Justice League of America #179 (1980)
Justice League of America #179 (June, 1980)
“The Siren Song of the Satin Satan”
Writer – Gerry Conway
Artists – Dick Dillon & Frank McLaughlin
Letters – Todd Klein
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.40
Folks who know me know that I have been a fairly completionist type of Justice League collector over the past couple of decades. I have (with very few omissions) a complete run of Justice League Anything from just before the start-up of the Detroit League. That includes all of the JLI titles (which, finally has a podcast dedicated to it!!!) and relatively oddball titles like Extreme Justice and Justice League Elite. My pre-Detroit league-library (leagbrary?) is spotty at best, and always seems like it would be such an overwhelming endeavor to pursue collecting. If I were to pick one single issue that I wanted in my collection (within reason, of course) it would have been the book we’re going to discuss today, Justice League of America #179.
I think most people are familiar with this cover from that bout of “Superman’s kind of a… not too nice fella” plague that hit the internet some years back. When I first saw it, I knew I had to have it… however, prior to this past weekend, I’d never come across it in the wild… even at an inflated price, it just never showed up. This past weekend, I decided to brace myself for disappointment and head into one of our local Half-Price Books locations. Of late I have found these visits to be underwhelming to flat-out disappointing… I guess when you frequent these shops as much as I do, you don’t give ’em enough time to add new (used) items.
Anyhoo… long story, still long… I managed to snag this issue for a very reasonable (at least in my opinion) two-bucks. Was it worth it for me to buy this thing at 500% of its cover price? Let’s find out…
Welcome to the hottest Disco in New York, The Studio. It is here where you’ll feel the night fever and likely partake in a little bit of jive talkin’. Meet Roscoe Remington, a regular disco stud and mayor of Funkytown who burns up the multi-colored dance floor. Now, let’s turn our attention to fashion model Sabrina Sultress (hmm…), she’s caught the the notice of young versatile, who turns to putty in her gaze. All it takes is a flick of her finger to make ol’ Roscoe (do the) hustle on over.
Now, aboard the Justice League satellite, Firestorm is celebrating his recent induction to the ranks of the greatest team of superheroes ever assembled. From the cover image, I would automatically expect that the other Leaguers were rather against this… but, they seem cautiously understanding. They express a bit of concern in regard to Ronnie’s age and maturity… but, overall appear to accept him and appreciate is innocence and attitude.
Of particular interest is Zatanna’s reaction. She can’t hide her jealousy toward Firestorm. She is upset that she’s no longer the League’s “newest member”, and envies all that he is about to experience insofar as comradery and novel thrills.
As Firestorm’s raucous celebration settles down, he tends to his more mundane requirements, including a scintillating lecture from Batman. He appears to doze off during the proceedings, however, he is in reality sharing thoughts with his partner in nuclear headspace Professor Martin Stein. The two discuss how far Firestorm has come since the explosion that birthed the dual-minded hero.
Black Canary snaps Ronnie back to reality by accusing him of napping on the job. She and Ollie discuss their thoughts on the new member, and Red Tornado gives us a brief rundown on the League’s growth and membership since its inception.
Following the lecture, the team teleports back to Metropolis via an invisible booth atop a midtown building. The heroes wish each other well before calling it a day. Superman remains with Ronnie to give a few words of encouragement as well as remind him how to use his JLA communicator. Hmm… almost feels like Chekov’s signal device.
Ronnie heads for Bradley High where he plans to attend the Junior Mixer. Upon landing, Firestorm diffuses, leaving Ronnie and a seemingly amnesiac Martin Stein in his wake. Ronnie recalls that when they are in the Firestorm matrix, Stein doesn’t remember their escapades. He loads his groggy partner into a cab and sends him home, before meeting up with his pals.
The gang reconnoiters and decides they should ditch the dance and hop on the subway to head out to The Studio… after all, (the legendary) Rosco dances there every night. After a bit of reluctance from jerk-face Cliff Carmichael, the foursome rides the rails.
At The Studio, the kids are approached by a young lady wearing a Gary Spivey wig. She tells them she watched randy Rosco head upstairs with the fine Ms. Sultress… also known as the Satin Satan (that’s a bit extreme, no?). She’s watched many a man go to her penthouse, but none of them ever discuss what happens up there.
Smelling trouble, Ronnie breaks away from the group. He turns into Firestorm just as Professor Stein is exiting his cab, and they fly up toward the penthouse. Once there, Firestorm sees the frozen (or perhaps stone?) form of Rosco. He tries to talk to Sultress, and she plants a big kiss on him. He manages to press his JLA signal device just before his arm goes limp… and we are [to be continued…]
It’s not often I read a Justice League story and come away from it thinking I’ve read a story featuring the classic JLA. I don’t have a whole lot of history/experience with the “Satellite Era” of the team, but I can certainly tell why so many have such a strong affection for it.
The inclusion of Firestorm to the Justice League doesn’t feel like a terribly contentious concept these days. I would assume many people think it was a great idea. I love the idea personally, as I am always a fan of the POV character. Firestorm, despite his incredible powers still appears to be in awe of his fellow Leaguers. I really dig that about him. Superman should be looked up to, seeing Ronnie only muster a “Wow” when he watches him fly off was a treat.
The story is wonderfully dated, featuring Disco fashions and potentially sleazy nightclubs. I suppose folks may hold that up as a negative, but I loved it. Just like eternal punching bag Vibe gets taken to task for his not-so-timelessness, I really enjoy seeing things like this. Granted, ask me again in twenty-years when we’re looking back on contemporary trends like Internet memes and heroes’ social media accounts, and see how much I dig that.
The focus being on Firestorm/Ronnie was fair enough for this issue. This was post-DC Implosion and before the Fury of Firestorm, so it’s nice having a spot for Ronnie’s supporting cast… even jerk-ass Cliff.
If I gotta nitpick anything… well, I was thinking, man this story flew! Come to find that there’s only 17 story pages here. Whodathunk an extra couple of pages would make such a difference? I’d have loved this to go longer… now I’m gonna have to dive back in the bins to read the fallout. Hell, any excuse to go diggin’ and buyin’ is fine with me!
This one should most definitely be tracked down if at all possible. As of this writing, it is regrettably skipped on DC’s Digital site (their available issues jump from #174 to #183, go figure). I am also unable to say for certain whether or not this issue has ever been collected. Definitely a fun issue that’s worth the hunt.
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