The Story: "2,000 Light Years to Christmas!" by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. Three mysterious aliens, on a long journey through space, unexpectedly get knocked off course by a space warp near Earth.
While the aliens--merely stunned--survive the blow, they each drop the pouch they are carrying, and they fall to Earth. Where will these pouches end up?
Meanwhile, the several members of the JLA--Superman, Batman, the Hawks, and Elongated Man--are relaxing at the JLA satellite playing a few rounds of poker, while Red Tornado stares into space:
...I love Hawkgirl here--"Please tell me again, exactly what is a Royal Flush?" Oh, she's so adorable.
Red Tornado spots some shooting stars, but the JLA concludes its nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, a war orphan named Traya finds one of the pouches, inside of which is a glowing orb. Another pouch's contents is nicked by a deer(!), which leads to the consternation of a new baddie, Major Macabre! He knows these objects can give one immeasurable powers, and he wants those pouches!
The objects are causing problems all over the world, turning people into monsters, and the JLA divides up into teams to stop them. Traya doesn't know what she's doing with her orb, doesn't understand, but Red Tornado talks to her and gets her to trust him.
Major Macabre shows up, attacks the JLAers individually and fights them off long enough to get the objects. But back at the satellite, Reddy figures out these objects aren't weapons, they just convert the user's emotions, so they're only "evil" under use of someone evil.
The JLA finds Macabre and fights him while Reddy nicks the objects. Without their power, and against the all heroes together, Macabre is defeated. They then return the objects to the alien travelers, on their way to another world, while Reddy offers the orphan Traya a new dawn this holiday season...
Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Hawkman, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl
Notable Moments: A sweet story, and it was nice to Reddy get the spotlight again. And Conway's introduction of Traya would become a permanent fixture in Red Tornado's background.
I could never take Major Macabre too seriously, since, to me, he reminded me way too much of Harry Mudd:
...you be the judge.
There's JLA Mail Room Extra feature in this issue, with a poll asking readers to rank their favorite JLAers, in order. The top three most popular were Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman.
Least popular? Phantom Stranger, Hawkgirl, and Elongated Man. While it's not fair to judge PS against the other members, and Hawkgirl is clearly too new to fully register, if I was Ralph, I would've worried.