Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Justice League of America #239 - June 1985

sgVixen finally confronts her past, as does the new JLA!

The Story: "In The Shadow of the Ox" by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton, and Mike Machlan. Picking up from last issue, the new JLA has returned home, with the missing Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash in tow.

The three heroes demand to know how and why Aquaman could've done what he did--disbanding the Justice League!--while they were gone.

Aquaman tries to explain, and tells them about the Earth-Mars War. He then reiterates a short history of the team, about how it started, how it evolved, and the state is was in when Mars attacked
:
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The Flash suggests that maybe its time for the League to change again, and for them to give these newcomers a chance. Superman and Wonder Woman agree, and they wish Aquaman and the others good luck.

Sue Dibny reminds them of the conundrum of that, to the rest of world, the three heroes have been gone for weeks, not the half a day Superman and the rest claim. Manhunter suggests it was one of those "time pardoxes" that seem to be occurring lately (due to the ongoing Crisis). Flash offers to take his friends back in time three weeks to avoid any further time hiccups. They head out, no longer members of the Justice League of America.

Later, Vibe's sister Rosita arrives at JLA HQ, saying that a beloved member of their community, an old woman named Mother Windom, has been kidnapped.

Turns out she was taken by The Ox, who says he will turn her over if Vixen turns herself over to him!

Vixen agrees, but Aquaman tells her no. Vixen refuses to listen to him, and tries to run off. Aquaman then hits her with a mental blast, which stops her in her tracks.

This is all too much for the Martian Manhunter:
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Manhunter believes she must handle this on her own, and a stewing Aquaman looks on.

In downtown Detroit, we see Vixen arrives at the abandoned movie theater where the Ox told her he would be. When Vixen confronts Ox, he tells her he wants her Tantu Totem, or Mother Windom dies.

Vixen hands it over, and when Ox puts it on, it transforms him into his namesake--a giant, demonic, human/ox hybrid creature! He loses all control, and starts smashing everything in his path, including his own henchmen!

Vixen gets Mother Windom to safety, before taking on The Ox head-to-head:
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Whether she meant it or not, The Ox, the man who haunted Vixen ever since she was a child, is dead.

Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy

Notable Moments: Of course, this is issue--the first half, at least--is monumental, since the last link between the old and new Leagues was broken.

Sure, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash are a bit too complacent in accepting what happened, but as Elongated Man pointed out back in JLA Annual #2, between Batman leaving, the Atom disappearing, and Green Lantern resigning from the Corps, the JLA had been breaking up for the past couple of years.

Nice to see Manhunter finally confront Aquaman on his jackassery; too bad it never really gets resolved.

Oddly, this was Chuck Patton's final issue as penciler. After taking such a huge role, along with Conway, in redefining the League, it seemed so odd that he would leave so relatively soon. And for the most part, Patton seemed to disappear from comics entirely not too long after.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This wasn't the issue that killed 'Detroit League' for me, but it was pretty close. Superman's 'I'm afraid you're wrong' speech, explaining this charter amendment that had never been mentioned before, was a 'screw you' move by Alan Gold to the JLA diehards who wanted the 'real' members back. It also foreshadowed the end of CRISIS, and the following year's Super-Byrne reboot.
The biggest problem with the issue, besides the emasculation of the League (with all die respect to WW), was Flash's solution to the 'time paradox'...OK, they go back in time three weeks...which would place them back on earth in time for the Martian invasion...so why weren't they there to stop it THIS time?
Oh,damn...I'm on Earth-Prime, so I was destroyed before they could answer my question!

outburst said...

I wish someone could explain to me why Sue Dibney got any ink at all. I understand that the Wests and Allens are all one big happy family, but the Sharon Osbourne antics are kind of annoying.

BentonGrey said...

I don't know, Sue (when written well) is a great character, and she adds a human element, along with a unique perspective, to superhero stories. As far as the Detroit League.....well, we continue the descent into mediocrity. Aquaman ratchets the jerk-dom up another notch, and then looks like he's SCARED of MM. Look at that panel! Yeah, Arthur would likely lose a fight with J'onn, but he'd never be afraid to try.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I remember flipping through this one at the local drug store. I read the exhange between the 3 old JLAers and the new team. I put the book down and decided me and JLA needed to part company until the real JLA returned. I just couldn't believe they would walk away from it like this. It was the final straw. I bought Annual #3 since many of the old members pitched in, and I started again with #250 and the promise of Batman making something of the team.

Chris

Anonymous said...

I'll save most of my comments on Annual # 3 til we get there, but that story was another missed opportunity to restore some of the JLA's lost prestige.
As for this story, I have yet another plothole nobody explained...the JLAers who took part in the Earth/Mars War depart, and 'the Big 3 plus Supergirl' arrive immediately afterward...so how could they be completely unaware of what was happening in New York AFTER getting to the satellite? Did Aquadork turn OFF all the monitors before the others left?(No offense, Rob...but you've already commented that he was being a bit of a tool at that point). It's either stupid judgment by Aquaman, or, if we prefer to be realistic, bad writing by Alan Kupperberg.

rob! said...

no offense taken--it is kind of a glaring error (by Busiek, not Kupperberg, who just did the art).

i don't see why the big three couldn't have met BEFORE the earth-mars thing started--leaving no trace of what happened, aquaman would still be in the dark as to where they were!

"AquaDork" is kinda funny, i must admit.

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