(This one was a deep dive, and can get pretty convoluted, so forgive my mistakes and feel free to correct me.)
The All-Star Squadron was formed during WWII by FDR himself, imploring the superhero community at the time (sans the JSA since they were trapped in time with Per Degaton and other enemies) to form a loose reserve of mystery men and powered people and watch over the homefront, keeping America safe from fascists and other no-goodniks. There were no frontline European missions since Hitler had the Spear of Destiny and was basically plot-shielding that part of the world.
The DCA book lists off 60+ members, as seen in the above comic scans, many of whom are not statted in any of the books, or at best are the legacy originals of other heroes. As a formal group, the Squadron only existed during the length of WWII, but they would splinter off into several smaller groups, including the pre-existing JSA, Seven Soldiers of Victory, Freedom Fighters, Crusaders, Young All-Stars, etc.
On the real-world publishing backend of this, All-Star Squadron was actually written in the 80s, exploring the period around the original JSA. It allowed the creators to bring in a lot of underused second-string characters as well as a bunch from the freshly purchased Quality comics. It also let them retcon* several characters out of that period who were somehow still young and active today, replacing some with other similar characters and generally smoothing out continuity. Incidentally, the DCA books are post-Crisis, pre-52 for those of you keeping score.
In terms of RPG functionality, the Squadron (or something analogous to it) has a lot of uses. It gives superheroing a sense of history and a source of legacy heroes that players might model their own PCs on. It allows for adventures in 1940s America either as a fixed setting or possibly as part of a time-travel campaign. Because of the huge size of the group (even the DCA book ends their list with "possibly others"), a GM or player could seamlessly add their own heroes and team and make their own history, using the rest of the Squadron as contacts and backup.
*apparently the first known use of the word "retcon" was actually in the letters column of a 1983 All-Stars comic.
The DCA book includes a very long list of names of members, but fails to mention which ones are actually built out in the books, so in the interest of adding valuable information, I will provide the list here and link to the builds as I get to them.
All-Star Squadron Role Call: Air Wave (Larry Jordan, father of Hal Jordan/Air Wave
), AMAZING MAN (WILL EVERETT), The Atom (Al Pratt)
, BILLY GUNN, BLACK CONDOR (RICHARD GREY, JR., AKA THOMAS WRIGHT), CAPTAIN TRIUMPH, COMMANDER STEEL, THE CRIMSON AVENGER (LEE TRAVIS), DOCTOR FATE (KENT NELSON), DOCTOR MID-NITE (CHARLES MCNIDER), DOCTOR OCCULT, DOLL MAN (DARRELL DANE), DYNA-MITE, FIREBRAND (DANETTE REILLY), THE FLASH (JAY GARRICK), FLYING FOX, FURY, GREEN LANTERN (ALAN SCOTT), GUARDIAN (JIM HARPER), HAWKGIRL, HAWKMAN, HOURMAN (REX TYLER), THE HUMAN BOMB (ROY LINCOLN), IRON MUNRO, THE JESTER, JOHNNY QUICK, JOHNNY THUNDER, JUDOMASTER (HADLEY “RIP” JAGGER), LIBERTY BELLE (LIBBY LAWRENCE-CHAMBERS), MANHUNTER (PAUL KIRK), MIDNIGHT, MISS AMERICA, MISTER AMERICA (TEX THOMPSON), MISTER TERRIFIC (TERRY SLOANE), NEPTUNE PERKINS, PHANTOM LADY (SANDRA KNIGHT), PLASTIC MAN, MAX MERCURY, THE RAY (LANFORD “HAPPY” TERRILL), RED BEE (RICK RALEIGH), ROBOTMAN (ROBERT CRANE/PAUL DENNIS), SANDMAN (WESLEY DODDS), SANDY THE GOLDEN BOY, SARGON THE SORCERER, SHINING KNIGHT (JUSTIN ARTHUR), THE SPECTRE (JIM CORRIGAN), THE SPIDER, STARMAN (TED KNIGHT), STAR-SPANGLED KID (SYLVESTER PEMBERTON), STRIPESY, STUFF THE CHINATOWN KID, THE TARANTULA, TIGER, TIGRESS (PAULA BROOKS), TNT, TSUNAMI, UNCLE SAM, VIGILANTE (GREG SAUNDERS), THE WHIP (JOHNNY LASH),
WILDCAT (TED GRANT), WING, ZATARA, POSSIBLY OTHERS.
The Trylon & Perisphere
The Trylon & Perisphere are real-world buildings that were built for the 1939 New York World's Fair. The first two pictures are from historical and promotional material for the Fair while the third is from the comic itself. Using existing buildings for your HQ can definitely be a fun way to pull your players into the world of the game. Keep in mind that this would predate the transistor by a few years, so the computer in this base would fill an entire room and run on the finest vacuum tubes available (or some other bleeding edge 40s tech, possibly made-up).
The Trylon & Perisphere
- PL 5
Toughness 10, Size Huge
Communications, Computer, Gym, Hangar, Laboratory, Living Space, Minion (Gernsback) 3, Security System 2, Workshop
Abilities 3 + Powers 0 + Advantages 0 + Features 12 + Skills 0 (0 ranks) + Defenses 2 + Equipment 0 (0 ep) + Weapons & Armor 0 (0 ep) = 17
The All-Star Special
Vehicles seem to get short shrift in a lot of these entries. For instance "Speed" should technically be Flight for this customized prop plane, and there is an almost consistent 2ep variance with most of the vehicles in the book, likely due to two charts with different values in the Vehicle section of the DCA Handbook.
The All-Star Special
- PL 4
Strength 8, Defense -2, Toughness 9, Size Huge
(Speed: 500 miles/hour, 1 mile/round)
Abilities 2 + Powers 16 + Advantages 0 + Features 0 + Skills 0 (0 ranks) + Defenses 2 + Equipment 0 (0 ep) + Weapons & Armor 0 (0 ep) = 20
This single frame demonstrates pretty succinctly how an Absent Intellect Construct should behave. Follows orders and/or pre-programmed responses and can't be interacted with like a person (although Perception could be fooled).
- PL 8
Strength 9, Stamina -, Agility 0, Dexterity 0, Fighting 6, Intellect -, Awareness 2, Presence -
. . Immunity 30
(Fortitude Effects, Mental Effects*)
. . Protection 10
Grab, +6 (DC Spec 19)
Throw, +0 (DC 24)
Unarmed, +6 (DC 24)
Dodge 0, Parry 6, Fortitude Immune, Toughness 10, Will None
Abilities 4 + Powers 41 + Advantages 0 + Skills 0 (0 ranks) + Defenses 0 = 45