The Story: "Specter in the Shadows! by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano. We open with Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man, and his wife Sue taking in some culture at an art museum. Suddenly a gaggle of weird, dough-like creatures spring up and stat stealing the paintings!
The Elongated Man (and Sue, bless he heart) try and stop them, but they are overpowered. Ralph then decides to call in help with this JLA signal device! But I thought only members had those! What's going on?
We flash back one week, and see Green Lantern inviting Ralph and Sue to the JLA Satellite, where they tell him they are inviting him to join! He of course says...yes!
We cut back to present time, where EM is explaining what he saw. The JLA splits up into teams(of course) after they receive several distress signals involving the self-same dougy guys!
The Flash, The Atom, and Green Arrow head to a coal mine, where they defeat the doughy guys, but...why were they trying to steal coal? And who is that mysterious stranger, watching the JLA from the inky shadows?
Superman and Black Canary are less successful, as they try to stop the baddies from stealing...tires? They stop the theft, but the doughy guys escape.
Green Lantern gets stuck with the new guy, and Ralph plunges into the ocean while trying to stop one of the bad guys. Lantern tries to rescue him, but Ralph is gone! Hal is despondent--"Who would've thought the Elongated Man's first case with the Justice League would also be his last?" And hey, there's that mysterious guy again!
The JLA reconvenes at the satellite, depressed over Ralph's seeming demise. The distress signal goes off again, and they find the doughy guys guarding a gian beehive type structure. As they fight, one of the doughy guys saves Black Canary, revealing himself to actually be...The Elongated Man!
After the JLA defeats them, Ralph explains he got the idea to go "undercover" on the spot, and learned that the beehive is poised to explode! The JLA can't break their way in, but just as the place is about to blow, a giant wind picks it up, and sends it into space, where it explodes harmlessly. What the?!?
Turns out the last-minute save is from the mysterious stranger, who turns out to be...The Red Tornado!
Roll Call: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Black Canary, and new member The Elongated Man!
Notable Moments: The first new member in thirty issues, The Elongated Man was a solid addition to the team, in terms of powers and personality. Ralph certainly had a decent history in the DCU, and I liked him in the book, even if, as a kid, I always wondered why it wasn't Plastic Man.
This issue features the classic "new member" scroll splash page, my favorite bit of tradition in these types of stories: