Over the many years it took me to amass my complete run of Justice League of America, you'd think this issue was the hardest one to find...but no. This was tough to afford on my meager teenager funds, sure, but it wasn't the first time I had come across it. Luckily, the combo of Right Time and Cheap Enough Condition allowed to finally get ahold of the very first issue!
The story: "The World of No Return!" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs. Goofy villain Despero challenges The Flash to play him in a game of chess for the lives of his fellow Leaguers, whom he had captured and immobilzed.
Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter
Notable Moments: This is the debut issue, featuring the iconic chess battle. There's something inherently terrifying I think to most people about this concept--the average person may have a vague familiarity on how to play chess; but they're hardly proficient; playing the game for life-and-death stakes makes what many people think of as a dry, cerebral exercise into a white-knuckle, sweat-inducing battle.
As has been noted before, there is no issue number on the cover; newsstand vendors were skeptical of new titles so many publishers did their best to hide a "No.1" on the cover. My, how times change.
On the letters page, there's a letter by some kid named Roy Thomas, and an incredibly sweet one from a Mrs.Retalis, who writes: "Writing for my little boy, age 6 1/2, he tells me to please inform you that you absolutely must continue publishing the comic book Justice League of America.
Mama nods her head and agrees. It's one of the comics that spurred him to learn to read for himself--and he's not yet out of the first grade. More power to the Justice League of America!"