Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mystery In Space #75 - May 1961

A classic tale of the Justice League versus one of its more fearsome foes!

The Story: "The Planet That Came To A Standstill" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Murphy Anderson.

Out story opens with honorary JLA member Snapper Carr relaying an adventure that starts in deep space:
While Kanjar Ro hatches another plan to defeat the JLA, Adam Strange and Alanna are enjoying themselves on Rann. Soon, though, they find themselves in another scrape, against some invaders atop giant birds!

One of them rings some sort of small crystal, which forces Adam and Alanna hurtling into space, where they are soon caught by the planet's orbit. Thanks to Adam's ingenuity, though, they manage to escape and fall over one of Rann's highest peaks, softening their fall.

Adam and Alanna re-engage the invaders, and pretend to be held captive so they can find out who is behind them--namely, Kanjar Ro! Thanks to Ro's experiments, he is now more powerful than ever, and tests his powers on some JLA duplicates:
Adam and Alanna escape, and Adam comes up with another plan, but one that involves him making a trip back to Earth. Adam grabs Ro's "Slave Ship of Space" and takes it to Earth, leaving it there before the Zeta Beam takes him back to Rann.

The Flash finds the ship, and calls in his JLA pals:
Adam and Alanna spy Kanjar Ro leaving his lab, so Adam grabs Ro's gong and strikes it so hard he paralyzes everyone on Rann, including Ro! Then another Zeta Beam brings Adam back to Earth, leaving his body back to normal (got all that?):
Kanjar Ro manages to defeat each of the JLAers, but is stopped by Adam Strange, who strikes Ro with the gong's mallet. Why does this stop him? Because Strange figured out that its made of metal from his home planet, Dhor, and that it would affect him the way Kryptonite does Superman. Flash is so impressed he thinks to himself "Terrific! I'm going to propose Adam Strange for membership in the Justice League at our next meeting!"

Later, Adam introduces the JLA to Alanna:
...The End!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter

Notable Moments: This story takes place between JLA #s 3 and 4, making it the last appearance of the original seven, in terms of publishing history.

This is a very fun story, but complicated as heck! A bunch of characters, with Adam Strange bouncing back and forth between Rann and Earth like a ping-pong ball. There's so much plot in this issue that if they did this story nowadays, it would take up six issues and be given its own trade paperback.

It was suggested at the time that JLA cover this issue, since its pretty much a direct sequel to issue #3, but I was just starting out and didn't feel the need to take even a momentary diversion into another title (plus I didn't have a copy of the book!). But now that I've decided to bring back this blog every so often, I thought why not start almost at the very beginning of the JLA's career!


Russell said...

Missed this one while I was in Japan, sorry!

This story was always one of my favorites after I found it in a reprint TPB MYSTERY IN SPACE circa 1984.
Oddly enough I always liked Adam Strange as a JLA guest-star, but never liked his solo series. Hmmmm...

jim said...

My favorite line:

Kanjar Ro thinks: "You drew a ray-gun on me! That means you're not under the control of the tinkle bell!"

"...the tinkle bell"? Kanjar Ro was going to control the Universe with a "tinkle bell"???? lol

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