Saturday, June 7, 2008

Justice League of America #192 - July 1981

sgThe Justice League versus...The Red Tornado?!?

The Story: "Quest for Genesis" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, and John Beatty. We open at the JLA satellite, where a shadowy figure beams aboard and makes their way to the JLA Conference Room.

Once there, we see members of the League going over some organizational business, when its stops as they notice their late arrival...Red Tornado.

Superman notices something seems...odd about Reddy. He's right, as Red Tornado attacks his friends with his tornado powers!

During the melee Batman's arm is broken, and most of the rest of team is momentarily stunned. But Superman composes himself, knocks Reddy off his feet, and then Flash dismembers him, so they can study Reddy and see what's going on.

While they discuss what just happened, Reddy's severed head explodes while Flash is holding onto it(!), putting him in shock.

As most of the heroes make their way to Sick Bay, Green Lantern hangs back, using his ring to analyze Reddy's "remains" to see if this is the real Red Tornado. Aquaman and Firestorm hang back too, and they take the elevator down, explaining to newest member Firestorm who this "T.O. Morrow" guy is
Unfortunately, as the heroes step off the elevator, they are sucker-tornadoed by yet another Red Tornado!

This Reddy then attacks Superman and Wonder Woman, with a level of viciousness that still manages to shock his old friends. The Flash, having recovered, grabs Reddy, tosses him out of the airlock, Battlestar Galactica-style, where he explodes--again!

This second explosion has been watched by a man on Earth, in a cabin buried in the snowy mountains of Colorado.

We find this man is, of course, T.O. Morrow, Red Tornado's creator, who wants to know why all his Red Tornado's are exploding!

He has his supercomputer analyze, and it spits back at him that the inherent design of Red Tornado is "flawed" and that the original model somehow differs from the copies. Morrow wants to find out why this is, so he heads to New York to find the real Reddy.

We find that Reddy with his family, when suddenly someone gets "into" his mind, driving him insane and out of control! He cannot resist the voice is in head, whichs is telling Reddy to come to him!

Reddy does, leaving Kathy and Traya completely bewildered. Not long after, the JLA arrive, offering to help.

We cut back to Morrow, now with Red Tornado immobile in front of him, as he goes over their convoluted history. He explains that "something" got into his supercomputer when he created Reddy, which also caused it to incorrectly predict that he would die at a certain time (JLA #106).

Morrow simply must learn what makes The Red Tornado special, and he plans to find out, even if it means dismantling Reddy!

But, as we can see, one of the JLA has found Morrow:
To be continued!

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

Notable Moments: This is an interesting line-up for this story--minus Reddy, its the original members plus new member Firestorm. Cool.

This issue opens with the JLA going over boring organizational minutiae, something we rarely got to see, but I enjoyed:
The art combo of George Perez and John Beatty is, to my eye, sensational--Beatty's smooth line meshes perfectly with Perez's hyper-detailed layouts. I wish these two had stayed on the book in perpetuity.

Another nice thing about Perez's work is the storytelling--I don't know whether the elevator sequence was written out by Gerry Conway or thought up by Perez, but I like how the three of them use the elevator, you know, like regular people would. They don't fly around all the time, and its another nice, subtle touch.

The letters page is interesting, too, since it features a letter by none other than JLA Satellite commenter Russell Burbage:


John Trumbull said...

I just love this issue. The opening sequence with Red Tornado approaching the JLA meeting is wonderfully atmospheric and suspenseful. This 2-parter is one of the definitive JLA stories for me.

I wonder if a young Brad Meltzer read this issue and thought, "Good story, but it'd be better if the JLA meeting lasted for 6 issues instead of 2 pages." :)

russell said...

Ah, yes...I forgot my letter was in this issue. I had an earlier missive about the first appearance of Perez in these pages, too. I was a regular LOC lunatic back then. LOL! Thanks for printing this, Rob! Funny how I don't care too much for Heck's work now, though...I guess my eye changed as I got older. :-) I definitely preferred Perez or Buckler.

Randy said...

The first comics I bought where I actually had both parts of the story were this and the next issue. I was like 10 or 11 and was so excited that I could actually read the whole story, beginning to end.

I must have read this story like 20 times the first week I had it.

Think I might go reread it now! :)

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

This retold and retooled 2-part origin of Red Tornado is definitely a high-point in JLA history.

Can't wait for tomorrow ...

Doug said...

This was MY first comic that I bought with my hard-earned allowance! I remember truckingo n down to the carryout (it was a Sterling's) and waffling between this and a Spider-Man comic. The plethora of recognizable heroes (I'd recently discovered Firestorm in Flash backups and everyone else was from Super Friends) on the cover won my Kennedy half dollar!

Had the privlege of meeting Perez a few years back and had him sign the original worn, torn frayed and dog-eared yellowed copy. Of course I also bought a NM version for posterity too.

Arsene Wenger said...

This was my early comics days. Was 7 years old in London. Thrilling even to this day. I think comics should return to simplicity with good sub plots that Gerry Conway was a master at. The coloring when Reddy is entering the elevator was a masterpiece. Great sequences from Perez. Those were great days.

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