Justice League of America #181 (1980)

Justice League of America #181 (August, 1980)
“The Stellar Crimes of the Star-Tsar!”
Writer – Gerry Conway
Penciller – Dick Dillin
Inker – Frank McLaughlin
Letterer – Ben Oda
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.40

Hey, I hear that there’s a big movie (that I’m not going to see) coming out this weekend!  I haven’t been following any of the movie news… because I honestly have zero interest.  It’d be just fine with me if both publishers quit the movie business… 

Of course, at present that would be a stupid financial decision… so I’m just gonna have to wait until the bubble bursts.  I gotta give it to the DC movie people… from what little promotional bits that I’ve seen of Justice League, it actually looks like it’ll be a team movie… and not “Batman with some other people”, like I figured it would be!

Anyhoo… let’s talk (real) League.

We open with Ollie recounting recent events into a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  He doesn’t seem terribly interesting in spilling his guts to a machine, but his pretty bird asked him to.  His story begins with he and Black Canary returning home to Star City from the Justice League Satellite… at which time, Ollie decides he needs a little bit of a break.  He goes off on his normal-for-this-era “we’re saving worlds… but what about the little guy?” rant, which Dinah really doesn’t feel like hearing again… and frankly, neither do I.

He goes off for awhile, until noticing a burst of light in the distance.  He fires a rocket arrow, and along with Dinah, heads off to check it out.

Meanwhile, the rest of the League are hanging out at the Satellite having a little coffee klatch.  Subject of the evening appears to be “Boy, that Green Arrow sure is a pill”… a point that nobody can seem to argue.  Ollie’s never been the easiest to get along with, but of late he’s been pretty unbearable.

The klatch is interrupted by Black Canary’s emergency alarm.  The League rushes over to their cute li’l switchboard thing and learns that Canary and Arrow both are in a bad way.

Back in Star City, Ollie’s been taken out… and it’s up to Black Canary.  She performs some dazzling acrobatics, and sonic-hollars into the museum where the baddie is holed up.  Our villain responds with one helluva star-blast, which downs her with ease.  Looks like our threat is… Snapper Carr, the Star-Tsar?!

The League arrives just as the Tsar bugs out.  They collect their fallen and deliver them to the nearby General Hospital.  It looks like Dinah’s taken the worst of it… and Ollie’s irritably pacing.  That is, until… Snapper Carr arrives?!  Ollie lunges in his direction while the League attempts to hold him back.  The archer doesn’t have the whole story… their old mascot is innocent!

Ollie wants answers… and Snapper is more than happy to oblige.  Turns out he’s been working with S.T.A.R. Labs in Florida, and there he’d met an astronomer named Richard Rigel… and for whatever reason, decided to tell him all about the Star-Tsar.  What could possibly go wrong?

While Arrow fumes, the Atom pops his tiny head in to announce that the Star-Tsar only swiped one thing from the Star City Museum… a jewel called “The Star of Delhi”… now that’s all the League needs to establish an M.O.* (*Method of Operation (Modus Operandi) – Thanks, Len!).  They decide that the Star-Tsar is going to be a cliche star-themed bad-guy… and split up to protect all manner of “star”.

While the rest of the League heads off to protect jewelry stores and museum, “Man of the People” Ollie decides to check in on disco diva Donna Summer Winter at the Star City Stadium.  She’s a “star”, right?  Of course, Ollie’s right… unfortunately for him though, the League arrives just in time to spoil his shot.

The Star-Tsar takes aim and starts blasting Justice Leaguers out of the sky.  Ollie realizes that the baddie gets his power from the stars… and fighting in an open-air stadium sorta ups his odds.  Luckily, he’s got a trick up his quiver in the form of a… smog arrow.  Ay yai yai.

The smog arrow depowers the foe, and Aquaman is able to take him out with a single kayo shot.  The story ends with Ollie wrapping up his audio missive, and quitting the Justice League of America!  That sound you just heard might’ve been a collective sigh of relief from his former teammates.

Wow, Ollie’s annoying!  Rest of the League must be almost relieved to be out of the “Green Arrow business” for a little while.  Imagine saving countless worlds while one of your team members complains about street-level troubles… while totally neglecting the fact that those very streets would’ve been atomized if not for the Justice League… ya know, saving the world.  What a pain in the ass.

I might be projecting here, but it always seems to me that the writers kind of use Green Arrow to get their own personal kvetches into the book… and if that is the case (I’m very likely projecting), why do they always portray him as such a sanctimonious blowhard jackass?  Eh, maybe it’s just me… but all of these “socially relevant” Green Arrow plots come across more as lectures than actual stories.  This isn’t a mind-blowing or unique perspective I’m sure… but worth mentioning.  It’s odd he uses (or even has) a “smog arrow”, but whattayagonnado?

The story here… well, it happened.  Not much to talk about other than it facilitating Green Arrow’s exit.  During the caper his suspicions are confirmed… he just doesn’t fit into the Justice League at the moment.  Fair enough… and a decent enough story to get us from Point A to B.

Overall, it’s Satellite era Justice League.  Not a story likely to rock your socks, but enjoyable enough.  If you’re a fan of slump-shouldered Ollie lectures, you’ll love this.  If you always wanted to see a Justice League coffee klatch, likewise… you’ll dig this.  If, God help you, you’re a Snapper Carr completist… you need this as well.  Worth a flip through at the very least.

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