13 Years Ago: Five Friends
Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Matt Smith
Inker: Matt Smith
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
Editors: Archie Goodwin & Chuck Kim (assistant)
Part of: Times Past
Reprinted in: Starman: Times Past, The Starman Omnibus, Volume One
Panel One – the Ragdoll head picture attached to the dead man gives a hint of the villain’s identity. This is the story that was hinted at in issue #9.
Panel Two – Barry Allen is the second Flash, and the Shade was an occasional villain of his. Kent Nelson is the original Doctor Fate, and the story the Shade alludes to will also be revealed in due course.
Rag Doll first appeared in Flash Comics #36 (December 1942), and became an occasional opponent of assorted heroes, primarily the first Flash (Jay Garrick). He is reimagined here as something much darker, a Manson-like cult leader.
Pages Four and Five
A mini-JSA reunion. From left to right: the Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Starman (Ted Knight), Hourman (Rex Tyler) and Dr Midnite (Charles McNider).
Panel One: The mention of Batman being new helps to place where this story would occur in DC continuity – and also to emphasise the contrast between the heroes and villains of the Golden Age (such as the five seen here) and their Silver Age counterparts (or rather, the current versions of them).
Panel Two: One of the key differences between the Golden and Modern ages of comics: murderous villains, and death in general.
Panel Three: The Gambler was a Golden Age Green Lantern foe who first appeared in Green Lantern #12 (Summer, 1944). He favoured crimes involving betting and games of chance. He too will eventually appear here.
Panel One: Rather sacrilegously, Bliss here paraphrases the traditional last words of Christ.