Adv_462

The Justice Society may not have had a long run in Adventure Comics, but as the cover to issue 462 (April 1979) makes clear, some of it’s most important stories occurred during it.  Paul Levitz and Joe Staton kill off Batman in a not-so-great, but certainly memorable, tale.

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Picking up from where the last issue left off, Dr Fate attempts to get Bruce Wayne to safety, and the rest of the team revive long enough to battle, and fall, to Bill Jensen again.

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But there is no avoiding where this story is going.  Bruce dons his Batman garb one final time to face down Jensen, and both die in a cataclysmic explosion.

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The funeral scene is the best part of the story, with grieving Helena persuading Dick not to take over the role of Batman.  Bruce’s identity has been exposed to the world in his death, and theirs have been compromised as well.  But it’s left to Dr Fate to point out that the story has climaxed,but not ended.  Who or what was behind Jensen’s attack?

The story concludes next issue.

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The Flash’s marital troubles had taken centre stage in his own book, and spill over in this story by Cary Bates, with dreadful art by Don Heck and Joe Giella.

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Barry Allen gets so jealous when he discovers Iris is meeting another man that he spies on her by vibrating invisibly and following her.  It turns out the “other man” is simply an old friend, a scientist who has been working on a device to access the astral plane.

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Flash follows her there as well, which is not such a bad thing, as he rescues her from an astral demon.  And though they do communicate their feelings for each other in the astral realm, Iris has no memory of it and is simply angered and humiliated when she finds that Barry has been stalking her.

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Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dick Giordano take over the art on Len Wein’s Deadman saga with this issue.

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It turns out that Kronsky has been developing a helmet that would give thoughts physical form, and no one is more thrilled to hear this than Boston Brand, as it would mean he could get his own body again.  Cleveland would also likely be excited, if he knew his brother kept hitching a ride in his body.

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Solomon and his goons have come to the circus as well, in pursuit of Kronsky and the helmet, and Garica-Lopez does some great work with the battle between the mobsters and the circus folk.

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But it was the horrifying final page that really stuck in my mind as a kid, as Kronsky retrieves the helmet he had hidden with Inga, and uses it to murder Solomon and his men.  Turns out Kronsky might not be such a victim after all.

The story concludes next issue.

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The Ruby of Life, which gave Sargon the Sorceror his powers, has come into the possession of Queen Hippolyta in the Wonder Woman story in this issue, by Jack C Harris and Jack Abel.

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Sargon, originally a hero in the 1940s, had returned as a villain in the 60s, but his last appearance, in a Justice League story in the early 70s, had seen him back on the side of the angels.  In this story he convinces a young couple sailing near Paradise Island to land and steal the gem back for him.

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It turns out he needs them to do this because he is actually imprisoned within the stone, and is merely sending an image to the couple.  Wonder Woman shatters the gem, freeing Sargon and releasing him from the spell of the jewel.  But as he has the stone again a few years down the road, it is clear that the magical gem cannot be so easily destroyed, nor can its possession of Sargon end.

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I may not have cared for Don Newton’s art on Aquaman, but at least it was better than Don Heck, who takes over with this issue, as Paul Kupperberg continues his story of evil farmers bringing doom to Atlantis.

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Even with evidence of the environmental destruction the UFP are causing, Vulko remains completely unconcerned, convinced that they will find some solution in time.  Corporate greed versus the environment, been going on for a long time.

The story concludes next issue.

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