Thursday, March 13, 2008

Justice League of America #114 - Dec. 1974

sgNo sci-fi or fantasy based comic book or TV show can resist the ol' "turn 'em into cavemen" plot!

The Story: "The Return of Anakronus!" by Len Wein ("Aided and Abetted by: Felton Marcus"--who?), Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano. The heroes of the DC are manning the phones for a charity fundraiser, which is being watched at home by everyone's favorite ex-mascot, Snapper Carr.

Suddenly Snapper's TV explodes, having been blasted by a funny-looking bad guy named Anakronus, who tells Snapper he will help him get revenge on the JLA!

Turns out Anakronus was behind the Lord of Time's plot to defeat the JLA, waaaay back in issue #10! Escaping before he was discovered, Anakronus watched in horror as the JLA destroyed his life's work.

He demands payment, so he calls in to the charity to ask for the money the JLA just collected! He gets Green Arrow on the line, who of course thinks the guy is a kook(which he is) and hangs up! Snapper tries to grab Anakronus' gun, but gets a crack to the head for his troubles.

Anakronus tells Snapper a story about how, after the Lord of Time fight, he managed to defeat the JLA all by himself(featuring a sequence starring the Martian Manhunter), but Snapper isn't quite buying it, since, if he defeated them and devolved them into cavemen and then amoeba, how are they around today?

Anakronus' lame answer of "Uh, I guess it wore off" prods Snapper to call back, and this time drop enough hints that the Atom comes through the phone line, followed quickly by the Elongated Man and Red Tornado, who quickly disarm him.

Turns out Anakronus is, in fact, just a kook with a fake ray gun and a made-up story. As they carry him off to jail, Snapper listens to the charity announce it hit its target of over ten million dollars!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado

Notable Moments: Sadly, this was Len Wein's last issue as the regular JLA writer. This story is silly, but enormously fun, and is respectfully dedicated to Gardner Fox. As it seems most commenters here agree, Wein's run was action-packed, full of characterization, and fast-moving. Its unfortunate it was so brief, though Wein would return as editor.

This issue also features a JLA crossword, "Just A Story" starring the JSA from Comic Calvacade #18, a "Super-Hero Boots" puzzle page, a JLA trivia quiz, and a gallery of former JLA guest-stars, and "Crisis on Earth-Three" from JLA #s 29 & 30.

I shouldn't pick on Snapper too much here--he actually serves a purpose in the story, and, sand his dated 60s lingo, he's much less annoying. Man, Len Wein was a great writer!

With the reprints of the 60s JLA stories, occasionally DC made up "Next Issue" ads to fill those empty half-pages left vacant by Cap's Hobby Hints and such. They were generally nondescript, though I did think this was one spiffy:


Frank Lee Delano said...

Got this'n and the next, and only recently read them. I decided I should maybe wait until I get a copy of #71 before posting appearances as minor and random as these at the Idol-Head. Kind of works to show the rapidity of descent. Poor J'onn...

russell said...

Boy, that Len Wein guy was good! This was the first issue of JLA I ever got in the mail. After I read JLA 112, I hastily subscribed, and this was my first issue. It will always have a sentimental place ini my heart. Imagine my surprise when my next issue was SO bad....! (sigh) And So My World Ends, indeed....Len Wein did just about as much for the JLA in his 15 issues as Gardner Fox did in his 60 plus. Way to go, Len!!!

Len Wein said...

Felton Marcus was my late, lamented friend, former DC assistant editor Mark Hanerfeld,who suggested the basic story idea to me and helped (if I recall correctly at this late date) with some of the story breakdowns. I was always a little bit sorry that this was my final issue as I felt I didn't really go out with a bang, but I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed everybody's comments here over the past several weeks. It's nice to be remembered.

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

Wow! Hey Len! Thanks for some great comics. #109 was the first JLA I bought, just after my 9th birthday. I really enjoyed it, except for the part about Hawkman leaving. BTW, I've pretty much gotten over it now. ;)

Anonymous said...

Didn't much care for this story, but Len Wein was much better than Denny O'Neil. Nowhere near as heavy-handed. But I still prefer Gardner Fox as writer of the Justice League.

Earth-2 Rev. Nørb said...

The main story was more or less forgettable ((except for GA's line about the last caller threatening to drown Bayonne, NJ in chocolate syrup)), but for me the real mind-blower was the reprints of JLA's #29 & 30 -- the second-ever JLA/JSA team-up, and the first appearance of Earth-3's Crime Syndicate of Amerika. Earth-3? EARTH-3??? I had been reading JLA for almost four years at that point and NEVER had the existence of Earth-3 been mentioned, or even hinted at. NOT ONCE! ((although Superwoman and Owlman had been depicted, without context, in a flashback panel in JLA #82)) The idea of the "Multiverse" -- or any earths above and beyond Earths 1 and 2 -- was not mentioned, in stories or in editorial pages -- whatsoever in almost half a decade, as far as i remember. That's just plain weird. The idea that Earth-3 had existed since 1964 AND NO ONE HAD BOTHERED TO TELL ME ABOUT IT was shocking, to say the least. Big thumbs up to the golden age reprint "Just A Story." This is the best single story from comics' Golden Age i've ever read ((not that i've read a whole bunch of them))...i probably haven't thumbed thru this issue in 30 years, but i still remember the line where Kid Kitchen, escaped murderer, gets mud on his hands inexplicably trying to help a kid get his lost dog back. The kid goes "Gee mister, your hands are all dirty! You better go wash 'em!" and Kitchen says "Sorry, kid -- I could never wash all the dirt off THESE hands"...well, i dunno, that seemed pretty F-ing deep when i was a nine-year old.

Earth-2 Rev. Nørb said...

CORRECTION: Wait, forget those lines about no Earths above and beyond Earths 1 & 2 being hinted at -- there was that whole Earth X thing that i forgot about ((probably because i didn't own those issues at the time)). Ah well.

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