The Story: "The Return of the Justice League of America" by Gerry Conway, Luke McDonnell, and Bill Wray. Picking up from last issue, Sue Dibny managed to hit the JLA Distress Signal, just as she is blasted by a strange being who has sprang forth from the alien stowaway known as "Junior."
We see who is receiving the signal--first up, its Batman, who is in the process of stopping some kidnappers from getting away with their hostages. After punching out most of them, he ends the melee simply by staring down the last one. Nice.
He is shocked to hear his JLA signal device go off, as is Superman, who finishes putting out a wildfire and then heads off to the source of the signal.
The same thing happens to Green Lantern, currently out in space, and Green Arrow and Black Canary, a little closer to home. Alas, the signal does not make it to everyone:
Back at the Secret Sanctuary, we see who this intruder is--a golden skinned man, who short circuits the JLA computer with his touch. He knows more are coming, and he will be ready...
Next, we find ourselves in a bucolic neighborhood, as the girl we know as Gypsy is coming from school. She has a Mom, a Dad, a little sister, and all seems to be well. Is this a dream? A flashback?
She enters a typical teenaged girl's room--stuffed animals, messy bed, Madonna poster on the wall. No, wait, it's a poster of...Vixen?:
Gypsy is pulled into the wall, then watches all her JLA friends start to wither away to nothing, all of them telling Gypsy she is next.
Of course, this is all a hallucination, and Gypsy wakes up from it screaming, in the arms of Black Canary and her fellow former Justice Leaguers:
Gypsy explains what happend, and Batman immediately takes charge. The heroes split up to search the Sanctuary to find the creature that did this.
Meanwhile, Zatanna is continuing her search for her friend Sherri. The trail leads her to a marina, where she assumes regular clothes and finds her way to a docked yacht. Amid weird questions about whether she is "part of the group", across the yacht she sees...Sherri!
As she approaches her, Sherri can only offer "I'm sorry" before one of them hits Zee over the head, knocking her out. To be continued...
Back at the Sanctuary, Green Lantern and Green Arrow run into the mysterious alien attacker, who blasts Hal, aging him the same way the others are! Green Arrow gets an arrow into the baddie's chest before he runs off.
He then runs into Superman and Batman, and they figure out that this alien is "carrying" their friends' life energies in him, and if they destroy him, they do the same to their friends!
The JLAers lure Junior from room to room, until he dives for Batman, misses, and plunges into a web of high voltage wires! Superman then grabs the wires, and, using his own body as conduit, transfers the energy to the unconscious JLAers, restoring them to normal. As Batman says, "It's over."
As the heroes celebrate, Martian Manhunter makes a plea to Batman--he should leading the League. At first he demurs, but finally:
In an epilogue, we see the strange alien from the previous issues has survived the trail of fire, and emerges reborn, as...Despero the Destroyer!
To be continued!
Roll Call: Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy
Notable Moments: The story a lot of JLA fans were waiting for, if a little dishonestly sold--you got the sense from the ads that Superman, Green Lantern, et al, were rejoining the League, when it was just Batman. Still, progress!
This issue has a two-page JLA Mail Room, now back under the aegis of Alan Gold. Gold had a nice habit of printing the names of every person who sent in a letter, even if he didn't print the letter. To that end, here's the one moment he original JLA book and I converged:
...yep, that's me heading the list. My letter writing at that time was atrocious, and it doesn't surprise me that none of my letters ever got printed. Getting mentioned at all was a total thrill--and in the 250th issue yet!
Ok--we're now a year's worth of issues away from the final issue of JLA. As I have mentioned before, I'm planning about a week or so of posts after that before officially turning out the lights on JLA Satellite.
One of themes I've covered since starting this was naming my favorite issues, whenever they came down the pike.
But what I'd like to hear before we go are your choices for favorite issues. This blog has never enjoyed the (relative) popularity of The Aquaman Shrine, but its audience has remained remarkably consistent--each post of this blog has almost the exact same number of hits each day--which leads me to think those of you who stuck with me through this long, strange trip are, deep down, big fans of the JLA.
So, if you are so inclined, email me a list of your three or four favorite issues, with maybe a few sentences as to why you like them so much, and I'll post everyone's choices!