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Comic Book / Seven Soldiers of Victory

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The unsung Seven Soldiers of Victory... Stripesy and Wing are off fighting for the last slot.

The very first super hero team in The DCU was the Justice Society of America. Following the success of that team, a second was created, named the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Much like the Justice Society, the Seven Soldiers were heroes from several DC anthology comics. The Seven Soldiers was made up of:

  • The Crimson Avenger: Lee Travis, newspaper publisher by day and crime-fighter by night who battles crime with his fists and with his crimson gas gun. His chauffeur Wing acts as his sidekick, and is the unofficial eighth member of the team.
  • Vigilante: Greg Sanders (later Saunders), singing cowboy, who adopted the identity of the Vigilante after he brought his father’s killers to justice. Sanders is an excellent hand to hand fighter, trick shooter, sharpshooter, horseman and motorcycle rider, and an expert with the lariat.
  • The Star Spangled Kid: Wealthy Sylvester Pemberton, secretly fighting crime with the aid of his acrobatic skills and hand to hand combat prowess. He and his adult sidekick Stripesy have a series of codes worked out for their various fighting maneuvers, and a mechanical car named the Star Rocket Racer that can change into a jet.
  • Green Arrow and Speedy: The Golden Age Oliver Queen and Roy Harper differ in many details from the modern version of these characters, but they are still incredibly talented archers and use this talent to fight crime.
  • Shining Knight: Sir Justin, a knight of King Arthur. Merlin gave him a suit of magical armor that would protect him from all harm, and a magical sword that would cut through anything. Merlin also gave Justin’s horse wings and the ability to fly. Justin was frozen for centuries and revived in the 1940s, where he applies his honor as a knight to fighting crime in the present day.

Most of their adventures would follow a standard format: the team would meet in the first chapter of each issue, split up and fight the mastermind's henchmen for five chapters, then unite at the end to defeat the main villain. Criminal mastermind The Hand was responsible for the team's formation, after which they dealt with such criminals as the Black Star, Dr. Doome, and the Sixth Sense. There were a few attempts to vary the formula in later issues, with team members turned against each other in Leading Comics #7, or the team members working with someone other than their usual partner in #9 due to being shipwrecked and scattered across some islands. The Seven Soldiers appeared in the first 14 issues of Leading Comics, but the series ended when Leading changed to an all-humor format with issue 15.

Years later in the 1970s, during the celebration of the 100th meeting of the Justice League of America (i.e. the 100th issue), the League is summoned to Earth-Two by the JSA in order to help them combat a giant ethereal hand. They summoned a mysterious Oracle for help, who revealed that the Seven Soldiers had died fighting an entity called The Nebula Man which was created by their arch-foe, the Hand. Because of the similarities between the giant hand and the Nebula Man, it was concluded that the team who defeated the Nebula Man would be needed. However, in the Soldiers' final battle they were apparently erased from existence and no one could remember who they were. The Oracle explained that following the defeat of the Nebula Man, the seven of the eight heroes were scattered in time, with the last one having perished during the battle. The JSA and JLA traveled through time to recover the Soldiers and help them build a new Nebula Rod, while they were opposed by the giant hand's creator. The villain turned out to be the Hand, now calling himself the Iron Hand. It was eventually revealed that the fallen hero, The Unknown Soldier of Victory, was Wing who had to sacrifice himself to use the Nebula Rod and defeat the Nebula Man. Knowing that whoever used the Nebula Rod would have to die, the android hero, Red Tornado, stole the rod and sacrificed himself to destroy the hand.

Then the Crisis on Infinite Earths happened. Post-Crisis, the Soldiers still existed, more or less. Because the original team were all Golden Age heroes, their history had to be changed: Green Arrow and Speedy were never on the team, Vigilante's sidekick Stuff the Chinatown Kid was officially a member and Vigilante's mentor Billy Gunn was present but was never a member, and the final member was an archer called Alias The Spider. The Spider was really a villain working with the Iron Hand and sabotaged the Nebula Rod, killed Billy Gunn and attempted to kill Wing. The Soldiers still succeeded, Wing died, the Soldiers were scattered through time (But this time Vigilante was found after he spent twenty years in the Old West).

A second Seven Soldiers team, made up of Batgirl, Blackhawk, Metamorpho, Mento, Deadman, Adam Strange, and a new Shining Knight gathered together only once, in a story of questionable continuity (the 2000 event series Silver Age). The true successors of the Seven Soldiers of Victory 'formed' much more recently, about one week before the events of Infinite Crisis. See Seven Soldiers of Victory (2005) for more info.

Following Flashpoint (DC Comics), the original Seven Soldiers probably never existed (although the Morrison team did, as seen in Sideways). Following Dark Nights: Death Metal, they did again, as revealed in Stargirl Spring Break Special, which also re-establishes Green Arrow and Speedy as members (they were sent back in time by the Clock King). This also sees the formation of a new team comprising four original members (S.T.R.I.P.E., Green Arrow, Shining Knight and Vigilante) and three legacies (Emiko Queen/Red Arrow, Jill Carlysle/Crimson Avenger, and of course Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl).

Other Media:

  • Justice League Unlimited had a Shout-Out to the original team in the episode "Patriot Act": The Shining Knight, Vigilante, Stargirl, STRIPE, the Crimson Avenger (sans sidekick Wing), Green Arrow and Speedy are the Only Ones who can stop a General Ripper hopped up on Super Serum.
  • Stargirl (2020) based on the Courtney Whitmore Stargirl features Pat Dugan/Stripesy as one of the main characters, and the entire Golden Age Seven Soldiers is shown in a black and white photograph, albeit with Crimson Avenger in his original hat, coat and mask costume. The school janitor was revealed to be Shining Knight as well.

The Seven Soldiers of Victory provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: The Hand, villain of the first issue, learns he has a month to live, and decides to get together a team of famous villains and use them to pull off a series of high-profile crimes so the world will remember his name. They all fail, defeated by one of the proto-Soldiers, and literally as soon as he tries to salvage his plan by challenging them to attack his trap-filled house, he gets a call that a new procedure's been discovered that can save his life after all. But by then, thanks to him opening his big mouth, the heroes know where he lives and are on the way to arrest him.
  • All Up to You: Good thing Speedy picked up that time travel device, or else the entire team would have remained in the past at the siege of Troy, where Dr. Doome tried to trap them. Score one for the sidekick.
  • Anthology: Leading Comics, despite being a team book, is composed of a collection of short stories by different authors and artists. The actual team sections are usually confined to the opening and closing chapters of each issue, though there are occasional exceptions.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: Wing talks like this.
  • Bad Luck Charm / Hat of Power: In Leading Comics #11, gangster Handsome Harry loses what he considers to be his lucky hat. However the narration continually refers to it as an unlucky or evil hat, and bad things happen to everyone that finds it or comes in contact with it over the course of the story (mainly in one of the Soldiers noticing what they're up to).
  • Badass Normal: Most of the Golden Age team were simply well-trained humans with a few gimmicks. The Shining Knight, however, had a magical sword, magical armor, and a flying horse provided by Merlin.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Black Star uses his ray to create giant insects and birds to attack the Seven Soldiers.
  • The Bus Came Back: The return of the team in Justice League of America #100-102.
    • The Seven Soldiers returned for the "World's Finest" Convergence mini-series in 2015 along with Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist.
  • Captain Geographic: The Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy have an American flag motif for their costumes.
  • Chronoscope: Dr. Doome is able to observe past events with his chronoscope, such as Pickett's Charge or mammoths during an ice age. He also observes his time-displaced allies returning to the past with this machine.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Shining Knight's magical armor which protects him from all harm. Except being hit on the head, so he could still be knocked out and put in a deathtrap occasionally.
  • Color Character: The Green Arrow and the Crimson Avenger.
  • Cool Car: The Arrowplane and the Star Rocket Racer.
  • Cowboy: Greg Saunders was a singing cowboy in his Secret Identity.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy have their fighting maneuvers worked out ahead of time, and codes assigned for each one, which they'll call out in the middle of a fight.
  • Death by Irony: One issue has its villain recruiting a bunch of criminals rescued from death row to be his henchmen. Every single one of them dies in some way identical to their scheduled means of execution (the one set to be killed by firing squad dies when he's accidentally shot by a fellow underling, the one sentenced to die in the gas chamber suffocates when the ship where he's trying to stow away's fumigated for rats, the one sentenced to solitary confinement's trapped aboard a rocketship flying out of control into outer space, etc.)
  • Digital Destruction: Despite the generally excellent restoration work done for the DC Archives reprints of the Leading Comics issues, Oliver Queen's hair is often colored brown in volume one of the Archives when it was always blond (yellow) in the original comics.
  • Divide and Conquer: The Copperhead attempts to turn the team against each other during a hunt for lost Incan gold, and for a while it works, until the various team members work out just what's going on.
  • Domino Mask: The Crimson Avenger, Green Arrow and Speedy all wear tiny domino masks. Vigilante has a bandanna tied over his nose and mouth, which is probably marginally more effective as a disguise. The Star Spangled Kid wears a cowl, while Stripesy doesn't bother with a mask of any sort, oddly.
  • Fake Wizardry: In what is probably a reference to The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard of Wisstark is actually an American stage magician who fakes being a wizard to rule the hidden antarctic city. Sadly, he's facing three genuine wizards in the city on the other side of the mountains, and needs the help of the Soldiers to fight them off.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Sir Justin, the Shining Knight, who was originally a knight for King Arthur before being trapped in suspended animation for a few centuries.
    • The entire team was a Fish out of Temporal Water when they were brought back in JLA #100. The Star-Spangled Kid angsts about being out of his own time in the All-Star Comics revival of the 70s, though he adjusts fairly quickly. Poor Wing is a Dead Sidekick, having sacrificed himself to defeat the Nebula Man.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Skull is an old man who doesn't want to die, so he hires a thug to steal a ray that will restore his youth. But he doesn't know how to use it, and it ages him to death instead.
  • Funny Robot: Oscar the robot, the wisecracking invention of a scientist who didn't quite realize what he had created. All his other robots were mindless automatons, but Oscar somehow ended up with a prankster personality.
  • Genre Shift: Leading Comics switched to the "funny animals" format in Summer 1945. That was the end of the Seven Soldiers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wing sacrificed his life to end the threat of the Nebula Man, a battle that scattered the other Seven Soldiers all through time, until the combined Justice League and Justice Society were able to rescue them.
  • Historical Domain Crossover: Leading Comics #3 has the Seven Soldiers of Victory working against Dr Doome (not Victor) who has used a time machine to summon up the Time Tyrants, Alexander the Great, Emperor Nero, Napoléon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Golden Age team has the distinction of being one of the very few superhero teams deliberately assembled by a villain! The Hand, believing he was dying, recruited five criminals (his "fingers") to pull off spectacular thefts he'd planned. And just to show off how perfect his plans were, the Hand sent invitations to five mystery men and their sidekicks to futilely try to stop the crimes. You can guess how it worked out.
    • What's even more hilarious in hindsight is that the Hand lived to a ripe old age (till a week before Infinite Crisis in The Bulleteer) and he was killed by Greg Saunders (Vigilante) who was, of course, one of the heroes he had summoned.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The first team let the archer, Alias The Spider on their team (Post-Crisis). Now, Spider was a villain who tried to kill the team (he nearly succeeded too) and managed to get away with his "heroic" reputation intact. Now to be fair, no one knew Spider was evil until he struck and this info couldn't be shared since the Soldiers were either lost in time or dead. He even tricked the Jay Garrick Flash and the Shade until he made his move, but that time he didn't get away.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Stripesy often seems smarter and more prepared than the Star-Spangled Kid. He's the one who built their indestructible, transforming Flying Car, and taught the Kid how to fight.
  • Kid Hero: The Star-Spangled Kid. Speedy is a sidekick, but he still counts.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Shining Knight
  • Legion of Doom: The origin story possibly had the first comics Legion of Doom, called 'the Hand's Five Fingers' and made up of five foes of Soldiers members using plans given by the Hand.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!:
    • The formula for the Leading Comics stories goes as follows:
      • The first chapter (of seven) features everyone together and sets up the overall story;
      • The next five chapters feature an individual member of the team going through his side of the story (Speedy, Stripesy and Wing, all being sidekicks, are paired up with Green Arrow, the Star-Spangled Kid and the Crimson Avenger);
      • The final chapter unites the team for the finale.
  • Lost World: While hunting for lost treasure in the Andes, Crimson Avenger and Wing discover a hidden Inca City whose inhabitants still hold a grudge against the Spanish and still live like it's the 1600s.
  • Love Redeems: Happens to the Sixth Sense's hired henchman whose hearing has been amped up. He's so taken by the music of the person whose gem he's supposed to steal that he falls for her and turns against his employer.
  • The Man Behind the Man: This is the Black Star's method of operation. He enlists the services of five other criminals to carry out creative robberies, and they know they're working for him, but it's all a smokescreen to divert the attention of the Seven Soldiers and allow him to carry out his real plan.
    • Really, with how every issue involves each hero going off and having his own adventure before getting back together in the last chapter, several issues of Leading Comics feature this trope as a master criminal hires others to work for him. The Hand, Dr. Doome, the Black Star and a few others qualify as The Man Behind the Man.
  • Master of Disguise: Mr. X, the man of a thousand faces, who bets some other crooks that he can beat all of the Seven Soldiers. Each of them seperately pick up some of his tells, even though they never see his true face during his crimes, and in the end band together to track him down and capture him.
  • Meaningful Rename: When the original Seven Soldiers returned in the Justice League story, the Hand renamed himself the Iron Hand.
  • Monumental Battle: Atilla the Hun tries to trap and kill Vigilante on top of Mount Rushmore.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Everyone on the team, except for Shining Knight.
  • Noose Catch: This happens to a criminal in one story—he's already been sentenced to death by hanging and escaped prison to avoid that fate. Naturally, while fighting Green Arrow and Speedy, he manages to fall off a cliff with a rope in such a way as to hang himself.
  • Not Quite Dead: The Hand, who was thought to be killed at the end of Leading Comics #1. He turns up as the villain in Justice League of America #100, thirty years later, having lost his hand in that original accident rather than being killed.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Vigilante, who dresses as a cowboy. Technically Shining Knight as well, who is wearing armor rather than a super-hero costume.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The Sixth Sense appears to be a paralyzed man who communicates through a robot that does his dirty work. The cripple turns out to be a mannequin, and the real Sixth Sense, Dr. Brett, is disguised as the robot.
  • Oh, Crap!: The moment that Dr. Doome realizes the team is on to him.
    Dr. Doome: The Shining Knight? But that means... the Seven Soldiers of Victory are against me!
  • Old Hero, New Pals: The Star-Spangled Kid ends up a member of the JSA and wielding Starman's gravity rod after the Seven Soldiers are rescued by the JLA and JSA from being lost in time.
  • Older Sidekick: The Star Spangled Kid and Vigilante both have a sidekick that's older than they are. The Kid has Stripesy and Vigilante has Billy Gunn.
  • Omnibus: All fourteen Golden Age adventures of the Seven Soldiers have been restored and collected in three volumes of DC's Archive series. The script for an unfinished 15th adventure is also included.
  • One Extra Member: The original Seven Soldiers were Green Arrow and Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, and the Crimson Avenger and Wing. Wing, the Avenger's sidekick/chauffeur, was the "unofficial eighth soldier", even though there were two sidekicks as full members. When Green Arrow was removed from the line-up Post-Crisis, and replaced with the sidekickless Alias the Spider, Vigilante's sidekick Stuff, the Chinatown Kid was added, so Wing was still the unofficial eighth soldier.
  • Pegasus: Sir Justin's horse Victory is essentially a Pegasus now, having been given wings by Merlin.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Sir Justin, the Shining Knight, has been alive since the time of King Arthur. With Arthur supposedly living in the 5th or 6th centuries, that would make Justin at least 1400 years old, though he spent most of those years in suspended animation before being revived in the early 20th century.
    • Telos, the initial villain of Convergence, recognizes this. He tells Sir Justin that he's the oldest specimen in Brainiac's collection, and he wonders how that will affect his ability to fight for his life against his chosen opponent.
  • Retcon/Remember the New Guy?: That whole thing about the Nebula Man? That was created wholesale in Justice League of America #100, along with the Oracle character. (Grant Morrison's series would later fill in the blanks through a bit of Arc Welding, see below.)
  • Short-Runners: The Soldiers were the main feature in Leading Comics for only 14 issues. The book was quarterly, so that was only a three and a half year run.
  • Sidekick: Two sidekicks are official members of the team, while a third is an unofficial member.
  • Super-Senses: The hoods who work for the Sixth Sense get one sense enhanced as a part of his plan to steal five jewels. So one guy gets enhanced hearing, one gets super sensitive touch, etc. This is done through "hormone extract", oddly.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Vigilante
  • Superhero Sobriquets: the Wizard Archers, the Western Waddy, the Larruping Lariateer, the American Avengers, etc.
  • Super Team: The second one ever created, though they're not nearly as well know as the Justice Society.
  • Time Travel:
    • How Dr. Doome recruits "the greatest villains in history" to be his henchmen, such as Napoleon or Genghis Khan. Thankfully, the possibility of Temporal Paradox due to removing these figures from history is avoided since Doome gives them a device that allows them to return to their own time if plans go awry. So every one of them escape when the Seven Soldiers defeat them and history is preserved.
    • The Dummy also attempts to get rid of the Seven Soldiers by stranding them throughout time. Fortunately Shining Knights meets Leonardo da Vinci, who proves to have invented a time machine of his own, and the knight's able to teach him enough about electrical engineering to make the power source that was only thing it was lacking.
    • This was how Green Arrow and the original Speedy's status as original members of the Seven Soldiers was restored: it was established in Stargirl Spring Break Special that an encounter with the Clock King sent Ollie and Roy back in time to the Golden Age, where they helped form the Seven Soldiers.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode: The plot of Leading Comics #6 has the Seven Soldiers hunting for a lost treasure that they want to use for the war effort. The team gets a bit of Gold Fever, not because they personally want the gold for themselves, but because they decided to compete and see who could find it first. This, and a setup by the Copperhead, actually gets the team to think other members are trying to kill them, and they end up temporarily in a hero versus hero fight. Thankfully, common sense prevails in the end.
  • Trick Arrow
  • The Worf Effect: Issue 4 starts with a robot going around capturing crooks. Also handily defeating Shining Knight, the singlemost powerful team member, to show how big of a threat the villain is.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Shining Knight speaks this way.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: A couple issues were about the villain trying to collect pieces of something in the earlier chapters. Naturally, while the heroes kick much villain butt in those earlier chapters, none of them are in time to collect the Plot Coupon that allows the villain to unleash his ultimate weapon in the last chapter of the issue.