a cure for Tropical Fever. (Atom names Myra Mason in his remark, so Mid-Nite’s secret identity is definitely compromised also.)
- Johnny Thunder has joined the Navy.
- Green Lantern has enlisted in the Army.
- The Spectre has not joined up, with the Atom not saying why, and possibly not knowing why. Jim Corrigan is dead, thus unqualified for military service.
- Page 13, panel 2: At the time of this story, Shiera Hawkgirl Saunders has recently inherited a fortune.
- Winston Churchill arrives in America aboard the HMS Duke of York, which historically was, and here is illustrated as, a (King George V class) battleship, despite being referred to as a “destroyer” by several of this story’s captions, and characters who should know better.
- Baron Blitzkrieg has appeared in earlier (publishing time) issues of Wonder Woman, but this is chronologically his first appearance.
- Reprinted in Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1.
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Links and References
- All-Star Squadron at Wikipedia.org
- All-Star Squadron series index at Comicbookdb.com
- All-Star Squadron series index at the Grand Comics Database Project