Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Justice League of America #133-134 (8-9/76)

Aquaman: Joined his fellows on the JLA Satellite; including Elongated Man, Green Arrow, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Flash, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, the Atom and Hawkman; in meeting with Supergirl. The Maid of Might fretted over her missing cousin, who had been spirited to the planet Sirkus to defend it against Despero. For undisclosed reasons, Aquaman was not a part of the team that made off in search of Superman.

Aquaman was impersonated by a Sirkian who used technology in an attempt to recreate the Sea King's powers. "Despero's right! None of us is a real substitute for his Justice League counterpart! I can swim-- even break 'Green Lantern's' fall-- but I can't summon sea creatures telepathically like the real Aquaman! My fellow actors and I are here only in a supporting role! If we're to win-- it must be because of Superman!" Pseudo-Aquaman was defeated by a mental blast from Despero while battling an Eel-Creature.

Elongated Man: Joined Supergirl, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Atom and Hawkman in a space mission aboard the latter's Thanagarian vessel. Was teleported aboard a starcraft inhabited by the last two examples of an alien race, who were curious about these humanoid heroes. The aliens also teleported Despero aboard, prompting Ralph to attack.

"He's the guy who snatched Superman! See-- my mystery-solving nose shows it-- and it's never wrong!"

In truth, it was only half-right, as Despero only claimed Superman after he failed to defend the aliens who had originally kidnapped him for that purpose. Despero thought, "Who is this foolhardy freak attacking me--?" This was the first meeting between the pair, so Despero greeted Elongated Man with his third eye. "No one assaults Despero! Mine is the power of the mind unleashed-- a power that can punish, by causing your malleable molecules to stretch out of control-- or a power which can destroy!"

E-Man let out a "EEEYOW" before Supergirl could fly his mishandled frame to a safe distance from Despero's wrath. Batman asked, "Is Elongated Man okay, Supergirl?"
She cradled his limp but normalizing frame while answering, "I think so, Batman!"

Later, Despero was pitted by the mysterious twin aliens against pairs of Leaguers, including an Elongated Man joined by Supergirl. Despero had just finished taking mental control of Wonder Woman when he was teleported to this confrontation, and asked after her. "I wouldn't know, Three-Eyes-- Suppose you tell us? This is one situation where I don't feel like playing detective! Ralph entangled the Kalanorian despot, as all three were transported to a whole other environment. The heroes were disoriented, with Supergirl asking how this came to be. "I always used to love a mystery, Supergirl-- but not when the prisoner is escaping!"

The Maid of Might blew Despero off his feet. "Handy power, that super-breath! But I can't help thinking-- what a bill for mouthwash!" A fatigued Despero refused to carry on, but the mysterious aliens somehow turned his mind toward pure blood lust against Supergirl. "Trying to choke an invincible girl like you? He's gotta be crackers! Might as well knock the guy out of his misery! Huh? One of my best punches-- and he's still moving?"

Despero's suddenly superior strength tapped Elongated Man out with a left hook, which sent Ralph on a nap until Supergirl tricked the mysterious alien pair into fighting one another. The Justice League escaped in Hawkman's ship, with Superman and a Despero bound by Elongated Man in tow.

Batman: Identified Despero for team members unfamiliar with the long absent villain. Joined Hawkman in being glue-gunned out of commission by Despero.

The Creators: It seems like Gerry Conway wrote the first script, then a month later the second, based only on a vague recollection of the first. Issue #133 really only features one actual League member, and while it was interesting to watch Despero tear the fake batch apart, it was ultimately pointless. Then in #134, only a random sampling of League members from the first chapter appear, and the only elements of the previous chapter carried over in a significant way were Superman as a captive and the presence of Despero. Speaking of which, Despero's accomplishments were mostly due to the alien interlopers, whose story is wrapped in slapdash fashion, and by a non-Leaguer to boot! A bit of a mess, this one was. Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin are better on the art front, though their heart always seemed to belong more to the look of newspaper romance comics than sci-fi super shenanigans.

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