Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Justice League of America #139 - Feb. 1977

sgNobody drew a more brutal hit or punch than Neal Adams--Hawkman especially looks like he's getting it right in the kisser!

The Story: "The Cosmic Conspiracy Against Adam Strange!" by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. Some of the other JLAers show up at the satellite and wonder where their fellow members are.

Turns out they are there, too, but in ghostly forms. Suddenly Adam Strange appears, and tells them that it was because of Kanjar Ro(him again?) that the JLAers are gone.

Turns out he rigged Adam Strange's Zeta-Energy so that the JLAers absorbed it from him, which keeps them in their currenty phantom-like form.

When a JLA satellite "transductor unit" is about to overheat and explode, Flash on instinct goes into action, the explosion somehow knocking him back into his regular form. Adam surmises "Perhaps seeing a teammate's life in jeopardy nullified the Zeta-Effect!"

The JLA head to the 73rd Century with Adam, where they are attacked by a military force. Between this battle and Adam Strange, the "phantom" JLAers are returned to normal. All seems well until Adam figures out that the 73rd Century Green Lantern is actually Kanjar Ro in disguise! As is usual with Ro, he's easily knocked out.

Second Story: "The Ice Age Cometh" by Steve Englehart, Dillin, and McLaughlin
The JLA arrives in Ecuador, where the country is victim to a sudden mysterious ice age!

While the JLA is saving lives, they're not doing anything to stop the brutal freeze, until they hear about three super-villains--Captain Cold, The Icicle, and (don't laugh) Minister Blizzard--are on a crime spree! Flash doesn't want the team to stop what they're doing, when Wonder Woman chastises him for not realizing the two events must be related.

The JLAers stop the villains, but that doesn't seem to change anything. Then Hawkman realizes that its his old foe, The Shadow Thief, who is behind the plot. They confront him, and he almost gets away, until The Phantom Stranger shows up to stop him.

Meanwhile, in Ecuador, the ice age has stopped. Is it because of the villains being stopped, or is it...a miracle?

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

Notable Moments: This was a form-busting issue, in that we have two separate stories. This was the first of the JLA "Giants" featuring extended page counts and extra page of letters.

"Ice Age" is the first JLA story by Steve Englehart, who would begin a year-long run on the book.

Update: As Earth-2 Chris mentioned in the comments, this is the first appearance of the classic, long-running "DC Bullet" logo. Can't believe I missed that! Bad Rob!


BentonGrey said...

Hmm, that ice age story sounds interesting....but Minister Blizzard? Come on, even if Mr. Freeze (or was it Mr. Zero then) was a bit of a joke at this point, he still has to have more cred than this guy.

That Adam Strange story sounded a little bit forced...transducer? Haha.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

To me, this is the Justice League of America. When I think of the JLA, I think of this issue. While, Justice League of America #98 was my first issue of JLA, #139 began my “run”.

As a kid, I always looked for the Justice League of America every time I was near a newsstand or spinner rack. JLA was definitely on the “short list” of comics I would choose if mom and dad were inclined to buy me a funnybook that day. And once I started getting my allowance I tried to hold a little bit in reserve just in case one of these “short list” books presented itself. But since I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to visit the stationary store on my own. Often I was broke and couldn’t talk my parents into springing for a comic book. And, once in awhile, I’d have to make the most agonizing decision imaginable – the Brave & the Bold or JLA! B&B or anything starring Aquaman were the only comics that ranked above the JLA in my hierarchy of “gotta get ‘ems.” So I missed issues.

Not so after JLA #139. According to Mike’s Amazing World of DC comics this issue went on sale the month I turned 10. I guess that must be the age at which I was given permission to visit Clearview Stationary without an adult accompanying me because, from this point on, I did not miss a single issue of the JLA. I collected it until it was cancelled many years later. There were many titles that started unbroken runs in my collection around this time. The aforementioned Brave & Bold, Marvel Team-Up, World’s Finest, Green Lantern, Flash, Thor, Ironman and a slew of others. But JLA was the first. And this was the issue that started it all.

I love that cover. Like I said, this is the JLA to me. And if you asked me ‘bout the League, the first thing that would pop into my mind is this cover.

Adama said...

Wow Vincent, that was a really awesome story! I don't have anything to compare that to. My dad was a big comic collector when I was a kid, so I just basically read whatever he did. Every now and then something would catch my eye and we'd pick it up, but mostly it was my dad's pull list: X-books, Thunderstrike, Superman, and more X-books.

Butch R said...

I'm in total agreement with Vince's post. When I think of the Justice League of America, this is what & who I think of. I love that issue, I still have the one I purchased back in 77 (was that really over 30 years ago?) in my collection. And it's in pretty good shape.
It's some good stuff.

Earth 2 Chris said...

This is also the first issue with the "classic" DC Bullet icon. I still miss it...


rob! said...

oops! can't believe i didn't mention that. UPDATED! thanks E-2C!

Earth 2 Chris said...

I miss the logo so much I just notice it when it shows up. :-) I actually like the new one, but it's just not the same...

Oh, and you're welcome!


russell said...

I agree with Vince and Butch. This issue, with two very good stories, is one of my all-time favorites. The characterization in Steve's story alone is worth the price of admission.

Luke said...

When Minister Blizzard recently returned in the Wonder Woman Annual, I was super-hyped. I think every hero needs an cold-based villian, and this guy has possibly the greatest cold-related name in all of comicdom.

Also, I really dig the roll call for the second feature. Look at that lineup! Yeesh, that's pretty much my definition of "All Star" right there...

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

Hmmm. Last issue the JLA traveled to the year 7243. This issue they traveled to 7250. How did Kanjar Ro know when (or where) they would arrive? Oh well, it was fun anyway.

My story is the opposite of Vince's. This was my last issue of JLA for quite a while. My family moved to another town, and the few nearby stores didn't carry comics. None of the kids in the neighborhood or at school read comics. It was nearly three years before a new convenience store gave me a source for comics. As a result, I missed the Englehart era completely. Just a few years ago I filled the gap, but of course the experience is a bit different.

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