Saturday, July 19, 2008

Justice League of America #230 - Sept. 1984

sgThe final chapter of the War of the Worlds storyline!

The Story: "Blessed is the Peacemaker" by Gerry Conway and Alan Kupperberg. Picking up from last issue, the Martian armada has finally arrived, with hundreds of warships.

Some of them headed for Earth, while a few broke off and started attacking the JLA satellite, blasting a hole in it.

While the JLA managed to stop the Martian invader who came aboard, now they have another problem--Martian Manhunter has taken one of the JLA's shuttlecraft and blasted a hole in the satellite and headed out into space! Is Firestorm right--is the Martian Manhunter a traitor?

This issue opens up with one hell of a splash page, pertinent to the story while also playing up the broader themes of the storyline
Turns out Manhunter is not escaping so much as he is making a kamikaze-style frontal attack right on the head Martian warship. The Marshal and Bel Juz realize that if their people learn that what they told them (that J'onn J'onzz is dead) that he might be able to rally support for his way of thinking, so they blast his shuttlecraft as it gets close.

Meanwhile, on Earth, President Reagan and the leader of the Soviet Union (unnamed, though it was
Konstantin Chernenko at the time) decide to give the JLA two more hours, and then they must act.

Another group of armed Martians come aboard the satellite, where they are met by some kicks to the head by the Black Canary. At the same time, Manhunter's former love, J'en, having learned that J'onn is still alive, blasts some of her own men and steals one of their smaller ships, blasting off.

While all this is going on, the Hawks are facing their own set of Martian invaders
...that's a nice moment with Katar and Shayera.

Anyway, as the JLA fight off the invaders on the satellite, Firestorm wakes up. Thinking his friends are dead, and its Manhunter's fault, he tears off into space after him.

We then see that Manhunter was not killed by the blast from the Marshal and Bel Juz, but was thrown into space. He was then rescued by J'en, and he awakes in her arms aboard her ship.

He is determined to still try and stop the invasion, and J'en finds her loyalties torn--she tries to stop J'onn by a pointing a blaster at him, but J'onn stares her down.

As Marshal prepares to issue the command for the entire fleet to attack Earth, he is surprised by the appearance of J'onn! With the eyes of the entire fleet on them, they decide to fight one on one. Bel Juz believes if Manhunter dies at the hand of the Marshal, it will make him look nearly invincible!

When the Marshal uses the Martian power of invisibility on J'onn, it causes J'en to question him, since that is not within the Martian's code of honor. Bel Juz's response? "What does it matter? The Marshall is above the law!"

(Ha! What a crazy, backwards people they are, letting their leaders break their own society's laws.)

Anyway, Manhunter defeats the Marshall, and when Bel Juz tries to shoot J'onn in the back, Firestorm is there to blast it out of her hand.

After J'onn talks his people out of invading, the war ends before it ever really began. A happy ending? Well, not quite:
To be continued...

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

Notable Moments: Maybe the Martian Manhunter's finest hour--almost all the action centers around him, and he even gets to be a romantic leading man, sort of. The last panel is so sad, no?

Like I said above, the Hawks get a lot of good moments, too. I know that the Hawks now don't resemble anything like the characters seen here, but I think I would've loved to have seen a series of Katar and Shayera, flying around in their spaceship, having adventures.

Wondering where the other JLAers have been during all this? Be here tomorrow to find out!


james said...

Back in the day, this issue was the first time I ever heard of Martian Manhunter, as I started reading the JLA in the mid-1970s and J.J. wasn't a Super Friend. It came as a bit of a shock!

russell said...

As a story, this three parter was really pretty good. As an impetus to re-arrange the JLA...not so good. And I always hated that Red Tornado and Hawkwoman weren't included on the cover.

Randy said...

I remember really liking this story as a kid. First, I liked all the heroes used here. And they were all handled well. Second, the large role Aquaman played in it. That plus the fact that he seemed to be the current chairman. Or interim or whatever term you want to use.

It also led to my fascination with the Martian Manhunter. My only previous experience with the character prior to this story was JLA 200, and he was under the control of the Apellax meteor dudes for most of it.

People can say what they want about the JLA Detroit era (Heck, I even have said my share about it!!), but this story and that era led to the return of the Martian Manhunter to the DCU.

So we all at least owe Gerry Conway a big thanks for that.

John Trumbull said...

Looking at the splash page again, I noticed something: the JLAers have a fireplace on the satellite. Which implies they have a chimney. Which implies the satellite is open to the outside. Suddenly, it's horribly clear exactly why the satellite is losing atmosphere so rapidly.

Man, you'd think space-faring Thanagarians Hawkman & Hawkgirl would have caught such an obvious design flaw. And I thought the Death Star trench was bad...

rob! said...

wow, i've owned this issue for 24 years and have never noticed. this whole blog has been worth it.

you'd have to assume that's some sort of high-tech thanagarian fireplace, that burns but converts the smoke into something?

that's gotta be it.

Anonymous said...

So, theoretically, if Hawkman had installed some other Thanagarian gadget, it could have lured the Martian fleet into the Thanagarian fireplace(electric fire?) and the invasion would have been over...Alan Gold would have been overthrown as JLA editor...the new members wouldn't have joined(especially Vibe, chu know, amigo?)...damn, stupid Katar! All he ever DID was stupid birdcalls and inane banter with Shayera. So much for Thanagarian technology...they must have been outsourcing the good stuff to Rann, anyway!

Frank Lee Delano said...

"Ha! What a crazy, backwards people they are, letting their leaders break their own society's laws."

Hah! Love it!

This may well have been J'Onn's finest hour up to that point. I'm really happy with how you covered these issues. I've been saving them to wrap up my 70's coverage, but I've had so many tangents recently at my blog, I'm not sure when their time will actually come...

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