Saturday, January 26, 2008

Justice League of America #74 - Sept. 1969

sgFew people could convey the sheer violence from a punch as well as Neal Adams. You can feel Superman (whichever one it is) really taking one on the chin.

The Story: "Where Death Fears To Tread!" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin, and Sid Greene. Continued from last issue, the JLA arrive in outer space to help rescue the JSA and fight Aquarius, who thought he had gotten rid of the living things on Earth!

He uses his powers to take control of the minds of the JSAers, and force them to fight the JLA!

Superman fights Superman, The Atom fights Dr.Fate--and defeats him--and Green Arrow fights Black Canary, trapping her in a sticky substance(no jokes!) from one of his arrows(I mean it!). Unfortunately, he is then knocked out by Larry Lance, and when Aquarius forms himself into a ball of energy, it mindlessly heads towards the trapped Black Canary!

Canary's husband Larry notices this, and valiantly jumps in the way of it, saving his wife but dying in the attempt. The two teams take time out from fighting Aquarius to have a funeral for Larry.

sgNow I don't mean to be picky, but first of all, can't this wait? Also, what's the one of the two non-earthlings reading from what is presumably the Bible? I can't imagine either Kal(or Katar) are Christian, so it seems odd that he's the one officiating.

And, also, would Batman of all people really be moved to tears over the death of a guy he's probably never met before? I mean, come on, this is Batman.

Anyway, after the funeral, they go back after Aquarius, with the two Green Lanterns teaming-up, trapping Aquarius into a negative-matter universe and he explodes when anti-matter meteors hit his positive-matter body. This might seem a little nasty--killing the bad guy--but he did mock the JLA and JSA while they were buring Larry, which is a real bad-guy no-no.

Black Canary finds the memories of Earth-2 too painful, so she asks the JLA if she can come live with them on Earth-One.

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman

Notable Moments:
Once again, Aquaman is the only member of the JLA not in this issue!

I don't mean to goof on the death of Larry Lance too much--in fact, because O'Neil gave his death scene so much space in the story, you do feel something when it happens. O'Neil makes you feel more from the death of this minor supporting character than a lot of comics have killing off a major hero.


TheincredibleshrinkingDamian said...

Aquaman who? Seriously, what was going on with that?

Dr. Fate shouldn't be waving his hands all up in everyone's face all the time.

There will come a time when people realize that fighting someone, who if it must come down to it, can disappear and then reappear INSIDE you, is a tough chore.

It's like throwing down with Captain Howdy.

Of course that's not what happened here, but it's very late. Forgive me.

wich2 said...

The Bereaved Ms. Canary is going to be SMALLVILLE-ized soon (I won't be there; I was pretty let down by Helen Slater's slighty "Valley-ized" Lara...)

Great weekend, all!
-Craig W.

russell said...

As for Batman crying....I once went to the funeral of my best friend's wife's father...a man I had met only once or twice at parties, and when I saw how messed up SHE was that she had lost her father, I started crying, too. So maybe Batman was shaken up by how much Dinah was shaken up?

RAB said...

Russell could be on to something here -- after all, there were subsequent hints at a possible Batman-Canary attraction in later issues -- but that still leaves us with rob's equally valid point, that no matter how touched by someone's grief Batman might feel he still wouldn't go all weepy in front of everyone like that.

This issue has always bothered me as being slightly off-kilter. I read the previous issue when it came out, but missed this one and didn't get to see it at last until years later. I remembered the first part of the story as being very intense, dark, and foreboding, so I was really looking forward to the conclusion...and how could you not expect magnificence based on seeing that cover? But in the end the later half came across as campy, with tension-deflating comic relief that undercuts the emotional impact O'Neil wanted Larry's death to have. Most disappointing of all, the big fight between two Supermen is played for laughs so the cover ends up feeling like a cheat.

rob! said...

i didnt mean it to be some big point, i just tend to think Bruce Wayne hasn't cried since that night in Crime Alley.

Anonymous said...

I imagine Clark was raised at least somewhat Christian by Ma & Pa Kent. Come to think of it, as a Kansas boy I'd say he's the most likely to be Christian of anyone in that picture.

Anonymous said...

What Buttler said. What's off is when writers have Superman referencing "Rao', a concept/deity he would have had no exposure to prior.
Canary moving to Earth 1 was pure laziness on Denny's part, and blurred the differences between the Earths, making Crisis inevitable. Why could he not have simply created an Earth 1 version of Black Canary and added HER to the League?

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