JLA #140, March 1977: "No Man Escapes the Manhunter"
Breakfast: Buttered toast and blueberries. Mmm.
Sadly, another jump in my collection, so I'm unlikely to find out what happened to Bates and Maggin. I'll just assume they made it home safely.
The plot for this issue was long ("A new double-length thriller"), and I pretty much stopped caring about four pages in. Scary foe Manhunter shows up, unleashes whup-ass. He kidnaps Green Lantern, who, instead of resisting, folds like a travel brochure. Blah, blah, fighting, capture, Manhunter turns out to be new at the job and actually working for some other guys, escaping, and so on.
Green Lantern confesses his immense guilt: he accidentally blew up a planet. His bad! A group heads out to the closest surviving planet to investigate, and they find the residents hassling a Green Lantern Guardian and a governor who is drawn like a bad ethnic caricature. Checking things out, Superman, Batman, and company visit the dead planet's remaining moon and end up in a Nonsense Fight with a one-eyed dragon thingy called a "Magnosaurus".
In the most weird-ass logical leap possible, Batman adds 1 + 1 and gets Toronto, apparently. He sees that the space monster has a neck and therefore must have arteries leading to a brain, and so he tries strangling the monster. Swinging around on the batwhip makes him notice that the moon they're on is still in its orbit, even though its parent planet was supposedly destroyed. And then - seriously - disbelieving the monster makes it vanish, and they realize that the planet is still out there but invisible. And, uh, the whole thing was a plot by the Manhunter society to discredit the Green Lantern Guardians, mumble mumble. And then it ends. That's it.
Ah, I wish I cared more, but it mainly came off as a flimsy plot to act as coat hanger to a few fight scenes.
The sci-fi aspects of this story - the alien planet, the battle with the Magnosaurus - remind me of a conversation I had recently. Buddy of mine had just seen Revenge of the Sith and was immensely frustrated by the underachieving science fiction in the Star Wars universe. Why did so many beings in it have first and last names, just like we do? And why were so many of the beings humanoid or bipedal? Where was the truly alien stuff? These creatures evolved on completely different planets - shouldn't they show a bit more physiological and cultural variety?
I felt the same way reading this story. The aliens speak the same language as the members of the Justice League and look just like a green version of Fred Christ's followers in Transmetropolitan - human with a tiny tweak. The Magnosaurus looks like a dragon with one eye. Batman's great detectively thoughts make all kinds of Earth-based assumptions about arteries and brains, though the monster comes from freaking outer space. I guess you don't come to JLA looking for really imaginative sci-fi. These issues are really more about the punching things.
Oh snap, Superman!
I'd happily read a comic about the Mighty Meat Snack.
Best Quote: "Now just lay my friends down, and we'll get out of Bruce Wayne's shrubbery!"