Sunday, June 8, 2008

Justice League of America #193 - Aug. 1981

sgPart 2 of the secret origin of The Red Tornado, and guest-starring a being from the JLA's past!

The Story: "Secret of Genesis" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, and John Beatty. Continued from last issue, the JLA was searching for Red Tornado, who is now under the mental control of his creator, T.O. Morrow.

As Morrow threatens to dismantle creation in order to find out what makes him different, he doesn't realize that one of the JLA has found him--the King of the Seven Seas, Aquaman!

Aquaman waits outside, listening, until he hears Tomorrow threaten his friend Reddy. This spurs Aquaman to make his move, in a brilliantly executed sequence by George Perez
Unfortunately, T.O. Morrow still has his all-powerful sceptre, and he blasts Aquaman, encasing him in ice and sending him hurtling into the ocean. He then uses it to transport he and Reddy away.

Meanwhile, the JLA are back at Reddy's house, having not been able to find him. The Flash thinks this has got to be the work of Morrow, and goes to check on him, currently in a Central City jail, in another sequence perfectly laid out and timed by Perez:
The light moment is interrupted by Green Lantern, who shows them the imprisoned Aquaman!

Back at his mountain retreat, Morrow dissects Reddy, when a blinding light starts eminating from Reddy's body, overcoming him and knocking him out.

At the JLA satellite, Wonder Woman is in Sick Bay, trying to free Aquaman from his prison. The rest of the JLAers are nervously watching, and Firestorm shoots his mouth off, betting there's no way Aquaman is still alive. The Flash takes him aside to disabuse him of that notion:
Wonder Woman manages to free Aquaman, who is conscious long enough to tell them that the culprit behind all this is, in fact, T.O. Morrow.

Morrow wakes up from the explosion at his lab to find himself in the clutches of the JLA, who seem mighty pissed. Morrow gets off a shot with that annoying sceptre of his, but its no help when he is confronted by a giant, sentient tornado!

This tornado creature---the Tornado Tyrant--is something the JLA has faced before, way back in JLA #17. It makes short work of the JLA, knocking them all out, leaving only a scared out his wits Firestorm.

Before he can try and attack it himself, he is stopped by a tiny, man-sized tornado, who explains that he and the Tyrant are two halves of the same being, who fought the JLA so long ago:
And it was he (they?) who chose to inhabit the android body of Red Tornado when it was created. Firestorm realizes this means that Reddy is actually alive, and possesses a soul!

The tornado asks Firestorm to use his powers to fuse it and the Tyrant back together, and back into the Red Tornado. That means the tornado will lose all of its self-knowledge, and resume "being" the Red Tornado, but it says that is a small price to pay to have a purpose in life.

Firestorm does this (with the Tyrant being none too happy about it), and finds a dazed, confused Red Tornado in the aftermath. Firestorm decides not to tell Reddy what he knows, thinking Reddy deserves a chance for a life of his own.

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

Notable Moments: I loved this second part as much as I did the first--it has so many nice character moments, plus plenty of superhero derring-do.

And while Aquaman's plan ends up not being very well executed, its still cool he got this moment to himself, superbly told by Perez. I also love the flashbacks to the old 60s JLA as drawn by Perez, they look utterly charming to me.

This issue also had a 16-page preview (one of many DC did around this time) of All-Star Squadron, which quickly became one of my favorite comics. The best fifty cents I ever spent.


Anonymous said...

This story was one of the better multi-parters of its era. Perez and Beatty made a good team(what else did Beatty do, anyway?)
Reading # 193 as a kid, I was somewhat disappointed in part 2 for some reason-although the Tornado Tyrant made up for that!
I didn't like how quickly Morrow took out Aquaman, after that great cliffhanger in part 1(NO respect, I tell ya!), and something about seeing every other Leaguer getting trashed in that godforsaken 'Dakota Badlands' setting put me off. Plus, the other JLAers are left to a 'miraculous off-panel recovery.
I later appreciated it as the plot device that made it possible for Firestorm to keep Reddy's 'secret', which was actually a cool touch.
As for the All-Star Squadron preview, what I saw of the story was great, but for some insane reason, my local 7-11 seemed to sell every DC Title EXCEPT the Squadron, so I missed most of the rest of the action...I only collected about half the total run of the series, and never got to read part 4 of the JLA crossover(between JLA 208 and 209). In closing,a 25-plus-years overdue UP YOURS to my old hometown 7-11!;-)

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

The opening sequence with Aquaman bursting thru the window is one of my all-time favorite Sea King moments.

And how could you not like Red tornado after this story?

outburst said...

That's a great issue. I'm fascinated with the interaction between flametop and Flash, mostly because Firestorm had some mini-stories featured in the Flash comic around this time, with a couple tie-ins between the characters.
That, like this, was very much about the legend teaching the young kid a few tricks which made for some fun moments.

russell said...

I'm with Anonymous above; I was let-down by this issue after that terrific beginning last issue. Aquaman got taken care of WAY too easily (as did all the other JLAers, I guess) and the ending with Firestorm saving the day really annoyed me. I was totally on Green Arrow's side after this story re: the kid being too powerful. A being SO incredible as Firestorm just makes the others too superfluous. I DID like Red Tornado even more after this story, though.

Randy said...

Yeah, part one is definitely the better part of the two. But you gotta GOTTA love that sequence of Aquaman entering Morrow's home via the window.

Although, I happened to like the story as a whole. But then, I've read it many many times since then.

John Beatty went on to ink various stuff for both DC and Marvel. He inked Ordway on Adventures of Superman for a long while after the Byrne reboot in 1986. He also inked Mike Zeck a lot over at Marvel. That 5-part Punisher series in the mid 80s being one.

Butch R said...

This was a great issue, I'm with Rob, this was the best 50 cents I ever spent. I remember reading this eating a burger & fries over at Kay's Ice Cream and getting some ice cream on the cover and having to clean it up quick. Perez & Beatty made a great team, too bad they didn't stay together and become THE art team for DC. Personally, I think Conway was hitting his stride here. With Perez & Conway both hitting home runs, it was a good time to be a JLA fan.

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