Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Vixen in Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984)

The Justice League Satellite had been ripped apart by the Earth/Mars War, and so had the team itself. Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Flash, and the Atom had all quit or were seemingly derelict in their duties. Aquaman's son was dead, his wife had left him, and his kingdom was fine without him. The Sea King decided to commit to the Justice League with all the vigor his fellow founders lacked, and demanded the same of any who would serve with him. Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkwoman had lives to live beyond the super-team, so that the JLA as it once stood was no more. Aquaman officially dissolved the group, then began rebuilding anew. Zatanna, Elongated Man, and his wife Sue Dibny agreed to live for the team, 24/7. Martian Manhunter, now a permanent expatriate from Mars II, agreed to do the same. While they would form the core of a new collective, additional members and new headquarters would be needed.

At a photography studio in Mid-Manhattan, Mari McCabe was in the midst of a photo shoot when she heard the news on a television. Danny the shutterbug had a deadline, but Mari quit right then and there. That same night, the Vixen donned her new costume and tracked the JLA to a temporary suite on the 23rd floor of the New York Hilton. She was spotted by Zee through a window climbing outside the building. The Lady Fox clawed her way up to the roof, reached just before Aquaman burst out from the stairwell. Vixen tackled the Sea King, but was blown away by magical winds. Elongated Man stretched to grab Vixen, but she leaped onto his head, then back, then over the ledge. While flying through the air, the She-Fox was caught in the Martian Manhunter's enlarged grasp.

J'Onn J'Onzz plopped Vixen down on the ground, where she was encircled by heroes, yet remained nonplussed. "'Female, explain yourself'-- I'm gonna choke, you guys are so funny. *Snort* HaHaHa!" J'Onzz took offense at her laughter. "Not at you, big, green and handsome. You're much too cute." Vixen introduced herself, thinking Superman might have mentioned her after the two adventures they had together from when she still wore her blue and gold outfit. She wanted to join up, and the recently separated Aquaman admitted "Well, we need more members... and she certainly has style. She's got my vote." No actual voting took place, but one wonders how that might have turned out.

Almost immediately, the new hero Steel talked the Justice League into inducting him, with the incentive of their own jetship and a new hi-tech headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. "I'm impressed, kid. Built this yourself with a tinkertoy set?" Vixen was more impressed by Steel's surrogate father, Dale Gunn. "Hey, handsome..." Curiously, Zatanna was also interested in the balding, middle-aged chocolate champion, so Mari smirked, "Careful. I saw him first."

The team settled in Detroit, and during a grocery run with Steel, or rather "Hank" while they were in plainclothes, the pair discovered the metahuman punk Vibe. They petitioned Aquaman to include him on the team, but were refused. Steel took it hard, confiding that of the group, he only liked Ralph, Sue, and the "terrific" Mari. Vibe showed up at the League's doorstep anyway, and while his attempts to pick up Mari were shrugged off, his final membership was not.

Later that night, the invisible Gypsy tried to break into the base, setting off alarms. Vixen had her own personalized kimono, and caught Zatanna leaving Dale's company in a translucent nightgown. She grinned, "Gunn and Zatanna, hm? Girl, I told you I saw him first." The juvenile Gypsy was the one prospective member refused initial admission, but she escaped before her delinquency could be discussed with local authorities.

The neighborhood threw a surprise party for their new heroes, and Vixen joined Vibe for a dance.

Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton & Dave Hunt present "--The End of the Justice League!" While there are a few nods to the old Vixen, lover Solomon Samuels was clearly out of the picture. The Lady Fox was clearly on the prowl, and in a vastly superior costume that actually evoked a freakin' fox. This fun-loving, kittenish Vixen is my favorite take on the character, and Patton my favorite artist.

The Bronze Age

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