Friday, July 18, 2008

Justice League of America #229 - Aug. 1984

sgThe invasion of Earth by the Martians!

The Story: "Bitter Ashes" by Gerry Conway, Alan Kupperberg, and Pablo Marcos. The invasion of Earth has indeed begun, when an orbiting space shuttle and its crew get blasted by a huge Martian warship!

Down on Earth, we see Firestorm and Martian Manhunter heading into space to investigate, and that Firestorm doesn't quite trust the Manhunter, no matter what the other JLAers say.

Some of the other JLA is down on Earth, waiting to see what happens. Green Arrow is impatient, and Aquaman quietly seethes, wishing he could be with his people in Atlantis.

Manhunter and Firestorm try and intercept the broken off front section of the shuttle as it hurtles towards Earth, but its too heavy and fast for him, and it slips by him.

That convinces Firestorm Manhunter isn't really on their side, and uses his powers to restructure the ship so it can land safely:

Firestorm tells the rest of the JLA of Manhunter's "treachery", and its Zatanna's turn to read him the riot act. When he sees the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl pledge to stay and defend Earth to the end, Firestorm recognizes his creeping case of xenaphobia...for now.

Meanwhile, on the JLA satellite, Aquaman is talking to...President Ronald Reagan!:
(...are we sure that's not Clayface?)

Anyway, Reagan asks Aquaman where Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, etc., are, but Aquaman doesn't know, since they're not responding to the JLA distress signals. After the call ends, Aquaman's thoughts turn even darker:
The U.N. has an emergency session, where they tell the Martian leader that, evem though it might mean the end of all life on Earth, they will not surrender to the invaders' demands.

As the JLA prepares for all-out war, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are aboard their spaceship, scanning for the Martian fleet. It arrives by basically teleporting right outside their window--hundreds upon hundreds of war ships!

As some of the ships head for Earth, others break off and start firing on the JLA satellite! Their blasts crack a huge hole in its side, and the invasion is led by an armored Martian in battle gear. Aquaman and the rest of the JLA get the drop on him and knock him out. Firestorm, wondering where Manhunter is, takes off.

Back on the main Martian ship, we learn that this whole movement was inadvertently started by the woman Bel Juz, who (in a story that took place in World's Finest #212) became the Marshal's lover and inspired him to try and take over the government. She had no idea it would lead to all of this...

Firestorm does find Manhunter, and has his worst fears confirmed
To be continued!

Roll Call: Aquaman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, Firestorm

Notable Moments: Guest artist Alan Kupperberg did a fine job here, his penciling with Pablo Marcos' smooth inking make a nice, eye-pleasing combo.

There really is a sense of scale in this story that works well; although I wonder if Mars and Earth were about to go to war, where the heck the Teen Titans, the Doom Patrol, Batman and the Outsiders, etc. are.

This is the last issue to feature the "World's Greatest Super-Heroes" moniker on the front cover. In a few months, that title simply wouldn't fit anymore.


John Trumbull said...

I was never terribly fond of Aquaman's characterization in the Detroit League, but in the panels you featured here, it really rings true. Of course Aquaman is a creature of duty. That's what Kings are. Too many people forget that Arthur Curry should have a regal perspective that sets him apart.

Frank Lee Delano said...

I also liked the art here. I do wonder how the Martians moved from positivly Medieval conditions to a space armada. The Thythens?

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

rob! said
<<...although I wonder if Mars and Earth were about to go to war, where the heck the Teen Titans, the Doom Patrol, Batman and the Outsiders, etc. are.>>
Yeah, that was a question that could be asked with many JLA stories -- and others. But you would think that Superman and Wonder Woman would have heard the news. Actually, doesn't Clark Kent read the news on TV? Hmmm.

Art says, "The League faces a crisis, calls its members, and only a handful answer the call. For too many of us, the League takes second position in our lives." Strange. I'm sure I remember at least one story where a JLAer gets a signal and says, " don't ignore a priority one JLA signal!"

BTW, who was that in the transporter if it wasn't Supes?

rob! said...


Supes, WW, and Flash were on e-2, as we'll learn in #231.

and it was elongated man, not superman, in the tube. a bit of a letdown.

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