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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Justice League of America #7 - Nov. 1961

Comics Weekend "The Cosmic Fun-House!" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs.

Another issue of Justice League of America, and it looks like Aquaman has some real trouble on his hands!

A few miles outside Happy Harbor, Snapper Carr and his best gal-pal Midge take in the local fun-house. At first it all seems normal, but then things start to get weird--the mod duo find themselves in a room decorated with drawings of aliens, bathed in strange light. Snapper: "I feel all queer and tingly inside."

Finding themselves at a dead-end, a booming voice tells them to simply push on the far wall to exit. They do, but suddenly Snapper and Midge are hurtling through interplanetary space, landing on some alien world! This is not ginchy!

An alien beast appears and lunges at them, which Snapper fends off with a well-placed rock. He then activates his JLA Signal Device, sending a message to the various members:
The JLA travels through space to the distant planet, and rescues Snapper and Midge, who pass out from the excitement. Back on Earth, Snapper awakens and tells the story of what happened.

The Justice League thinks something must be afoot, and decides to investigate the fun-house...but undercover, in their civilian identities, so as not to arouse suspicion, a comment almost designed to leave Aquaman out of the, er, fun:
Barry Allen (aka The Flash, 'natch) is the first in, and he finds himself in the same dead-end. But when he pushes on the door, instead of going through it, it turns--and that's when a perfect duplicate of Barry walks in! The real Barry, now turned into The Flash, vibrates so as not to be seen, but within moments the fake Barry aims a metal rod at The Flash, paralyzing him!

A similar event happens to Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan, with the duplicate Hal setting off the JLA Signal Device to draw the other JLAers into a trap. Within moments, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman find themselves imprisoned next to Flash and GL in the company of some kooky aliens from the planet Angellax!

These aliens have been involved in a war with another race for thousands of years, and long ago the Angellaxians(?) created a probe to search the universe for a weapon that would tip the balance in their favor. But due to a miscalculation, the probe did not return to their planet, rather landing in (of course) Happy Harbor on Earth!

The aliens' plot gets even more complicated, so let's just skip ahead to the duplicate Flash and Green Lantern, who show up at the Secret Sanctuary where the rest of them is waiting:
The four trapped JLAers find a way to escape, but as they pass through a fun-house mirror, they morph into the distorted versions of themselves they see in the mirror, which shocks the Sea King, who has finally found them:
...The End!

Great Guardians, was the alien plot in this issue complicated. I had to read it three or four times just to understand it, and even then could not find a way to condense it so it made any sense at all here. I have newfound respect for Mike Sekowsky, who had to somehow visualize all those settings and concepts in such a tiny space. Seriously--I think the Crisis on Infinite Earths was easier to follow.

By the first half of course, it looks like Aquaman is going to get the short end of the trident, stuck back in the Secret Sanctuary with Snapper, a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone. But then he gets to show up and save the day...though he skips out on attending the fun-house at the end. This was before he met Mera, so maybe he felt weird about having to go stag.


John said...

I'm disappointed the Fudge Judge was never offered JLA membership.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

^Ha! Wouldn't THAT have steamed perennial bridesmaid Adam Strange.

Boy, GL sure had a lot of faith in the duration of his power ring constructs back then. I thought those things disintegrated when his ring ran out of juice.

This story is also notable for being the only time that Batwoman and Miss Arrowette (kinda, sorta) made a JLA appearance. Probably more of a feather in the cap for Miss Arrowette, so to speak.

Russell said...

I always thought it was stupid that Batman went with Martian Manhunter and Superman to stop Xotar. Like he would have all that much to do. As much as I hate to say it, he should have stayed and helped out. Wonder Woman should have gone with the power-houses. Oh, well.