Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Justice League of America #77 - Dec. 1969

sgI knew it would happen sooner or later--Snapper Carr betrays the JLA!

The Story: The wonderfully titled "Snapper Carr -- Super Traitor!" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin, and Joe Giella. Snapper Carr, about to get beat up by a bunch of three-piece-suited "toughs" for being "[that] guy who pals around with freaks", is saved at the last moment by John Dough, known as "Mr. Average"--the most normal man in America!

Batman and the Atom respond to an emergency alarm set off by Snapper, and when they do, they're sprayed with laughing gas and then knocked out by Snapper and John Dough!

Batman is trapped in a death-trap, and yet he shows up at the JLA meeting a few moments later! That's because "Batman" is really John Dough in disguise! Everyone is fooled, although Black Canary wonders why Batman is looking at her like a complete stranger. That's because the JLA had yet to announce her membership to the world, so he doesn't know who she is!

The JLA attends a rally of Dough's with Snapper, where he announces "the norms" must attack the super-powered "freaks"! What the JLA doesn't know is they are being bathed in a special hypnotic beam that makes them unable to concentrate and use their powers, leaving them easy pickings for the angry mob.

Batman---the real one--escapes and then figures out who this Mr.Dough is. He interrupts a congressional hearing that the fake Batman is speaking at, revealing the JLA's plan to overthrow the government!

Batman arrives, unmasks Batman as John Dough, and Superman and Green Lantern save everyone after Dough throws fire grenades into the crowd and escapes. Green Arrow remembers it was that rat bastard Snapper who got them into this trouble, and he and the League demand answers:
sg's almost as if Denny O'Neil wrote this issue for me. Snapper is a whiny little jerk, and he risks his friends lives to basically feel better about himself. O'Neil could've taken the easy way out, made Snapper turn rogue because of mind control or whatnot, but no--Snapper is just a rotten human being.

The JLA goes after Dough, and find him in their Secret Sanctuary. After getting the drop on them, Canary knocks him out with her Sonic Cry. Dough is unmasked as...the Joker! Now, the Joker is normally creepy, but he seems moreso here, because he only appears in two panels, mouth agape, but at no point does he say anything. Weird!

Green Arrow ends the JLA's relief from solving the case by pointing out that their secret HQ has been compromised, the JLA needs to rebuild its image with the public, and their close friend betrayed them. All in twenty-three pages!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Black Canary

Notable Moments: Denny O'Neil was putting the JLA through an amazing amount of changes, and the hits kept on coming--Snapper Carr, a traitor? It seems almost like a rejection of that earlier era of JLA, which wasn't even all that long ago.

It makes me think about how I read comics now--how would I feel if a new writer came in and made these kinds of wholesale changes in a book I loved? I'd probably have a feeling of "Who the hell does this guy think he is?", but of course here it doesn't bother me, because of all this took place before I was born. A few issues from now, we'll get to see the fans' reactions to all these new developments in the JLA letters pages...

And as a side note--this issue is the first to feature the "World's Greatest Super-Heroes" tagline as part of the book's regular logo. I guess DC figured if Stan Lee could call The Fantastic Four "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" right off the bat, the JLA could benefit from some hyperbole, too.


BentonGrey said...

Man, once again, I've heard about this story, but never read it. Thanks for the info Rob, I really love these blurbs you give us about the ongoing JLA history. I have to say, getting rid of Snapper was certainly a step in the right direction, and the Joker as the villain behind it, that's actually pretty awesome. This seems like another story with tons and tons of potential, but unlike some previous outings, there is nothing obvious (like the presence of Snapper) to ruin it.

russell said...

I remember the first time I saw this cover, the proportions of The Atom, Hal, Ollie, and Dinah threw me. It looked at first like they were ALL small. That's the first thing I think of whenever I see this cover. As for the story, I think it was actually (re)told BETTER in the pages of HOURMAN a few years ago.

Earth 2 Chris said...

You know, most maligned comic characters have SOME defenders, but I can't think of ANYONE who has ever really went to bat for ol' Snapper. HIs constant inclusion was a huge mistake, akin to Hanna Barbera's instistence that EVERY series either have a cute kid or pet (or both). The JLA would feel this sting again when they got animated as the Super Friends.I do think Snapper is SLIGHTLY less annoying than Marvin though.


BentonGrey said...

Heck, I'd take Snapper over the freakin' Wonder Twins any day of the week. At least he was only usually in the stories at the end or the beginning, but the 'Tiwns were actually taking PART in the adventures! However.....they should all be assigned to comic book oblivion. We desperately need a clean start, and it should certainly confine all of them to the dustbin of history.

Earth-2 Rev. Nørb said...

I don't know, i think a character who speaks in faux-Kookie Edd Byrnes argot is kind of too, uh -- snappy? -- to chuck down the Orwellian memory hole altogether. Snapper Carr as a brooding Rick Jones type -- that's no good; Snapper Carr as a guy who uses slang nobody remembers, if ever even actually used -- "strictly from Hungersville!" -- is pretty, uh, strictly from, you know, that place that isn't Hungersville. I think the vertical hLeaguer ead-strip was momentous enough of an event that it merits its own entry, but, for some reason, all i see is an ad for a reprint giant. Hm.

Earth-2 Rev. Nørb said...

Er, "hLeaguer ead-strip" means "Leaguer head-strip"...

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