The Story: "The Doppleganger Gambit" by Roy Thomas, Chuck Patton, Romeo Tanghal, and Pablo Marcos. Picking up from last issue, the JSAers leave the JLA satellite and prepare to head off to various corners of the globe to stop rampaging supervillains.
They are startled when they are met by Sargon the Sorcerer, who uses his powers to freeze and pretty much embarass the Huntress, Power Girl, and Red Tornado, who don't know who he is. Hourman and Flash have a nice laugh.
Sargon explains he is here because the body of Jim Corrigan--who houses the astral body of their friend, The Spectre--was also zapped by T-Bolt, so Sargon is here to help the JSA get to the bottom of what's going on.
Meanwhile, in T-Bolt's dimension, Johnny Thunder forces T-Bolt to explain why all this is happening, and we get a rundown of the events in Johnny and Dinah's life in the late 1940s.
Johnny, now partnered (or so he thinks) with Black Canary, feels he didn't need T-Bolt anymore, and in an astonishing display of jackassery, tells the T-Bolt to get lost.
What Johnny forgot is, without the T-Bolt, he's basically Snapper Carr with worse fashion sense, and, realizing he is way, way out of his league in the JSA, eventually quit, to be replaced on the team by...Black Canary.
Johnny also takes a hit when he realizes that Dinah isn't interested in him as anything other than a friend:
Johnny Thunder, Ungrateful Jerk.
Years later, Larry Lance and Dinah are married, and they have a daughter. One day, the supervillain the Wizard shows up, to extract revenge for the time Black Canary and the JSA busted him. He casts a spell on the baby, which gives it the ability to project an ear-piercing scream whenever it talks...like a Canary Cry.
They turn to Johnny Thunder and his T-Bolt for help, and the T-Bolt says he can take the tyke, and keep her in suspended animation is his dimension, until a cure could be found.
Black Canary is, understandably, a little shocked at this news...she has a daughter she doesn't remember?
Meanwhile, the various heroes are finally getting to the supervillains: Flash and Hourman take on The Fiddler and Chronos (ooh, I'm scared!), the Huntress and Red Tornado take on the Icicle and Dr. Alchemy, and Power Girl and Sargon take on The Wizard and Felix Faust.
All the heroes are defeated, and we learn they stuck a deal with Johnny Thunder: if he could get all JLAers out of the way, they would do the same to the JSA. Johnny Thunder, though, has plans to have the T-Bolt kill the villains once all this is done, as well.
He then commands T-Bolt to kill Starman and Black Canary, and he tries to resist the command. As he struggles, the Earth-2 Johnny Thunder--also imprisoned there--breaks free of his energy gag, and supersedes that original order, freeing T-Bolt!
After the evil Johnny is punched out the good one, he sends T-Bolt to earth to help wake up the JLAers, who then in turn help the JSAers defeat the villains.
Back in the T-Bolt dimension, Black Canary is still wondering what the hell is going on. Luckily Superman and the Spectre show up to answer her:
...well, sure, I can see how that would make sen...wait a minute, what?!?
Turns out that Black Canary developed her powers when she switched Earths, not because of the villain Aquarius, as was thought way back in JLA #75. Superman and the JSA knew, but decided it was best just to leave "well enough" alone.
Superman picks up Canary, and as they head back to Earth-1, she asks that he let her explain all this to Green Arrow...
Roll Call: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Zatanna, Firestorm
Notable Moments: This has got to be, hands down, the craziest, most absurd retro-fitting in the history of superhero comics.
Even as a kid, when I got to the above page, I went "What?!?" Superman just took it upon himself to do all this memory and body switching? And he's kept this huge secret all these years? Gee, thanks, Kal, I think I can manage my own life, thanks very much.
I understand the need to explain how Black Canary seemed to be as young, if not younger, than most of the JLA, yet she was supposedly around since World Warr II. But the idea of erasing someone's memory, so you think you're your own Mother, is just so odd and wrong and weird and crazy.
From 1 to 10 on the Goofy Meter, this story, as a great man once said, goes to 11.
Enjoy this issue's cover by George Perez, its the last one he ever did for the book. *sniff*
The JLA was doing a lot of guest-starring around this time--sandwiched in between their appearance in Batman and the Outsiders #1 (in Aug. 1983) and their one in World's Finest #300 (in Feb. 1984) was this guest-shot, in The Flash #327.
The Flash had just killed his old nemesis, Professor Zoom, and the JLA put him on trial to decide whether he should stay in the League.
Only six members participated, with Green Arrow, Elongated Man, and Firestorm voting to let Flash stay, and Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Hawkman voting for expulsion. It's up to Superman, who shows up at the end, to cast the deciding vote (which ended up being for The Flash to stay, making for some awkward meetings between Barry and Diana, Arthur, and Katar).
Interesting note: less than two years later, as Tony Isabella was putting Katar through his paces in his excellent Shadow War of the Hawkman mini-series, he had a moment where Katar reflects on this moment, and chastises himself for being so inflexible and tough on Barry. A nice touch, I thought.