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The Red Tornado Saga: Chapter 5

Comic: Justice League of America #109

Cover Date: May 1973

On Sale Date: Feb. 1, 1973

Writer: Len Wein

Penciller: Dick Dillin

Artist: Dick Giordano

Editor: Julius Schwartz

Specter in the Shadows

At the end of a story in which Elongated Man joins the Justice League, the mysterious force that assisted the teams on their mini-adventures is revealed…


Comic: Justice League of America #106

Cover Date: Aug. 1973

On Sale Date: April 3, 1973

Writer: Len Wein

Penciller: Dick Dillin

Artist: Dick Giordano

Editor: Julius Schwartz

Wolf in the Fold

The time: today…
The place: a gigantic satellite whirling in stationary orbit 22,300 miles above the surface of the earth…
The occasion: a hastily-called emergency meeting of the Justice League of America.

Red Tornado explains that there’s not a great deal he knows about what happened to him. His memory circuits are unclear. However he enlightens the League as best as he can.

The old man took him into his home and sculpted features on his empty android face. When he regained consciousness, conversations with the old man convinced him he was on the wrong Earth. However, some side effect of the nebuloid destruction prevented him from returning to his home on Earth-Two.


When Red Tornado reminds the League that they were not to kind to him during previous visits (Justice League of America #72 and Justice League of America #74), Superman speaks:

The votes are cast and Red Tornado is unanimously elected to join the Justice League. To himself, the android thinks,

Excellent! Now I can destroy them all!

In a hidden laboratory deep in the Rocky Mountains, T.O. Morrow gloats that although his temporary control over the android is gone, the Justice League will soon be defeated:

It seems that Morrow altered Red Tornado’s circuits so that he would remember a blind old man and arranged the situation that caused the android to end up a hero.

I’ve planted a small mechanism inside the Tornado’s body that alters the device’s frequency! The first time he presses that transmitter – the Justice League of America will die!

Meanwhile, Red Tornado has trouble establishing his new life when no one will give him lodging. While walking down the street dejected, a toy-like contraption rolls by, its mechanisms unfolding from some deep inner recess, growing larger.

The “Whirlwind Wonder” wants to prove his value to the League and attempts to stop the felons himself. Just as he’s about to push the button, Green Lantern swoops in for an assist. He reaches for the button again when Green Lantern is stunned… but Batman and the Flash arrive to join the battle.

The next morning, dressed as “John Smith,” Red Tornado goes to an employment agency where Kathy Sutton plays “girl-Samaritan” to help him by taking him to lunch and arranging a room for him. As their friendship and possible romance grows, she’s able to find him a job as a lab assistant to a Doctor Gordon.


As she delivers the news, Morrow’s men take to the sky with new futuristic weapons that turn everyone on the street into stone. Again, members of the Justice League arrive to assist: Superman, Elongated Man, and Hawkman. Just when they think they’ve won…

On his way out of the lab to get some fresh air and celebrate, Morrow opens the door to find… the Justice League. Superman had discovered the extra circuit inside Red Tornado and burned it out with his super-vision.


As he explains what will happen if the League members don’t die, time runs out and Morrow does indeed vanish.



Wow! With the story in Justice League of America #106, I think Red Tornado is finally established on Earth-One and fully accepted by the League. He may not be featured as heavily in future issues; however, it will still be fun to see what unique heroics he can add to the team.


I'm not as interested in his love life; however, every Superman must have a Lois Lane, so I guess Red Tornado's can be Kathy Sutton. We'll also see how that relationship develops in the coming issues.


We haven't read any letters to the editor for Red Tornado yet, so I'll share this one from Susan Bregman of Spring Valley, N.Y. In Justice League of America #105, she writes:

Red Tornado’s selfless sacrifice was presented with an unnecessary dose of misty-eyed sentimentality. It does get a mite tiring watching all those super-heroes vying for a chance to sacrifice themselves to save humanity and/or their colleagues every other month.

Aw, poor Susan must have been having a bad day. Isn't that what superheroes are for? They have to be willing to sacrifice their lives to save the world. I didn't think his "death" was overly sentimental, especially due to the way the League had treated him.


Here's looking forward to more positive letters in the future!

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