Saturday, April 26, 2008

Justice League of America #153 - Apr. 1978

sgThe JLA takes quite the beat-down from a new foe, Ultraa!

The Story: "Earth's First and Last Superhero!" by Gerry Conway, George Tuska, and Frank McLaughlin. During a contentious JLA meeting, some members of the team begin to vibrate violently, until some of them disappear!

The JLAers find themselves transported to a planet that, well, looks like Earth...

On this planet, we see some hunters, while chasing after some big game, come face to face with a strangely dressed guy that calls himself Ultraa!

Meanwhile, the JLA arrive and people are perplexed as to these weirdly-dressed strangers are. They stumble across a bank robbery, which of course gives the JLA something to do.

sgI've never been a fan of George Tuska's superhero work, but there were times it was cool--I mean, I love that guy's face as he tries to escape The Flash. Priceless.

Anyway, the heroes find out that on this "alternate" Earth, they are merely characters in comic books (and they take a look at JLA #151, even!), so what do they do? Visit Julius Schwartz, of course!

The Flash tries to use Julie's Cosmic Treadmill to go home, but somehow it won't work!

Now we get to see, via flashback, who this Ultraa guy is--a lone survivor of a doomed race that was sent to Earth, and was found by an Aboriginal tribe, as raised as one of their own.

Some of the JLA then comes across a giant robot named Maxitron that is searching for Ultraa, who wants to destroy him. Meanwhile, Superman and GL run into Ultraa, there's the classic Misunderstanding, leading to a fight that luckily ends before too much damage is done.

Maxitron finds Ultraa, but is tricked when Supes and Ultraa are disguised as each other, to throw off Maxitron's plan. Ultraa then plants a good one right in Maxitron's hard-drive, causing it to self-destruct.

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado

Notable Moments: The first and only time Dick Dillin would miss an issue during his extraordinary twelve-year run. Maybe it was the fourteen million other pages DC had him drawing that month.

sgSome superhero comic artists would add little touches of detail that made their work distinctive outside of the style itself.

For example, Murphy Anderson always drew superhero boots with little, elf-like tips at the end. George Tuska always put the time in to drawing little seams on superhero's gloves, like the ones pictured here. That always seemed like a lot of extra work to me.

Ultraa would return many times in subsequent issues of JLA; I don't know if he's ever shown up anywhere recently, however.

One last thing: on the cover, penciller Rich Buckler I thought really conveyed how much of a beating the JLA is taking from Ultraa. In particular, Batman looks like he's snapped his neck. Ouch!


Outburst said...

Hey, thanks for doing this. You're bringing back a lot of great memories. Might even have to start picking these up again for my little one!

rob! said...

welcome, and thanks for reading Outburst!

this blog is loads of fun to do, i'm glad other people enjoy it, as well. JLA Rules!

Butch R said...

Ultraa... Man, I hated loosing him in COIE. DC has brought him back Post COIE pre-IC, he was one of Maxima's suitors. I always liked him because he was very close to a hero I created as a child. (Super Human, thought long and hard on that name if you can't tell :)
Still, I was hoping Ultraa would pop up again the DC's current universe. I would like to see him go up against Superboy Prime.

Matt Celis said...

Ultraa...awful character, ugly costume, terrible name. No thanks.

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