Sunday, January 24, 2016

Avengers Versus JLA - Champions Of Angor!


While The Squadron Supreme was getting a try-out of sorts in the pages of The Avengers over at the DC offices the schemes were afoot to land carbon copies of the Assemblers themselves into the pages of the Justice League of America. Mike Friedrich was the writer teaming with the venerable and reliable team of Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. Friedrich's tenure on the book is remembered for its weird innovative plots which spoke to many of the social issues of the then current day. He continued the work started by Denny O'Neil to add character to the Leaguers and make them more than just their costumes.

In a story titled "Batman - King of the World" we get a bizarre story with some twists and turns which frankly are impossible to predict. I imagine the Neal Adams cover above preceded the actual story, since the crown on Batman's noggin only appears in one panel in the story, the one which replicates this cover scene.

The story begins with Batman and Hawkman being knocked unconscious at the hands of a mysterious giant robot. That robot uses the JLA signaling devices to lure in other League members Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, and Superman. Zatanna who was visiting the satellite headquarters tags along. They find Batman and Hawkman awake and pushing a yarn about how the robot  is helping them in their work and that everything is fine. But it's quickly evident that they are not alright as Batman becomes more and more irrational, eventually bellowing orders as if he was some nutty Napoleon wannabe. The Leaguers appear to be killed by the robot who offers up their bodies to his "master" the Batman. (The scene from the cover.)

But this is a scam perpetrated by Green Lantern's ring because early on the members discovered the treachery of the robot and were merely trying to get it to call home so they could track the threat to its origins. That works and GL, Flash, Atom and Zatanna head into space to a distant planet named Cam-Nam-Lao which had long ago been destroyed by its own warlike ways after sending out legions of robots to spread its belicose power.

And that's where the Champions of Angor come in.


Suddenly the Champions of Angor , comprised of Wandjina, the Silver Sorceress, Jack B. Quick, and Blue Jay fly into the scene.


They, like the League, had been following the threat of the robots to its source and because of an inability to communicate imagine the League to be the enemy they seek. The battle is on.


The heroes of two worlds face off, and for a few furious minutes the battle rages.


But Blue Jay is wounded and Zatanna, true to her instincts, acts to protect him. This act of valor allows the Champions to see that maybe the League are not what they imagined and as quick as that the battle is over.
The Champions return to their world and the League members fall over themselves to thank the fetching Zatanna.

And that's that for the Champions of Angor. Unlike the Squadron Supreme, the Champions were left on the heap of forgotten heroes. No one seemed interested in these Avengers dopplegangers, that is until J.M. DeMatties, Keith Giffen and Kevin McGuire came along two decades later in a post-Crisis universe.



In the new Justice League (no America in this one) designed for the post-Crisis, the Champions of Angor return for a nifty two-part story.



And from there, they show up again and again, their ranks swelling as more oddly familiar heroes are named and or seen in panels like the one above. Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress become League members themselves for brief stints.

The Champions of Angor never got the purchase that their counterparts the Squadron Supreme achieved, but they have had a little impact over time.

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2 comments:

  1. "Cam-Nam-Lao"...? :/ heh, "topical" reference to Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos, huh? :P ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. And more than a touch of certain Marvel characters with those champions...Angor Assemble, perhaps?

    ReplyDelete

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