Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Silver Age JLA - Final Sale!


The eighth issue of Justice League of America is the final issue in this collection and it's a fun adventure indeed. Written as always by Gardner Fox and drawn as always by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, this one sports another cover by Sekwosky inked by Murphy Anderson. The only surprise for JLA fans with this issue is the price increase to twelve cents, a seeming pittance to us today but a shocking increase of twenty percent on a product which had been the same price (with decreasing pages counts of course) for decades.


"For Sale -- The Justice League!" begins when small-time hood Pete Ricketts literally stumbles across a raygun which gives him the power to control other people. He quickly sees the way to make money off this device by offering the top ten crime bosses in the area to capture the Justice League of America. He begins with Green Lantern and brings his new slave to demonstrate his power to the crime bosses. The agree to pay him a million dollars for the whole League and he quickly manages to capture them all save for Superman and Batman who are in Dimension X. Then the bosses hit on the notion of using the Leaguers to commit crimes and Ricketts opens an auction to sell the Leaguers to different members of the Syndicate. Then to fulfill wagers the bosses send their new slaves to compete to steal different items. Meanwhile Snapper Carr is in the Secret Sanctuary and is reading a letter from an inventor Caleb West who lost a device called the "Cyberniray" which he'd developed for educational purposes but which had been overloaded and lost out the window, the same device found by Ricketts. Getting anti-gravity devices from the League souvenir room to investigate. Next we see Flash and Green Lantern battle to steal some jewels but when they seek them they find the jewels have vanished. Likewise when Aquaman and Green Arrow battle one another to steal money from a cruise ship the safe they attempt to steal disappears into the sky. Manhunter and Wonder Woman fight one another to steal some radium but are both frustrated when their prize is gone. Since none of the Leaguers have proven to be effective thieves, the crime bosses decide to just knock them off and arrange elaborate schemes to do just that. Aquaman is stranded in a waterless tank, Martian Manhunter is engulfed in flames, Green Lantern is threatened with a golden bullet, Wonder Woman is encased in plaster, Flash is trapped in a shrinking rawhide net, and Green Arrow is tied to a rocket arrow headed into space. But Aquaman is suddenly free from his mind control and orders flying fish to bring a load of seawater to douse the flames which threaten Manhunter who then uses his super-vision to break Aquaman's tank and also Wonder Woman's plaster trap. Wonder Woman uses her lasso to rescue Green Arrow who uses his arrows to free Flash who races to capture the deadly bullet threatening Green Lantern. They quickly wrap the crime bosses and then discover that Snapper Carr saved them all. Using the anti-gravity devices he had been responsible for pre-stealing all the loot the League had been sent after, thus sparing them from becoming criminals themselves. He also was he one who stole the Cyberniary from Ricketts and freed the Leaguers from its influence. Snapper is hailed as the hero of the day.


I must confess this turns out to have been a much more entertaining read than I expected. I first encountered this story decades ago but had largely forgotten the details of how the League came to be on auction block. This story really plays to Mike Sekowsky's artistic strengths, the ability to render the real world. By having a small-time hood as the culprit the story does a neat twist on all the world beaters and alien despots the team had been battling. Ricketts is just a greedy son of a bitch, no interest in ruling the world, just getting his mitts on beaucoup cash.


It was nice too to have Snapper Carr, who had become truly a mascot in earlier issues have some real playing time in this one and being the member responsible for the ultimate success. Snapper catches a lot of grief from fans sometimes (me included) but he works delightfully in this whimsical tale. 


And that wraps up my look at the stories in debut volume of The Silver Age Justice League of America. I'm eager for more, and hopefully DC will supply.

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4 comments:

  1. So classic. Great blog, makes one appreciate the fun..remember when they were fun??..comics back then.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Comics were a great deal of fun but sadly I find modern comics too much of a chore with artwork that rarely ignites my imagination. Hope someone likes it.

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    2. I only read free graphic novels from public library to spare my wallet the horror of buying modern crap...it all looks the same and sooo depressing.

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