Adventure 466 (Dec 79) is the last issue of the book as a Dollar Comic, and with the next issue it shrinks back to regular size. All four of the series conclude their runs in this issue, most with arguably their best stories.
The Flash faces one of his regular enemies, the Weather Wizard, in this story by Cary Bates, with art by Mike Netzer and Vince Colletta.
Mark Mardon claims to have turned over a new leaf, and intends to use his powers for good, although the Flash doesn’t believe or trust him for a second. Nonetheless, it seems to be true, although his behaviour seems irrational, if benevolent.
But even his good intentions prove disastrous, as his drought relief turns into a raging flood. Flash realizes his change in behaviour is likely connected to increased sunspot activity, and his mental bond with his weather controlling wand has allowed his emotions to become affected.
And though he commits no crimes during this time, he still winds up in prison at the end of the story, after attacking people who called him a hero, enraged that they would insult him so.
A fun little tale, and by far the best art of any of the Flash’s stories in Adventure.
The Flash’s series ends, but he continues in his own comic.
Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez go out on a high note with the final Deadman story, by far the best of his run. It begins quite simply, as Deadman watches an old man in a park, feeding the birds, and envies him his life.
When the man pulls out a gun and tries to kill himself, Deadman is horrified, but acts quickly, inhabiting a bird and using that to knock the gun out of his hand. He follows the old man home, and discovers that he lives with his abusive adult son, a drug dealer, and his innocent grand-daughter.
Deadman follows the son when he storms out after a fight, pretty much intending to see that he gets arrested. But when the man heads to the docks and ponders his life, deciding to change, Deadman’s faith is restored, and he tags along to make sure he lives up to his intent.
The grandfather also heads out, and both wind up at the big boss’s place, where things go horribly wrong, despite the best intentions of the hero and the two men. Deadman possesses the grandfather, which causes him to freeze, and he winds up getting shot, and dying, as a result. Th boss kills himself rather than wind up in prison, but at least the son and his daughter survive.
Even still, this is a dark and powerful story, fully worthy of the last panel of Deadman screaming in frustration. That happens a lot in Deadman stories, but rarely with as much meaning.
Deadman’s next appearance, in DC Comics Presents, follows up on this tale. Deadman’s next continuing series comes in the late 80s, in the pages of Action Comics Weekly.
The entire Justice Society of America appear in this final story, leaving the funeral of Mr Terrific following the latest JLA/JSA crossover, in a story by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton.
After their departure, Power Girl asks Huntress about something she overheard, about the Justice Society disbanding in the early 1950s, and for the rest of the tale, Huntress relates the story to her. Much of it is a fairly standard super-hero tale, as the team is offered a satellite headquarters, which turns out to be a deathtrap. They escape, and capture the man behind it, but the last few pages take a surprising twist.
The man was a Soviet agent, and the Justice Society are summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about their relationship with him, a session that quickly degenerates into a witch hunt.
In order to clear their names, they are told they must unmask and reveal their identities to the Committee. As a group, they refuse, and disappear from the chamber.
A powerful story, with long-lasting effects throughout the DC Universe. The story gives a solid explanation of why the team abruptly vanished in the early 1950s, a reason rooted in the issues of the time, even moreso than it appears.
In reality, the publication of the book Seduction of the Innocent, which blamed all manner of mental and social problems with youth on the influence of comic books, had swept the US in the early 1950s, and virtually all super-herores ceased to appear. So there are really two levels to this tale.
The JSA continue to appear regularly in Justice League of America, and Huntress was soon to get her own series in Wonder Woman. The next time they had their own book was in the America vs the Justice Society mini-series in the mid-80s.
After three strong stories it would be nice to say that Aquaman goes out on a high note as well. I can’t say that, but at least the story, by Bob Rozakis and Don Newton, doesn’t suck.
The underwater Nazis return, as we discover that Helga’s death was simply a hologram, and they have subtly invaded Atlantis. Vulko turns out to be a hologram as well.
Mera accompanies Aquaman as he invades their base. As a kid I found her behaviour on this page suspicious, and noted the subtle clue in the lower left corner of the bottom panel.
Aquaman also figures out that Mera is a hologram, finds and frees her and Vulko, and brings the Nazi base crashing down around them. He even gains a new pet, the telepathic mutated Nazi seahorse, Siggy.
Aquaman’s series continues in the pages of World’s Finest Comics a few months down the road.