Over at Mister Silver Age's forum (glad that's up and running again), I wrote about how the super-villains gathered by Doctor Destiny in Justice League of America #61 (Operation:Jail the Justice League) were a bit lacking. Luthor and the Penguin, fine but Captain Boomerang? The Tattooed Man (A JLA favorite)? Cutlass Charlie?? There never was that great villain team to battle our heroes, No Legion of Doom or Secret Society. There was the Injustice Gang of the World but that's a future topic. Oddly enough this team wasn't from Justice League, it appeared in Action Comics!

 

Action #443 (Ja'75) started with Metropolis' 6 o'clock news with its anchor.....Superman! Within the first page we see people treating Superman as boring and ordinary. Lois complains about his meekness and Steve Lombard trips him up with his own cape! Yes, he tugged on Superman's cape, then spat into the wind, went looking for that ol' Lone Ranger while avoiding Jimmy Olsen! Superman secretly gets even with his heat-vision that sets off to take Lois to an exhibit on butterflies. Smooth, Man of Steel, smooth.

 

But then an emergancy happens, Superman eludes Lois, sneaks off and attacks flying Bee Drones as ....Clark Kent, in glasses, blue suit and red tie! The title, "At Last--Clark Kent, Super Hero!" by Elliot S! Maggin, Curt Swan (of course) and Tex Blaisdell says it all. Clark quickly deduces that Zazzala the Queen Bee is behind this and the disappearance of the Justice League! But he gets no answer from the drones who vanish after being defeated.

 

The scene switches to a bee-hive shaped space satellite in orbit where the Queen Bee demands an explaination from her "team" of JLA foes that she is controlling.They include:

Brainiac who's perplexed by the switched roles,

Clayface II who had been missing in action since Batman's "New Look" era began in 1964.

The Harpy: from Green Lantern/Green Arrow to give Black Canary her own baddie.

Merlyn the Archer: who does the same for GA. (Sidenote: in his Who's Who entry, this story is referenced with the Harpy is merely called an accomplice.)

Ocean Master: a real Aquaman villain for a change!

Sinestro: well he's no Tattooed Man!

Chronos: on his THIRD villain team!

Gorilla Grodd: Flash's most dangerous, not-from-the-future foe!

 

They relate their capture of the JLA and how they defeated their individual foes. Poor Red Tornado and Elongated Man didn't have any of their own so the Queen Bee took them out. They were all confused on why everyone was treating Superman and Clark oppositely. The Queen Bee sends out her drones again and that convinces them that Superman is pulling a fast one. Brainiac is about to send out one of his "Superman destructo-ray" when Clark invades the Beehive as Superman and begins to pummel them. He even melts Sinestro's ring! Chronos and Ocean Master sat that one out. He is about to free the JLA, trapped in amber when Brainiac freezes him solid with his Meson-Effect.

 

While he does his "Oil Can" routine, he reminisces on how he learned that the JLA were captured, that their greatest (?) enemies were free and figured out that since Luthor and Terra Man were in jail and there were no Phanton Zone escapees, his foe must be Brainiac who knows his secret identity. So he used a Kandorian Brain-Wave Machine, complete with Clark and Superman dolls, to reverse the entire world's perception of his alter egos! This is what we got mad at Zatanna and Tony Stark for!

 

Of course, Superman frees the JLA at the last moment and the Anti-JLA is rather quickly defeated by the JLA. Superman is shot into the sun for a thawing out and the world's brains are unscrambled.

 

One scene struck me as odd when Superman realizes he's the last JLAer and wished that Wonder Woman and Hawkman were still in the League. Now Hawkman and Hawkgirl were recalled to Thanagar in JLA #109, and WW was on her twelve trials to rejoin the JLA but she was available to help him. What about Supergirl, Metamorpho, Zatanna, the Teen Titans, the Metal Men, etc? It's not like he was the only hero on Earth! He contacted the Guardians about Sinestro. They could have sent Tomar-Re or Katma Tui or activated John Stewart. But he was hesitant to ask for help but playing with everyone's mind was OK?

 

And the Queen Bee able to control Brainiac, Sinestro and Grodd? I don't know about that but the Anti-Justice League had a strong roster and should have had a rematch in Justice League!  

 

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