Saturday, July 07, 2012

Justice League of America #5 - May 1961

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Comics Weekend "When Gravity Went Wild!" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs.

We're back with our JLA Casebook tales, moving onto issue #5, where the JLA has to deal with the time gravity went wild!

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In the Secret Sanctuary of the Justice League, the members are despondent, for one of their own has betrayed the team! It turns out the "traitor" is new member Green Arrow (I knew it!), and when he shows up for the team's regular meeting, he is confronted with angry accusations and pointy fingers.

Martian Manhunter says that Arrow turned against him in a battle with The Getaway Mastermind (yes, that's a real bad guy), and Wonder Woman says the same involving Professor Menace. Green Arrow demands a fair trial, and suggests the two members who weren't present--Superman and Batman--act as jury. Everyone agrees.
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Martian Manhunter begins, telling the story of how six supervillains--the aforementioned Getaway Mastermind, Professor Menace, Captain Cold, King Clock, Electric Man, and Monty Moran--escaped prison via a shrink ray and a Racquel Welch poster (I made that last part up). The group splits into two and immediately begins a mini-crime wave, which the JLA gets wind of. Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow take off for Chicago.

After a short battle, the three villains head for their jet to escape. Flash and Wonder Woman are about to catch up, when they see two of Green Arrow's arrows whiz past them, causing an explosion! After the two of them wake up, they find the villains and Green Arrow gone, baby, gone!

Now it's Aquaman's turn (I don't get to say that enough), who offers this testimony about Green Arrow:
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...yes, we just saw Aquaman swim up a waterfall. Suck it, haters.

Now its time for Green Arrow to speak up for himself. He says that he noticed, while inside a giant ice structure built by Captain Cold, that the villains had no breath, despite the cold air. Knowing that Professor Menace once built a perfect robot duplicate of Wonder Woman (*a-hem*), he figured that these baddies were also robots! And he guessed that they were rigged to explode when touched--so by firing those arrows, he was actually saving the lives of his teammates!

Green Arrow has a similar story involving Aquaman and the others, which convinces the JLA they were wrong. They beg for forgiveness, and then Green Arrow drops another bomb: he didn't just say all this up front because...one of the Justice League is a real imposter! Get your head around that, Justice Leaguers:
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Green Arrow points out the Green Lantern could not have driven those yellow puppets skyward with his ring, but an imposter wouldn't know that! Batman and Superman grab the imposter, and cart him off to jail. But while they're on their way, suddenly gravity goes all kerflooey and the JLA finds itself pitched into the sky!

They are sucked into a waiting ship, helmed by a new bad guy named Dr. Destiny. Using a machine called a Gravitron-Will-Deadener-Ray (clearly a placeholder Gardner Fox forgot to get back to), Dr. Destiny was able to capture the original Green Lantern and keep him captive aboard his ship. Now it's the others' turn!

But Dr. Destiny is in for a surprise--the JLA may be rendered immobile, but now Green Lantern is free! It turns out that when Destiny's ship was aimed at the JLA, a power fluctuation briefly shorted out the beam holding Green Lantern in place, who then played possum to determine Dr. Destiny's plan! Back at the Secret Sanctuary, Green Lantern explains how he then used the ship's transistors to boost his own Power Ring, which had exceeded it's 24-hour charge:
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...The End!


Compared to previous issues, this plot is relatively simple. The addition of a new villain in the third act does seem a little deus ex machina, but of course with the benefit of hindsight we know that Dr. Destiny would become of the JLA's most enduring villains, so this was just the first of many scraps with the team. (Not so much Monty Moran, who was never seen again)

Also, while Fox was never much one for characterization, I do like the idea of the whole team believing the worst about Green Arrow--after all, he was their newest member (indeed, their only new member), so you could see how they wouldn't necessarily give him the benefit the doubt the way they would each other. And this was years before Green Arrow became a sanctimonious jackass!

I'd also say this issue features Aquaman's finest moment to date--he saves his two JLA pals, and is shown to be so strong he can swim uphill. I mean, that's pretty damn cool, no?

4 comments:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Pretty damn cool, indeed.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

"Suck it, haters". LOL!

Kap-El said...

"Suck It, Haters." Best. Line. Ever.

Kap-El said...

And a new Catchphrase for the Swift and Powerful Monarch of the Ocean is Born! http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73/Kapellushazam/SuckItHaters.jpg