Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Classics - Justice League of America #9

   The Justice League of America first appeared in 1960 as a tryout in Brave and the Bold #28 - it was another reboot effort from DC, bringing back the classic Justice Society of America team.

   But editor Julius Schwartz didn't like the word "Society" - in an interview with him in the late 1980s, he told me that kids didn't know what a "Society" was - but they knew what a "League" was, thanks to the National Football League and Little League - so he made that change.

   So they created the JLA, and the team soon graduated into its own title. But there was something Schwartz, writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky forgot: an origin story!

   The first issue doesn't bother to mention how the team was formed - it simply existed.

   So nine issues into the regular series, they corrected the oversight by telling honorary member / sidekick Snapper Carr (and new member Green Arrow) the story of how they first gathered.

   The flashback starts with individual adventures, as each hero encounters a different alien that crash-lands in a meteor - each alien is made of a different substance, including stone, glass, mercury, and wood! The creatures were sent to Earth to wage war - against each other!

   The aliens try to build an army by converting the local animals into matching substances, but the individual heroes manage to stop them - until they converge on another meteor, and they're all transformed into walking trees!

   It's interesting that the story focused on the five "secondary" heroes - Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. Superman and Batman are included, but only make a cameo of sorts at the end, though Superman manages to contribute a classically bad pun.

   Superman confronts a diamond creature, and using super-pressure he converts it back to coal. Snapper is puzzled - Superman typically could turn coal into diamond with super-pressure - so how did he reverse the process? Superman replies, "Quite simply, Snapper... I simply rubbed the Diamond being -- the wrong way!"

   (Well, I laughed.)

   As the heroes gather at the end of the adventure, Batman suggests they form a club or society. Flash adds, "A League against evil!"

   But there's actually another origin for the JLA - in the late '70s, writer Steve Englehart created a terrific addition to the mythos - but that's a review for another day!

Grade: A-




Kevin Findley said...

That wouldn't happen to be a Giant Sized 12 Squared issue would it? :)

Chuck said...

Yep, it was a giant-size issue!