Saturday, June 16, 2012

Justice League of America #3 - March 1961

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Comics Weekend "The Slave Ship of Space!" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs.

Because we can we're continuing with the JLA Casebook and looking at the third issue of the series, introducing yet another baddie to the DCU. But before we even get to that, check out the ad on the inside cover:
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...a great way to start a comic for any Aquaman fan!

Anyway, as I mentioned above, this issue introduces to interstellar bad guy Kanjar Ro, who looks like he's got the JLA right where he wants them in the splash page:
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In the shadows of a darkened room, a gong is struck, sending a series of vibrations out across the planet. The vibrations seem aimed at the various JLA members' signal device, breaking them. Each hero notices this, and decide to head to the JLA Secret Sanctuary to pick up a new one. But when they get there, they find someone waiting for them:
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Kanjar Ro explains that he wants the JLA to apprehend his three foes, who are the rulers of adjoining planets. The team members, of course, refuse, but Ro strikes his powerful Gamma Gong, freezing everyone on Earth!

Kanjar Ro then says the only way for the citizens of Earth to be freed will be if the JLA does his bidding, leaving a frozen Batman and Snapper Carr (yay!) behind as a trap for the only other JLAer, Superman. In the meantime, Kanjar Ro commands the others to hop in and get this crazy trip started!
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Martian Manhunter is sent to the planet Mosteel to nab it's ruler, Kromm. After almost being defeated via an attack of fire, Manhunter catches Kromm, who gives in peacefully.

Next up is the planet Alstair, and it's Aquaman and Wonder Woman's turn:
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...nice job, Aquaman!

The final mission belongs to Flash and Green Lantern, who are equally successful. Kanjar Ro puts his three fellow despots in his slave ship. Only if they each say his name simultaneously will the people of Earth be freed, but Kanjar Ro demands that the JLA promise not to attack him once that happens:
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...The End!


Another issue where Aquaman gets a lot to do, and some specific moments of coolness, like when he just grabs Kanjar Ro's wand, which effectively ends his plan, right then and there! Added humiliation: they make him row his own slave ship--double burn!

Gardner Fox had a definite formula, and to make up for that stuffed every issue to the gills with new characters and concepts, laying the groundwork for the eventual DCU the way Stan Lee was across the street at Marvel. Like Despero in JLA #1, Kanjar Ro would come back again and again to menace the Justice League of America.

3 comments:

Anthony said...

Fun story... plus the much-parodied cover (including in "Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew", with Super-Squirrel, Aquaduck, and company on their version of the slave-ship of space...).

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Great story with neat, unusual looking villains. And plenty of Aqualove.

Caffeinated Joe said...

So much in one issue, kids certainly got their money's worth back then!