Thursday, June 12, 2008

Justice League of America #197 - Dec. 1981

sgPart 3 of the JLA and the JSA versus the Secret Society of Super-Villains!

The Story: "Crisis in Limbo!" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, Keith Pollard, and Romeo Tanghal. Continued from last issue, we watch the SSOSV gloat as they transport the kidnapped members of the JLA and JSA into another dimension.

After the heroes disappear, the desired-for effect happens, and both worlds experience a worldwide--but momentary--reality shift (another reason why it would be absolutely terrifying to actually live on either of these worlds, since stuff like this seems to happen every couple of days).

Anyway, Ultra Humanite checks his figures and...presto! The heroes of Earth-2 are gone!

While he, The Monocle, The Mist, Brainwave, Psycho Pirate, and Rag Doll gloat, the Earth-1 villains start to think this was going to be the result all along, and they have been hoodwinked.

Of course, they are exactly right, and now that they are no longer needed, UH beams them back to Earth-1! What an ungrateful little monkey!

The Earth-1 villains are furious at the treachery, and they hatch a plan. They lay in wait for Green Lantern, and get the drop on him just as he's about to use the JLA Transporter. They use him to beam there, where they subdue The Elongated Man, and use the satellite to beam themselves to the interdimensional limbo where the kidnapped heroes went.

They get Cheetah all worked up, so she attacks Wonder Woman in a blind rage, smashing the tube she's encased in, freeing all the heroes. Unfortunately, the villains didn't really have an Exit Strategy, and they are easily defeated by the JLA and JSA in return!

Soon after, the Earth-2 villains all meet, and ask why the Ultra Humanite wanted them there. He said he didn't, and the confusion is broken when they learn who it was who called them there:
The heroes make quick work of the bad guys (The Flash in particular knocks Rag Doll around like, well, a rag doll), and throw them all into a transporter beam jerry-rigged by Batman, The Atom, and Wonder Woman.

Superman ends the discussion with knocking UH into the beam, transporting them all into the same limbo the heroes were stranded in.

The JLAers return to the satellite, to a bewildered Green Lantern and Elongated Man, while all the villains chase after Ultra Humanite, in an unusually comical ending.

Roll Call: Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Atom, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Firestorm

Notable Moments: I like the glee with which Batman threatens the villains. For once, he's enjoying this.

The JLA Mail Room features a letter from a Canadian named Todd McFarlane. Hmm...


John Trumbull said...

You know, I really miss the Batman we'd read about in JLA from issues #100-200 or so. He could do the terrifying "creature of the night" thing with the bad guys, but once his was up on the satellite with his friends & colleagues, he would more or less drop the act (as much as Batman is capable of, anyway). Him making a joke or two with his JLA buddies was not unheard of. Frankly, I think that's a much more well-rounded characterization than him going out of his way to scare EVERONE, innocent & guilty alike.

Anonymous said...

I can remember being on pins and needles after # 196...only to miss this issue when it came out(thanks to that damned hometown 7-11 again!)It took months, and a trip to a somewhat distant comic shop, to find it(I think I actually bought it around the time the next year's team-up was on sale!)

The story was well worth the long wait! The Earth-1 villains' scheming to get back at the Earth-2guys made for a cool plot twist(little did I know that this was 'business as usual' in the SSOSV!)I half-expected the Earth-1 baddies to talk thir way into an alliance with the heroes...but, nahhh...that look on their faces when they were finally revived in limbo, and their light-speed takedown of the baddies was cool!
But that was just the warmup for the main event...and thanks, Rob, for printing page 22! THAT scene sums up what the superhero comics of this era were all about! Heroes rebounding from a major whupping to deliver some punishment of their own! Flash's 'taking out the trash' on Rag Doll is a classic!
And fittingly, it's 'Grandpa Supes' putting away UH much like Popeye taking out Bluto!
The power-crazed Earth-2 heroes bringing their 'hostages' along to the citadel may not have made a lot of sense, but it was still kind of fun seeing a bunch of 'ordinary citizen hostages' cheering on the heroes..even though they wouldn't have known who some of them were!('But Batman is DEAD...I think!)
The 'cartoonish' ending with the baddies in limbo was a nice touch...and Gerry Conway even followed up on it, when he used Killer Frost in Firestorm's book shortly afterward, having her escape from custody during the trial resulting from this story!

Butch R said...

A satisfying conclusion to a really good story. I think it was this story that really made me a Earth 2 Kal-L fan. As DC tried to differentiate between him and Earth 1, he always seemed a bit more of a bad ass. And while he (probably) wouldn't kill (Anti-Monitor, anyone), he would mess you up. I really hated his death in IC.
But anyway, Conway's story was great, Perez's art was on target and everyone did a great job.
And, John, I don't know if you are still keeping up with DC but after turning Batman into some near fascist control freak, they have brought him back more to what you say. It's been great having my Batman back (that's my take, anyway).

Earth 2 Chris said...

Didn't Keith Pollard draw part of this issue or work over Perez's layouts in parts? I haven't looked at my copy in a while, but I seem to remember his name in the credits.

This is my all-time favorite JLA/JSA crossover.


Butch R said...

Something that struck me about the cover as I checked back for new comments is... How you almost have a JSA team on the cover. Batman, Black Canary & Wonder Woman all had counterparts already on the JSA and Firestorm could easily stand in for Green Lantern Alan Scot. (though I was thinking how Firestorm could also be seen as a modern version of Johnny Thunder. Stuff appears out of now where, there is a 2nd personality involved, the less smart one is the one in charge, he seems to be younger than his team mates. Just a thought, feel free to show me where I'm wrong). But back to my main point, I think it fits that we practically have a JSA team this issue.

rob! said...


good call, i completely forgot to mention Keith Pollard working on this issue. duly corrected.

Earth-2 Randy said...

Leave us not to forget that the Earth-2 villains of this story would show up a year or so later in All-Star Squadron. In the story that took place across #21-26 and Annual #2. The story that introduced Cyclotron, Deathbolt and Amazing Man. Along with a team of kids known as Infinity, Inc.

Another great story.

But then, that's probably fodder for a different blog, right?? ;)

John Trumbull said...

Butch - I am trying to keep up with DC, but I only make it to the comic shop once every month or two these days. Consequently, I haven't read any of Batman: RIP or Final Crisis yet.

And yeah, Batman is better now. I still think the early 80s Batman was less of a jerk than the guy we have today, though.

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