Thursday, August 14, 2008

Justice League of America #256 (11/86)

Sue Dibney: Nope

Steel: Uh-uh.

Vibe: Forget it.

Elongated Man: Sorry.

Vixen: Wrong number.

Batman: What, you thought this was a team book? Batman isn't even on this team anymore! Get outta here!

Martian Manhunter: The apartment Detective John Jones was left in became a tinderbox. Reverted to Martian Manhunter form, saw visions of H'ronmeer. Embraced death-- but instead found he'd accepted a mystical invitation to Zatanna's presence. Also in the room was teen runaway Pamela Cross, who observed, "He's green." Her guide Gypsy explained, "He's from Mars, that's all." Manhunter recognized Zatanna's mind "cried out to the depths of our minds... nightmare to nightmare." Gently restored her consciousness telepathically. Had favor returned when he became lost in Adam's mind. Guilted Zatanna with this speech: "Gypsy, please-- I understand your concern... but you must let Zatanna come to this decision herself. She has been with the League far longer than you. She knows full well what we stand for. She'll make the right decision. Zatara's daughter could do no less." Served as a psychic anchor to reality for Zee and Gypsy.

Gypsy: Apologized to Pamela Cross for coming down on her so much she was asked to stop. "Enough, already! For cryin' out loud, you thought I was part of the plot that set up your pal, John Jones." Stopped to give money to an elderly homeless woman, who forcibly grasped her hands and stared at her. "Eyes that run deep with future days; that neither mock nor plead, but simply say: I am you, child. I am what you will be... what you will collapse into. I am loneliness and heartbreak. I am time. I
am Gypsy." The heroine rejected this foretelling, but could not effect the woman with her illusion powers. Gypsy saw a vision of the derelict with demonic features and broke free. Then, a trash can fire erupted into a firestorm, as she and Pamela Cross were transported to a hospital room. Pled Zatanna to aid Adam: "The League's supposed to help people... no matter who they are! No matter what they've done!" Went with Zee into Adam's psyche, because "Your ability to cast illusions... is indicative of a very vibrant... and resilient... mind! Few people alive could make this journey and remain sane." Gypsy asked, "And... I can?" Zee responded, "Let's hope so."

Adam: Driven mad by his absorption of the Homo Magi gene pattern, began altering reality. M.C. Escher, giant props, Dante's Inferno, infinite space and more psychedelic trips were represented. Sweating and unsteady, Adam begged for the Leaguers' help. "Creation... is so vast! And, I-- I'm so very, very small. So small... So very, very small..." Gypsy ignored Zee's warning and comforted the fool. Martian Manhunter followed with a mind probe, to which Zee whined, "Why won't anyone believe me?" J'Onzz was cast through nebulous space, "lonely beyond words," and learned Adam's ego had been sundered when he "touched the force that molded the universe! We touched the Godhead! ...Everything is so magnificent... full of wonder... and terror! But... we cannot feel the way we once felt... We cannot see the way we once saw! So vast... Give us back our self..."

Zatanna: Found writhing on the checkerboard floor, where she was cradled and revived by J'Onn J'Onzz. Reflexively flung the Martian against a wall for his trouble. Believed the ghost of her father Zatara brought the two Leaguers to help, but Manhunter doubted, saying "You are understandably confused by your ordeal." Had to force the Manhunter to break his maddening psychic connection to Adam. Zee acknowledged that touching the Godhead is the ultimate goal of mystics, but without preparation, they'd end up like Adam. Zee argued with Manhunter against helping Adam, to serve as both punishment for his crimes against her and foreshadowing of the revelations of her conduct years before in "Identity Crisis." Took Gypsy with her into Adam's very being, where they were drowned in a psychic abyss.

The Creators: Zatanna playing a pivotal role in the action? You know Gerry Conway's gone now! J. M. DeMatteis revels in his trademark transcendental mumbo-jumbo, but it works perfectly for this story, as a solution for the corner others had written him into. Worth noting that as soon as J. Marc made the scene, he invented a god for J'Onn and expanded his "screen time" considerably. The love was there from the very beginning. Bob Smith proved a poor replacement for the embellishments of Bill Wray. Luke McDonnell's pencils were revealed as too loose for this type of book, though the effects on display in this issue were very nice.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "John Jones" -Pamela Cross
"J.J." -Gypsy, Zatanna

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