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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Justice League of America #112 - Aug. 1974

Comics Weekend "War With the One-Man Justice League" by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano.

Back in April, I said I was going to do an occasional Comics Weekend post on issues of Justice League of America that featured Aquaman in a participatory role (as opposed to the ones where he just sat around the satellite), and I got an inspiration to do talk about this issue by a comment made by a member of F.O.A.M. We'll get to that in a minute.

Anyway, the story opens with this grim image:
But we're getting ahead of ourselves! The story actually starts here, in the JLA Satellite, where the World's Greatest Superheroes are currently in the pit of despair: you see, they've lost most of their super powers, thanks to the super-villain known as Libra!:
(Two notes about the above panel before we move on: First, I love how Black Canary has to serve the guys food--super-powers or not, she'll still a dame! Second, I can't decide whether I hate that fish-tank Aquaman is wearing on his head because it makes him look so stupid, or that I love it so much I wish Mego had made an Aquaman doll of it)

Okay, anyway, while most of the JLA is moping, The Atom--having not participated in last issue's fight with Libra, and therefore still having all of his powers--arrives. Not only that, but he has a plan for the JLA to regain its powers!

He leads them to the JLA Trophy Room, where their foe, the robot Amazo, lies dormant. The Atom suggests that they revive Amazo, and revamp him so his body becomes a "virtual magnet, that will draw the missing molecules [the ones that contain the JLA's powers] back from the very depths of space!"

The JLA agrees to this plan, and reboot Amazo, with Black Canary even finding time to make him a new costume (man, does the JLA need another woman on the team!).

They then plant a suggestion in Amazo's mind that he is dying, and that the JLA holds the only cure. That will keep him on the move, and agitated, making him a greater magnet for the missing molecules.

They split up into teams (leaving a worried, shaken Batman behind) and teleport to Earth:
Amazo does manage to "defeat" the three heroes, but The Elongated Man manages to send Amazo thinks is his cure flying into the sky, with Amazo giving chase.

Things seem to be going to plan, except, back on the satellite, Batman makes a startling discovery:
(As you can see on this page, Aquaman has a different, heretofore unseen logo--I had completely forgotten about it until F.O.A.M.er Russell Burbage mentioned it when I did a look back at all of Aquaman's logos. Thanks Russell!)

Anyway, the object of Amazo's affection lands in the Arctic, where Superman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow are waiting.

Amazo finds them, defeats Supes and GA, and so it's up to Aquaman, in the last few moments, to send Amazo's "cure" hurtling back into the sky:
Up on the satellite, Batman continues working, sure that his friends are walking into a death-trap! Still wracked with insecurity, he hopes he's right, and continues on.

Now the small object Amazo wants travels to Brazil, into the hands of Green Lantern, The Atom, and Red Tornado:
(Speaking of logos, what's with that one for Reddy? It looks like it was designed by someone in the DC Production Department trying to shake off their five-martini lunch)

Amazo defeats GL and Reddy, and grabs a hold of what he seeks. But, as soon as he touches it, it shuts him off--a fail-safe implanted by The Atom!

Back at the satellite, the JLA prepares to sort all the super-powered molecules Amazo's body has collected. But, turns out Batman was right--instead of remaining docile, Amazo breaks from his glass tube, blasting them with his power ring, seemingly killing the JLA!

As they lay there, Amazo believes he has tricked them all--and why shouldn't he, since he now possesses the mind of the World's Greatest Detective?

Except, as he walks away, he is met by Batman, who is not dead! Not only that, but Amazo finds his powers suddenly gone!

With a quick jump and a well-aimed karate chop, its all over:
...Aquaman should thank Batman most of all, for no longer having to wear that fish-tank thing on his head anymore!


Russell said...

When I first saw that you picked this issue to profile today, I thought, "Why isn't he starting with JLA #111, which also features a pretty big Aquaman presence...?" Then I got to the logo page and remembered. Haha! Thanks for the shout-out, Rob, and thanks for featuring my all-time favorite JLA issue. :-)
Boy, that Dillin-Giordano art was awesome. It still looks good, 30+ years later.

Even as a kid I thought it was odd that Black Canary was serving the other heroes and creating a new costume for Amazo. I figured the former was because she was trying to be as supportive as she could be (not having taken part in last issue's adventure), and the latter was just an excuse for Len Wein to update Amazo's costume. :-)

Grears said...


Good job with this... This book holds a special place in my heart... It was one of the books I didn't buy when I started buying comics becuase it was so expensive! I ended up buying 5 other books with my $1.00. I didn't end up starting to buy JLA until the price dropped down to .25. I've since bought all the issues, and I just love the Wein run. Does Aquaman appear in the issue from the same time frame where the JLA is taking calls during a telethon?