Sunday, April 6, 2008

Justice League of America #137 - Dec. 1976

sgMan, those are some beefy superheroes about to square off there! Superman's musculature in particular makes my head hurt.

The Story: "Crisis in Tomorrow!" by E.Nelson Bridwell, Martin Pasko, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. Concluding the story from the last two issues, we open here with the two Flashes, the two Green Lanterns, Ibis, and Mercury taking on the giant Earth-S baddie Mr. Atom!

As they take him on, gravity itself starts going haywire, sending people into the skies. The Lanterns track down the source of energy doing this, which leads them to a spaceship under the command of Brainiac!

They defeat Brainiac and Mr. Atom, meanwhile Superman, going after King Kull, gets possessed by Kull's chunk of red kryptonite, which turns him mad. Uh-oh!

Johnny Thunder, who went out to round up Billy and Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman, calls in his T-Bolt to help transform the kids into the Marvel Family(since Shazam is under the control of Kull and can't do it himself), who then attack Kull and free the other Gods Kull was controlling.

The Lanterns, trying to control Superman, are failing, so Captain Marvel takes on the job, and eggs Superman on to paste him one! Superman heads towards Marvel like a rocket when, at the last moment, Billy says his magic word, which hits them both(shades of Kingdom Come!), returning Superman to normal.

They apprehend Kull, and return to their individual Earths. Wow, I'm exhausted.

Roll Call: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman

Notable Moments: The cover is a bit of a cheat, since the fight never occurs, but I guess it's ok. It's really a cheat to have the individual heroes rooting for one hero over the other, which never happens at all. (I notice Flash and Green Lantern are not taking sides; I guess they're the super-delegates of the JLA)

I cannot imagine the effort Dick Dillin must have had to put into this story. And to make matters worse, the letters page advertises that issue of Strange Sports Stories, on sale at the same time, that featured like a million characters and was also drawn by Dillin. Ye gods!

6 comments:

Plaidstallions said...

I bought this from Joseph Koch in the mid eighties. Bulletman is shown even though DC didn't have the rights.

Wich2 said...

Dear Brian-

Didn't DC pick up B.man with the other Fawcetts?

http://www.toonopedia.com/buletman.htm

Best,
-Craig W.

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

On that cover, Supes is just one picosecond from decking Cap!

The first part of this issue suffered from the same problem last issue did. Too many "duplicate" heroes. The GLs and Ibis attack Mr. Atom, only to be repulsed by his black aura. So all three heroes make duplicates of the aura, with the intention of hitting Mr. Atom again. Then they all go off on a tangent, forgetting why they made the auras. They seem to have just one brain amongst them.

Meanwhile, the Flashes and Mercury are following a similar script. All try hitting Mr. Atom (without success) then go off to rescue the innocents from the robot's destructive power. Ibis finally overcomes his mental inertia to rescue the Earth-One GL and attack Mr. Atom, only to have his Ibistick rescue him.

IMO, a variety of heroes would have improved this chapter.

On the plus side, I liked seeing Thunderbolt take the place of Shazam's lightning to transform the kids into the Marvel Family. I know some thought that was too obvious, but I liked the use of something that was similar and not nearly identical.

The showdown at the RoE was a letdown. We could have at least seen Big Blue and Big Red grapple a bit. And certainly T-bolt, Ibis, or Wonder Woman (with her magic lasso) could have stopped Supes.

rob!, you mention the Strange Sports Stories issue of DC Super Stars #10. See it here:

http://www.dcindexes.com/timemachine/comic-details.php?comicid=7974

Five JLAers (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Green Arrow) participate in that story. Are you planning to include that on this blog?

rob! said...

i decided the only non-JLA issues i would cover here are ones where it was clearly a "JLA" issue, like the treasury last week and something else coming tomorrow!

that keeps me from having to buy more and more comics just to write about them here. :)

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

I get you. It's been quite a while since I read that story, but I seem to remember it was weirdly fun. It lived up to the "Strange Sports" moniker.

rob! said...

i posted a story about that very issue a few days ago on my Hey Kids! blog from a contributor.

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