Friday, May 30, 2008

Justice League of America #187 - Feb. 1981

sgRomance and shape-changing rock the JLA!

The Story: "All Things Must Change!" by Gerry Conway, Don Heck, and Frank McLaughlin. We open on a pensive Zatanna, staring out into space aboard the JLA satellite.

Her thoughts are interrupted by The Flash, who, admittedly, is in a slightly lonely, nostalgic mood.

He tells Zatanna a bit about the original days of the League, and how much it has changed over the years. He then--gasp!--makes a pass at Zatanna, who seems to respond, and then quickly changes the subject.

Zatanna shows Barry what she's been working on, a new costume! No longer a derivative of either her father or her mother, this new outfit is her own creation.

They then sit down to have dinner, and the things start to heat up, in more ways than one
Meanwhile, down on Earth, we find Superman investigating the cause of an explosion. While underground, he runs across the supervillain Proteus (not seen since Beware The Creeper #'s 4-6!), who quickly zaps the Man of Steel!

Hours later, Superman wakes up...except now he is a normal joe named Bart McLusky! What the?!?

Proteus then does the same to Aquaman and the Elongated Man, and then Wonder Woman. Proteus is on quite a role, you'd think he might stop here.

But no, Proteus has to go for one more notch on his death ray, as he ambushes Zatanna at her home (where Zatanna thinks to herself "I can't believe Barry and I spent the entire night talking!" Uh-huh.).

Back up at the satellite, The Flash answers a distress signal:
Proteus: not detail oriented.

Now the "JLA" arrive at a big ticket jewelry store, along with the Flash, who they tell they are on a mission to guard a big shipment of rare jewels. Before Flash has time to wonder why the JLA is on such a penny-ante mission, they send him to guard the back, where he, too is zapped by Proteus! To be continued!

Roll Call
: Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Elongated Man, Zatanna

Notable Moments: No matter what Zatanna said--er, thought--I was always thought that Zee and know, did it. And while they were supposed to be on Monitor Duty, too!

After three issues drawn by George Perez, Don Heck is given a sort of try-out. He, Perez, and (in two issues) Rich Buckler will basically swap JLA art chores back and forth for the next two years or so.

sgThis same month, the JLA gues-starred in The New Teen Titans #4, by the boffo team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez. know, I really can't believe I don't own a copy of this!


Frank Lee Delano said...

You don't have a silent panel depicting a pot boiling in a comic book unless it means something, and it sure isn't "conversation." Well... maybe after. Issues like this made me realize I liked Barry Allen as a character way more than I liked Hal Jordan as a costume design.

I've never read that issues of NTT either. Must be difficult to come by, as I have a good chunk of that run.

jonnyquest037 said...

It's kind of funny that the George Perez-designed costume for Zatanna makes its "official" debut in a Don Heck drawn story.

I have that NTT issue, Rob. I'm an XQB who lives in New Jersey, too. Want me to loan it to you?

Butch R said...

I remember seeing that cover and thinking of the recent mind switch with the SSOV (wizard, prof zoom). The one that was revisited by Identity Crisis over 20 years later. Let's see, I was about 11 when this came out and even I knew something had gone on. "talking" indeed, whatever the kids are calling it these days.... :)
That's a great cover on NTT, I would by that as a poster today! Hawkman looks pretty vicious. I think I had this one, but I was still having to buy comics off the squeeky spindle at the local gas stations.
Is this a Ross Andru cover? Hard to tell for sure.

Earth 2 Chris said...

That NTT issue has one of the greatest scenes ever to be printed in a comic. The Titans fight the JLA (for real, not just on the cover!), and Robin takes his yellow cape, puts it over GL's right hand, and kicks the crap outta Hal, knocking him out! That's my boy!

Re: the boiling pot; Now we know why Zee and Barry are holding hands on the classic JLA style guide drawing by Garcia-Lopez!!!

Adama said...

Yeah, they were "talking." That's why they failed to notice their dinner boiling over on the stove .

No need to be coy Zee, we're all adults here.

Butch R said...

I was thinking, just imagine a child with Barry & Zatanna's powers. Super fast and magic, eat your heart out child of Superman & Wonder Woman. :)

wich2 said...

Always thought Don Heck was underrated...

At its best, his stuff - esp. the layouts - have an "atomic age" cleanness that reminds me of Infantino's.

-Craig W.

rob! said...


wow, you're an XQB, too? what years did you go?

thanks for the generous offer of the NTT loan, but i'll pick it up on ebay--i'm there often enough...


the cover is by ross andru!


like a lot of artists, i have a greater appreciation for Don Heck now than i did then.

Butch R said...

Totally agree with you on Don Heck, I also appreciate him more now than I did then. And thanks for the cover info!

BentonGrey said...

Ahh, get your minds out of the gutter guys! ;) I don't know, I feel like subtlety like this is completely lost in modern comics, and while I may think Barry is a one woman kind of guy (alive or dead), comics like this remind me how far we've fallen.

russell said...

Ooh, one of my favorites, because I wrote a Letter Of Comment about this issue that was printed...and I *think* this was the issue that had another letter from me in it, about Dick Dillin's death. Can you verify that for me, Rob?
Also...didn't Prometheus appear in Super Team Family featuring The Creeper and Wildcat? I forget the issue number.

rob! said...


i didn't see your name in this issue, but it does surface soon...!

as for Flash and Zee, its only because Flash seemed so love struck after this issue that i assumed something else other than talking went on.

but i agree, subtlety is kinda lost in comics now.

Adama said...


I assumed more than tlaking went on because of the "pot boiling over" image :)

BentonGrey said...

Ha, well, that is rather what I meant about subtlety, as these days they have to beat you over the head with sex and violence.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

I was 14 when this issue came out. At the time, I was shocked by this scene between Barry and Zatanna and, truth be told, I'm still quite taken aback. I mean, seriously ...

... the windows on the JLA satellite had curtains??!?!?

Of course, it is absolute proof that Barry and Zee really were just talking. There's no way Barry woulda left the curtains open if anything was going on.

And, I love George Perez but I didn't care for his Zatanna costume redesign, at all. I liked the ponytail.

John Trumbull said...

I went to the Kubert School '94-'97, Rob -- What about you?

Oh, btw, this is still jonnyquest037. I'm posting under my real name now, since I just started up a new blog on Blogspot tonight. Feel free to check it out!

rob! said...


i was there 89-92. so long ago...


good catch on the curtains. never noticed that before. i guess with all aliens flying through the galaxy, you need privacy even on the jla satellite!

Robert Hustwick said...

My only real problem with this issue is how Barry kind of comes off looking like a real idiot in it. He wonders if he's dealing with imposters in the League, and then when he sees them causing wanton destruction in the streets, all he can say is, "It must be them," because he sees them using their powers. Would the real Aquaman beat up a police officer? Would the real Superman use his heat vision to destroy a flag pole? I don't think so. It was just strange how Barry went along with it all so quickly.

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