Thursday, May 22, 2008

Justice League of America #179 - June 1980

sgAnother new member for the Justice League!

The Story: "The Siren Song of the Satin Satan!" by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. We open in a discotheque, where an exotic beauty known as the Satin Satan seems to be able to command men to do whatever she wants...

Meanwhile, there's a celebration happening at the JLA satellite, where the august group of heroes has just inducted a new member...Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!

It blasts Superman with Kryptonite eyes, and hits Batman with a lightning bolt-type ray, leaving the rest of the JLA to take it on!

After the initial exuberance, the JLA gets down to the nitty-gritty, teaching Firestorm all the details he must master to be a member of the team. Firestorm's younger side--teenager Ronnie Raymond--is bored to tears, but is snapped out of his fog by Black Canary. Green Arrow notices, and doesn't like that one bit.

Red Tornado notices Arrow's unhappiness, recalling his disappointment over Black Lightning turning the JLA down (in #173), and recalls the evolution of the team:
...nice page, but where's Hawkgirl? Who built Reddy's android brain, Texas Instruments?

Anyway, after the initial training session is over, the team beams down to Earth, going their own ways. Superman reminds Firestorm he is now part of a group of friends, and just to call if he needs them. After you've been inducted into the Justice League of America, what do you do for an encore?

Firestorm changes back into his two identities, Ronnie and Prof. Martin Stein. Ronny goes out with his friends to a dance club, where a mutual friend tells them what happened earlier, with the mysterious woman.

Ronnie leaves his friends, changes back to Firestorm, and investigates. Once inside another club people saw Satin go into, he finds her, but she is able to control his actions!

She plants one on Firestorm, and as he turns to stone(!), he has just enough energy left to hit his JLA signal device.
To be continued!

Roll Call
: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, and new member Firestorm!

Notable Moments: This is depending on your point of view of course, but to me Firestorm is the last new member of the "classic" JLA. There would be more members to come of course, but by then the JLA would be a very, very different book of characters.

Firestorm was a creation of Gerry Conway, and the character was a month or two away from having a back-up series in The Flash. (He would get his own book again in a year or two, The Fury of Firestorm, that would become one of DC's biggest sellers)

You could argue Conway was showing clear favoritism towards his own creation, putting this new hero in the League ahead of other, more established heroes. But I liked Firestorm on the team--his relative youth and experience was a nice counterpoint to the rest of the JLA, and having the same writer write Firestorm's solo book and JLA offered the opportunity to do character development within JLA, something Conway rarely got to do, but was obviously something he wanted to explore, and eventually got to do, big-time.


Anonymous said...

A very cool, if misleading, cover!(As a kid when this came out, I thought the other members were actually going to fight Superman!)
Conway also wrote DC Comics Presents # 17, in which Firestorm guest-starred, and saved Superman from Killer Frost, leading to a final-panel invitation to join the JLA.

russell said...

I HATED Firestorm, and I hated Conway for having him join. For one thing, emotionally he is younger than Robin and the other Teen Titans. For another, he is not a full-time super-hero. And for a third, he never shared his secret identity with the other JLAers. And lastly, his power is just too super. It definitely makes interesting characters like Elongated Man, the Hawks, and Aquaman superfluous when Firestorm can just create handcuffs out of thin air to stop whomever. Besides which, why do we need ANOTHER member? Fourteen is pretty big. (shakes head) I don't know, I read this issue with the dis on Hawkgirl and the lack of appearances from such once-mighty JLAers Aquaman, the Atom, Ralph, etc and I thought, NO. I was totally on Green Arrow's side on this issue. It didn't help that Firestorm was Conway's baby. That just smacked too much of nepotism to me.

Adama said...

I'm a big fan of Firestorm, but his entry into the JLA has always seemed a little...forced. I do agree that he's the last member of the classic era though!

Butch R said...

When I was a kid, the inclusion of Firestorm made a lot of sense. I thought the JLA was the "big guns" of the DCU. Looking at it now, it seems a bit dubious and maybe even forced. So I'm somewhere in the middle of this fence.
Agreed on him being the last member of the Classic JLA.

Anybody want to weigh in on the rumor that Satin Satan was (maybe just visually) based on former model and current "reality tv" train wreck Janice Dickenson?

Earth 2 Chris said...

I liked Firestorm in the Leauge myself. He gave the readers a character they could indentify with, but could pull his own weight and not be an annoying putz like Snapper. Through his eyes, we could appreciate the awesome sights he was seeing. The veteran JLAers had been around the block so much, a trip to another world was just a Tuesday for them.

Conway may have been playing favorites, but Ithink it worked.

And no dobut Firestorm is the last member of the real, classic JLA.


Anonymous said...

I hear you about Hawkgirl, but Green Arrow's not on that page either for some reason.

rob! said...


true, but on the previous page and the first paragraph of this one, Reddy is thinking about all the members who have come SINCE green arrow, so that's why he was not included in the picture.

hawkgirl gets dissed all the time, even--as we'll see--in the classic 200th issue!

CaptainJersey said...

I am definitely in the pro-Firestorm group. First, he was the first hero I got to se from the beginning... Second, He and Zatanna both added a youthful counterpoint to the League (I'm surprised no one ever referred to them as the Wonder Twins).

And then there is the puffy shirt! You have to love the puffy shirt!

Matt Celis said...

Probably because she (1) is superfluous and (2) sucks.

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