Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Justice League of America #145 - Aug. 1977

Inside this issue--Superman dies! No foolin'!

Barely five issues after his last guest appearance in Justice League, The Phantom Strange returned to play a major role in:


"The Carnival of Souls!" by Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. We open with the mysterious Count Crystal, who summons the demon Azgore, who promises the demon that, in exchange for power, he will offer up the souls of the Justice League!

Azgore warns that other sorcerers have tried and failed, so Crystal had better make good on his promise, or he will pay dearly!

Crystal then materializes on the JLA satellite, where his magical abilities quickly overcome Superman.

Meanwhile, the Halls and Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance are having an evening out, which is interrupted by Superman's JLA distress signal. They head to the satellite to find Superman...dead!

The JLAers, trying to figure out what's going on, are then met at the satellite by...The Phantom Stranger!:


After The Phantom Stranger's startling announcement, the JLA follows the mystic trail to Rutland, Vermont(which appeared in JLA before, in #103, also guest-starring the Stranger), where they discover the Carnival of Souls, with Count Crystal there waiting for them.

As Crystal puts the JLA through various death traps, he manages to..."kill" the Phantom Stranger!:

Crystal manages to kidnap Hawkgirl, and leave the other JLAers to the same fate as the Stranger.

As the JLA fight for their lives, Crystal makes a deal with the comely Hawkgirl. If she submits to him, to be his slave, then he might spare her friends. Hawkgirl goes against every feeling she has of loyalty and devotion to her husband and agrees to be with Crystal, to save her friends lives. Crystal then gets a tad too confident, and Hawkgirl has had enough:


Hawkgirl helps rescue her friends, when the demon Azgore returns, demanding a soul! Crystal says he gave the demon Superman and the Phantom Stranger's, but since even on "the other side" the Stranger has managed to keep their souls from the demon's clutches! Azgore then does what he threatened, and takes Crystal's, who screams in agony.

The JLA wakes up in the morning, dazed but thankful they survived:

Hawkman tries to delicately ask, er, how far did Crystal get, but Hawkgirl assures him she emerged unscathed. Suddenly, an old friend suddenly appears...The Red Tornado!

The story is continued into the next issue, where the Stranger appears yet again!


Anonymous said...

Really good story. Boy, the JLA sure held their share of seances, didn't they?
Speaking of the JLA, Rob, just wanted to let you know I was checking out some of your past blogs, and when I came upon the JLA Satellite, I sat there and devoured every entry in one sitting! The hours just sped by.
I really enjoyed it. It was an invaluable service you provided there.

rob! said...

all in one sitting?!? even i don't want to spend that much time with me!

Anonymous said...

rob, here is a link to an article about the Rutland Verm,ont connection.


Anonymous said...

This was the comic where I first encountered the Phantom Stranger, and it's remembered fondly. My seven-year-old mind was intrigued by him, and also by the fact that three super-heroes actually died! I got severely punished when I was around that age, and this issue (among others) was confiscated and thrown out (!!!). It took me a long time to find it, and I was ecstatic when I did. Englehart did a fine job on this! Thanks so much for this blog. I am reading through my Phantom Stranger collection while reading what you have posted here. `Tis great fun! :)

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