Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Justice League of America #201 - Apr. 1982

sgThe return of Ultraa! Let's see how he screws up this time!

The Story: "A Hero For All Seasons" by Gerry Conway, Don Heck, and Bob Smith. On the Atlantic City boardwalk, down-on-his-luck fella Joe Perry ponders the failures of his life.

You see, one time, many years ago, Perry found a sort of "wishing machine", and instead of using it to make himself rich and famous, he ended up in a battle with the Justice League, way back in JLA #31.

As he walks down the boardwalk, he notices a young man sweeping up the dirt, and is amazed to see the guy yank up a plank of the boardwalk with one hand! Yep, it's everybody's favorite loose cannon, Ultraa!

We then see Joe talking to Ultraa, trying to talk him into using his extraordinary abilities to make himself--and Joe--rich and famous. Howabout ads for health clubs?

Meanwhile, on the JLA satellite, Green Arrow and Black Canary are going through some training sessions, when they receive a distress signal. Superman and The Flash also arrive to see what's up.

The alert is from The Atom, who is at FBI headquarters, and while there he shows his fellow JLAers some disturbing footage: their old friend Ultraa going into a bank and robbing it, ripping the bank vault door right off its hinges!

The Flash spots Joe Parry in the background, and heads to Midway City to ask Hawkman for help. Partly because he was in on the case previously, and partly to shake Carter from his depression over Shayera's extended absence.

At first Hawkman turns him down, but The Flash is persuasive, and eventually he and the other JLAers head to Atlantic City to find Joe Parry's apartment.

They knock out Joe with a Concussion Arrow, but Ultraa attacks them and the battle spills out into an Atlantic City casino, one that uses giant props as a backdrop (this must be the Finger Casino they just opened up).

Ultraa takes out Superman and The Flash, and then calms down, realizing he's been duped and led astray again. As he kneels at the feet of Joe Parry, wondering how it all went wrong, he is approached with a different tack by Hawkman, having just woken up from taking a giant pair of dice in the chest
...a nice sequence by Heck. The back and forth between the two is effective and dynamic.

Cut to: Joe Parry being convicted of conspiracy to commit theft. But where's Ultraa?

Hawkman and the JLA saw it Ultraa went where he would belong--with a tribe of Aboriginies, in the outback of Australia, just like the kind of place he came from on his home planet. Here, Ultraa is finally happy.

Roll Call: Superman, Flash, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary

Notable Moments: Patience is strained, watching Ultraa get duped into fighting the JLA again, but at least Conway knew how to end this--with Ultraa finally being put somewhere where he can't cause trouble anymore.

Replacing George Perez is not a task I'd envy for any comic book artist, and after two mediocre issues (198-199), I think Don Heck brought his "A" game here--the layouts are inventive, the storytelling effective.


Butch R said...

You know, I always liked Ultraa but I don't think any of the writers really knew what to do with him. He out super-ed Superman. (though I keep thinking he might show up to fight Superboy/man Prime in current continuity) Him going on Australia actually made sense, but I don't think he appeared ever again, even during Crisis.

Earth-2 Randy said...

They did an issue of JL Quarterly that tried to make him from Almerac, the same planet Maxima came from, but he made just the one appearance, fighting Captain Atom.

#201 though was always one I thought was a neat issue. I liked Ultraa and I hope he comes back too.

outburst said...

This was the first JLA issue I ever got and I was onboard from here on. This one holds a special place for me obviously and I thought it was a good issue.

Butch R said...

Hey Rob, is this another Buckler cover? As you might have guessed, I'm putting my art knowledge to the test, sorry to bother you yet again about that.
And I'll agree that from what I see here that Heck was putting some serious effort in to the issues.

rob! said...


nope, its George Perez and Dick Gioradno. Rich Buckler has one last burst of work on the JLA coming up in about a week and a half.

russell said...

I loved that cover. I remember picking it up thinking, COOL! and then being a bit disappointed that Perez wasn't working on the inside, too.

Earth-2 Randy said...

I remember liking this issue when I bought it originally. I think this was the first book I had read that showed the meaning of 'continuity' among the DC titles.

I always thought it was neat that what was going on in Hawkman's stories in World's Finest were being reflected in JLA. And I also liked the fact that his friends were rallying around him to try and cheer him up.

Much like friends would in a case like this.

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