Comic: "Justice League Of America #110"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Len Wein
Artist: Dick Giordano
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: Itís Christmas Eve 1974, somebody whacked Santa, and itís up to the JLofA to bring the killer down, Christmas style. Things go less than well, as one by one each of our heroes are killed off YES, KILLED OFF, on CHRISTMAS EVE!! Then, just as about every twelve-year-old fan boy in America is about to slit their wrists, that olí DC Deus Ex Machina, The Phantom Stranger shows up and makes everything good again.
Review: Oh, my GOD, did I love this comic! Of course, in 1974 I was twelve, which allowed me suspend my disbelief and invest in the idea that several of DCís leading heroes could actually get killed off. Twelve year olds back then were way less jaded than modern twelve year olds, whose can steady diet of extra violent video games means they find cutting pimps in half with chainsaws and carjacking their whore filled Caddies more stimulating than the JLA trying to save Christmas.
But wait! Iím being ingenuous, because the very reason I loved this comic so much was how gratuitously violent and dark it was. Sure, itís no Grand Theft Auto, but by the standards on 1974, putting a dead Santa face down in the snow on the cover of a comic book was pretty damn titillating. More than one of us used JL of A #110 as evidence in court when we went on trial for killing people dressed as Santa. The comic book didnít make me do it, but Iíd never have come up with the idea on my own.
In addition to featuring a Santacide that would go unmatched until the weird ass monologue near the end of ďGremlinsĒ, there are a plenty of fan boy goodies stuffed in this stocking. It features the second appearance of John Stewart, the negro green Lantern, who back then only got to be in a comic book when the real, white Green Lantern was Ďoff planetí. Red Tornado gets his modern costume, a Christmas gift from Black Canary. DidnĎt you ever wonder why it has arrows all over it? Because itís a gift from a chick with an arrow fetish! THEREíS some damn X-mas trivia for you! And the icing on the fan boy cake, a guest appearance by honorary Leaguer, The Phantom Stranger, DCís quasi religious icon of mystery and the only superhero I can think of who wears a turtleneck.
Iíd be remiss if I didnít mention the bleeding heart liberal twist at the end. The Santa murdering villain (Who turns out to be The Key, a silver aged baddy with a malformed purple head) blows up a tenement to mask his getaway. Substitute GL John Stewart not only saves the lives of all the poor people inside, he uses the ring to reconstruct the apartment building the instant it explodes ďMinus the roaches, rats, collapsing ceilings and suchĒ. Apparently, he canít give them a new building, or, say enough money to move out of the ghetto, because thatís some violation of Green Lantern rules, but John Stewart bends Ďem as much as he can because heís a MINORITY, and itís Christmas.
As my Christmas present to all of you, hereís what may be the best DC splash page ever.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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