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The Red Tornado Saga: Chapter 2


Comic: Justice League of America #72

Cover Date: June 1969

Sale Date: April 24, 1969

Writer: Dennis J. O’Neil

Penciller: Dick Dillin

Inker: Sid Green

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13 Days to Doom






In JLA headquarters, a whirlwind suddenly appears. Before Red Tornado can explain the reason for his journey from Earth-Two, the alarm sounds…


At the end of a tough battle, demons flee and their victims return to life. Does anyone know how? Superman says, “A man went into the pit… released the counter-magic… and somehow avoided getting caught in the spell!” A voice calls out, “Not a man… me!!!”

Caught in the joy of the occasion, the JLA is still too distracted to hear why Red Tornado has come to Earth-One.

 

Comic: Justice League of America #73

Cover Date: Aug. 1969

Sale Date: June 12, 1969

Writer: Dennis J. O’Neil

Penciller: Dick Dillin

Inker: Sid Greene

Editor: Julius Schwartz

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Star Light, Star Bright - Death Star I See Tonight











Members of the JLA listen intently as Red Tornado tells his tale. Back on Earth-Two, Ted Knight (aka Starman) discovered a “glow” in outer space. When she found Ted unconscious in his lab, Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary) summoned the Justice Society of America. However, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Doctor Mid-nite and Superman each faced obstacles in coming to her aid.

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When they overcame the obstacles to face a giant, inhuman star-creature, Red Tornado offered to help. Superman responded,

Look, Red Tornado, I have nothing against you personally – but you have a way of… well… botching things! I suggest you sit this out!

When Wonder Woman seconded the suggestion, Red Tornado responded,

It’s not fair! The reason I don’t act right is that I don’t get any practice! They never let me catch criminals! They think I’m just a… machine!

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the JSA even with Red Tornado’s participation. The star-creature, Aquarius, transported the people and objects of Earth to another dimension. Trapped in a sphere as the only remaining humans, Doctor Fate exercised a single, slim hope by sending a telepathic message to Red Tornado.

 

Comic: Justice League of America #74

Cover Date: Sept. 1969

Sale Date: July 24, 1969

Writer: Dennis J. O’Neil

Penciller: Dick Dillin

Inker: Sid Greene

Editor: Julius Schwartz

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Where Death Fears to Tread








Aquarius is surprised and confused when the JLA appears out of nowhere. He flees and the sphere holding the JSA vanishes, a threatening message in its place…

As the heroes of two Earths fight with their counterparts, Larry Lance sees that his love, Dinah (Black Canary) is struggling against Aquarius’ hypnotic command…

Green Lantern (Alan Scott) promises that Larry’s death won’t go unavenged.

We sure have fun, don’t we? Fighting our battles, winning, basking in fame and admiration – so much fun we sometimes forget our reason for existing! We’re good for only one thing…

As the heroes chase the murderous villain through space, Doctor Fate points out the severity of the situation… “he could end the fabric of existence! All humanity could perish in a final spasm of hideous insanity!

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Of course, this doesn’t happen, and the villain is vanquished (see Notes below.) However, unable to bear living in a world without Larry, Dinah seeks to soothe her torment in another place and joins the JLA on their return to Earth-One.

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Notes

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Following the last issue of Justice League of America we examined, #65, Denny O’Neil became the writer. Although none of the covers would show it, one of the first things he did in his early stories was to bring back Red Tornado.

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The story title in Justice League of America #73 makes you wonder if a 25-year-old George Lucas was reading comic books:

I’ve never said anything about Dick Dillin’s art in Justice League of America, so I want to take just a moment for this beautiful panel:

And this one:

If you’re familiar with our sister site, Classic Horrors Club, you’d be ashamed of me if I didn’t share this amazing ad:

Likewise, if you’re familiar with this site and its first series on Wonder Woman w/o Powers, you’d be ashamed of me if I didn’t point out the reference in the ** note at the bottom of this panel:

Justice League of America #74 provides a detailed glimpse into the details of traveling between Earths that I don’t recall seeing very often. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) says:

Though I’ve made this trip so many times – it always awes me! We’re at the center of nothingness, midway between being and non-being… I’ve got to be very careful at this point! We’re approaching the entrance to the universe of negative matter – If we were to slip through that gap, we’d probably be instantly annihilated! When positive matter from our universe as much as touches negative matter, it causes an explosion that makes an H-bomb look like a firecracker!

Hmmm… all this talk of positive and negative matter evokes Crisis on Infinite Earths, which doesn’t happen until years into the future. In this case, though, it’s mentioned as merely a plot point to occur at the end of the story as the means for vanquishing the villain.

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Hold on, though. Where did Red Tornado go? He appeared with the JLA on Earth-Two, but is neither seen nor mentioned again until page 18 when he’s again asked to sit out of the fight:

We don’t see him even on the last page when the JLA and Black Canary return to Earth-One. He’ll be back in Justice League of America #82, though, but we have yet to see in what capacity…

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