Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Justice League of America #219 - Oct. 1983

sgThe JLA and the JSA versus one of their own!

The Story: "Crisis in the Thunderbolt Dimension!" by Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton, and Romeo Tanghal. We open in Keystone City, where the Flashes of both Earths are taking care of some particularly hapless crooks.

After wrapping them up and handing them off to the police, they head to the JLA Transporter Tube atop a local building.

While they're waiting for the tube to kick on, a giant pink lightning bolt comes out of suddenly-appearing storm clouds. Not only that, but it seems to headed right towards them!

The bolt seems to "push" Jay Garrick out of the way, but it zaps Barry Allen, knocking him out! Jay is shocked to see the lightning bolt is actually his fellow superhero, Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt!

He tries to attack it, but T-Bolt blasts him, knocking him out for a moment. As he disappears into the sky, Jay sees that Barry is...dying!

Meanwhile, up at the JLA Satellite, the two sets of heroes are having a party. Except for Firestorm, who doesn't seem to be enjoying himself
(By the way, coming in on Black Canary saying: "...oh, and it's about this long, and as wide around as a marking pen": is it just me?)

Anyway, Firestorm is mopey because Power Girl--who he has made a play for every time they reunited with the JLA since he met her--seems to be ignoring him. Elongated Man tries to cheer him up, but its Hourman who delivers the advice he wants to hear:
Hourman, mack daddy.

Suddenly the party is broken when the T-Bolt shows up at the satellite, and he blasts Firestorm as mercilessly as he did The Flash.

He then does the same to Zatanna and Elongated Man, but only barely touches the JSAers plus Black Canary and Red Tornado. In fact, it's Canary's Canary Cry that seems to drive him off.

Jay Garrick then shows up, with Barry is in arms, and they put all the comatose JLAers in Sick Bay. They then realize the only connection the rest of them have us they were all born (or, in Reddy's case, created) on Earth-2...but what could that have to do with anything?

They try and contact the other Leaguers, but they see a similar fate has befallen them:
...I always found this panel a tad unsettling, not seeing what happened. To be able to take out Superman and Wonder Woman before they even got the chance to get up? Wow!

While all this is happening, the JSA hears that a group of super-villains are attacking and robbing various places on the globe. The JSAers break up into teams to stop them, with Starman and Canary staying behind.

Starman has a hunch they might find out what's going on if they visit T-Bolt's home dimension, so using his Cosmic Rod, they go there, where they are sucker-zapped by the T-Bolt.

When they wake up, they are imprisoned by the T-Bolt, who is controlled by the evil, Earth-1 version of Johnny Thunder! Not only that, but he shows them something startling--encased in a glass coffin is her deceased husband, Larry Lance, plus...Black Canary herself! To be continued!

Roll Call: Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Zatanna, Firestorm

Notable Moments: A rare Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman-less JLA/JSA team-up. I guess with Batman out of the JLA, it made more sense to feature the other heroes.

A great, insanely-detailed cover by George Perez. The JLAers really look like they're in pain there.


russell said...

Ah, I remember this issue fondly. Green Lantern was back, Red Tornado and Black Canary were hanging out with old friends, and the plot was generally well thought out. (sigh) Too bad it degenerates into something stupid next issue.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Yeah, I remember being into this one, and as a kid even liking the conclusion. But in hindsight, what a convoluted mess. Now, I don't think Crisis was necessary, but storylines like this make me understand why some people thought DC needed a good housecleaning.

Man, I really liked Chuck Patton's stuff. Too bad he didn't stick around comics.


John Trumbull said...

No, Rob, it's NOT just you. That bit of Black Canary dialogue is about 6 kinds of wrong, especially when Power's Girl's initial response is, "Tell Oliver I'm IMPRESSED, Dinah." Not too many other ways to read that. Are we really supposed to believe that the JLA & JSA ladies are so hard up for conversation that Dinah starts talking about Ollie's new trick arrows?

Another highlight of this issue: The servebot with the personality programmed by Green Arrow. :)

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, I see where this is going. I'm no fan of what the Crisis did to the multiverse, but this story's stunning conclusion would turn out to be one of the best arguments for simplifying continuity.

(The Crisis wound up causing more continuity problems than it solved, but it was at least intended to simplify matters.)

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

I was shocked by the innuendo in that exchange between Dinah and Kara back in 1983, even though I was 18 years old. It just didn't seem to belong in a comic aimed at kids.

Since then, of course, DC has taken steps to ensure that comics aren't aimed at kids...

rob! said...


well, i have to say, i was 12 when this came out, and it completely went past me. it wasn't until a few years ago and i re-read the book that i went "wait...what?"

...so, yeah, its a little dirty, but i can testify that most little kids wouldn't notice it.

now, of course, they'd be talking full on about blow jobs.

BentonGrey said...

You know, things like that are a little racey, but Rob's right, even though it may not be appropriate, at least it was subtle enough that most kids wouldn't get it. Subtlety is something that has been almost completely excised from our culture, though, and especially from comics.

Still, this sounds like a really cool story, though I don't like the rumblings in the comments about bad news on the horizon.

You're right though, Crisis created a lot more problems than it fixed....just look at Hawkman....anyway, DC's about to make the same mistakes again it looks like......

Matt Celis said...

Story starts off really well. And what a great cover.

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