Thursday, May 1, 2008

Justice League of America #158 - Sept. 1978

sgThe return of Ultraa!

The Story: "The Super-Power of Negative Thinking!" by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. We find The Flash and Wonder Woman taking on Poison Ivy and Mirror Master, when suddenly that hero from another world, Ultraa, shows up to help!

The villains get away with some stolen loot, but WW explains that the stuff they stole is nearly worthless. Ultraa is so furious these bad guys would risk innocent lives to steal worthless objects he takes off to find them.

Meanwhile, the two heroes are shocked to find that the regular citizens are hardly appreciative of the JLAers saving them--in fact, they tell Flash and Wonder Woman that being around a super-powered fight is like being in an earthquake!

We follow the baddies back to the secret hideout of the Injustice Gang, where their mysteriously cloaked leader tells them these items are far from worthless! He tells them they are extra-terrestrial artifacts that, when combined, will help a race of alien overlord take over Earth!

The members of the IG--Ivy, Mirror Master, Chronos, Tattooed Man, and the Scarecrow--don't believe the story, and their leader gets furious at them for such insolence! The villains pipe down, but Chronos silently tells himself he's going to check up on this guy.

Meanwhile, as the JLA are discussing what's happened, Ultraa breaks in and shoots them with some sort of "negative ray", which he tells them gets rid of all their super-powers! The JLA doesn't believe it, until they all discover they are now, indeed, powerless! Ultraa says this is the only way to bring peace to his new home, so now it's off to find the Injustice Gang!

He shoots them with the beam, unbeknownst to them, and he believes all is well. But when they, along with the alien artifacts, start wrecking the Earth, he realizes something has gone wrong!

Ultraa tries to take on the villains directly, but the Scarecrow instills his terrorizing fear in Ultraa, so the JLA--powerless, they believe--still show up to try and help.

The JLA tell themselves that Ultraa's beam didn't so much take away their powers but their belief in their powers, so the JLA goads each other on to overcome this mental handicap. It works, and Superman delivers the final blow, via heat vision, to the alien artifacts and the IG's leader, who turned out to be...Abra Kadabra!

But what to do with Ultraa?

Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Red Tornado

Notable Moments: I always felt like Ultraa was primed to be the next member of the JLA, but it never quite happened.

For some reason, I also have a copy of this issue in one of those now-maddeningly-popular (read: expensive on eBay) Comic Pacs, courtesy Whitman, under the blanket title of Superman Comics:
Each comic retailed for 50 cents, so via Whitman you get two comics for 99 cents, a savings penny. Gee, I wonder why Whitman had such a tough time moving these out the door?


Plaidstallions said...

I love poly bagged comics so darn much, they're so synonymous with the 70's.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Man, I remember those. I had several comics in both DC and Whitman versions. The little Superman in the corner UPC box came from Whitman's giant Superman: The Movie coloring book I believe. I had that baby!


Butch R said...

It's funny you bring up the polybags, my parents were obsessed with them. I kept trying to point out what you said there, you're only saving a penny, but who listens to their kid???

BTW, your comment "I always felt like Ultraa was primed to be the next member of the JLA, but it never quite happened.", is something I used to think about also. I was really surprised when it never happened.

rob! said...

yeah, it seemed like such a set-up--lonely supehero, no home, no place he regularly appears, and guest-stars twice in five months?

Earth 2 Chris said...

If they had inducted Ultraa, maybe the Detroid Leauge wouldn't have been such a shock. They went from all established characters to half "made to order" characters. Of course you could argue Firestorm was barely established...

That being said, I never cared for Ultraa. I thought he was pretty lame. No offense to anyone running an Ultraa blog!


russell said...

Maybe Ultraa never joined because he wasn't popular? I, for one, hated him.
I remember this issue mostly because during the story the villain shows only his chin under his hood, and then at the very end, when Abra Cadabra shows his face, he suddenly has a beard! Now THAT is magic!!!

rob! said...

>>No offense to anyone running an Ultraa blog!<<

rats, there goes my next blog!

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

You'd think those IG villains would have learned something from being used by Libra back in #111. But no, here they are taking orders from another mystery man. I mean, I don't expect much from a goober like Tattooed Man, but I always thought Mirror Master and Chronos had a little more common sense. And Scarecrow, of all people, should know better than to talk to strangers.

Matt Celis said...

Because Ultraa utterly sucks right down to his misspelled name...?

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