Monday, November 12, 2007
Justice League of America #37-38 (Aug.-Sep. '65)
Earth-Two was the home of the Justice Society of America, the 1940's predecessors of the JLA in reality, or comic book inspirations for the JL of A existing on the Pre-Crisis Earth-One. The powerful genie Thunderbolt of Earth-Two was commanded by its master, Johnny Thunder, to visit Johnny's Earth-One counterpart. That Johnny turned out to be evil, slugged Earth-Two Johnny, and took control of his Thunderbolt. The next time a Silver Age nerd claims this sort of thing wasn't confusing, they ought to try describing a story like this in plain terms for the uninitiated. Simplifying things, Thunderbolt was sent back in time to stop the Justice League members from coming to power. In Manhunter's case, Dr. Erdel's robot brain invention was short circuited. Learning of the changes to Earth-One, the JS of A traversed dimensions to put things right. After being defeated by the Thunderbolt, the JS of Aers disguised themselves as the JL of A, with Hawkman assuming the role of Manhunter. Not only didn't that plan work, but it also gave evil Johnny the idea to empower his convict buddies with the abilities of the JL of A. Eddie "Martian Manhunter" Orson was defeated after ripping off Hawkman's wings, learning that even a “powerless” Carter Hall could start a garbage fire.
Orson was at the forefront of the ultimate humiliation of the Lawless League of Earth-A (since Earth-One was altered by Thunderbolt going back in time before the Earth-Two heroes arrived. Forget it Jake, it's Silver Age.) The JSA continued to thwart evil Johnny Thunder, until the guy became so frustrated, he wished the story never happened. So it didn't. No one remembered but Thunderbolt, who broke the fourth wall by explaining that he would share the secret with the readers. "Will you keep the secret?" Like I could explain it to someone else...
This one was from the usual team of Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs. Curiously enough, Sekowsky’s take on a “lawless” Martian Manhunter wasn’t far removed from the stocky, pug-nosed, thuggish look Joe Certa gave the character for most of his Detectice Comics run, from late 1957 through 1961. This was in contrast to the rarely-seen scrawny melonhead of the “Detective John Jones” years and the sleek, handsome Manhunter that starred in House of Mystery.