Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Justice League of America #106 - Aug. 1973

sgAnother new member joins, this time The Red Tornado!

The Story: "Wolf in The Fold!" by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano. The JLA is grilling Red Tornado, asking him how he survived his suicide mission at the end of JLA #102.

Reddy doesn't remember much, except that he was not destroyed by the explosion, as everyone thought. He landed somewhere in the mountains, where he was found by a blind, hermetic sculptor, who nursed Reddy back to health(sort of) and even made him a human-looking face!

As Reddy prepared to leave, he found that he was on Earth-1, not his homeworld of Earth-2. He tried to go home, but found that he no longer had the ability to pierce the dimensional barrier, stranding him on Earth-1.

He wanted to ask the JLA for help, but decided to do it in secret because he felt the JLA didn't care for him. They feel bad about this, and Superman suggests membership in the JLA! Green Arrow objects, but the rest of them quickly approve Superman's motion--Red Tornado is the newest member of the JLA!

We then learn that the Red Tornado is, as the title suggests, a wolf in the fold. T.O.Morrow, consulting his super-smart master computer(with over 30K of RAM!), is told that in 28 days, the cosmic balance will shift, and either he or the JLA will cease to exist, and the best way to defeat the JLA is to destroy them from within via a new member!

Morrow sends some of his henchmen to draw Tornado out, hopefully making him activate his signa device, which is implanted with a deadly nerve gas, destroying the JLA. The JLA gets involved without that happening, but they grow suspicious that both Reddy and Morrow resurface at the same time. Reddy is offended at this, and it's here where we have the classic sequence of Reddy trying to fit into regular society, using his newfound face and trying to get a job
Reddy, now known as John Smith, falls in love with the beautiful, kind-hearted Kathy. One day a few weeks later, Morrow attacks again, again bringing the JLA in.

Morrow is delighted when he sees The Elongated Man press Tornado's signal device(after Morrow's henchmen have stolen the other members' ones), and watches the JLA writhe in pain, seemingly to death. But he's then a little surprised when the JLA, alive and well, are at his doorstep!

Turns out Morrow was watching a hologram provided by Green Lantern, while they figured out what exactly was Morrow's plan. They knock him out, and take him to jail. Unfortunately, as they are doing this, Morrow's 28 days are up, and he vanishes into nothingness.

The JLA explains and apologizes to Reddy, saying they used him to see what Morrow's master plan was. He accepts their apology, and heads back down to Earth to see "...if an android is vulnerable to...love!"

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, and new member The Red Tornado!

Notable Moments: New things were afoot during Len Wein's run. Not since Denny O'Neil did the JLA undergo so many changes--two new members in just two issues!

Red Tornado always seemed like a shaky addition to the team to me, but he did provide a nice contrast in personality to the rest of the team. And since there was a Golden Age Tornado, Reddy does fit the whole "Silver Age-version of an older hero in the JLA" meme that kicked the team off in the first place.

Morrow disappearing into nothingness creeped me out as a kid. Still sorta does, even though he came back later.

Tomorrow(no pun intended):


russell said...

By the time I "met" the JLA, both Ralph and Red were members, so I had nothing to just them on, but that being said, I kind of liked Red Tornado more than Ralph Dibny. He was aloof and cold, yet somehow enduring (witness his scene with Adam Strange a few issues from now). Ralph, on the other hand, seemed to come across as forced when written by anybody but Len Wein.

Adama said...

@ Russell

I've always liked Reddie as well, but I'm a Ralph Dibney fan through and through. There's just something about a guy who has superpowers, yet remains so normal that I find endearing. I mean, yeah, he was a emember of the JLA and all, but the dude really just liked hanging out with his wife and travelling. I gotta repsect that!

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

I started collecting JLA with issue #109 (just days away on the blog!), and I wasn't quite sure what to make of the E-Man and Reddy. Between the funny moniker and the fact that everyone knew his real ID, Ralph was like the opposite of the standard super-hero. And RT? An android? At the time, my only measuring sticks for a super-hero was "Do I want to be like him?" and "Can I ever be like him?". To me, Reddy was just a machine who hung around with the real super-heroes, not someone I wanted to be. Over the next couple of years, though, I actually started to like Reddy.

BentonGrey said...

I really like the idea of Red Tornado, although my actual experience with him as a character is limited to JLU and Justice........so I haven't exactly seen much of him, ha. Still, I think he's got tons of potential, and it seems he fits in quite well with the JLA. I wonder, does he predate Marvel's Vision?

rob! said...

he beat the Vision by a mere 3 months, aug 1968 to nov 1968!

Adama said...

Benton! Nice to see you around the blogosphere again. I was beginning to think you'd fallen off the face of the earth!

BentonGrey said...

Sorry Adama! Ha, I'm been pretty busy with classes. I've been reading your blog, and constantly telling myself I needed to comment! Ha.

Earth-2 Rev. Nørb said...

I don't know what the hell everybody thought Len Wein was so great a writer...in the last few months he added the Red Tornado, Elongated Man, and maybe the Phantom Stranger to the League's ranks -- total bottom feeders. Agree or disagree with Denny O'Neil's job on the title, but those characters he cut or buried -- Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and, yes, Aquaman -- were more or less dead weight at that point. His one WTF new member -- the Black Canary -- has proven to be a perenially great supporting cast member ((though i'm not exactly sure why)). E-man and Reddy? Uh...basically those guys served to dilute the talent pool, and that was about it. Both did, of course, grow up to be decent supporting cast members, but, if you're a little kid with a box of crayons, and you're drawing the JLA, those are the guys whom you feel the drawing of is optional.

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