Thursday, February 7, 2008

Justice League of America #84 - Nov. 1970

sgYou gotta love a weapon that's spear driven through a skull...seems like something you'd see in The Phantom Stranger, not JLA!

The Story: "The Devil in Paradise!" by Robert Kanigher, Dick Dillin, and Joe Giella. The JLA rescues a professor from a gang of kidnappers. The professor is about to receive a Nobel Prize for creating a serum that turns a tribe of "war-like savages into peaceful doves." Umm..

Unfortunately, Superman sees something unsettling--the professor's face is half-skull, like the face of death itself!

After the ceremony, the JLA split up to go their separate ways, but something unusual occurs when Batman shows up to relieve Black Canary from her turn at Monitor Duty. They get to talking, and Batman shares that he has a great lost love, which leads to:

...and they call Green Arrow a player!

Anyway, an alarm goes off, telling the JLA to get to a remote section of Australia. Seems that a peaceful tribe has just been slaughtered by a war-like one, who then set their sights on the JLA! The skull-tipped spears land, filling the air with gas. Superman blows it away, and after they fight their way out, the tribe disappears!

Turns out this professor's serum is actually going to cause nations to fight each other, creating a new world, where he will be the Adam and his fiancee will be the Eve! She is horrified at this and escapes on a raft, when she is found by the Flash.

She takes the JLA to the island, but it ends up being the professor's Frankenstein-esque creation called Nether Man that delivers the final blow to the madman, stopping his plan.

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Flash, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary

Notable Moments:
Denny O'Neil's run as regular JLA writer ended last issue, and Mike Friedrich's begins next issue, so we've got Robert Kanigher to fill in. It's sort of funny, Kanigher dropping this massive sub-plot bomb in the book(Batman mashing with Canary!), leaving it for some other writer to handle. Have fun, Friedrich!

DC finally got around to commissioning a new JLA Mail Room header, from Murphy Anderson, reflecting the current line-up:
...pretty nifty, and I'm glad DC remembered that Aquaman was, in fact, still in the Justice League.

The Black Canary/Batman sub-plot is unusual, one of the first genuine "sub-plots" the book ever had, in that it would continue for a few issues apart from the main story.


russell said...

NOW we're talking. I consider this heads and shoulders above most of what O'Neil did on his run. And this type of sub-plot (Bats and Canary in this case) would be featured throughout Friedrich's run, making it feel like his stories were just one long adventure. I really enjoyed that aspect of his stories. Although when I read your synopsis, Rob, I wonder why if "Eve" was escaping on a raft, Aquaman wasn't called in!!! (sigh) I have to wait one more issue for his return....

russell said...

Two more things I just noticed....this is the first appearance of that eagle icon thing in the upper left-hand corner. I LOVED that! Also, is this a copy of the roll call of heads from JLA 81? Maybe it was a template, because here's Dinah at #3 again...! Hmmmm....

Scurvy said...

So how many issues is it now since Aqauman graced these pages?

Glenn Walker said...

The Batman/Black Canary thing kinda bugged me, especially the way that upcoming writer Mike Friedrich resolved it. Dinah felt Bats was more like a big brother, which never made any sense to me because, at the time, she was chronologically much older than he was.

This romantic tension is probably best forgotten, along with Canary's precognition powers, also from this era.

Now if we could also just forget that they made her sleep with the Ray...

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