|Seven Soldiers of Victory|
The original Seven Soldiers.
|First appearance||Leading Comics #1 |
|Created by||Mort Weisinger (writer)|
The Seven Soldiers of Victory (also known as Law's Legionnaires) is a team of fictional 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. The team was a short-lived assembly of some of the less famous superheroes in the DC Universe who have made occasional appearances since their Golden Age debut.
Fictional team history
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 and uses an enchanted sword and suit of armor) 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).
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).
The team is resurrected in 1972 in Justice League of America #100–102. During the celebration of their 100th meeting, the JLA is brought to Earth-Two by the Justice Society of America, where a giant ethereal hand controlled by the Iron Hand (who turned up alive) threatens to destroy their world unless he is given control over it. Having been unable to destroy the hand themselves, the only clue the JSA could find was a mystical vision of a grave for "the Unknown Soldier of Victory". 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 fought and destroyed a similar menace called the Nebula Man many years previously, though at the seeming cost of their existences. The Oracle then explains that the Soldiers had instead been scattered throughout history. The two teams split into smaller groups and are sent back in time by the Oracle to find them. Doctor Fate, Atom, and Elongated Man find the Crimson Avenger in Mexico, where he believes he is the Aztec Sun God.
Superman, 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 and 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.
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. 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.
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 is a comic book metaseries written by Grant Morrison and published by DC Comics. It was published as seven interrelated mini-series and two bookend issues. The series features a new version of the Seven Soldiers of Victory fighting to save Earth from the Sheeda.
The series was bookended by Seven Soldiers #0 and #1, with art by J. H. Williams III. The rest was made up of seven mini-series: Shining Knight with art by Simone Bianchi, Manhattan Guardian with art by Cameron Stewart, Zatanna with art by Ryan Sook, Klarion with art by Frazer Irving, Mister Miracle with art by Pascal Ferry, Bulleteer with art by Yanick Paquette, and Frankenstein with art by Doug Mahnke.
- Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis)
- Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton)
- Stripesy (Pat Dugan)
- Vigilante (Greg Saunders)
- Shining Knight (Sir Justin)
- Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)
- Speedy (Roy Harper)
- Wing as "unofficial eighth soldier"
Post-Crisis first team
- Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis)
- Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton)
- Stripesy (Pat Dugan)
- Vigilante (Greg Saunders)
- Stuff the Chinatown Kid (Victor Leong, The Vigilante's sidekick)
- Shining Knight (Sir Justin)
- TNT (Thomas N. Thomas)
- Dyna-Mite (Daniel Dunbar)
- The Spider (Tom Holloway/Thomas Ludlow)
- Wing as "unofficial eighth soldier"
- The Squire (Percy Sheldrake), later The Knight accompanied them on one mission.
Post-Crisis second team
- Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
- Blackhawk (Janos Prohaska)
- Metamorpho (Rex Mason)
- Mento (Steve Dayton)
- Deadman (Boston Brand)
- Adam Strange
- Shining Knight (Gardner Grayle)
Notable enemies in order of appearance include:
- Iron Hand - Ramon Solomano is a master criminal.
- Big Caesar - An enemy of Crimson Avenger who allies with Iron Hand.
- the Dummy - A villain who dresses like a ventriloquist's dummy and an enemy of Vigilante who allies with Iron Hand. In a reversal of Doome's tactics, Dummy later uses a time machine to send the Soldiers into the past;
- Needle - An enemy of Star-Spangled Kid who allies with Iron Hand.
- Professor Merlin - A mad scientis and enemy of Green Arrow who allies with Iron Hand.
- Red Dragon - An enemy of Shining Knight who allies with Iron Hand.
- Black Star - A villain who uses "black light" to transform himself into a giant.
- Brain - A minion of Black Star who fights Crimson Avenger.
- Captain Bigg - A scientist, modern day pirate, and minion of Black Star who fights Star-Spangled Kid.
- Falseface - A master of disguise and minion of Black Star who fights Shining Knight.
- Hopper - A minion of Black Star who uses a special pogo stick and fights Green Arrow.
- Rattler - A minion of Black Star who fights Vigilante.
- Dr. Wilfred Doome - A scientist who uses a time machine to summon historic tyrants as his operatives like Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Nero.
- The Sixth Senses - A group of criminals that are after pieces of a "lifestone."
- Sixth Sense - Brett is the leader of the Six Senses who attempts to assemble a "lifestone" to animate an army of stone.
- Bloodhound - A member of the Sixth Senses with an enhanced sense of smell.
- Eagle Eye - A member of the Sixth Senses.
- Fingers - A member of the Sixth Senses.
- Leo Palate - A member of the Sixth Senses.
- Mickey Gordon - A member of the Sixth Senses.
- Skull - A wealthy man who pays criminals to steal an experimental age-reversing device. He died when he stepped into the machine and aged to an old man.
- Copperhead - Francisco Pizarro is a criminal who briefly turns the Soldiers against each other during an Andes treasure hunt.
- Wizards of Stanovia - A group of wizards who suppress democracy.
- Mr. X - A master of disguise who wagers with several of the heroes' individual enemies that he can defeat the entire team.
- Baby-Face Johnson - A gangster and the self-proclaimed "King of the Hundred Isles."
- Barracuda - A criminal who seeks powerful artifacts used by earlier criminals.
In other media
The Seven Soldiers of Victory appear in the live-action television series Stargirl. In an interview, series creator and producer Geoff Johns stated that the first season would establish the Seven Soldiers as the first superhero team before the Justice Society of America. In the episode "Brainwave", Pat Dugan shows Courtney Whitmore a photo of him and the Star-Spangled Kid with Seven Soldier members Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, and Wing; mentioning how they were not as popular as the Justice Society of America and he lost contact with them. In the episode "Shining Knight", Pat is reunited with the eponymous character after learning he was working as a janitor at Blue Valley High School. In the two-part season one finale "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.", Shining Knight assists the JSA in stopping the Injustice Society before leaving to look for the remaining members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
The original appearances have been collected as part of the DC Archive Editions:
- The Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Markstein, Don. "The Seven Soldiers of Victory". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 169. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Manning, Matthew K.; McAvennie, Michael; Wallace, Daniel (2019). DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. DK Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-4654-8578-6.
- Leading Comics #1. DC Comics.
- 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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Cronin, Brian (February 18, 2010). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #248". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. 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!
- Abramowitz, Jack (May 2013). "Seven Soldiers of Victory: Lost in Time Again". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (64): 33–37.
- McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 152: "Through an impromptu team-up of the Justice League of America and the Justice Society on Earth-Two, writer Len Wein and artist Dick Dillin ushered in the return of DC's Seven Soldiers of Victory."
- Justice League of America #100. DC Comics.
- Justice League of America #101. DC Comics.
- Justice League of America #102. DC Comics.
- Infinity, Inc. #11. DC Comics.
- Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9. DC Comics.
- "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.
- "Newest Seven Soldiers in DC Legacies #2 (Spoilers) – The Comic Bloc Forums". Comicbloc.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "Dueling Review: DC Universe: Legacies #2 | Major Spoilers – Comic Book Reviews and News". Major Spoilers. 2010-06-21. Archived from the original on 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "JH Williams: Soldier Zero". Newsarama. February 1, 2005.[permanent dead link]
- "Seven Soldiers, Seven Characters, Seven Artists". Newsarama. November 16, 2004.[permanent dead link]
- "Polishing The Knights Armor: Simone Bianchi". Newsarama. March 9, 2005. Archived from the original on June 23, 2007.
- "Guardian Soldier: Cameron Stewart On Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian". Newsarama. February 21, 2005.[permanent dead link]
- "Signing On With The Seven: Ryan Sook On Zatanna". Newsarama. April 5, 2005.[permanent dead link]
- Leading Comics #8
- Leading Comics #2. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #3. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #4. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #5. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #6. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #7
- Leading Comics #9. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #10. DC Comics.
- Leading Comics #13. DC Comics.
- Schedeen, Jesse (March 31, 2020). "Stargirl: Exclusive First Look at the JSA and Injustice Society". IGN. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Seven Soldiers of Victory at DC Cosmic Teams
- Earth-2 Seven Soldiers of Victory at Mike's Amazing World of Comics
- Seven Soldiers of Victory (Original) at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Seven Soldiers of Victory (Silver Age) at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Seven Soldiers of Victory (Morrison) at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Seven Soldiers of Victory at the Grand Comics Database
- Seven Soldiers of Victory at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 24, 2015.
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