Justice League of America: Archives, Volume 1, Gardner Fox

Image used for review purposes only. Source.

Image used for review purposes only. Source.

This is a book about how a group of seven superheros formed a league to prevent a giant starfish from dominating the Earth, and about how they later dealt with other villains, such as a time-traveling megalomaniac and a sinister professor who meddles with luck. Batman and Superman are the two most famous members of the original Justice League, although they’ve often got far more important things to do than actually appear in the comic. Other members of the league include Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Martian Manhunter and later the Green Arrow.

The entire Justice League share a sidekick in Snapper Carr, a weird suburban kid who talks in a baffling dialect and clicks whenever he’s happy. He originally got involved with the Justice League as he was immune to starfish mind-control, due to being covered in lime from mowing his parent’s lawn. Apparently you mowed lawns with lime in the Sixties, I didn’t quite get that detail. My guess is that the Justice League keeps him around so that he can provide them with the perspective of an average American. I mean, it would be quite easy for a cabal of aliens and other weirdos to become detached from the people they’re trying to protect, so talking to Carr ensures that they stay in contact with at least one normal person. Also, Snapper Carr can usually be relied to say something slightly amusing at the end of each issue.

Every member of the League seems to have completed a high-school chemistry course, and you’d be surprised how useful that knowledge is when performing superheroics. Especially if you’re the Flash. I guess Gardner Fox wanted the comic to be education, but it comes off as unsubtly didactic.

My favourite story in this book was the one with the luck professor. Glands were a vital part of the narrative.

I’d recommend this book for people who like superheros and chemistry.

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