Sunday, March 30, 2008

Justice League of America #131 - June 1976

sgI love Hawkman up on the perch there. That's just so humiliating.

The Story: "The Beasts Who Thought Like Men!" by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. As Superman and Flash round up some local citizens driven into some sort of frenzy, a kid buys a comic book with...a credit card? Are we on Earth-Visa?

Nope, turns out that a strange plague has infected all the U.S. currency, driving anyone who used it mad! Riots broke out, violence occurred, so the wonderfully misguided scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs(they must have had one of those no-bid contracts with the government) came up with a personal I.D./credit card to replace all cash money!

Meanwhile, its not only the people that have gone mad, but the animals, too! Some of them seem to find their ow way out of their cages, but luckily they are stopped by The Atom and Elongated Man, who are surprised at the regular people's reaction, who seemed too sluggish and dumb not to put themselves in harm's way. The same thing happens to Aquaman, as well.

As the JLA tries to figure out this mess, a giant swarm of bees is attacking New York City. As they try to stop them, they run into the Queen Bee, who they assume is behind this. Turns out she is a victim of the "sluggishness" that seems to be affecting all human-like life on Earth.

She tells them that these credit cards have created a "sonic pattern" which is transferring brian-power from humans to animals. As she and the JLA are overcome by the bees, the Atom and Elongated Man are visiting the man at S.T.A.R. who created the cards. Unbeknownst to them, he is not what he seems and leads them into a death-trap. To be continued!

Roll Call: Superman, Aquaman, Flash, Atom, Hawkman, Elongated Man

Notable Moments: Other than the whole "transferring brain-power" thing, I think the whole card-replacing-money is a perfectly workable idea, and will probably really happen one day
...I hope that, when they do make these, Gerry Conway gets the first one.

We are now at the halfway point of the run of Justice League of America, which stopped at issue #261. We aren't exactly one-hundred and thirty posts away from the end of the blog, since there are some more ads, a few annuals, and a surprise or two(!) still in store.

But I just wanted to pause for a moment to reflect how far we've come. When I started the blog back in November 2006, even the halfway point seemed soooo far away. Thanks everybody for taking an interest in what I'm doing here!


Tick-Tock Tyler said...

"... a national computer system ..." and "... direct deposit ..."? Where do these writers come up with these far-fetched ideas? Do you suppose such things will ever exist? ;)

Congrats on reaching the halfway mark, rob! It's been a real hoot to read your blog and see how many folks remember the good ol' days. Thanks for sharing some fun memories.

Wich2 said...

Rob, your whole panoply of sites are worth regular visits.

"Collect 'Em All, Kids!"

-Craig W.

russell said...

You do great work, Rob! Unfortunately, in my opinion your half way mark means that except for another handful of good stories, the best of the JLA is behind us. (sigh) I absolutely HATED Gerry Conway's run on the book, and after this issue Dick Dillin's pencils got more and more sluggish and Frank McLaughlin's inks got more and more static. Ah, well....we still have Steve Englehart and George Perez to look forward to, anyway...

rob! said...

wow, russell, i have to disagree with you there, about the JLA's best days are behind 'em by now.

i think there are no finer superhero comics than JLA #s 189-200, and i think a bunch before and after that are pretty darn good.

i think i might even have to do two days' worth of posts for JLA #200, my favorite comic of all time!

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

Interesting that Aquaman had a significant role in the story, but he was completely dissed on the cover. Maybe Chua couldn't draw a fishbowl?

You know, when I read this story at age 10, I wondered if the "currency replaced by credit card" thing would show up in all DC comics. I was a stickler for continuity, and if someone was still using greenbacks a few months later in Detective or Flash, I'd expect an explanation. Actually, I was somewhat obsessed with the idea that the change must be reversed, somehow. To me, Earth-One should only differ from Earth-Prime in details that were pertinent to the reason for Earth-One's existence. That is, Earth-One has super-heroes, super-villains, aliens, magic, etc. But this change seemed so . . . strange. It made Earth-One too different in a way that wasn't important. I recall feeling the same way some time later when an issue of All-Star Comics said that Quebec was independent from Canada (on Earth-Two, of course). Changes such as these made the fictional worlds less believable, somehow.

russell said...

Rob, Jonah Hex and the Time Lord was a great super-hero comic? Ewwww... no, I have to disagree with you there. Were those the issues you first came across the JLA? I've heard that every fanboy's initial run (the first issues they come across of a particular title) is their favorite. Maybe that's why I'm so hot for Len Wein's run??? Anyway, I'll enjoy your comments on all the issues, and you can maybe enjoy my Statler-Waldorf like comments regarding your comments? :-)

rob! said...

i know what you mean, TTT. not that i follow current DC all that much, but the minute they made Lex Luthor the president then they were shifting themselves to a totally different universe than our own.

i know, its got aliens and ghosts and detective chimps, but i always feel like supehero universes should try and follow what's going on in the real world if possible.

rob! said...

Russell(sitting in balcony): "This is my favorite part of JLA #198."

Rob!: "But it's the end."

Russell: "I know! Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

...yeah, i admit that western crossover is the weak link in that run, but i thought the two part Starro story (189-190), the Key story (191), the Red Tornado story (192-193), the JLA/JSA team-up (195-197) and #200 are all about as good as can be.

i'm sure there's a healthy chunk of Beloved Childhood Memories in there, but i reread those issues regularly and to me they still work as solid, fun, well done superhero adventure, and i think they'll always be my favorites. :)

Butch R said...

Rob, Congrats on the halfway mark and keep 'em coming! I enjoy every post.

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