Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Justice League of America #80

Justice League of America #80 (On Sale: March 10, 1970) has cover by Murphy Anderson.

"Night of the Soul-Stealer" is by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. The Flash finds Hawkgirl floating in space outside the JLA headquarters and when the other JLAers arrive Atom relates how Hawkman and Hawkgirl were taking the deranged Jean Loring to Thanagar in hopes of curing her mental problems. When Hawkgirl revives she is in a vegetative state. The team breaks up, Batman and Green Arrow head for Midway City, Superman heads for Thanagar, Atom and The Flash head for the Grand Canyon where there is some sort of disturbance and Black Canary gets to cool her heels in the JLA satellite.

At the Grand Canyon the annual Boy Scout Jamboree is going very wrong as the boys are all mindlessly walking towards the edge of the canyon to do the big drop. Flash builds a barrier between the canyon and the kids and they learn that the kids were fine until a creature on a flying broomstick passed overhead.

In Midway City while looking for Hawkman Batman and Green Arrow see a creature riding over the city on what looks like a rocket-powered broomstick. Arrow brings the rider down and in the ensuing scuffle with Batman the rider drops a box he is holding. He makes quick work of both Batman and Green Arrow and as he is about to leave comments that had he not damaged his Ghenna Box he would of added their souls to his collection. Oh and we also learn that his name is Norch Lor and he is on some kind of mission.

Meanwhile, out in space Superman finds Hawkman's ship about to be eaten by a neutron star. Using all his strength he is able to pull the ship from the star's gravitational grasp. Someone we don't see come upon the exhausted Superman and whacks him but good!

Back at JLA headquarters Canary is practicing her sonic wave power when Batman and Green Arrow arrive. Batman has a patch he ripped off of Norch Lor's uniform and the JLA computer says the patch is from Thanagar. Because of Hawkman, the JLA computer is programmed to ignore Thanagarian ships and once Batman adjusts the programming they see the alien ship. However, Norch Lor is at that moment cutting through the wall of the JLA headquarters. Luckily Black Canary is able to reach the switch for the emergency sealer before they are all sucked out into space, but now that Norch is inside the HQ, he opens the Ghenna Box and steals the JLA member's souls.

At the some time on OA, Green Lantern has been summoned by the Guardians who explain that they dispatched the Green Lantern of Xudar, Tomar-Re, to a Thanagarian ship that was under attack. the Green Lantern found a Kryptonian there and thinking he was the attacker, took him out. In minutes Green Lantern is on the scene and he and Tomar-Re take the unconscious Superman inside of Hawkman's ship where they find Hawkman and Jean Loring in a state of mindlessness. Playing back the ship's records they see that they answered a distress signal from another Thanagarian ship and rescued it's pilot, but the pilot opened up a strange box he carried with him and the Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Jean were all incapacitate.

As he was leaving the ship the pilot, Norch Lor, said that they will thank him some day as the signs all point to the end of the universe and only the Ghenna Box and preserve the identity, the soul of beings. As Norch left the ship, Hawkgirl's body drifted out with him and moments later the ship "drifted into space-warp and was carried to its present location" whatever that means.

The two Green Lanterns and a revived Superman head for Thanagar in search of Norch Lor. But back at the JLA headquarters where Norch really is, Black Canary was not affected by the Ghenna Box, perhaps protected by her sonic power and she attacks Norch just as Flash and the Atom show up. Between the three of them they are able to take care of Norch and rescue the Ghenna Box. When the others return the box is opened and everyone's souls return to them. Kind of a confusing story, requiring a lot of coincidences to make it work. It has been reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 9 HC and Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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