Justice League of America 241-243
|JLA: gotta catch 'em all!|
There's a new, hip, young team of Justice Leaguers on the block, and how are they doing? Well, they've been training hard, which has consisted of being yelled at by Aquaman (that can't be good), as well as trying to get to know each other on a personal level. Hard to fight together if you don't care about each other, right? When Aquaman abandons the team to find and reconcile with his estranged and missing wife, what's the worst that can happen? A psychotic robot can punch the hell out of everyone. These are the consequences to actions in superhero comics.
For the first time in, humble opinion here, what is a criminally low number of appearances, Amazo, the amazing robot makes a JLA-shredding appearance. Alright, alright, he's an android, not a robot. Robots are chumps anyway.
Why is it a bad thing that Amazo shows up so infrequently? He's an android in a yamaka with a striped vest and gold pendant who has all the powers of the Justice League. What's that? While enemies are too busy laughing at the android's mismatched clothes, he's running with the speed of the Flash, hitting opponents with Green Lantern's energy blast, and then punching them into orbit with Superman's strength. And yes, he can also talk to fish. What do you have to say about that Aquaman?
|The amazing Amazo. I forgot to mention the elf-ears in his design.|
Apparently nothing, because he's not around to help his teammates against this long-time, oft-thought-destroyed-but-never-actually-destroyed menace. Amazo was created by the mad Professor Ivo, a scientist obsessed with finding the secrets to immortal life as well as the ability to grant life. Unlike most mad scientists in the DC pantheon, Ivo eventually did accomplish both of his goals: a serum did transform him into a deformed creature, albeit an immortal creature, and he did create life in a way with Amazo. While Amazo probably doesn't directly fit the definition of sentient life, he has a simple bit of programming, his purpose: destroy the Justice League; but he is well-designed enough to come up with plans of his own device to carry out this lofty, if not single-minded, goal. Not as well-known, but as far as super-villains, specifically mad scientists, are concerned, I'm going to say that Prof. Ivo is definitely more successful than some of his more popular and well-known counterparts like Lex Luthor or Sinestro. No super-villain is as successful as The Joker though, who admittedly only has the broad goal of 'making Batman's life hell.' Forget The Joker though, this is Ivo's time to shine.
|The JLA fuck up a bear's day. This is their time to shine.|
Ivo does not show up here at all though, this is really Amazo's show. Although Amazo get's an 'upgrade' in he sense that it's not an upgrade at all. In the stupidest bit of comic-book science a drunken Alaskan (because Alaska is not random enough I suppose) stumbles upon the frozen, left-in-the-tundra form of Amazo (way to be responsible with your killer-android foes, JLA), who then absorbs and adapts the personality of the inebriated stock character. Of course this process kills the hapless Alaskan, but it results in what amounts to a drunk and surly Amazo.
|This chili is so thick, gravity can't force it from the bowl.|
What follows is an entirely boring and pedestrian three issues. The story is so rote and inconsequential and the plot so predictable that there's not a lot of excitement to wring from the reading experience. Amazon appears, there's the requisite difference in his personality in an attempt to spice up a long-standing villain, but the end result is the same it's ever been: Amazo goes on a rampage, after sufficient property damage, the JLA catches wind of this and investigates the damage, splitting off in to teams of two in the process. Each team is then ambushed by the villain and left for dead. By story's conclusion the JLA comes together as one and is able to defeat the villain not through any clever trick but just by hitting the bad guy enough times until he falls. Oh, Aquaman shows up at the least minute to deliver the final blow.
Aquaman's sub-plot is the most interesting aspect of this story. He split from, but never divorced, his wife Mera (an inter-dimensional sorceress with the ability to control water, only in comics is this not very odd) after their infant son, Arthur Jr., was killed by undersea terrorist Black Manta. These incidents were also the impetus for Aquaman to assemble a new, full-time Justice League squad and throw himself into the job of training them. Watching Aquaman finally start to acknowledge his son's death and also come to terms with the fact that he'd been ignoring his wife's feelings by selfishly turning away from her and pushing away anything that could remind him of his lost son is the only narrative push worth paying attention. Too bad it's approximately six pages of a sixty-page story.