The Story: "The Supremacy Factor" by Kurt Busiek, Chuck Patton, and Dick Giordano. We open on an outdoor cafe, where Clark Kent, Hal Jordan, and Oliver Queen are meeting for lunch.
Ollie notices that Dinah, who was also supposed to be there, is late. Where is she?
Well, as we see, Dinah, in her guise as Black Canary, is about to stop a mugging, except...the victim is not exactly helpless. She sees him, clad in a trench coat, take on the muggers--all of them--at the same time!
Things quickly get even stranger, when the muggee starts doling out a beating far beyond what's necessary, and Canary steps in just as this guy is about to kill them.
When Canary tells him to stop, we see he's wearing a mask, and he quickly turns his attention to her. And she learns within seconds that she isn't any match for this guy, even with her Canary Cry!
Miles away, Clark Kent hears Dinah's cry, and alerts his friends. They take off, just in time to save Black Canary from taking a real beating at the hands of this strange man. I love the way this sequence is laid out by Chuck Patton:
...Superman knocks this guy off his feet, but when he takes a pause to look after Canary, he takes on one the jaw, sending him skyward!
Greens Lantern and Arrow arrive, but not before the bad guy had gotten away. Superman returns (mentioning "...happy to report the Ozone Layer is still there", a great line), but with a piece of this mystery man's coat in his hand, containing a clue.
Back at the satellite, the JLA does some investigating, and Firestorm's other half, Martin Stein, recognizes the note found as containing "Transubstantive RNA Coding", which has had great strides made in it by a Dr. Joel Cochin.
Green Arrow wants to head off and bust some heads, but Black Canary stops him, providing us with a beautiful close-up:
...Patton and Giordano make a great art team.
Anyway, Arrow, Canary, and Firestorm find Cochin's house, and its unusual in that all the windows and doors are shuttered, with no way to see in.
It doesn't take long until Cochin reveals himself, in his identity as the supervillain Paragon, who explains he has found to a way to absorb superpowers from people near him, and turn them back on the original owners!
He makes quick work of the three heroes, trusses them up, classic supervillain style, and tells them his ultimate plan is have a machine he's built eliminate 90% of the world--those he deems "inferior"--leaving him to rule the rest!
The other JLAers show up, smashing their way in, but it gives Paragon more power. It isn't until Black Canary figures out his powers work within a certain proximity, so the JLAers use their abilities from a distance, keeping Paragon without power.
He's left groggy and weak from repeated blows, until Black Canary gives him a boot in the face. The end.
Or is it? The JLAers wonder, how are they going to keep this guy in jail?
Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado, Firestorm
Notable Moments: Another fine fill-in; its revealed that Paragon's super-smarts are inborn, making him a rarity, a mutant in the DC universe.
As I said above, the combo of Chuck Patton and Dick Giordano is excellent; Giordano adds a nice edge to Patton's pencils. Too bad this was their only collaboration.
This is Green Lantern's last appearance as a member of the JLA; events in his regular title around this time (being exiled by the Guardians, then replaced full-time by John Stewart) kept him out of the book for extended periods of time.
Eventually, when the rest of the "old" JLA is officially purged from the team, Green Lantern is given a one-line mention, officially ending his time with the League.