Friday, March 21, 2008

Justice League of America #122 - Sept. 1975

sgOne of my all-time favorite issues, because, of course, it is the rarest of JLA stories--it centers on Aquaman, even if it seems like he's dead inside(don't believe it).

The Story: "The Great Identity Crisis!" by Martin Pasko, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. We are told that this is an "Untold Tale From the JLA Casebook" that opens with the JLA kicking the butt of some giant ice creature. Just another day in the DCU.

Since they are near Superman's Fortress, they take the creature there for safekeeping. After the JLA departs, we see the creature changes shape, easily escaping the cage.

This mystery man then picks up some Amnesium from Superman's armory and shoots a ray gun through it, wiping out the memory of the JLAers civilian identities. He remarks that it won't work on Superman, and Aquaman doesn't have a secret ID, but he has other plans for them.

He then fires at them again, scrambling their memories, so they falsely remember who they are(Green Arrow thinks he's Ray Palmer, etc.). Superman and Aquaman notice the guys are acting funny, so they decide to trail them.

While in the deep, dark ocean depths, Aquaman comes across a Lantern Fish, but we see that the fish is a decoy, a trap of the villainous...Dr. Light! The fish explodes, and Aquaman is presumed dead.

Meanwhile, the various JLAers(Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Batman, Atom) fall prey to deathtraps that, were they who they think they are, could've escaped!

Dr.Light, holed up in the Fortress, starts putting his master plan in place(involving mirage doubles and other fun), the JLAers show up, having escaped the deathtraps! Light is confused, but at least he killed Aquaman, right? Wrong!:
Wow! Aquaman is the guy driving this story and figuring everything out!

Anyway, it turns out tha Aquaman, under his rarely-used civilian identity of Arthur Curry(and looking quite Plaid Stallion-y in the process):
...found Oliver Queen and Ray Palmer and helped them out of their jams. Superman rounded up Batman, then Flash, who then saved Green Lantern, and now they're all here!

Dr. Light activates his mirages, as well as wrapping Supes in some kryptonite rings. Aquaman uses Superman's cape to round up some of the mirages, and then to save Flash(who is being trailed by some anti-matter mirages and will kill him if he stops running away from them) by having Barry vibrate through the cape, which traps the evil duplicates, causing them all to explode.

They then gang up, disarm Dr.Light, and save Superman. Supes then crushes the Amnesium, and they all make a promise to exchange their secret IDs with each other so nothing like this can happen again!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom

Notable Moments: Martin Pasko, I owe you a drink.

Obviously, as a kid, I simply loved this issue(and I'm not the only one), since not only does Aquaman get a lot to do, but he comes up with a way out of Dr.Light's plan, and its his idea how to save each of the JLAers individually. And, other than the one brief scene involving the lantern fish, none of it takes place in the water, underscoring a belief I've always had about the character--you don't need to write water-centric stories to make Aquaman an effective, impressive hero.

Judging by Green Arrow's duds, this story takes place after JLA #75, which wasn't all that long ago. The story is unusual for the fact that the JLA satellite is never shown.

The nifty cover is by Mike Grell, who had drawn the cover to JLA #117 and had also drawn Aquaman's solo back-up series in the Spectre issues of Adventure Comics right around this time. As a graphic artist, that pattern Grell uses on the site of Aquaman's tombstone haunts my dreams.


wich2 said...

Whoa - dig the shades & 'stache! Looks like he may have picked up a few bucks moonlighting in Stag Flicks as "Big" Art Curry!

-Craig W.

Anonymous said...

Now that's an issue I'd like to read. Gotta love Aquaman!

Butch R said...

Man, this one brings back the memories. This is the earliest issue of JLA that I have memories of as it actually came out. I was 5 about to turn 6 or so. I remember seeing this issue and thinking that Aquaman really had died. Man, what great memories.

Adama said...

Man, Aquaman is pimpin!

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