Friday, March 21, 2014


After Black Canary immigrated from her home dimension to the Earth of the Justice League of America, writer Dennis O'Neill wasted no time partnering the Blonde Bombshell with the Emerald Archer.  Dinah's first adventure as a member of the League co-starred Green Arrow, and within a couple of months, she would start appearing in the pages of Green Lantern/Green Arrow, also written by O'Neill.

Justice League of America #75: "In Each Man There is a Demon!" is written by Dennis O'Neill with pencils by Dick Dillin and inks by Joe Giella.

The story begins with Green Arrow narrating this month's tale, and what jumps out right away is Green Arrow's new look.  Neal Adams had already redesigned Oliver Queen's duds in The Brave and the Bold a couple months earlier, but this is the first time he appears with the Robin Good costume and Van Dyke beard in the pages of Justice League of America.

Oliver Queen is having some troubles in the beginning of the story as a business rival creates fraudulent documents that all-but ruin Ollie's reputation and his company.  He goes for a walk through the streets of Star City to reflect on the fortune he's about to lose... when suddenly, he hears a cry for help.  Quickly donning his Green Arrow clothes, he fires off an "instant sunburn arrow" that blinds and burns two would be muggers.  The almost-victim thanks Green Arrow, calling him the most useful man in Star City.

But Ollie isn't sure about that.  Should the costumed crime fighter be "more useful" than the millionaire businessman?  Ollie's having a bit of an identity crisis now.

Hawkman argues that Black Canary is quite simply underpowered to go up against the threats faced by the Justice League.  Black Canary then begins thinking about the world she left, the world of the Justice Society of America and Earth 2... the world of her recently late husband, Larry Lance.

Green Arrow then describes how he sought help for his identity crisis by finding a Dr. Oyal who developed a kind of machine that could identify the true nature of a person.  When Ollie undergoes the procedure, however, something bizarre and unexpected happens.  A phantom of Green Arrow, a kind of glowing green shade leaves his body like a ghost and attacks Dr. Oyal.  It claims to be the warrior spirit from within Oliver Queen.

Meanwhile, Superman and the Atom run tests on Dinah Lance where they make a shocking retcon discovery about her physiology.

Batman speculates that Black Canary's new sonic powers may be the result of some residual radiation from their battle with Aquarius last issue.  She was close enough to the energy ball that killed Larry that her cells may have been irradiated enough not to harm her but to create a meta-human power that right now she has no control over.

At that point, the shade of Green Arrow busts in on their meeting.  The League tries to capture it, but when they touch the thing, it draws out the aggressive inner nature of all of them.

Well, not all of them.  Superman, it appears, has no dark half.  After the shades trash the League's headquarters and take off to cause more mischief, Superman has to conceive a plot to get the team's confidence and fighting spirit back.

Superman goes to battle against his mysterious shadow self and after a fierce combat, Superman wins, proving to his friends and teammates that they can in fact do battle with themselves...and win.

When they leave, Superman reveals to us that the phantom he fought was just one of his robots painted green.

Each of the League members goes off to face their evil self individually, and each wins.  First Hawkman defeats his phantom, then Batman his, then the Atom his.  Then Black Canary...

She leaps off the bike and tackles her shade, putting the dark Canary down with a sleeper hold.

Then it's Green Arrow's turn to fight his shade, but when the time comes, he chickens out.  His identity crisis has become a full-blown crisis of confidence.  However, as he's walking away, he comes across a kindly old couple that give him a nice pep talk.  So he goes out looking for his shade again, and when he finds him, they draw down.

Ollie is wounded, but when his arrow strikes the shade, all five of the phantom Leaguers are sucked back inside the heroes, ending the problem.

For Black Canary's first story as a Justice Leaguer, this issue does a lot to establish her as a visible and credible addition to the team.  First there is the creation of a new power set: her sonic scream, although at this point she has no control over the power and it doesn't really emanate from her mouth.  It will take some time for Dinah to master this power and direct it as her "Canary Cry".

For now, the power seems almost a burden as much as a gift.  O'Neill is merely seeding this super power in Black Canary in case she'll need it in later adventures when her Judo isn't enough.  But in this story, it is.  She uses her martial arts ability to fight her personal demon and succeeds, a great testimony to her abilities and her value to the Justice League.

Black Canary also gets her own mode of transportation.  The motorcycle may not be as audacious as the Batmobile, but it's as lithe and stylish as herself, and in time it will be her signature vehicle.  And what's more, the motorcycle was custom made for her by Superman.  How cool is that?!!

The third statement made about Black Canary in this issue is her unquestioned connection to Green Arrow.  There's nothing specifically romantic or overly flirtatious about their dialogue in this issue, but Dillin sure draws them to look familiar and comfortable with each other.  It won't be long before he has taken the place of her husband (that he sorta kinda killed).

Oh, the other cool thing about this story--Superman doesn't have an evil counterpart!  There is no bastard version of Superman.  He's that good!  Remember when Superman was good?


  1. I really have to thank you for this issue. I have never read it before. I have always heard about the sudden canary cry and the explanations, but it is great to see the actual panels and first appearance!

  2. It's great that Dinah has already lost those wrinkles from the first JLA/JSA team-ups - who says Roy Thomas came up with the world's maddest retcon?

    I like the downbeat ending, well, I suppose we could say bittersweet - not what I would have expected after the story.

    I don't buy that about Superman not having a bad side, he's faced a few naughty sides of himself in his home titles. But I do agree that Superman should be presented as unambiguously good.

    Mind, look at that picture of Superman 'inviting Dinah to Earth One to forget' - it's pretty obvious what distraction he planned to offer.

  3. And in fairness, if Dinah was going to get sexed up by a man to move through her mourning phase, she wouldn't find a better man than he of tomorrow.

    Maybe she hooked up with Ollie so quickly because after he lost his company and grew out the Van Dyke he offered "mustache rides" for a dollar.

    1. An other superb JLA classic issue -m those late 60s early 70s books really did soar all over the place and introduce some wild concepts. And Dick Dillin's artwork too, a man sadly missed. Back in the 70s when I used to collect JLA, his sudden demise came as a real shock to me, the first artist to ever pass away in my memory.