Another favorite issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, this one bought at my reliable 7-11. At some point after acquiring this issue, having come into a windfall of cash, I subscribed to the magazine, since I was having no luck locating every issue. This Dick Giordano cover is very nice, but Red Tornado’s mechanical innards disturbed me a bit. Today, I’m more disturbed by the flash’s bandages being on the outside of his costume.
I’ve got some regret about this splash page. Back in the late 1990s, in one of those one-day New York comic shows (they weren’t conventions so much as sell-meets) I came across a dealer who had a mountain of Dick Dillin original JLA art for sale, including this splash page. The price was reasonable, though a bit steep for me at the time, and I passed on it. I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s a beautiful page, with all-new Roll Call heads, and a prime focus on my favorite Leaguer, the Flash. One of several original art regrets that I have.
The issue opens with the Flash engaging several alien life forms that have made landfall outside of Central City. Meanwhile, up in the JLA satellite, we learn that Hawkman is out of sorts–apparently in the last issue, his entire planet of Thanagar had been quarantined, including his wife, Hawkgirl. So anxious is he for something to do that he sends out a JLA alert signal on behalf of the Flash.
It’s a good thing, too, as the protoplasmic creatures are far more formidable than they first seem, and take out the Flash within seconds. The League gives battle, but as they do so, the creatures begin to adapt to their every attack, and the heroes are quickly beaten.
Regrouping on their satellite, the JLA learns from the Flash that the creatures are Adaptoids, sent to Earth by a helpful alien race who have picked up a rogue transmission and believe the planet to be under siege by super-powerful beings. The Adaptoids’ leader radios the JLA, challenging them to combat in three different sphere–or else, they can leave the planet voluntarily. That’s no choice for the League, so they line up their teams and beam down to the battlefields. But again, they leave the depressed Hawkman behind.
(This is another lovely page that I failed to purchase the original art for at that same show.)
The encounters between the League and the Adaptoids go just as badly this second time around, and only the fact that the JLA has pre-programmed their transporter to beam them back to the satellite should they send the alert signal saves them. But they are all severely weakened and wounded, and the Adaptoids have free run.
And even worse, as the battered League attempts to figure out some kind of strategy, they realize that Hawkman is nowhere to be found. He’s abandoned his post, heading back to his homeworld of Thanagar. And that’s where the story leaves off, in a cliffhanger that I wouldn’t read the resolution to for several months, as my first subscription issue of JLA would be a few issues later.