- Release Date:2006-01-01
- Series:The Silver Age
In the late 1950s, DC hit pay dirt with new versions of the Flash, Green Lantern, and other popular superheroes of the 1940s. But within a few years, writers felt the need to reconcile the new characters with their earlier counterparts and resorted to the ploy of explaining that the original heroes lived in a parallel universe. Soon there were stories in which the younger heroes traveled between dimensions to meet their counterparts, and young fans were thrilled to see the “legendary” likes of Doctor Fate, Starman, and the Black Canary, who lacked newer avatars. That these occasional “team-up” stories were drawn by top artists, including Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson, and Gil Kane, made them all the more exciting. As the superhero universe became overpopulated, the parallel-worlds stratagem grew too unwieldy and complex, and in the mid-1980s, DC jettisoned the concept. Contemporary comics fans are unlikely to get the same kick from the landmark superhero pairings in this collection that earlier generations did, but nostalgic boomers will reread them with delight.
The Team Ups: Volume 1 isn’t the first of DC Comics’ publications (obviously) but it is one of the first to start collecting issues that relate to the DC multiverse. The DC universe, up to this point, was full of inconsistencies and conflicting storylines. This was an evolving attempt to keep it all consistent.
The collection starts with several issues that team up the Flash from Earth 1, and the Flash from Earth 2. This establishes the concept of the multiverse, and also establishes Flash as one of the few superheros who can pass through from one to another.
Also included are some team ups with Hourman and Doctor Fate, also from Earth 2. In fact, it’s established that the Justice Society of America is from Earth 2, and the Justice League is from Earth 1. Following them we have an important story with Earth 1 and 2 versions of Green Lantern joining forces. This is an important story because it roughly explains the origin of the multiverse, created when the villain, Krona, attempts to view the origin of the universe. Much like the Uncertainty principle, observing the act is enough to change it, and so the multiverse is formed.
We also get a look at Black Canary teaming up with Starman after a long time gone from DC Comics. You can definitely tell that they are gearing up for some bigger multiverse stories to tell in the future.
It was extremely entertaining for me to see how comics were starting to evolve in the ’60s when these comics were released. The stories are simple and sometimes silly, but they are also really entertaining at times. Obviously, the writers are writing to a young audience, but they are trying to teach them as well. Occasionally, real scientific research is cited and explained in the comics. I loved references like this.
Green Lantern (Volume 2) #40, Showcase #55, Showcase #56, Brave and the Bold #61, The Flash #123, The Flash #129, The Flash #137, The Flash #151