BHOC: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #148

Now that I was able to travel to the 7-11 at will, my subscriptions to JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and FLASH were becoming a little bit troublesome. To wit: I am certain that I saw this issue of JLA on the spinner rack at the 7-11 before my sub copy arrived in the mail. The discord between seeing a comic book that I desperately loved right there in front of me and not being able to purchase it was maddening to me. These days, idiot that I am, I would have solved the disconnect by simply buying that copy as well, but back in 1977 my funds were limited–I simply had to wait for the mail to catch up. And eventually, it did.

This was the second part of the yearly team-up between the Justice League and their predecessors in the Justice Society of America, a welcome event whenever it came around. As in the previous few years, an additional ingredient in the form of even more costumed champions was added into the mix–the newcomers in this instance being the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes. Even in these double-sized issues, this resulted in an overstuffed cast, one in which not everybody received a memorable role. 

Lat issue, the Legion’s old foe Mordru the mystic had gathered together the three mystic items needed to release the Justice League’s old enemies the Three Demons from their captivity. Mordru thought that he could get Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast to serve him, but instead they serve him up on a platter–all the while Green Arrow and Black Canary remain imprisoned in a rapidly-filling hourglass around Mordru’s neck. But as it turns out, the Three Demons are divided on what to do next: Abnegazar likes the look of the 30th Century as it is, at peace. Rath wants to conquer its inhabitants and make them worship him, and Ghast seeks a return to the Earth of primordial times and intends to wipe it all out.  

This being a comic book, there’s only one way for the Three Demons to settle their differences, and that’s for them to enlist the various super heroes of the JLA, JSA and the Legion as their champions and pit them against one another, the Demons’ own powers being too evenly matched for any of them to triumph. And so, a three-way cosmic brou-ha-ha breaks out across 30th Century Earth, one that goes on for several inconclusive pages, allowing at least some of the assembled heroes to show what they can do.

As the Legion moves to reunite Mordru’s astral form with his imprisoned physical self,. Green lantern takes the opportunity to help the almost-out-of-time Green Arrow and Black Canary escape–but they’re immediately mesmerized into Ghast’s power by GL’s Power Ring, adding to his forces. Elsewhere, as one by one assorted heroes are trounced by one another, Superman and Power girl compare notes. For some reason, the both of them seem to be more resistant to the Demons’ control spell than their fellow.

The Demons teleport their various minions all across the globe in support of their various causes, with the Legion on the side of Abengazar trying to prevent casualties or destruction. As they fight, Green lantern has noticed that, like Power girl, he and the other Leaguers seem more resistant to the controlling spell than the JSA, and he concludes that it’s because they’re younger and have more stamina. He uses this resistance to stop himself from destroying the Global Tunnel while still seeming to be doing Ghast’s bidding.

So for those keeping score at home, the underrepresented Justice Society is completely ensorceled (apart from Power Girl) and is attempting to conquer the world for Rath, the JLA is only minorly ensorceled, enough to make them attempt to carry out Ghast’s instructions to kill and destroy but not enough to prevent them from “taking a fall”, and the Legion is working with Abengazar to protect the future civilization from his two Demon brothers. It’s a stalemate, with the Demons getting so frustrated by the way things are playing out that they turn on one another directly–diverting enough of their mystic power so that Doctor Fate can free himself from their control. Abengazar and Rath throw so much magical force at one another that the two of them are blown up–which leaves Ghast, the most malevolent of the three, as the standing winner.

The three mystic objects–the Bell, the Jar and the Wheel–which had imprisoned the Three Demons for centuries were the first thing they destroyed, to prevent them from being contained again in the same way. But now, Doctor Fate is able to harness the magical power released by Rath and Ghast’s detonation to reassemble the Justice League satellite around Ghast–and since the three objects had resided there for centuries, enough mystic residue remains to entrap Ghast once more, thus ending the adventure. I was vexed by the fact that there wasn’t a 100 Issues Ago in Justice League feature this time out, not yet knowing that JLA #48 had been an 80 page giant reprinting three earlier JLA stories. Still, I missed the feature.

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