Monday, March 10, 2008

Justice League of America #111 - June 1974

sgThat is one busy cover!

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:


russell said...

One of my all-time favorite issues!! And I love how Aquaman agrees with Ralph that they should be able to defeat anybody they face. Oddly, the color of this issue's cover always appears red in these types of scans and photos, but my copy is actually closer to orange. Just me???

Earth 2 Chris said...

This issue will probably soon jump up in price on the backissue market since Libra is going to be a major villain in the upcoming "Final Crisis" series.

This is one of the first 100-issue spectaculars I ever bought. Coverless at a flea market, but packed with SOOOO much goodness.


BentonGrey said...

Hmm...I've never heard of this Libra character, and I'm a little disappointed that none of Arthur's villains showed up for this little shin-dig. Still, it's a pretty cool line-up of villains and it sounds like quite an entertaining story! I love that Aquaman got a moment to shine, but what I always hated about his little catchphrase "muscles honed in the ocean's depths that are super-strong on the suface!" was that it always sort of implied that he WASN'T super-strong underwater, or even that he wasn't any stronger than your average Atlantian.

Butch R said...

since Libra is going to be a major villain in the upcoming "Final Crisis" series.

I was getting ready to mention that. Maybe we should all re-read this issue for back story. I will say that is something I like that a lot of DC writers are doing now. Looking back to the past and using existing characters for new stories.

BentonGrey said...

So, do they ever develop Libra's motivations or origins in this or the next issue? I'm trying to decide if he's an interesting character or just a speed bump in JLA history that Morrison has fixed on.

rob! said...

Libra does come back in the JLA, though not for a while.

Anonymous said...

Back then, Aquaman wasn't generally handled as having super-strength in the water. In fact, in his solo stories he never had super-strength underwater or on land either! It's only relatively recently that writers decided that Aquaman's muscles are stronger than normal men's because he's adapted to deep-sea pressures. Just as he only recently suddenly has telepathy that extends beyond marine life. But Aquaman is truly awesome no matter what! Except when he has a beard, is missing a hand, or wears a blue costume.

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