The Story: "Balance of Power!" by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano. We open with Green Lantern encountering his old foe The Tattooed Man, who mysteriously disappears just as GL was about to apprehend him!
Turns out he has been transported to the secret satellite headquarters of the Injustice Gang of the World (great name, complete with logo), which consists of the unusual line-up of Chronos (Damian, take note), The Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, The Shadow-Thief, Mirror Master, and their leader, Libra!
As Libra explains his plan to defeat the JLA, the JLA themselves compare notes, and see that the villain disappearing act has been happening to many of them in the past few days.
The JLA decides to break off into groups when they get word of these same bad guys attacking all over the world. Green Lantern and Batman tell everyone one to handle their respective foes, but Elongated Man has a fanciful idea to switch it up! This irritates Batman to no end, but the other heroes agree!
Aquaman and Green Lantern go after Poison Ivy and Mirror Master, and its here that Aquaman gets a fun moment to shine:
...sure, he's bragging a little, but Aquaman so rarely gets the spotlight I was glad to see him school Poison Ivy.
Unfortunately, just as it looks like GL and Aquaman are about to win the fight, MM and Ivy touch a button in their costumes which seems to take the heroes powers away!
The same thing happens to Superman vs. the Scarecrow, Batman vs. Chronos, Elongated Man vs. The Tattooed Man, and Flash vs. The Shadow-Thief! All of them have their powers removed, just long enough for Libra to show up and deliver the final blow.
We then find Libra, having trapped the JLA in their own little prisons back at Injustice Gang HQ, using a machine that saps their energy and puts it into him. The JLA manages to break out(of course), but as they try and stop Libra he just keeps taking in more and more energy until he grows so big that he cannot keep himself together, and he evaporates into nothingness!
This leaves the JLA stranded--without their powers--in the Injustice Gang HQ! To be continued!
Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Elongated Man
Notable Moments: I love gangs of villains vs. gangs of heroes, and it was neat to see a team of bad guys made up of unusual choices, like Poison Ivy and Shadow-Thief.
This issue comes with a two-page "Wanted: The Injustice Gang!" feature, drawn by Pat Broderick, a JLA crossword, plus a reprint of a Seven Soldiers of Victory story("Beware! The Black Star Shines!", from Leading Comics #2), a SSOV pin-up by Murphy Anderson, and the classic "Attack of the Star-Bolt Warrior!" from JLA #32.
The cover image, of Libra holding the scales of justice, is by Nick Cardy, and is so cool and dynamic I wish it had more space on the cover.
The JLA Mail Room logo changes again, to reflect the departure of Hawkman and Reddy's new duds: