Deck Log Entry # 215 A Forgotten Gem: Justice League of America # 27 (May, 1964)---Part One

“The ‘I’ Who Defeated the Justice League”

 

Editor:  Julius Schwartz   Writer:  Gardner Fox   Art:  Mike Sekowsky (pencils), Bernard Sachs (inks)

 

 

To anybody who’s read my various Silver-Age writings across the Internet, it will come as no surprise that my favourite Silver-Age comic was Justice League of America.  Depending on how many dimes and quarters I had in my pocket, I might skip that month’s issue of another title, but never JLA.  A strong reason for that was that JLA offered the best bang for the buck---I was getting the adventures of several heroes for my ten cents, rather than one.  (It’s also the reason why, if forced to choose, I always went with World’s Finest Comics, over an issue of Superman or Batman.)

 

DC editor Julius Schwartz certainly understood that kind of thinking.  It’s why, after his revivals of the Flash and Green Lantern had proven to be solid money-makers, his third effort was a (then-) modern-day resurrection of comics’ first super-hero team, the Justice Society of America, under the revised---and to Schwartz, the more exciting---name of “the Justice League of America”.

 

The Golden-Age Justice Society had had considerable legs; its run in All Star Comics lasted longer than the parent titles of nearly all of its constituent heroes.  But Schwartz was going to hedge his bets on the new Justice League series.  He selected its charter members on the basis of proven popularity (hence, profitability.)  Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman all headlined titles which had survived the super-hero purge of the early 1950’s, and Aquaman had endured as a reliable back-up.  The newly reïnvented Flash and Green Lantern would link the group to the current age.

 

The one curiosity was the inclusion of J’onn J’onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, who’d been around only since 1955, as a back-of-the-book series in Detective Comics.  Originally conceived as a police detective who was secretly a Martian exiled on Earth, the Manhunter had only recently started acting in a more super-hero-like fashion---around the time of the new Flash’s second and third appearances in Showcase.

 

There’s been a great deal of conjecture over why the relatively lesser-known J’onn J’onzz got the nod as the JLA’s seventh and last charter member.  Especially in light of the fact that the Green Arrow, like Aquaman, had been popular enough to survive since the 1940’s.  But I think the reason is simple:  the Manhunter would be a more dynamic and powerful character than the Emerald Archer, who was essentially "Batman with a bow". That was going to be especially important in view of the fact that, initially, Schwartz wasn’t permitted to give Superman, or Batman, a great deal of face time in the JLA stories.

 

That first Justice League adventure, “Starro the Conqueror”, instituted a number of formulaic elements for the series, imposed by writer Gardner Fox.  They would remain, with a bit of modification, after the ban on Superman and Batman was lifted and with the additions of three more members.  They would become as identifiable with the title every bit as much as Mike Sekowsky’s distinctive artwork.  What’s remarkable was Fox’s ability to create taut, exciting tales within that structure.

 

And that’s what brings us around to the subject of this “forgotten gem” Deck Log entry---Justice League of America # 27, and the tale within, “The ‘I’ Who Defeated the Justice League”.

 

There are more significant JLA stories:  the team’s début in the aforementioned “Starro the Conqueror”, or the historic meeting of the Justice League and the Justice Society in JLA # 21-2 (Aug. and Sep., 1963), or even the inductions of Green Arrow and the Atom and Hawkman.  Nevertheless, “The ‘I’ Who Defeated the Justice League” represents the JLA at its Silver-Age best.

 

And the best way to show that is to let the story speak for itself . . . 

 

 

 

It begins in the trophy room of the Justice League’s secret sanctuary, where honorary member Snapper Carr takes stock of the various souvenirs from the League’s previous cases.  (Anyone familiar with the dramatic expression “Chekhov’s gun” gets a big tip-off here.)  At the council table, the members of the JLA assemble for a regularly scheduled meeting, with the exceptions of the Atom and Batman and Aquaman, who send word that they’re tied up on personal business.

 

The routine matters are quickly handled, and the meeting turns to new business.  J'onn J'onzz, this month's rotating chairman, asks if there's anything in the mail that might require their attention, and Snapper pulls out of the pile three letters that might merit the League's interest.

The first letter describes the strange occurrence of a disappearing island, and it's signed by someone calling himself "C. King."

The second reports a mystery from Ivy Town---a cannon that fires itself.  And, according to the signature, the letter was sent by Ray Palmer.

The last missive tells of an invisible bandit striking Gotham City, and it's signed by Bruce Wayne.

Here, Gardner Fox assumes that JLA readers are familiar enough with DC comics to recognise Bruce Wayne as the civilian identity of the Batman, and Ray Palmer as the Atom.  Given that, it's not too difficult to guess who "C. King" is.

 

Fox has already handed the readers a puzzle---why are three members of the Justice League asking for the team’s aid in letters signed by their civilian selves?---and he heaps it on.  Each letter reports a seemingly impossible occurrence beyond the efforts of conventional authorities to solve.  The super-heroes are intrigued, and J’onn J’onzz hands out the assignments, sending a JLA team to investigate each mystery.  When Snapper complains about being left behind to mind the store, he gets to go along with the members looking into the situation reported by Bruce Wayne.

 

Our Heroes move swiftly.  Halfway down page three, a Justice League team is knocking on the door of stately Wayne Manor.  Since Alfred the butler is probably down in the Batcave polishing the giant penny or something, young Dick Grayson answers the knock and is stunned to see the Flash and Green Arrow and some kid in a windbreaker on their doorstep.

 

After the Leaguers explain how they received a letter from Bruce Wayne asking the JLA to investigate the baffling case of an invisible bandit, Dick ushers them to the drawing room, then confers privately with Wayne in his study.

 

Looks like the Batman’s plate was pretty full that month.  Bruce is well aware of an invisible crook burglarising millionaire art collector Jason Markham, but he couldn’t go after him until he and Dick, as Batman and Robin, finished their current business, the case of the headless statues.  Wayne meets with the Justice League trio and is handed the letter that he supposedly wrote.  Bruce is confounded; the letter is, indeed, in his handwriting.  But I never wrote it, he insists.

 

Since Wayne is unable to shed any light on the situation, the Leaguers decide to visit Jason Markham and get a look at the crime scene.  As soon as the heroes leave, Bruce dumps the case of the headless statues on Dick and heads off to shadow his JLA buddies.

 

It goes pretty much the same way in Ivy Town, when J’onn J’onzz and Wonder Woman consult with Ray Palmer.  Yes, that’s my handwriting, says Palmer, but, no, I didn’t write this letter.  He’s been too busy working on a scientific research project for the government.  When the JLA duo opts to investigate the cannon personally, Ray decides to tag along secretly as the Atom.

 

And at Seaside Point, no-one is more surprised to find Superman and Green Lantern looking for “C. King” than C. King himself---actually Aquaman in disguise.  The Marine Marvel has been working undercover as a merchant seaman in order to break up a smuggling racket.  The incognito hero sings the same refrain as Bruce Wayne and Ray Palmer; it’s his handwriting but he didn’t write it.  He has heard of the disappearing island, though.  He gives Superman and G.L. directions to its general vicinity.

 

As soon as the JLA pair are airborne, the Sea King dives into the coastal waters to keep an unseen eye on them.

 

 

 

Part Two opens in the private art gallery of wealthy Jason Markham, where he outlines the situation so far for the Flash and Green Arrow and Snapper Carr.

 

Markham’s private gallery is equipped with burglar-proof locks, electronic-eye-triggered traps, and infra-red cameras.  Moreover, the priceless works of art are sealed nightly in a vault which is fitted with a special lock that works without tumblers.  And only Markham has the combination.  Despite the gallery’s impregnability, for the past several nights, the invisible thief has entered, opened the vault, and removed the most valuable pieces.

 

Adding to the puzzle, there is never any sign of forced entry to the vault, or to the gallery itself.  None of the traps are ever off and the infra-red cameras never show anything but an empty room. 

 

The JLAers decide to lay a trap, with an expensive painting recently purchased by Markham as the bait. 

 

That night, Green Arrow and Snapper man the gallery, while the Flash circles Markham’s mansion at invisible super-speed.  Unknown to any of them, the Batman lurks on the roof of the art collector’s mansion. 

 

Nevertheless, a caped, masked figure steals silently through the corridors.  The intruder silently opens the locked gallery door and ambushes G.A. and Snapper with billowing clouds of knockout gas. 

 

The Flash dashes into the gallery.  At the same time, Batman swings in through a window.  The “invisible” bandit raises his gas-gun.  But a blast of air from the Scarlet Speedster’s windmilling arms yanks the weapon out of the crook’s grasp, while a batarang to the noggin conks him into dreamland.

 

But before either hero can unmask the intruder, the very air overhead is rented by a yawning chasm of a space-warp.  Four colourful tendrils snake down and grip the Justice Leaguers, who can only struggle helplessly.  The tentacle holding the Flash secure even adapts to his efforts to vibrate free.

 

Moments later, they are gone, pulled through the space-warp.

 

 

 

Just about the same time, in Ivy Town, Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter approach a particular cannon in the public park.  According to the information provided in the letter supposedly sent by Ray Palmer, the hour when the cannon fires itself is approaching.

 

Sixty seconds later, with an explosive report, it does---to the JLA team’s amazement!

 

J’onn J’onzz intercepts the hurtling cannonball and shatters it with his super-strength.  Meanwhile, Wonder Woman twirls her magic lasso around the cannon, attempting to detect any outside force which might have caused the cannon to fire.  At the same time, the Atom enlarges himself from microscopic size and emerges from the barrel of the weapon.

 

Just as the Tiny Titan makes his presence known to his teammates, again, as in Gotham City, a space-warp parts the sky overhead and three tentacles reach down and encircle the heroes.  In the case of J’onn J’onzz, it’s a flaming tendril which saps his Martian might.  The three JLAers are irresistibly pulled into the void.

 

Unaware of the fates which have befallen their fellow members, Superman and Green Lantern, in the waters near Seacoast Point, locate the disappearing island when it suddenly pops into view.  Before moving in, both the Man of Steel, with his telescopic vision, and the Emerald Crusader, with his power beam, scan the island and its beaches.

 

Beneath the waves, Aquaman is approaching the island when he is contacted by a school of fish.  Receiving their communication telepathically, the Sea King then heads upward and breaks the surface in view of his two JLA comrades.  Before they can exchange information, though, once again, brightly hued appendages slither down from a space-warp in the sky and clutch them.

 

Superman is grasped by a tentacle made of green kryptonite, while G.L. is ensnared by a---surprise, surprise---yellow one.   In the blink of any eye, all three Leaguers are drawn into nothingness!

 

 

 

As they are pulled through the void, each Justice League member feels the sensation of something being drained out of his body.  Moments later, they reëmerge into physical space and the serpentine tendrils release them on an “ultra-world”, in front of a shimmering curtain.

 

They soon discover the translucent curtain is actually a sentient life-form---an ultra-galactic being that refers to itself simply as “I”.  “I” possesses no true physical form; rather, it is a phenomenon of time and space.  As such, it is ageless, immortal.  Or so it was---until the formation of the Justice League of America.

 

The shimmering being relates that, some time ago, its life-force began to dwindle in periodic increments.  After searching the cosmos for the cause, “I” discovered Earth and the existence of the Justice League.  This was the vital link that “I” had been seeking. Every time the JLA prevailed on a case, another portion of “I’s” life-energy was lost, as the result of a “robber-force” created by the combined energies of the World’s Greatest Heroes.

 

The entity informs the heroes that it cannot be destroyed, only rendered inert.  And that will occur if the Justice League works as a team one more time!

 

To prevent that from happening, “I” needed to bring the entire team together.  It created the letters from C. King and Ray Palmer and Bruce Wayne---having learnt their true identities and the details of cases in which they were currently interested by probing their minds---knowing the other Leaguers would investigate.

 

Enough life-force remained in “I” that it was able to open a space-warp and drag the Leaguers through to its ultra-realm.

 

Big deal, announce Our Heroes confidently; we’ll just defeat you here.

 

“Impossible!” replies the ultra-entity.  “You cannot defeat anyone ever again---working as a team!  The elimination process has already taken place!  It began as my tentacles wrapped about you---draining you of the success factor!”

 

“I” had already lost enough of its life-energies that it was unable to rob the Justice Leaguers of their individual powers and skills.  But bereft of their success-factor, the heroes working in tandem—even in teams of two or three---will never be able to triumph, again.

 

“You are all super-heroes still---until you work together!”

 

They are also stubborn.  Defiantly, the Justice League hurls itself at “I”.  But to the members’ dismay, they fail miserably.  Super-strength---Martian breath---super-speed---magic lasso---power-ring beam---emerald shafts---batarang---and even a good swift kick from Snapper Carr.  All prove ineffectual against the ultra-entity.

 

Realising that “I” wasn’t just blowing smoke about stealing their success-factor, the other nine JLAers turn to Superman confidently.  The Man of Steel has a grunch of super-powers, more than most of his teammates put together.  If any one of them can defeat “I”, he can.

 

Superman launches himself at their foe, but he is confounded by its lack of physical state.  Before he can come to grips with the problem, “I” smacks him down with a kryptonite tendril.  And for good measure, the alien entity takes out J’onn J’onzz with a fiery appendage and, with a yellow one, slaps Green Lantern cross-eyed.

 

Confident that it has rendered the heroes unable to band against it, “I” opens a space-warp and deposits the Justice League back on Earth.

 

The demoralised heroes drag themselves back to the Secret Sanctuary.  As a mighty force against evil, the Justice League of America is now useless. 

 

 

 

The air is heavy in the meeting room, as the heroes sit quietly, lost in despair.  Then, like a gunshot, an excited Snapper Carr slaps his hand down on the council table in inspiration.  While his fellow members have been crying in their beers, he has figured out the means by which to overcome “I”.

 

The Justice Leaguers are so desperate that they’ll even listen to whatever half-baked idea their English-mangling junior member has come up with.  That’s why they follow behind like starving puppies as the eager teen-ager leads them to the souvenir room.  Snap stops in front of a tall display case and points.

 

“There’s your salvation---Amazo!”

 

Amazo, the android that stole the powers of the Justice League---five of them, anyway---‘way back on its third recorded case, in The Brave and the Bold # 30 (Jun.-Jul., 1960).  After the JLA defeated Amazo and his inventor, Professor Ivo, Green Lantern had removed the stolen super-powers and deactivated the android.

 

Snapper’s plan is ingenious in its simplicity:  restore Amazo’s super-powers and set him free.

 

But, the other members protest, without our success-factor, we can’t defeat him as a team, and not one of us is powerful enough to beat him alone; he’ll hand us our heads.

 

Sure, Snapper tells them.  That’s the brilliant part of his scheme.  By using the Leaguers’ various super-powers to defeat them, Amazo will create enough “robber-force” to render “I” inert.  And once “I” is inert, the success-factor will automatically return to the heroes, enabling them to work as a team once more.  And the nine of them working together are more than enough to whup up on Amazo real good.

 

With his power ring, Green Lantern re-instils Amazo with the super-powers he had previously stolen and activates his programming.  With one mighty blow, the villain smashes out of the display case.  Instantly, the assembled Justice Leaguers gang-rush their android adversary.  They have to make him use all of his super-powers at the same time, simulating the JLA working as a team.

 

It’s a titanic-but-brief struggle.  Under the best of circumstances, Amazo would be a tough nut, but without their success-factor, Our Heroes have no chance.  To defend himself against the charging assault, the android relies upon super-strength, super-breath, super-speed, and power-ring energy.  The members of the Justice League go down like tenpins.

 

Amazo then departs the headquarters, disdainfully leaving his opponents sprawled about the sanctuary floor.

 

It takes only a few seconds for the JLAers to realise that Snapper’s plan worked!  “I” has been rendered inert---for they feel their success-factor rushing back into their bodies.  The invigorated super-heroes race after the awesome foe which they themselves restored to life.  The evil android possesses the powers of five Justice Leaguers and, even with their success-factor restored, they know they’re in for a battle royale.

 

But instead, the Justice Leaguers launch their attack and, incredibly, Amazo goes down without a struggle!

Green Lantern can take credit for that.  When he restored the android’s super-powers, he gave his power ring an additional, precautionary order:  the instant the League’s success-factor was restored, the ring simultaneously removed Amazo’s own success-force.

 

“Otherwise, we might have had the battle of our lives to defeat Amazo!” explains the Emerald Crusader.

 

As it always seemed to be at the conclusion of a JLA adventure, wrapping up the loose ends is more work than the case itself.   First there are the housekeeping chores of deactivating Amazo, removing his super-powers, and sticking him in a new display case---work all dumped on G.L.’s power ring.

 

Then, there are the strange cases of the invisible robber, the self-firing cannon, and the disappearing island that the Justice League had been investigating.  However, Our Heroes have solved those too, and they return to Gotham City, Ivy Town, and Seaside Point to clear them up.

 

With that, the entire Justice League regathers at the Secret Sanctuary for the usual happy fade-out.  For once, the readers are spared a last-panel groaner from the lips of Snapper Carr.  He was probably still reeling from the kiss he had gotten from Wonder Woman back on page 19 for saving the day.

* * * * *

Now that you're (re-?)familiarised with the story, drop by next time and I'll explain just what makes "The 'I' Who Defeated the Justice League" so significant!

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Justice League of America #27 was not one that I was familiar with as it was never reprinted in the Bronze Age. I read it in the Archive series but it had no emotional impact with me as other Silver Age JLA stories had.

This was the second time that Gardner Fox left readers with the impression that Aquaman had no civilian identity. The first was JLA #19 (My'63), "The Super-Exiles of Earth!", where the team gets around their exile by switching to their other identities, leaving the King of the Seven Seas behind. All that despite the fact that Aquaman's revised origin from Adventure Comics #260 (My'59) clearly stated that his real name was Arthur Curry. While it's true that he had no secret identity and granted he was undercover here, anyone just reading Justice League would think that his only name was Aquaman!

"I" never made an impression on me. He was too much like the Unimaginable from JLA #42 (F'66) which I read first and I wasn't thrilled about him either, though he did get a rematch!

How ironic that Dick Grayson would encounter the Flash and Green Arrow when their sidekicks were about to become such integral parts of his life as Brave & Bold #54 (Jl'64) would be out shortly afterwards! Yes I know Speedy wasn't involved like Kid Flash was but it was the genesis of the Teen Titans!

Did Robin really not know who Snapper Carr was or was he pretending? I could never see the sidekicks being too happy about the Slang-Slinger getting to sit with the adults! And the JLA keeps putting him in harm's way, first against a cosmic entity then a super-powered android! Did his parents actually permit this?

Amazo is one of my favorite JLA villains from his return in #112 (Au'74) which redesigned his silly outfit. It also gave readers his history and reprinted JLA #19, to boot!

Philip Portelli said:

This was the second time that Gardner Fox left readers with the impression that Aquaman had no civilian identity. The first was JLA #19 (My'63), "The Super-Exiles of Earth!", where the team gets around their exile by switching to their other identities, leaving the King of the Seven Seas behind. All that despite the fact that Aquaman's revised origin from Adventure Comics #260 (My'59) clearly stated that his real name was Arthur Curry. While it's true that he had no secret identity and granted he was undercover here, anyone just reading Justice League would think that his only name was Aquaman!

This may come down, in your opinion, to parsing words, but I would disagree that Aquaman had a civilian identity.  You are assuming that having been born with a regular-type name, that means Aquaman had a civilian identity.  i would argue that he did not.

He didn't wear civilian clothes and go to a regular job, or have friends and acquaintances as an ordinary guy.  He was Aquaman all of the time.  That's who he was:  Aquaman---not Arthur Curry who sometimes went out and did super-hero stuff as Aquaman.

The fact that he was born Arthur Curry is immaterial.  It goes to a peculiar attitude in American society, that there is something inviolate and intractable about the name one is born with.  No matter how long one has been known by and lived by another name, the name with which he was born is still considered, wrongly, as his "real" name.  That may be what you're applying here.  Aquaman was never known as Arthur Curry, never went by Arthur Curry, and never used the name Arthur Curry.  Not until the mid-1970's, when some touchy-feely JLA writers thought it would be cool to have the League members refer to each other by their ordinary first names---"Barry", "Hal", "Bruce", and so forth.  That's the only time one ever heard Aquaman addressed as "Arthur" (to which I iterate my remark about American society and "real" names).

"I" never made an impression on me. He was too much like the Unimaginable from JLA #42 (F'66) which I read first and I wasn't thrilled about him either, though he did get a rematch!

Yep, Fox did present us with a few invisible villains around that time (probably much to Mike Sekowsky's relief).  Besides "I" and the Unimaginable, there was also the Alien-ator from JLA # 33 (Feb., 1965).

Did Robin really not know who Snapper Carr was or was he pretending? I could never see the sidekicks being too happy about the Slang-Slinger getting to sit with the adults! And the JLA keeps putting him in harm's way, first against a cosmic entity then a super-powered android! Did his parents actually permit this?

Up until this point, Dick (Robin) Grayson had never met Snapper Carr, so he would have had to guess Snapper's name on the basis of him being in the presence of the Flash and Green Arrow.  That is, if Dick knew about Snapper Carr at all.  

At the beginning of "The Last Case of the Justice League" (Jun., 1962), Snapper is participating in the annual Happy Harbor fishing tourney when he receives the JLA emergency signal.  He abruptly tosses away his pole, line, and prize-winning fish to take off without explanation.  By his own thoughts, he “couldn’t tune them in on the fact that my Justice League emergency signal is making like quicksville!”

 

It raises the question:  was Snapper Carr’s membership in the Justice League supposed to be a secret?  This scene implies in the affirmative.  But it's a matter of conjecture.  Yes, Snapper’s girl friend, Midge, knew about his association with the League, but he didn’t tell her until circumstances forced him to do so---in “The Cosmic Fun House” (JLA # 7 [Oct.-Nov., 1961]).

 

In fact, it would have been very sensible for Snapper’s membership in the Justice League to be kept secret.  He didn’t have a secret identity, nor was he a super-hero; he was clearly the weak link for any villain who wanted to infiltrate the group.

 

Yet, there were times when his membership in the League was not hidden.  For example, he appeared with the rest of the group at a public ceremony on the White House lawn---in front of television cameras, no less---in JLA # 50 (Dec., 1966).  And, in issue # 41 (Dec., 1965), the Key was able to poison the Justice League membership with his psycho-chemical by first going after Snapper, whom the villain knew to be the League’s honorary member.

So, even if Fox's original idea was for the Snapster's membership in the League to be a secret, it didn't stay that way.  

But there's another consideration.  Even if Snapper's status with the JLA was not public knowledge at the time, one can logically assume that Batman would tell Robin about him. so one would not be untoward in expecting Robin to know, and even recognise, Snapper Carr when he saw him.  I'll even stipulate to that:  yes, Robin knew who Snapper was and would recognise him on sight.

Robin, that is---not Dick Grayson.  Dick Grayson wasn't supposed to have any more knowledge of Snapper Carr than the average man on the street.  So, when he opened the front door of Wayne Manor, and saw Snapper standing there, he would have acted like he didn't know who he was.  To openly state that he knew who Snapper was would risk tipping the JLAers off to his secret identity, and thus, Batman's.

There's a nice scene in JLA # 50, when Robin is a special guest star on a case involving the Lord of Time, and the Boy Wonder gets to sit in on a Justice League emergency meeting.  There, Robin---as Robin---meets Snapper and they exchange mutually envious remarks.

As to the issue of Snapper risking his life whenever he went out on a Justice League case and how his parents would react to it (negatively, I presume; although their attitudes might have been, "Oh, well, what the hell.  We still have Jimmy."), that's just got to be one of things over which the Silver-Age readers had to look the other way.

As alluded in my wisecrack above, I can think of some real-world-type, credible reasons why Mr. and Mrs. Carr would let their son hang out with the JLA, even if it meant risking his neck from time to time.  But those reasons certainly wouldn't be in keeping with the bright and shiny place the world of the DC universe was meant to be in the Silver Age.

Well, if little Hoshino could hang out with the Science Police and Ultraman...

Commander Benson said:

As alluded in my wisecrack above, I can think of some real-world-type, credible reasons why Mr. and Mrs. Carr would let their son hang out with the JLA, even if it meant risking his neck from time to time.  But those reasons certainly wouldn't be in keeping with the bright and shiny place the world of the DC universe was meant to be in the Silver Age.

The Baron said:

Well, if little Hoshino could hang out with the Science Police and Ultraman...

Commander Benson said:

As alluded in my wisecrack above, I can think of some real-world-type, credible reasons why Mr. and Mrs. Carr would let their son hang out with the JLA, even if it meant risking his neck from time to time.  But those reasons certainly wouldn't be in keeping with the bright and shiny place the world of the DC universe was meant to be in the Silver Age.

That was because everybody was kind of hoping that Bemular was stomp that annoying kid into paste.

Did we ever see Snapper's parents? I don't remember ever seeing them.

As to your question of what makes it special, did you want us to guess now or wait for Part 2?

Richard Willis said:

Did we ever see Snapper's parents? I don't remember ever seeing them.

As to your question of what makes it special, did you want us to guess now or wait for Part 2?

We saw Snapper's parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Carr, along with his younger sister, only once in the Silver Age.  That was in Snap's first appearance, in "Starro the Conqueror", from The Brave and the Bold # 28 (Feb.-Mar., 1960). 

Later, in "Secret of the Sinister Sorcerers", from Justice League of America # 2 (Dec., 1960-Jan., 1961), Snapper's kid brother, Jimmy, gets a one-panel cameo at the end.

Snapper's parents and siblings don't make an encore appearance until the Bronze Age, in "The Return of Anakronus", from JLA # 114 (Nov.-Dec., 1974).  That's where we learn that his sister's name is Janet.

And, no, it wasn't a question as to why JLA # 27 was so special.  Ideally, my commentary on the issue should have directly followed the synopsis, but I couldn't make it all fit into one column.  I tried to, but the commentary took too many pages.  So, instead of making this a mammoth entry, I broke it up into two parts, even though this is one entry that doesn't lend itself to it.

I never saw this story until I bought a back copy in the Bronze Age — I only started on comics with JLA #30. The League was my favorite as a kid until Dial H for Hero came along (more heroes! Teen protagonist).

I liked this story with its weirdly alien villain, though I did feel it was a little hard on I — I could hardly blame it for not wanting to be inert (in my head canon, the JLA eventually found a way to wake it up and coexist). I wouldn't have ranked the story as that big a standout, though, so I'm interested to see your reasons.

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