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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Justice League of America #2 - Jan. 1961

Comics Weekend "Secret of the Sinister Sorcerers!" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs.

Because you demanded it (okay, four of you), we're dipping back into the JLA Casebook and picking up where we left off last Comics Weekend, with Justice League of America #2!
At a magic convention, guest of honor Mandini the Mage performs a special trick in honor of a special guest, Green Lantern!

Mandini's trick comes off, and he then decides to reveal how he did it--except, the trap door that was part of it doesn't open--so how did the trick happen? Green Lantern investigates, and sees that none of the electric devices in the room are working! And not just in this room--the other Justice Leaguers find that it's happening all over the country!:
Merlin's powers don't seem to be working--and even more shocking than that, suddenly three evil men--Simon Magus, the Evil Magician, Saturna, the Lord of Misrule, and The Troll King--arrive, in modern automobiles! What the what?!?

Merlin tries to banish the trio, but is told that his magic powers no longer work, thanks to them! Following this are details of the magical trio's plot, which is so complicated and nonsensical that it makes my head hurt. Basically, it involves transposing Earth into the magical dimension, and then sending that into the scientific dimension, which leaves the JLA stuck in the dark and powerless. They realize that maybe only magic will now work, so they grab some books and take up amateur spell-casting:
The JLAers disperse, with Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern taking on Saturna. They defeat him and head back for their secret HQ...meanwhile, The Flash and Wonder Woman take on The Troll King, and after some close scrapes defeat him as well.

Finally, Superman, Batman, and Aquaman chase after Simon Magus. He manages to escape the World's Finest duo, but not the King of the Seven Seas! Hells yeah!

Th giant creature makes its way through the portal, but after absorbing a couple of hits from the JLA, it starts to whine, "Cut it out, fellas!" Again, what the what?

Turns out the creature is actually Honorary JLAer and Official PITA Snapper Carr, who was goofing around with Merlin's wand and transformed himself into a monster! Merlin shows up and changes him back, and then puts all the dimensions back into their proper planes of reality:
...and with this, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer became the newest member of the Justice League of America! The End!

No, of course that didn't happen (thought it would have been awesome if it did)--this issue cheerfully throws several different elements--magic, science, superheroes--into a blender and then Gardner Fox hit Puree. The two pages where the magic trio explain their plot is so cheerfully obtuse that you almost feel like DC wanted to just put up a panel that said "Trust us, this makes sense" and then just move on.

I love the image of the Justice League opening up magic spell books, lit by candlelight. It's all gothic and creepy, and lots of fun. And bonus points to the story for having Aquaman be the guy who nabs Simon Magus. Sure, it may have just been the timing, but Gardner Fox, as we'll see in future posts, always made the effort to give all the JLAers a shot at glory. It's just too bad that the team didn't shove Snapper Carr back into the other dimension, lock the door, and throw away the key.


Wings1295 said...

Simply, it is just fun! Back when comics could just be fun for fun-sake! :)

Shellhead said...

Nice to see Arthur pull out the win when the rest of the League couldn't.

Martin OHearn said...

In order to make the story work (and it is a great story), Fox has to blow past the fact that Wonder Woman's magic lasso etc. have been working just fine in the science dimension up until now.

Years later, the Starheart story in Green Lantern defined Earth-1 as in a science dimension and Earth-2 as in a magic dimension (to distinguish the two GLs' power rings), again without thinking it through.

Russell said...

I, too, really loved the lighting of the pages you show us here, Rob. Nice job on whoever did the coloring. Atmospheric as all get out. :-)