Monday, June 9, 2008

Justice League of America #194 - Sept. 1981

sgThe JLA faces Death itself at the hands of...Amos Fortune!

The Story: "Destiny is a Stacked Deck" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, and John Beatty. A hooded figure deals a deck of Tarot-like cards, except these feature members of the Justice League. He wonders aloud "Which shall live...and which shall die?"

Cut to: a carnival taking place in Metropolis, and reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane are participating in the fun (well, Lois is--Clark is in charge of carrying all Lois' stuff).

As he waits for Lois, Clark realizes that someone can read his thoughts! He makes his way into a nearby tent, where the self-same hooded stranger reveals that Clark Kent is Superman!

He then strikes Superman with a wooden staff, which turns Superman into a frail old man! As the hooded man leaves, he promises Superman for what's next..."You will know him by the horse he rides."

Meanwhile, in Central City, Barry Allen and the Dibnys are spending some time together, but trouble is never far behind--two strangely-dressed men appear, and the two heroes don their uniforms to investigate:

...I always liked this panel. Perez made The Elongated Man look dynamic!

Anyway, they too are attacked, leaving The Flash consumed with depression, and Ralph turned into a giggling moron. Similar attacks happen to Green Lantern, Black Canary (along with Green Arrow), and even at the JLA satellite, where Zatanna is rendered blind.

The affected JLAers find her there, each of them trying to overcome their respective afflictions. Once Zatanna hears what happened to the rest of them, she says she knows who is behind this.

Soon after, they show up at the castle of the JLA's old foe, Amos Fortune, who draws forth Death himself to attack them!

It initially seems hopeless, but soon the JLA starts to feel differently--that, yes, death is inevitable. It can be denied, but it can be defied. This helps restore Superman to fill strength, who punches Death, which is way cool.

Zatanna's theory that once the JLA started overcoming their depressions, they would be able to fight back, was correct. Amos Fortune tries to escape using another of his Tarot cards, but it wasn't the one he wanted
Roll Call: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Zatanna

Notable Moments: Even as a kid I knew that Amos Fortune didn't die--what supervillains ever does?--I still found the end kinda creepy. I liked Perez's style on the Tarot cards, too.


Anonymous said...

A creepy story, which had kind of a 'House of Mystery/Secrets of Haunted House' vibe to it! Too bad it wasn't printed for Halloween..and that Cain, Destiny, or at least the Phantom Stranger, were left out!
It was nice seeing GA in uniform, if only briefly, and the 'secret identity ambushes' were a good way to include some of the members' supporting characters.
Superman 'zapping' death at the end was a great shot...which leads me to ask Rob, how do you determine the 'money shot', so to speak, the one (maybe two) panels to illustrate your entries? I no longer have this issue, but I thought that either the sequence where Superman is attacked in the carnival tent, or the 'knockout punch' to Death, would have looked good here!

Butch R said...

Yet another issue I missed and now wish I had been able to pick up. Man, that Perez cover looks sweet. And I'm guessing the JSA/JLA crossover coming up is the one with Ultra Humanitate's SSOV.

russell said...

This WAS a good issue. I liked most issues around this time...basically any that didn't feature Firestorm! (I know, I know). This, to me, was Classic JLA done right. (Although I would still have enjoyed seeing the Atom or Hawkgirl around more...!)

rob! said...


i generally try and find significant moments in the story. failing that, just really cool moments (like aquaman busting in on t.o. morrow).

sometimes its really easy, sometimes its really hard.

wait til you see the post for #200--scans galore!

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