The Story: "The Devil's Bargain" by Gerry Conway, Rich Buckler, and Romeo Tanghal. Continued from last issue, the JLA meet with the aliens--who call themselves The Treasurers--to deliver the samples they requested.
The JLA balks at them taking an actual human being, but lowly, simple George Stuart volunteers to go, saying he's been ordinary his whole life--here's his chance to be special.
While Ray's co-worker David steals a jet(!) to find his fiancee, Superman decides that some of the team needs to head into space and investigate these treasurers--this whole thing is all too conveniently timed.
When Red Tornado heads into the upper atmosphere to release the sphere containing the X-Element, it explodes in his face!
The JLAers rescue Reddy, and while the X-Element from the aliens seems to do the trick for the moment, things quickly turn sour. All of a sudden, people and animals touched by the sparkling dust falling from the sky turn into horrible monsters!
Superman and the others, spying on the treasurers, find them making some sort of deal with another set of aliens, seemingly for the person of George Stuart. At the same time, the JLA satellite is attacked by those same aliens, named the War-Kohns.
These War-Kohns think they've killed the JLAers inside, and they head to Earth. The heroes of course are not dead, and they decide to head to Earth to fight these alien attackers, with an added bit of muscle suddenly appearing...The Phantom Stranger!
Superman and the others learn that the Treasurers and the War-Kohns have been warring for years, and struck an uneasy bargain. The Treasurers would find a planet, deplete its X-Element, then offer to replace it. But this new supply of X-Element was infected with a germ, causing the natives on a planet to turn into War-Kohns!
This enrages the JLAers, who have had enough of talking:
...that is one scary Superman!
The JLAers find themselves evenly matched by the War-Kohns. Meanwhile, our lovelorn human David lands his stolen jet in Sweden, where he is met by a bunch of snarling War-Kohns! He knocks a few of them around with a well-swung fire extinguisher, and heads off to find his fiancee Olivia! To be continued!
Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl
Notable Moments:As I mentioned yesterday, artist Rich Buckler offered up a couple of awesome full-page shots, meant to take advantage of the treasury comics-sized format this story was planned for.
Also, while last issue ended at an understandable point, this one ends on the most minor of the sub-plots. I guess DC only had so many choices where to break up a 72-page story into three 23-page chapters.
Hey, Phantom Stranger--nice of you to show up, but are you a member or not?