My Justice League: Crisis on Earth-one – In the introduction of volume 1 of the six-volume collections of the JLA/JSA crisis crossovers we learn the history and background that led up to the idea of having super-heroes living in separate dimensions to somehow come together to combine their superhuman capabilities to fight villains who are threatening not one but multiple worlds and civilizations.
Back in the early 1940s when super-heroes comic books were just beginning to be published, editor Shelly Mayer and writer Gardener Fox came up the brilliant idea of having a group of costumed crime fighters come together and work as a team to fight the bad guys. That team, the Justice Society of America, was formed in issue #3 of All-Star Comics. The story was titled “The First Meeting of the Justice Society of America”.
From 1941 to 1951, the Justice Society of America met in their secret headquarters and carefully plotted the demise of countless criminals and villains. In a story that was not told until 1979 (Adventure Comics #466), the JSA was disbanded.
As it was revealed in Flash #123 (1961), the JSA existed in a separate dimension on an Earth designated #2 and the JLA resides on Earth 1. The popularity of the tales of Flash from Earth-1 occasionally vibrating his way to the dimension where the other Flash lived, inspired Gardener Fox to repeat the success of those stories. However, the stories were now done on a much larger scale, one that involved two groups of super-heroes.
JLA #21 (August 1963) began with Batman chairing a meeting with all nine superheroes of the JLA (Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Batman, Atom, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Superman). Batman informs the members that they have received a challenge from a group calling itself the “Crime Champions”. The group is made up of three villains – Felix Faust, Chronos, and Dr. Alchemy.
As an aside, we are informed that their teen mascot, Snapper Carr, has graduated from high school and is busy taking exams for college.
At that same moment in time, the JSA is meeting on their Earth (Earth 2). Present at that meeting is Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Flash, Hawkman, the Atom, and Hourman. They have been challenged by the Fiddler, the Wizard, and the Icicle and because of this challenge, the team that has been inactive for more than a decade has come together once again. They split off in teams of 2 to three individuals with each team going after one of the three villains who has challenged them.
Meanwhile back on Earth-1, Flash vibrates in a weird way and then he disappears. Off-camera, the same thing happens to the Earth-2 Flash.
The two Flashes have been captured by the Crime Champions and have been trapped inside “vibratory bubbles”. How these contraptions work is explained by Fiddler…
Later the JLA contacts Flash via a crystal ball kept in the souvenir room in the secret sanctuary of the Justice League, Flash informs them that they should conduct a séance to contact the JSA on Earth-2. This artifact is the “Crystal Ball of Merlin” from JLA issue #2 (1961). It was in this earlier issue that the JLA determined that magic was an actual universal force.
Following the first meeting between the two groups, a plan was hatched whereby Dr. Fate would send the JLA to Earth-2 while members of the JSA would stay back on Earth-1 and take on villains from their dimension.
As Wonder Woman and Batman were on patrol, he in the Bat-plane and she in her invisible airplane, suddenly Dr. Alchemy turned their airborne vehicles into winged horses. The pair falls off their bucking bronco steeds and down into a bottomless pit that has opened before them.
Meanwhile, the two Green Lanterns located the two Flashes in the limbo-like zone between the two universes. They freed the Flashes from their bubble prisons, but as soon as they regain their freedom…
What happens next is that all the superheroes except the two Lanterns are imprisoned in boxes constructed of a powerful magical material. Through willpower and teamwork, the heroes are able to escape. This is done in a specific order, whereby the two Flashes are freed first before the others.
This is done so that the two Green Lanterns can construct a bullet-shaped vehicle to carry all the heroes who cannot travel through outer space outside of a spaceship.