BHOC: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #119

There was a supermarket not that far from my home, a Waldbaums. It wasn’t the regular supermarket my mother shopped at, so we only went there when she needed something in particular that she couldn’t find elsewhere. The big appeal of the place for me is that they still carried those 3-Bags of comics, all routinely about nine months old. And that’s how I was finally able to get this second half to the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA story I’d read many months earlier. I could not for the life of me tell you what the other two books in the 3-Bag had been–in all likelihood they were mystery or war titles that I quickly traded away, having no real interest in those books.

I had already read the letters page discussing this issue, so I had a broad sense as to how events were going to play out. But it was a thrill to get it nonetheless. First off, comment must be made about Dick Giordano’s cover here. It’s a very nice piece, but it’s almost identical to the cover of the previous issue, right down to the color scheme. If I’d seen this on the spinner racks, I don’t know that I would have realized that it was a new issue. Editor Julie Schwartz was usually a lot better about paying attention to things like that.

See? It’s almost exactly the same image again. Weird! At least the logo colors are somewhat different. (It’s also two covers in a row on which super heroes watch television monitors, not by any stretch the most exciting sort of an image.)

The issue opens where the last one ended, with the League shattered and defeated by the Adaptoids, alien amoeboids sent to Earth in answer to one of our deep space hails. As their name suggests, the Adaptoids adapt to any attack, and so have beaten the Leaguers in every encounter. And Hawkman, who was meant to be on monitor duty on the JLA Satellite, has seemingly fled back to his quarantined home planet of Thanagar. 

As the JLA watches, the Adaptoids break in on worldwide communications, announcing that they’ve determined that the human race is an infestation which needs to be wiped out. Green Arrow and the Elongated Man arrive and hurl themselves into the fray, but fare no better than the other JLAers and are only saved by a timely teleport from the Satellite. The same is true of Batman and the Atom, who attack moments later. Things look bad for the good guys at this point.

With things at their darkest, Superman hops up onto the table and makes a speech to his teammates, indicating that, should the world fall, the JLA Satellite may well be the last sanctuary of humanity in the cosmos. But so much for that idea, as the Adaptoids have located it, and beam themselves aboard. The JLA fights for all its worth, but they’re having no better luck than they did previously. But as the fight goes on, a ship docks with the Satellite: it’s Hawkman, who has returned from Thanagar with Hawkgirl, who has been infected with the Equalizing Plague that has overtaken his homeworld.

The Adaptoids and the heroes are both exposed to the plague, and are Equalized as a result–weakening the Adaptoids and giving the JLA a leg up. From there, it’s a huge, satisfying multi-page brawl as the Leaguers unload on the Adaptoids, literally stacking them up in the corner like garbage bags.

And so, the day is saved–and slacker Green Lantern returns from space just in time to use his Power Ring to notify the nations of the world that the crisis has passed. Even better, exposure to the Adaptoids has cured the League members and Hawkgirl of the Equalizing plague, so Hawkman and she can remain on Earth, where they can work towards perfecting a cure for the rest of their people. And the Adaptoids themselves are relocated to an uninhabited planet of their own, where they can Adapt to their hearts’ content. So everybody wins. And all things considered, as a reader I thought that it was worth the wait.

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