Following last weeks issue of Metal, I thought some of you might be wanting to see Starro’s very first appearance, waaay back in 1959! Enjoy!
Title: Brave and the Bold #28
Writer: Gardner Fox
Art: Mike Sekowski
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: December 1959
Hello, again Watchers! It’s time for another edition of ANCIENT HISTORY! The only comic review series in this town (or any town!) that reviews classic comics based on your suggestions! Have a classic comic (pre-1980) that you love and want me to review? Tell me so in the comments, or private message me (John Jack) on Facebook! If I can find the comic I will read and review it and share YOUR name! Come be a part of the winning team, the Comic Watch house of ideas!! Now looking for freelance writers for a variety of subjects!
What You Need to Know:
You know them! You love them! You spent a solid 2 weeks arguing about them last month! They’re the Justice League of America! Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter are the original superteam, face off against the likes of the Injustice League, Lex Luthor and in this spectacular issue STARRO THE CONQUEROR! I figured due to his inclusion in last weeks Metal issue you guys might like to see his first appearance.
What You’ll Find Out:
We open on Aquaman on patrol, one of his fish warns him about a giant alien starfish landing in the ocean and making three copies of itself, Aquaman decides it’s time to call in the League, Superman is busy in space, Batman is similarly tied up. The other five members of the league meet in JLA headquarters to discuss the threat.
Aquaman says that although he doesn’t know what the alien monster can do, he does at least know where the copies were headed so they can start looking there. Green Lantern heads to Rocky Mountain National Park, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter head to Science City, Flash will chase the other one down and Aquaman will patrol the sea in case more arrive.
Green Lantern finds his Starro first in the National Park before he can assess the situation an Air Force jet cruises through and the giant monster latches on! Despite heroic efforts from the pilot and navigator, Starro seizes the planes Atom Bomb. (did they just have those all the time back then?) After it gains the weapon it drops the jet and flies off, Hal catches the jet just in time and flies after the giant sea creature. Suddenly the starfish detonates the warhead, absorbing the power. A huge totally off-panel fight is vaguely described, ending in Hal using his ring to drain the giant starfish of power, powerless it shrinks and falls to the ground dead, reduced to an ordinary sea creature.
We cut to Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter in Science City, struggling with a Starro of their own. This Starro states that its intent is to drain the scientific knowledge contained within The Hall of Science! To do so it suspends the scientists within and starts to fly the whole building up into the atmosphere. Wonder Woman tries to lasso the monster but it’s too strong and pulls her onto the building instead. Martian Manhunter hurls a bunch of tiny meteors at the alien from space. The alien retaliates by shooting atomic rays at the pair, they manage to avoid damage for the time being. Wonder Woman tries her lasso again and manages to grab her plane and yank the building out of Starro’s grasp, as soon as the building is loose the giant starfish loses power just like the first one and falls back to earth.
Now we shift focus to Flash, headed towards Happy Harbour, the target of the third starfish. Inside the town teen Snapper Carr comes out of his house and realizes everyone in town is walking towards the coast in a trance, he follows the entranced populace to find a 50 foot wide starfish hovering over the beach. Instantly the starfish realizes Snapper is the only one not under its control and aims to destroy him, suddenly Flash appears and whisks Snapper out of danger. As soon as the teenager is free Flash turns toward the task at hand, he runs to Starro and creates a whirlwind despite Starro’s effort to kill him. The Starro clone dives into the sea in an attempt to hide but Flash drums him up (literally) and defeats him.
The Justice League heads to the final confrontation, Flash decides to bring Snapper along as his immunity to Starro’s telepathy might be the key to defeating the alien behemoth, a quick spectroscope analysis by Green Lantern reveals Carr is covered in Quicklime, a chemical used in repelling starfish from oyster traps! The Flash rounds up several barrels of the stuff and the team spread it all over the would be Conqueror. Starro withers up and dies, is this the last we’ll see of the alien monster? (it isn’t)
What Just Happened?
I confess that although I knew about this issue, considering its slight importance on several fronts in terms of canon, I have never actually read it. I thought it was a great issue that did a great job of showcasing each member of the League as important, and taking Batman and Superman out of the story is a brilliant way to help the supporting cast shine. I will say it’s a bit annoying the way they did Green Lantern’s big fight off-page, as a result, Flash was definitely the standout character. Also notable for being the issue where Snapper Carr was brought into the League as an honorary member, is featured in many later issues.
This issue is also notable in that it’s the first appearance of Starro, who has been featured many times since, even defeating the entire Justice League from time to time, and recently overthrowing Tomar-Tu’s planet in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, as well as showing up unexpectedly in last weeks issue of Metal!
For the Silver Age (Late Golden Age?) this issue is pretty on point as far as art goes, a lot of characters in this era were frequently off form and the coloring could be a bit funny, none of those issues are present here.
A great and interesting issue, definitely worth your time. If you have a vague idea what happens (and you likely do) you could skip this issue without suffering terribly. But I personally thought it was a lot of fun and a stellar entry for the era.
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