Thursday, August 27, 2009

Justice League of America #153 (1978)

I'd heard of Ultraa, but I wasn't prepared for just how ridiculous his appearance in Gerry Conway's JLA would be. This story is all about the different Earths of the DCU, with the five most popular Justice Leaguers pulled from Earth-One to Earth-Prime. The reason? Julie Schwartz had run a poll of the most popular Leaguers, and Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Green Arrow won the most votes. Since so many people on Earth-Prime were thinking about those heroes, they were pulled to the "real" world. The heroes were unable to transport themselves home because of the appearance of Ultraa, the first super-hero of Earth Prime. There was some sort of link that bound the heroes together.

Ultraa sports a similar origin as Superman (last survivor of a lost race, crashed on Earth as a baby, etc.) The big difference for Ultraa is that his life-support computer has been corrupted and is now out to kill him. There are some fantastic leaps of story logic in this to keep the plot moving along. The best is when the computer decides that the JLAers must be Ultraa's allies because they also have powers.

The design for the computer is actually pretty cool. The plot is filled with some nice interplay between the leads and Batman got to be sneaky and effective as usual. The story wrapped up with a well-set case of mistaken identity. Ultraa does agree to leave Earth-Prime and return to Earth-One with the JLA, so now I'm curious what happened to him. As for the issue itself, I'm afraid I just can't get over the inherent silliness of Earth-Prime, which takes away from the story for me.

George Tuska fills in for regular artist Dick Dillin and Tuska does a nice job. Everyone looks on-model and as I said, the design for the killer robot was very original. I'd almost say the robot looked like an early version of the Fury robot from Alan Moore and Alan Davis' Captain Britain.


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