Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Night in Rutland: 1972, Part 2

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Halloween, 1972...namely 22,300 miles above the Earth...the Phantom Stranger gives the night's weather forecast! (Mostly spooky with patches of evil and periodic gusts of hell.)

Panels from Justice League of America v.1 #103 (December 1972), script by Len Wein, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Dick Giordano, letters from Ben Oda

Apparently all the wickedness and wretchedness is due to Felix Faust, or at least, his mother naming him "Felix." Superman vows to stop the DC Universe's version of Baron Mordo by cornering him in Rutland, Vermont! Which, according to the lettering on the map, is a town larger than Syracuse and Rochester put together!

Remember this fantastic four? Why, it's Steve Engelhart, Gerry Conway, and Len and Glynis Wein on their way to Rutland in Engelhart's magnificent crap-mobile. You can place this scene before that in Amazing Adventures #16—they haven't yet picked up Hank McCoy and Vera Cantor! You may also notice that between the events of this book and AA #16, Steve Engelhart's shirt shrank dramatically! And hey, Gerry Conway: still haven't forgiven you for killin' off Gwen Stacy. Just wanted to let you know that.

The quartet arrives in Rutland to meet parade premier Tom Fagan (collect all his appearances!). Enter also the JLA, including The World's Greatest Freakin' Detective, and yet nobody seems to even notice when Hank McCoy and Vera get out of the car from AA #16 (not pictured in this issue). Batman can be forgiven...he's too overcome by Tom's invitation to "live here forever." He asked you, Batman! He finally asked you!

Later in the parade itself, Batman accepts the adulation of the crowd as is his comics-given right. Bow down before Batman!

Crossover alert! A thinly disguised "Commando America," apparently written with the same motivations he was written with in Civil War, orders a Faust-hypnotized Adam Strange and Supergirl...huh, Supergirl? That's no Kara, that's our friend and excellent colorist Glynis Wein, who had disappeared right from underneath her friends' noses earlier in this ish and in Amazing Adventures #16. Now we know where she went! What we don't know, however, is how the possessed Halloween-goers can talk and act so much while The Freakin' Fastest Man Alive just stands there and stares at them. With great speed comes mildly poor reaction time, looks like.

Crossover alert #2! Batman versus a Faust-befuddled partygoer in his Spidey-jammies! Note that Batman reflects that he "has all the powers of the real thing!" That means that A) Batman reads Marvel Comics and B) He considers Spider-Man to be real. He's a fanboy! Bruce Wayne is a fanboy!

Crossover alert #3! Green Lantern is, as usual, knocked out like a chump (sorry, Sally) by a semi-yellow object that is actually colored grey. Batman puts the ersatz Thunder God in his place, though. Good thing the real Thor is nowhere near Rutland, Vermont on this Halloween night. ( he?)

Glynis returns to the land of consciousness, the Justice League battles the Butter Brigade (yellow villains? Better put Hal in the rear), and for the second time this night, someone steals Steve Engelhart's Mustang! even tho' that doesn't really look like a Mustang there. This time it's Felix Faust escaping by the "most inconspicuous means possible"...jumping out of a building into the loudest car in the county. Another excellent escape plan right up there with the stupidest exits on record. He may be a magician, but Houdini, Felix Faust is not.

So it's no surprise that Faust is quickly caught by the boys in blue while the Phantom Stranger watches on. It's too bad that it wasn't the Spectre in this story, who would have designed a hellish and ironically painful torture for the "master" criminal...something along the likes of being turned into a spark plug and then being places in a car continuously driven by Jackie Stewart. Well, something like that. Beats being turned into candles and melted down or into a tree and then sliced up with the Spectre's chainsaw.

The connecting sequences with Engelhart and Company thus prove: this was the first DC/Marvel crossover event ever. the only way it could be more awesome is if Thor was in it. What's that? He was? Well, whaddaya know. There's a Part 3 comin' up!


Blam said...

It's an honor to be called out in your alt-text, Little Stuffed Pal.

SallyP said...

This is fantastic! I wish I had this one too! But boy, is Ollie a pain.