Justice League of America #122
Writer: Martin Pasko
Artists: Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin
Published: DC, 1975
So, a while ago, my aunt gave me a bunch of old comics from the 70s and 80s and I just got around to checking them out. And let's just say I am surprised that anyone survived reading comics in the 70s. If I had to grow up on this nonsensical schlock, I doubt I would be the fan that I am now. I am making this controversial blanket statement based on reading this one-issue storyline, “The Great Identity Crisis”. I know, I know... it was normal to have stupid, stupid plots back then... but I just can't see how this made sense to the writer or anyone involved in making this comic.
Anyway, let's get the usual review part out of the way, so I can make fun of this comic. The art is pretty generic. The writing is pretty crappy.
LET ME SHOW YOU WHY [the fun part]:
So the title is “The Great Identity Crisis” because a bad guy named Dr. Light uses something called “amnesium” [unobtanium, anyone?] to a) discover the secret identities of the JLA by pulling them directly out of their minds and b) put the secret identities back in the wrong person. Except it doesn't work on Superman and Aquaman because Supes is tough and nobody gives a crap about Aquaman. The JLAers don't notice that they now think they are the wrong people and they all return to their “normal” lives. However, Supes and Aqs [?] notice that their friends are behaving a little strangely and decide to investigate. They split up to tail them, but Aqs ends up running into an exploding lantern fish [Dr. Light and his gimmick strike again!] and “dying”.
|collective brain fart!|
Everybody follow? Great.
Next, Dr. Light sets up traps for the heroes in places where they go when off duty, like their normal jobs and homes and crap. Only [get this!] he customizes these traps for each hero. For example, he rigs The Atom's suitcase with some weird clay that expands all over his arms so that he can't activate his “size-controls in his invisible gloves.” Superman figures out what is going on and tries to stop Dr. L, but the villain has a kryptonite ray!
Long story short, Aquaman returns from the “dead” and saves the day and isn't useless for once.
The main problem I have with this plan of his is that it was so unnecessarily complicated. There was no reason to switch the identities AT ALL. Once Dr. L had figured out who they were, why didn't he just set up the hero-specific traps where he knew they would be? The clay that incapacitated The Atom's hands would've done the exact same job even if he didn't think he was Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern's alter-ego. SO DUMB.
|how.... how does someone not notice little laser balls by their phone?|
Also, he seems to completely forget about setting a trap for The Flash-who-thinks-he's-Bruce Wayne. And the trap set for Batman-who-thinks-he's-Oliver Queen [Green Arrow's alter-ego] would have completely worked on Green Arrow anyway! In fact, it might've worked better! It was just a bunch of random guys beating him up because of a “hate ray” and Batman is better at hand-to-hand combat than Green Arrow. NO SENSE.
|what? the fish were able to knock the tank THEY ARE INSIDE through a window?|
In a recent post, I wrote about being able to overlook plot holes in superhero comics, because of the fantastical nature of the beast, but I can only suspend my disbelief so much. I can overlook little things, like Dr. L's “hate ray” and how it has nothing to do with his light gimmick. Or the nature of amnesium and how Dr. L harnessed its powers and why it doesn't work on Aquaman. I can even overlook how Supes' computer somehow magically reveals all information pertinent to saving everyone. But I just can't ignore the fact that there was no reason for half of the plot to have occurred.
AND, and, and: the narrator says at the beginning: “now it can be told – the shocking story that explains how... and why... the JLA must know each other's alter egos – to prevent another brush with annihilation!” And that's just not true. Even if they had all known each other's identities, it would not have changed anything in the story, because they didn't notice the switch in the first place. What crap.
Justice League of America #122: fuck you.