The Story: "Sea Change" by Gerry Conway, George Tuska, and Mike Machlan. We open in the the Yukon, where we see a drunken, staggering man named Slick Jake MacGregor cursing the small town he's stuck in.
Jake gets caught in a blizzard and bumps into an ice-encrusted, strangely dressed stranger, who grabs MacGregor and starts to shake him, his hands heating up, until MacGregor screams in agony!
Cut to: the JLA's Detroit headquarters, where Aquaman is taking a swim while talking to Vixen.
Vixen is trying--again--to convince Arthur to go search for his wife, Mera. Aquaman is having none of it, saying she left him, her choice, and he wants to respect that decision. Vixen calls shenanigans:
While Vixen rejoins the rest of the League in preparing a meal, Aquaman sits in his quarters and broods. He told Vixen his mind is made up, but we see he's anything but sure.
Back in the Yukon, we see the local sheriff as he staggers out of a local bar. He can barely drive his truck, but that's the least of his troubles, as he runs into the same mysterious stranger, who picks up the sheriff's car, tosses it, and then blows it up with...heat-vision?!?
Meanwhile, we see Steel, Vibe, and Ralph and Sue out on the Detroit streets together, when they get a JLA distress signal. Vibe says this is his chance to try on his "new suit":
I'm not sure who designed it, but I do like this new costume of Vibe's much more than his original. And even though my...uncertainty about Tuska's work on the JLA has been said before, what he was best at sometimes came through: I just love the look on Gypsy's face in the second panel there.
Anyway, Manhunter explains they have two problems--news of what's happening in the Yukon has reached them, and the fact that their leader, Aquaman, is missing!
Manhunter figures out, based on what kind of destruction this stranger is wreaking, that it is their old foe, the one-man JLA, Amazo!
The JLA arrives in the Yukon, and they split up to search for Amazo. Its Manhunter who finds him, who alone proves no match for the super-powered android.
Meanwhile, we see where Aquaman went:
To be continued!
Roll Call: Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy
Notable Moments: After one issue by Mike Sekowsky, having a major story line drawn by George Tuska, instead of regular artist Chuck Patton, was disorienting as heck.
I never understood why Aquaman just took off, as opposed to telling Manhunter--or at least Vixen--where he's going. It seems as irresponsible as the JLAers he railed against for not showing up during the Earth-Mars war.
JLA/Aquaman fan Vince Bartilucci generously sent me a scan of a page of original Tuska artwork from this issue that's in his collection:
I'm struck at how much nicer Tuska's work looks to me in the original black and white. Colorists tended to color Tuska's work in day-glo, coloring book-style colors, so I guess its no surprise that it looks better like this.