Sunday, March 16, 2008

Justice League of America #117 - April 1975

sgOne of the more dishonest cover images you'll see--no way does that look like a silhouette of Hawkman.

The Story: "I Have No Wings and I Must Fly!" by Elliot S! Maggin, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. Somewhere in space, a strange-looking man(?) named The Equalizer is coming...

Meanwhile, at the JLA satellite, Green Lantern is watching members arrive after he set off the distress signal. He saw Hawkman's Thanagarian ship orbiting Mars, but when the other JLAers tell him Hawkman should be following behind them at any moment, he doesn't show!

So the JLAers head to Mars to see what's going on. They find the ship, but it manages to fire several defensive weapons at them. The JLAers manage to avoid them, and get inside the ship, long enough to see someone who they think is Carter Hall, but they aren't sure. He assures them he is Hawkman, and slams Batman and Green Arrow, dumping them out of the ship and taking off.

On Mars, strange changes are happening to the JLAers--Atom is growing in size, Batman finds he has the ability to fly...what's going on here?

We see what happened back on Thanagar--a weird ship spread some sort of chemical over Thanagar, making everyone the same size--equalizing them. Now that the ship is headed for Earth, Hawkman needed to expose the JLAers to him so he could "steal" a fraction of their powers and take him on.

As Hawkman takes on the Equalizer, the JLAers combine their will power to use GL's ring to help them find their friend. They do, but are stymied when the Equalizer is able to balance whatever they can do with what he can do. Hawkman finally figures out that if they flood the Equalizer with pure hate, then he will become overloaded and that's the chance they have to get their powers back.

So the JLAers each think of someone or something in their lives they hate, and it works. The Equalizer is destroyed, returning the JLAers back to normal.

Since Hawkman has been cured of the Equalizer's effects, he tells the JLA if he returns he will succumb to it all over again, since the whole planet is still under quarantine. He asks if he could be reinstated back in the Justice League, which they quickly agree to.

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

Notable Moments: I never liked Hawkman not in the JLA, so I'm glad he was reinstated so quickly after leaving. In fact, his absence in issues 110-116 makes for the shortest time any hero was gone from the team.

The JLA Mail Room header is changed yet again, with Hawkman put back in, though someone in coloring still needs to figure out just how Elongated Man and Red Tornado are supposed to be colored
This issue's letter column is almost entirely devoted to people's suggestions for membership, and it's instructive to see that comic fans back then were as hard to please and all over the map as they are now:
Get rid of Superman and Wonder Woman (who, er, hasn't been a member for years) and replace them with two Robins? What the hell?

And the guy who suggested Captain Marvel Jr. and Swamp Thing is from Medford, NJ, the next town over from here; I gotta go find him and ask what the hell was he thinking.


BentonGrey said...

Hey man, Robin (Dick Grayson at least) is the epitome of awesome. Therefore, two Robins would be even MORE awesome. I don't understand how you can fail to see the potential here....;)

Seriously though, I do rather wish that the JLA had been allowed to age eventually, with the heroes finding happy endings and being replaced by the next generation. I really enjoyed reading the adventures of a grown up Robin in the JSA.

russell said...

The thing about this issue that I hated was that the Flash, Aquaman, and Elongated Man from the previous issue suddenly failed to appear (just like Hawkman!) Come on, guys, this is a JLA adventure! You can't just ditch the gang to hang out with your wives; that's why hogs like GL and Superman pick up the slack. (sigh) On a similar note, I always thought that Red Tornado and Elongated Man should be in ALL the issues. I mean, seriously, what better things do they have going on than to answer the JLA summons?

Anonymous said...

I've always hated Red Tornado and Elongated Man...the Justice League is supposedly "the world's greatest superheroes," and those guys DO NOT QUALIFY. Nor do Black Canary and Green Arrow! The J.L.A. has always failed when it succumbs to the fannish desire to include third-stringers and phony "character development." Superheroes are static: as Stan Lee observed, the writer's job is to create the illusion of change while making sure everything in fact remains status quo. Otherwise you've destroyed the concept that made the hero popular in the first place. This is why the Detroit Justice Leage and the "funny" Justice League sucked donkey schlong! The J.L.A. is not the dumping ground for crappy character concepts: that would be the Defenders over at Marvel Comics!

BentonGrey said...

Well anony, have you ever watched JLU? I think they demonstrated quite well how the JLA can and SHOULD work with tons of characters besides the "greatest." They told incredible stories, and quite frankly, they were on the whole about a dozen times better than standard modern comics fare.

JonnyQuest037 said...

That Hawkman silhouette really is a bit of a cheat. It looks more like Yellowjacket is joining the Justice League.

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

>>One of the more dishonest cover images you'll see--no way does that look like a silhouette of Hawkman.<<
A few issues ago you commented on how "beefy" Nick Cardy drew Superman. Mike Grell goes the other way, with anorexic Superman. You can almost see his spine below his rib cage. I liked Grell's art on the Legion, but not so much on JLA covers. That said, I certainly preferred Grell over Ernie Chua, who did most of the JLA covers for the next 20 issues.

The interior art for this issue was really good. I thought Frank McLaughlin did a good job over Dick Dillin's pencils. And the Equalizer was one of Dillin's better aliens. Really different.

Twice in three issues, we see a former member coming to the JLA for help. Although I liked this story better than the J'Onn J'Onzz story in #115, I didn't like how Hawkman tricked the JLA. That seemed out of character. At least J'Onn was honest when he came to the JLA for help.

Regarding membership, I was okay with Elongated Man and Red Tornado. But RT was a step down compared to the heroes who at least had backup strips. Len Wein moved him to Earth-One and the JLA, but the writers who came along next didn't seem to know what to do with him. Maybe they should have returned him to Earth-Two at the first opportunity. My choice for added members would have been Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl, and possibly Supergirl.

CaptainJersey said...

My first issue of Justice League.... It finally dropped to my price range. Combine that with a Mike Grell cover, and I was in 2nd grade heaven!

Anonymous said...

Nope, I don't watch JLU because I'm not interested in the third-stringers taking up airtime. Super Friends is what I like. But JLU is better than anything DC has published in print since the 1980s.

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