Saturday, January 17, 2009

Justice League of America #200 - March 1982

The Phantom Stranger helps the JLA celebrate their 200th issue anniversary!

The Phantom Stranger's next appearance in the DCU was in another anniversary issue, this time the Justice League's 200th. Much like Detective Comics #500, Dv really pulled out all the stops, rounding up an amazing roster of talent--Perez, Kubert, Aparo, Bolland, Kane, Giordano, and more--for this special issue.

Writer Gerry Conway managed to work in many of the team's frequent guest-stars in the story, as well, like Adam Strange, Snapper Carr, The Martian Manhunter, and...The Phantom Stranger.

My obsession with this particular issue has been documented before, and my contention that it is the single greatest piece of literature ever produced by Western Civilization is something I'm still not backing down from.

But since its been so thoroughly covered over on my JLA Satellite blog, I'm not going to get into the details of the whole 72-page story all over again. Instead, let's just concentrate on the moment The Phantom Stranger enters the story, in Chapter 2:

The Phantom Stranger does his "I see the big picture" bit, which he says is the reason he chooses sides in the Aquaman vs. Red Tornado struggle:

As an Aquaman fan, I have a slight reservation over the plot point that Aquaman needs help defeating Red Tornado, but it was a treat to have the Stranger worked into the story, and to have both the Sea King and the Stranger drawn by Jim Aparo was a beautiful touch.

That said, when Chapter 2 ends, we go back to George Perez, who was drawing the in between material:

This is the only time George Perez ever got to draw the Stranger in a JLA story, so that's another nice touch.

The Stranger doesn't make any further appearances in the story, though he is mentioned by our narrator once its clear Red Tornado is going to pull through:
Perez was also thoughtful enough to slip in the Stranger on the book's back cover, quietly standing on a mountaintop. He can be seen just to the right of Manhunter's left arm:
While The Phantom Stranger would appear in Justice League of America story one more time, that story is a "Casebook Tale", making this chronologically the last time the Stranger helped the JLA out in a crisis. Similarly, this is the last time Gerry Conway ever got to write The Phantom Stranger, after a decade or so of sporadic run-ins with the character.

I figured this was a good time to take a moment and talk to Mr. Conway about those run-ins, so be here tomorrow where we'll have an interview with the legendary Gerry Conway!


Anonymous said...

I always thought it was a nice touch that the Stranger sent Reddy back up to the satellite instead of just leaving him there on the rocks. The Stranger is a good Joe.
And with this issue, George Perez became my 2nd favorite Stranger artist. Man, just look at what Perez does with capes! Perez is the Ace of Cakes to capework.

The Groovy Agent said...

This was definitely the Phantom Stranger's most exciting JLA appearance. Teaming him with Reddy was freak-cool, man!

Issue #200 of JLA and Detective #500 are two of the best mags DC ever published, and the Stranger's in both of ' cool is that?

Luis said...

The best JLA story of all time. No question. And they didn't need to have cross-overs with a dozen titles like they do now. I will take the opportunity to brag that I own this issue.

Anonymous said...

One of the finest comics ever. Nice to see the Stranger had a part to play in the JLA's 200th issue and even made the cover. Plus, he got to be drawn by both Jim Aparo and George Perez which is a very good thing in my book.

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