Friday, 21 September 2012

Justice League of America #110.

Justice League of America #110, the murder of Santa Claus, 100 pages
It's September.

And that can only mean one thing.

Christmas.

And that can only mean one thing.

Let's kill Santa Claus.

Sadly for those with murderous intent towards the arch commercialiser of Chrimble, we've been beaten to it.

For some villain's done the deed before we've even got settled into this Justice League adventure.

Or at least they've killed a man who was playing the part for charity.

Who can it be? What can he want?

It's dying arch-criminal The Key and, if the Justice League don't deal with him sharpish, he's going to blow up some slums in St Louis.

The JLA gather their forces and invade the villain's underground lair, only to, one by one, be killed by his fiendish gimmicks. Is this the end of the world's greatest heroes?

Well, no it's not because, just as it seems it's all over, the Phantom Stranger reveals he was onto the villain's plan all along and has got the JLA-ers to safety, dispatched The Key's henchman and foiled his plan. Now all that's left is for our heroes to evacuate the slums before the bomb goes off.

I do remember really liking this story as a kid, mostly because it was a tale with a heart. It has snow in it and any story with snow in it's going to struggle not to warm the cockles.

Reading it again as an adult, the obvious question that raises its head is that, as the Phantom Stranger's aware of The Key's plan all along and spends the entire tale in the room next to him, why doesn't he just walk in and give The Key the slapping he's asking for, thus saving the Justice League from their ordeal?

But that's the Phantom Stranger for you; always happy to spew out words of wisdom, but never willing to actually show any wisdom.

Actually, this story's main importance to me is it introduced me for the first time to the Red Tornado. Even when I was a child, his similarity to the Avengers' Vision was impossible to miss, and it's interesting here that they've set up a relationship between him and the Green Arrow that's clearly based on Dr McCoy and Mr Spock.

The other matter of interest is it introduced me to the alternate Green Lantern - John Stewart - who has his JLA debut adventure here. Despite his novice status, and the initial distrust of his new teammates, John becomes the hero of the piece by virtue of his compassion and by using his power ring to recreate the destroyed slums, minus the rats fleas, damp and rot that had previously blighted the lives of the deprived locals.

You see? We didn't even need Santa anyway. Not when we had John Stewart on standby.

2 comments:

Boston Bill said...

I never read the comic, but I do remember the strangely disturbing (especially for DC) cover!

Superman? Black Canary? Isn't anyone even going to help him up and see if he's okay?

Anonymous said...

I found the cover annoying, if not actually disturbing. I was a teenager at the time, but I worried about the effect that the cover might have on little kids. Back then, superhero comics like Justice League were on the same spinner racks with Richie Rich and Walt Disney's Comics & Stories.

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