Seven Soldiers of Victory

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For the DC Comics metaseries written by Grant Morrison, see Seven Soldiers.
Seven Soldiers of Victory
The original Seven Soldiers.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Leading Comics #1
(Winter 1941)
Created by Mort Weisinger (writer)
Mort Meskin

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (also known as Law's Legionnaires) is a fictional team of comic book superheroes in the DC Comics universe. They first appeared in Leading Comics #1 (Winter, 1941), and were created by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin.

Pre-Crisis[edit]

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (also known as the Law's Legionnaires) is DC Comics' second super-hero team, following the Justice Society of America. Like the Justice Society, the membership of the Seven Soldiers is drawn from DC's anthology comics: The Vigilante (from Action Comics); the Crimson Avenger (from Detective Comics); the Green Arrow and Speedy (from More Fun Comics); the Shining Knight (from Adventure Comics); and the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy (from Star-Spangled Comics). Unlike most superhero teams, this one includes two sidekicks, Speedy and Stripesy, as members (Stripesy is a rarity, an adult sidekick to a "kid" lead character). The Crimson Avenger's sidekick Wing also takes part in the team's adventures, and is in every other way an "eighth Soldier," but is never considered an "official" member. All but one of its members (the Shining Knight, a time-displaced Arthurian knight who rides a winged horse) are non-powered humans who rely on conventional weapons or training in place of superhuman abilities.

Per Leading Comics #1, the team's origin comes about when the criminal mastermind called the Hand (later the Iron Hand), believing himself terminally ill, gives his greatest unused schemes to five other criminals who he saved from the police (Big Caesar, the Dummy, the Needle, Professor Merlin, and the Red Dragon) to commit crimes across the USA as "the Hand's Five Fingers" and prove his genius to the world. The Hand also challenges the five criminals' enemies (the Crimson Avenger, the Vigilante, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Green Arrow and Speedy, and the Shining Knight, respectively) to stop the criminals, presuming they will fail. However, the heroes defeat the Hand's Five Fingers. The heroes converge on the Hand's base after he reveals his whereabouts; the villain had found out a cure for his condition and decides to eliminate the heroes so he can remain free, but the heroes evade his traps. When the villain tries to use a lightning ray machine against them, the Vigilante shoots a crucial component of the device, bringing machinery down upon the Hand and apparently killing him. Deciding they work well together, the heroes form the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

The Seven Soldiers of Victory appear in the first fourteen issues of Leading Comics (which changed to an all-humor format in #15). Notable enemies include the Black Star, who uses "black light" to transform himself into a giant;[1] Dr. Wilfred Doome, who uses a time machine to summon historic tyrants as his operatives;[2] the Sense-Master, who attempts to assemble a "lifestone" to animate an army of stone; the Skull, who pays criminals to steal an experimental age-reversing device; the Copperhead (not to be confused with Batman's enemy Copperhead), who briefly turns the Soldiers against each other during an Andes treasure hunt;[3] the democracy-suppressing Wizards of Stanovia;[4] the Dummy, who, in a reversal of Doome's tactics, uses a time machine to send the Soldiers into the past;[5] Mr. X, who wagers with several of the heroes' individual enemies that he can defeat the entire team;[6] gangster Baby-Face Johnson;[7] and the Barracuda, who seeks powerful artifacts used by earlier criminals.[8]

A script by Joseph Samachson from the 1940s, in which the elflike Willie Wisher banishes the Soldiers to "the Land of Magic," where they encounter various supernatural characters, was later serialized in 1975 in Adventure Comics #438-443, with each chapter illustrated by a different artist (including Dick Dillin, Howard Chaykin, Lee Elias, Mike Grell, Ernie Chan, and José Luis García-López).[9][10][11]

The team is resurrected in 1972 in Justice League of America #100-102.[12] During the celebration of the 100th meeting of the JLA, the team is summoned to Earth-Two by the Justice Society of America, where a giant ethereal hand controlled by the Iron Hand threatens to destroy their world unless he is given control over it. The only way to stop the hand is to find the Seven Soldiers of Victory, who defeated a similar menace in the form of the Nebula Man many years previously, though at the seeming cost of their existences. An unearthly Oracle, summoned up by Doctor Fate, Zatanna, and the Thunderbolt of Johnny Thunder, reveals to the JLA and the JSA that the Seven Soldiers had been scattered through time, and the two teams are sent back to find them. Doctor Fate, the Atom and the Elongated Man find the Crimson Avenger in Mexico, where he believes he is the Aztec Sun God. Superman, The Sandman and Metamorpho rescue the amnesic Shining Knight from the hordes of Genghis Khan. Hawkman, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the Golden Age Wonder Woman find the Golden Age Green Arrow in medieval England, where he had been mistaken for Robin Hood. Batman, Hourman and Starman retrieve Stripesy from ancient Egypt. The Silver Age Green Arrow, Black Canary and Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt save the Vigilante from a tribe of Indians in the Old West. Aquaman, Wildcat and the Silver Age Green Lantern rescue the Star-Spangled Kid from 50,000 years in the past. Zatanna, the Silver Age Flash and the Red Tornado free Speedy from ancient Greece, where he had been transformed into a centaur by Circe. The Golden Age Green Lantern, Mister Terrific and the Golden Age Robin go on a quest to discover the identity of the Unknown Soldier of Victory, whose tomb lay in the mountains of Tibet, where the Seven Soldiers had fallen after defeating the Nebula Man.

The Seven Soldiers are reunited but the Earth-1 Diana Prince had been attacked by the Iron Hand. She is able to overcome him, but he is no longer able to stop the giant hand. The heroes create a new Nebula Rod to deal with the giant hand. Unfortunately, whoever uses the Nebula Rod is certain to perish (as did the Crimson Avenger's partner Wing, revealed to be the Unknown Soldier of Victory, when the Nebula Man was stopped). While the heroes argue over who will make the sacrifice, the android Red Tornado takes the Nebula Rod and destroys the Hand, destroying himself in the process.

The only other modern meeting of the team (either in pre- or post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity) takes place in Infinity, Inc. #11, in which the Vigilante, the Shining Knight, Green Arrow, Speedy and the Star-Spangled Kid gather at the grave of Lee Travis, the man known as the Crimson Avenger. He had died two years' earlier saving Gotham City from a boatload of explosives in DC Comics Presents #38.

Post-Crisis first team[edit]

In the original Post-Crisis retcon of the team, both Wing and the Vigilante's sidekick Stuff, the Chinatown Kid are promoted to full membership, to replace the Golden Age Green Arrow and Speedy, who had been removed from active continuity. Stuff had never appeared with the team during the original Leading Comics run, while an older man named Billy Gunn helped out the Vigilante on his cases in the comic.

This retcon is changed in the late nineties, in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9. While Stuff remains a full member, Wing is not an official Soldier because his mentor the Crimson Avenger wants him to do something more important with his life. The remaining spot on the team is filled by the Spider, an archer who had originally appeared in Quality Comics' Crack Comics. This Spider is really a villain, and has been working with the team's arch-enemy the Hand, creator of the original Nebula Man. The Spider sabotages the Nebula Rod, and sends the team to fight a fruitless battle. The villain tries to kill Wing, but he escapes and reaches the other Soldiers. They repair the Nebula Rod and use it to destroy the Nebula Man. Wing dies, and his teammates are again tossed through time and later retrieved by the JLA and JSA. The only major difference between this story and the 1972 story is that this time the Vigilante is found after he had spent nearly 20 years fighting crime in the Old West.

In 2010's DC Universe: Legacies #2, TNT and Dyna-Mite are retconned into the team's original line-up.[13][14][15] It has not yet been revealed precisely how this retcon affects the respective histories of the Spider, TNT or Dyna-Mite.

The Seven Soldiers have not reformed in the Modern Age (partly due to Grant Morrison's project; see below). Three of the originals--Shining Knight, Vigilante and Stripesy (now STRIPE)--remain. The team has inspired a few legacies. The first is Stargirl, who at first carries the mantle of Star-Spangled Kid in memory of Sylvester Pemberton. She is now a double legacy, as she also carries on the legacy of Starman. The second legacy is the new Crimson Avenger, who has appeared sporadically in the series JSA. She has yet to make an appearance One Year Later, though she is seen towards the end of Infinite Crisis. The third one is Gardner Grayle, the Atomic Knight (see below). The last one is the new Sir Justin in Grant Morrison's project.

Post-Crisis second team[edit]

Another group takes the name of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in the Showcase issue of the limited series known as Silver Age. This group, brought together to help the Justice League of America and the other major heroes and teams of the sixties to battle the menace of Agamemno, consists of Adam Strange, Batgirl, Blackhawk, Deadman, Mento, Metamorpho and a new Shining Knight. This group's Shining Knight is Gardner Grayle, from the Silver Age feature The Atomic Knights; in previously published stories that occurred after the Silver Age limited series, he becomes the Atomic Knight and joins the Outsiders. This is the only appearance of this particular assemblage.

Seven Soldiers[edit]

Main article: Seven Soldiers

Members[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Post-Crisis first team[edit]

Post-Crisis second team[edit]

Seven Soldiers[edit]

In other media[edit]

The original line-up of the Seven Soldiers (with one exception) appeared in "Patriot Act", an episode of the animated series Justice League Unlimited.[16] While representing Superman at a parade in Metropolis, seven members of the Justice League faced General Wade Eiling, a rogue super-soldier.

The team was composed of the DCAU versions of the original Golden Age Seven Soldiers, including:

The sixth and seventh members, Speedy and the Crimson Avenger, arrived in the middle of the battle as reinforcements. Speedy appears to be modeled after the animated Teen Titans series version, though older and better built than his Titans counterpart. Both versions of Speedy were voiced by Mike Erwin.

Collected editions[edit]

The original appearances have been collected as part of the DC Archive Editions:

  • The Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leading Comics #2
  2. ^ Leading Comics #3
  3. ^ Leading Comics #6
  4. ^ Leading Comics #7
  5. ^ Leading Comics #8
  6. ^ Leading Comics #9
  7. ^ Leading Comics #10
  8. ^ Leading Comics #13
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. An unpublished Seven Soldiers of Victory story finally saw print as a backup feature in Adventure Comics #438 - three decades after it was written. Noted scientist and author Joseph Samachson had penned his last Soldiers story in 1945, when the super hero team were a regular feature in Leading Comics. 
  10. ^ Cronin, Brian (February 18, 2010). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #248". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2013. An unpublished script starring the Seven Soldiers of Victory was published within five issues of Adventure Comics…Thirty years after the Seven Soldiers of Victory feature was canceled! 
  11. ^ Abramowitz, Jack (May 2013). "Seven Soldiers of Victory: Lost in Time Again". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 33–37. 
  12. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 152: "Through an impromptu team-up of the JLA and the Justice Society on Earth-2, writer Len Wein and artist Dick Dillin ushered in the return of DC's Seven Soldiers of Victory."
  13. ^ "DC Universe: The Source " Blog Archive " Continue to explore the history of the DCU with LEGACIES #2". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  14. ^ "Newest Seven Soldiers in DC Legacies #2 (Spoilers) - The Comic Bloc Forums". Comicbloc.com. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  15. ^ "Dueling Review: DC Universe: Legacies #2 | Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News". Major Spoilers. 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  16. ^ Matt Wayne (writer); Joaquim Dos Santos (director) (2006-02-25). "Patriot Act". Justice League Unlimited. Season 3. Episode 7. Cartoon Network. 

External links[edit]

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