Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sure, the JLA needs Red Tornado and Hawkgirl. They need at least ten active members to get a group rate at the gym.

Continuing with Justice League of America #146, "Inner Mission!" Written by Steve Englehart, art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin.

The second part opens with Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow on their way to Atlantis, to check in with the Atom and Aquaman, who had fought the Construct before. Supes wonders why everyone on the team is "so mule-headed lately," which is weird for me to hear: rather than him being the guy with the team spirit, I'm much more accustomed to Supes begging off or being the first one out the door. Ollie and Bats are less concerned, believing the JLA has spirit, and is just pushing in new directions.

In Atlantis, Atom and Aquaman explain they fought and destroyed the Construct--the first one. This is a new one, which wouldn't know anything the first Construct had learned, but would still be mad for power. The Atom ditches his underwater globe-ship, noting the Construct could be in any machine, and hops between molecules into Ollie's air helmet. Ollie looks a little uncomfortable having Ray that close to his face.
'Personal space, Ray, personal space!'
The five heroes discuss their plans in a darkened war room, with no lights, computers, or other electronic equipment for the Construct to listen in. So, he instead takes over a nearby defense cannon, and opens fire. Aquaman takes it out pretty quickly, and the Atom takes advantage of the moment to use the computer to triangulate the Construct's position.

Meanwhile, in Vermont, the Red Tornado's body starts to walk...robot zombie! More after the break!

Wonder Woman leads her team, Black Canary and the Hawks, to Paradise Island. Hawkman came since he didn't want to be separated from his wife, which from just about anyone else would've been an excuse to get a visit to an island full of hot Amazons, but he means it. WW reminds him "No Man must ever set foot on out sacred ground!!" Which isn't a problem for Hawkman: with his anti-gravity belt, he can just float along, something that probably wouldn't have worked if he had to actually flap his wings. Hey, are the Amazons still doing that? I remember a house ad for Wonder Woman from about the same era, where a batch of Amazons with spears keep a shipwrecked sailor (or something) from dragging himself onto their shores. Meanies...

Shayera (I'm used to spelling it Shiera) takes her husband aside to say maybe he shouldn't have tried to push her JLA membership through. She definitely thinks she should be a member, but doesn't want to divide the JLA on the issue. Katar wants her in, and thinks it's just that no ones fought their stupid non-duplicating powers rule before.
Isn't that more emotion than we usually see here from Wonder Woman?  Or in her own book?
Wonder Woman plans on using the Amazons' Memory Chair, to get to the bottom of her recent amnesia. Canary advises against it, since the Construct could get into that machine, but WW says Paradise Island is protected by defensive shields. That look like big floating playing card backs. While in the chair, the shields heat up, under attack; and in Vermont, Zombie Tornado tries to fly, and falls.

A surprisingly pissed off Wonder Woman remembers the Construct's control, and how it thinks. She had actually been controlled by a second Construct, making this one the third, and she vows, the last. The League regroups to beard the Construct in his lair:
Were there actually computers in the World Trade Center's basement?
The Construct's hideout is found pretty quickly, but the first robot body they find is empty. Left at a loss, Supes advises taking a break, since he has to get to work as Clark Kent. (This was during the GBS broadcast days, when Clark apparently worked an hour a day.) Before they can adjourn, the Red Tornado lurches in, barely.

Having been burned multiple times now, they are skeptical of Reddy's story. Superman, who seems a lot more take-charge than usual, advises Wonder Woman's squad to lock up the android, and takes his guys to Metropolis for dinner. Reddy makes a surprisingly impassioned speech, though, which convinces Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman that he's the real deal. Moreover, he can sense the Construct, who has just left...for the GBS building in Metropolis!
All the ladies in the house love Reddy.
The third Construct has a pretty good scheme going: he's taken over the machines at GBS, and the people, including half the JLA, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen. He announces any humans who feel anger, can be made to feel his anger, and become his slave. Red Tornado, still not at full strength (Hawkman carried him there) has to step up, falls once, but succeeds since the League believes in him.

With what she knows about the Construct now, Wonder Woman sets up "a continuous random-wave pattern in the ether," a broadcast of noise into space to keep another Construct from forming. And the JLA holds an off-panel election, bringing Red Tornado back into the fold, and making Hawkgirl official.
How short is Hawkgirl?  Well, when she's flying at you with a mace, she looks a lot taller...
Not a bad issue, with some of the little character beats I like. Hawkman supporting his wife's membership is probably the coolest thing I can remember him doing, and Hawkgirl deserved it. I liked the Shiera/Mrs. Hawkman version of the character, in part because she just seemed nice. Red Tornado is more "alive" here than I can ever remember seeing him, and Black Canary gets in a nice line, that her and Ollie aren't matching bookends that have to be paired up. (I always have the same feeling about the Vision and Scarlet Witch, or Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne in the Avengers.) While it's weird for me to see Superman seeming to really care about the League, it's also probably strange not to see Batman being the one bossing everyone around. Reading old stories like this, you can really chart where your feelings on the JLA come from. Well, I can, anyway...

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