Leading Comics #7, the summer 1943 issue, by Joe Samachson (writer) and Pierce Rice (artist) was a loving homage or rip-off (depending of how you look at it) of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Although the SSOV are relatively depowered compared to their competitors, the JSA, they actually performed pretty well in a semi-fantasy setting. (Which will come as no surprise to those who read the "lost" SSOV about Willie Wisher, which was serialized with modern art in the back pages of ADVENTURE in the seventies.) This story is a LITTLE more realistic than that, but not by much. 18 pages out of 54.
As far as I can tell, despite an assertion several decades later in STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E that the Shining Knight was their leader, the Seven Soldiers of Victory were like the early Gardner Fox Justice League--with no real leader. However, in this one Green Arrow is at least the most vocal one.
As always, the emphasis in the Seven Soldiers was on skill, not power. If the Justice Society was the Superman of super-teams, the the SSOV was the Batman of super-teams.
Apologies for Wing's cliched, racist-charactatured dialogue.
Before you say a warm Antartic land full of strange creatures and strange cultures is ridiculous, let me just mention one thing: the Savage Land. And the Savage Land has DINOSAURS, to boot!
Radioactive minerals, huh? That might explain the giants, dwarves, and odd animals they will encounter. Mutations, most likely.
The next two pages I've reproduced a little larger than normal. This issue of Leading Comics had a 54-page story rather than a 56-page story like previous issues, and these pages look like they might have originally been four pages, but when they got orders to cut two pages, just combined four pages into two, with small panels. Rice does some nice illustrations, though, so I'm enlarging them a little so you can read without discomfort and also admire the illustrations. (Yes, those buildings with eyes are creepy.)
What a stage magician was doing exploring Antarctica I'll never know. Obviously this "Wizard" was inspired by the equally-fraudulent Wizard of the Oz books.
The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesey encountered first a group of dwarves, and then some brutish "giants" some nine to twelve feet tall. They couldn't talk them into joining the Wisstark forces, but the Kid did lead them to a hill that was a natural outcropping of free sulphur. The Kid set fire to it, and...
The Green Arrow and Speedy infiltrate Stanovia, the city of the three "wizards". They are captured after one of the Wizards pushed them back with "magic"--actually, more a hypnotic command. The three Wizards' "magic" actually seemed more like illusions and hypnotism. Arrow and Speedy escape the pit they were imprisoned in, and then proceed to spy on the three Wizards.
As they make their escape, one of the Wizards becomes dozens of small ones, an illusion that nevertheless saves him from being hit by the archers' arrows.
Meanwhile, some Stanovian agents infiltrate Wisstark--but are "invisible" in a hypnotic "clouding men's minds" sense, to steal back their air-ship--the same one that brought the Seven Soldiers to Antarctica and Wisstark, the one that looks like a giant flying Contac capsule. The Crimson Avenger and Wing try to stop them, but...
The Crimson Avenger uses his crimson smoke capsules to make Wing and himself "invisible" too--or at least unseeable--and the smoke also stains the invisible spies, rendering them light crimson, at least, and they bring the airship back to Wisstark.
Some more spies invade Wisstark, including one that is hypno-illusioned into a double of the "fake" Wizard of Wisstark, the American former stage magician. Vigilante has to find out which one is which..
Vigilante also uses mirrors to "duplicate" himself, as well as using the Wisstark's stage-magician Wizard's trick doors in the walls. (I have no idea why the stage-migician-"Wizard" has less hair now. Maybe he was originally wearing a toupee?)
The Shining Knight goes in search of an army--and encounters a strange animal that leaves no doubt of in whose literary debt this story is.
Although...are flying apes more ridiculous than a flying HORSE...?
The "soldiers" the Knight has to recruit wear wooden "armor" and have wooden "swords", and the Knight agrees to a hand-to-hand combat with their general to see who can lead them. The Knight wins, and later they fight giant, floating Wizards of Stanovia--who turn out to be illusions that dissolve.
The Soldiers then confer, pooling what they know...
The soldiers in green below with the silly hats holding what looks like green beach balls as weapons are the Stanovian soldiers.
Then we find why the Kid filmed those giants running from the flaming sulphur hill...casting an "illusion" of his own.
Luckily, the Knight was suspicious...
Those who live by illusion die by illusion, I guess...
A nice little whimsical story. We never saw Wisstark and Stanovia again. Where's Roy Thomas and All-Star Squadron when we need them?
NEXT SATURDAY: the return of a villain who first appeared in the first SSOV story...and also a return to the time-travel motif that we first saw in the Dr. Doome story. Only instead of villains from the past, it's the Soldiers who do the time-travelling...foreshadowing what Len Wein would do to them in JLA #100-102.