Monday, April 22, 2024

JLA Annual #3 (September, 1999)

After finally opening diplomatic relations with the U.N, and revealing the existence of Gorilla City to the world, King Solovar was assassinated. His nephew and successor, Prince Regent Ulgo, then blamed humanity and launched a counter-offensive. But also, Ulgo was secretly a member of the Inner Circle of the Simian Scarlet Cultural Purity Movement, an extremist faction of super intelligent gorillas. Other members included the mobster Grimm, General Zolog, Admiral Trafalgo, and the sorceress Abu-Gita, but they were all dancing on the strings of Gorilla Grodd.

Martian Manhunter received a request at the Watchtower from Gorilla City to send a diplomatic envoy of JLA members to help mitigate the damage. Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Dark Flash were openly deployed, while an invisible Alien Atlas followed along in secret. Before reaching Gorilla City, the party was ambushed, and exposed to a gas that turned the lot into gorillas. Worse, some form of mind control was exerted over them, causing them to turn on the "hu-mans." However, the Martian Manhunter retained his wits, if not his form, and used his telepathy to mostly restore the JLA's more human instincts. Back at the Watchtower, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner thought that he was being hazed by the more veteran members of "JLApe." Batman and the Martian Hu-Manhunter worked together on a cure for the "Gorillabomb," but the Simian Sleuth from Outer Space had to pursue help from Animal Man, who was disoriented by troubling memories of a "Coyote Messiah" and the like. Recognizing "I'm important to the plot," Buddy Baker helps J'Onn J'Onzz understand how to use the morphogenetic field to restore the team.

In his absence, the male JLApes began posturing for dominance to court Wonder Woman as a mate, and the Manhunter had to reassert their identity matrices telepathically. Unfortunately, Ulgo then deployed gorillabombs at the United Nations, transforming the entire body while adding Green Lantern to the apes. The intended cure was used to restore the U.N., but the JLA were still trapped in gorilla form. The JLA divided their forces to address various fields in play in the conflict with Gorilla City, while Batman couldn't shake the nagging suspicion that J'Onn was hiding something.

"Gorilla Warfare" was by Len Kaminski, Jason Orfalas, and Jordi Ensign. Aside from poor work-life-podcasting balance this month, my ambivalence toward covering this event (and its scale/page count) contributed to my low productivity this month. I needn't have hesitated, because this was a fun and relatively brisk read with a bunch of puns and two-page spreads (one of which was interrupted by a fold-out ad for a video game about monkeys and bananas, appropriately enough. I'm not wild for the artist's Semeiks-influenced humans, but his apes strongly reflect the Arthur Adams covers, which is surely a welcome sight. If you're interested, the recent podcast Dial F for Flanger - Episode 24 covers the issue in greater detail.


The Deadend Kid said...

yeah, THIS is the dc i enjoy. the dc i seek for largely in vain. i had a similar experience when i finally picked up Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen and gave it a go

glad the chumps in editorial relented on the grimderp & gave you joy this week!

Kevin From New Orleans said...

I like the fact that J'Onn is the M V P of the story.