Monday, July 21, 2008

Justice League of America #232 - Nov. 1984

sgThe second part of the JLA/JSA team-up as they take on The Commander!

The Story: "Battlegrounds" by Kurt Busiek and Alan Kupperberg. Picking up from last issue, the two sets of heroes split up to try and take on the assaults of a mysterious being named The Commander.

While Superman, The Flash, Starman, and Dr. Mid-Nite return from an alternate dimension with their young charges' father in tow, Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Green Lantern have just defeated a horde of demons that appeared outside the Pentagon.

Dr. Fate has all the demons trapped in a giant mystical black blobby thing, and says he needs a mystic pentagram to contain their evil. Since there's a pentagram already on hand, he decides to bury the evil under it, an idea that tickles Supergirl
Finally, the other heroes arrive, except not as they planned...this time, Superman, et al are on the attack!

Acting as if possessed, the heroes try and fight off their friends without doing permanent harm. At the same time, the kids' father wakes up, still under the control of the mysterious Commander.

One of the kids, a young girl named Vicky, tries to pull her father out of his "trance", but it doesn't work. She tries to get her siblings to help out, but their brother, Ian, is disgusted with this whole thing, and refuses.

Wonder Woman finally ensnares the rogue heroes in her Magic Lasso, telling them to cease hostilities. It works...for the moment.

Ian finally realizes that whoever is controlling his Dad has to be eliminated if he ever wants to settle up with him, so he joins forces with his sisters. They then combine their abilities with the heroes, which is enough to rend The Commander out of their Father's body!

The heroes think this means the Big C has had to go back to his own dimension, but Dr. Fate isn't so sure. As usual, Dr. Fate is right about these kind of things:
The Commander gives the hero a classic Super-Villain Back Story, featuring tales of conquest and how he managed to defeat everyone he could find, until there was no one left to battle!

When he met up with the mind of the old man, he used him as a portal to this new dimension, where the promise of new battles await him!

As you can imagine, the heroes don't take too well to this. As Dr. Fate and the kids try and open up a portal back to his own dimension, the other heroes team-up and try and knock him into it.

He's almost defeated, but refuses to give up. Just then, the Monitor, who has been watching all this from his satellite, peeks in on The Commander. That distracts him just a for a moment, but that is enough for him to be knocked back to his home dimension!

But The Commander refuses to go, so instead he ruptured his own form, and the portal itself, sending the heroes hurtling through different dimensions! While protected by Green Lantern's power ring, they see glimpses of things that don't quite make them:
The heroes orient themselves when they see the Crime Syndicate, still in their inter-dimensional prison bubble, and head home to Earth-1.

The JSA says goodbye, and then Mr. Champion and his kids, still with some of the powers they received from The Commander, take off as well, on an inter-dimensional vacation.

Superman doesn't think that's a great idea, but Flash insists all is well, and challenges him to a race back to the satellite!

Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash

Notable Moments: That little cameo by the Crime Syndicate was a nice, if sorta nasty, touch--these poor saps are stuck in this little bubble, for all eternity, basically.

There's a lot of crazy mystical mumbo-jumbo going on in this issue, so I bet my summary is a bit confusing. It reads better, trust me.

As I said with Part 1, this was the last JLA/JSA team-up, at least in the form we all recognize.

Around this time, DC released its second DC Sampler book, featuring our first glimpse of all the all-new Justice League:
...its interesting to see that there were changes made to the new JLA very late in process--in this image, Vixen is wearing a mask, Gypsy's green eye make-up is much more pronounced, making it look more like a mask, and Vibe is colored much darker than he ever was in the regular JLA book. Hmm...


russell said...

I hated this was way too confusing for me and I just didn't "get" it. Perhaps I should go back and re-read it....
I have never seen that DC Sampler ad. Wow, how can you even BEGIN to compare those seven heroes at the top to the eight misfits at the bottom? If only more of the JLAers had remained, such as Ollie, Dinah, and Red Tornado, this team might have worked...MIGHT have! Oh well, I'm interested in hearing what Gerry Conway has to say about it.

Butch R said...

You know, I'm a big JLA & JSA fan but I have NEVER seen these issues. Never found them in a comic store bin and didn't ever think to look for them. I thought the next crossover was the one with JLD.

I think Russell might be on to something. Imagine JLD with Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado and Elongated Man. I think it might have gone down better with long time fans. Maybe, maybe not, no way to know. And yeah, I'm VERY interested to read what Mr. Conway has to say.

Say Rob, how long do you plan on going on with the JLA? Through Volume 1? Go on to JL/JLI? Through Vol 3 (I think that is what the Morrison/Porter run was started under)? Start over after Vol 1? Just curious, I'll read 'em either way! Thanks!

Earth 2 Chris said...

I hate to say this on Rob's blog, but I think if you took any ONE of those characters up top (except maybe Atom), and put them in the new JLD instead of Aquaman, the book would have went over better. It's nothing against Aquaman, but his lack of use in JLA over the years made it seem like this was a totally replacement JLA, and not an outgrowth of the classic team. Sure GA never had an ongoing title at this point, but to the JLA he was more intergal in the last 15 or so years leading up to this. J'onn had been gone for years. Zatanna had only been on the team for about 4 or 5, and Raplph was always a back-up feature at best. Adding a few other classic Leaguers would have worked too. I never understood why the Hawks couldn't join.


John Trumbull said...

It may have just been a process of elimination, Chris. The Shadow War of Hawkman miniseries was probably in the works at this point. Maybe it left the Hawks unavailable to the JLA, the same way Batman & The Outsiders, Sword of the Atom and events in Flash and Green Lantern's solo books did.

I can see why Conway didn't use Firestorm, as it would have radically changed his solo book. Zatanna was a shoo-in, since Conway's fondness for her was always evident. I wonder why Red Tornado was left out? Was his mini-series in the works yet? Or was Conway just just tired of writing his character?

rob! said...


this blog will stop with the JLA's final issue, #261. as a kid, it was this original title that thrilled me the most, and even though the later versions of the JLA had some superb moments and were solid books in their own right, i'm not interested as much in chronicling those series.

although i shouldn't say the blog will end with #261--i'll have about a week or so's worth of posts after that. oughta be some fun stuff.

rob! said...


you are hereby banned from my blogs.

no, kidding (maybe)--i see what you mean, it did seem very strange for quasi-part-time member Aquaman to all of a sudden take command. i think that Gerry Conway, for various reasons, never got to develop the idea further (and having to have Aquaman quit so abruptly) hurts the concept even more.

not to tip too much of what Gerry will say on wednesday, but i think over time the JLA would've returned to something more like what had come before, but the book and the team never really got the chance--the Crisis, aquaman's new mini series, and then Legends all conspired to put the end on the JLA sentence and start fresh with a new team and a new book.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I feel like a Judas Rob, but I just had to say it. You know I got nothing but love for Arthur. After all, I'm the original FOAM member, right?




rob! said...


no, your point is well taken, i think the JLA under someone like Green Arrow or Hawkman, given their bigger presence in the JLA generally, might have been an interesting, and maybe longer-lasting, idea.

i'm just saying that any chance to have Aquaman grow into the job was obliterated by outside events, not under Gerry Conway's control.

Anonymous said...

The'Champion' saga was anything but a winner! Of course, it wasn't Busiek's fault that he could only use the 'Big 3' members who'd been absent, and needed to bring in Supergirl as a 'ringer' just to even out the ranks. The JLA was gradually being destroyed by every other writer and editor at DC who insisted that EVERY character needed to have his/her own book/ miniseries/graphic novel/impressionist painting,and that such projects prevented them from being in the group any more.
As a ten year old when these 1984 issues came out,I thought the whole 'destruction and rebirth of the League' concept was exciting, and enjoyed the new characters. Unfortunately, I felt they threw away too many of the old members, and watered down the League too much as a result. I could have lived with Firestorm being dropped, but to lose Ollie, Dinah, AND the Tornado, on top of all the others who'd been written out(better known as 'The No Longer the Justice League League') was too much. I think Alan Gold got a bit carried away with his 'experimental' approach to the group. He tried to bring in too much of a 'Marvel' dynamic-smaller roster size like the Avengers of that era, young, angsty, unproven heroes clashing with old pros, lixe the X-Men and New Mutants, and a group attempting to be 'one big happy family' while negotiating a high-tech HQ, like the 'Fantastic Four'. Yet the Detroit League never had any heroes who were close to being 'iconic', like the Marvel groups did.
I would have liked seeing Ollie and Dinah sign on as mentors to the younger heroes, while the Hawks and the other members made up the reserves(allowing them to be called on in dire emergencies and/or annuals.)

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

I wasn't really enamored with the redesign of Vixen's costume but, sue me, I was kind of excited to see her in action again. And, being the Aquafan I am, I was more than fine with the choice of leadership.

Besides, it's not like the satellite era JLA wouldn't be back in a year or so, right?

If only we knew.

This was also the beginning of what I consider the "artificial" promotion of J'onn J'onzz. Don't get me wrong I like the character. But the whole "heart and soul of the League" nonsense grew really tiresome really fast.

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