If it’s Friday, then it must be time for another RETRO REVIEW. And this week I’ve uncovered a gem from way back in 1962, Mystery In Space # 75. It’s published by DC Comics and it is cover dated May 1962. The story is a follow-up/sequel to DC Comics’ Justice League of America # 3, from February/March 1961 and features the villain, Kanjar Ro. Take a peek at the cover, drawn by the great duo; Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson (pencils by Infantino and inks by Anderson).
As you can read on the cover, vai Kanjar Ro’s thought bubble, he is already planning to take on the Justice League of America again, once he’s done with the hero of Mystery in Space, Adam Strange! The story itself is entitled; “The Planet That Came To A Standstill”. It is written by Gardner Fox and the artwork is supplied by the cover artists, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.
The book starts with a symbolic splash page, then jumps right into a flashback, as told by Justice League of America honorary member, Snapper Carr. Snapper recaps the Justice League’s first encounter with Kanjar Ro from Justice League of America # 3, in the story entitled; “The Slave Ship Of Space!”. Then the story jumps to the recent past, showing Kanjar Ro escaping from the prison planet where the Justice League left him.
Next the scene shifts to Adam Strange and his beloved, Alanna, on the planet Rann. Another quick flashback recounts how Adam travels between his native planet, Earth and the planet Rann via Zeta Beam. Alanna and Adam encounter some strange barbarians riding upon giant birds. When they swoop closer, one of them strikes a strange crystal causing Adam and Alanna to no longer have control over their own bodies and because they were heading up at the time they continue to head up and out of Rann’s atmosphere!
Eventually they enter an orbit around Rann. Luckily they are wearing helmets which provide them the necessary oxygen to breathe, otherwise they would have suffocated.
As chapter two begins, Adam and Alanna are being buffeted by high winds, but they manage to direct themselves toward Rann’s Aurora Borealis. When they pass through it, their bodies are shocked and thus their nervous systems are freed from the Paralyzing effect of the crystal.
They make their way back to the city of Ranagar and meet up with Alanna’s father, Sardath. Adam and Sardath come up with a way to counteract the crystals and Adam and Alanna again seek out the bird riding barbarians. They pretend to fall under their control and they bring them back to their leader, Kanjar Ro.
As in all good sixties comics, the bad guy then tells of his great plan to the heroes, in this case Kanjar Ro explains his plan to make himself stronger than Superman by bathing himself in the radiation of a triple star-sun. He does so, then destroys a set of duplicate Justice League figures. Adam tries to stop Ro, but is again captured and Alanna who has followed Adam, is also captured. They are placed in chairs and held in place by the force of 5 Gs. Gotta love Fox’s science in these old sixties comics.
They manage to escape, yet again, by throwing dinner plates. Yes, you heard me right. But you’ll have to by the comic to see exactly how they accomplish this feat. Ro has left Rann by this time and is on his way back to Earth to tackle the Justice League. Using Ro’s slave ship, Adam returns to Earth in time to met up with a Zeta Beam which instantly transports him back to Rann.
Shortly after, the Flash finds the abandoned ship in Africa and calls in his fellow Leaguers. Back on Rann Adam strikes an enlarged crystal bringing all of Rann to a standstill. Shortly after, the Zeta Beam wears off and his is transported back to Earth. He returns to the exact spot he left, which was Africa and upon his return he meets the gathered Justice League members. He explains Ro’s plan of conquest and they all take Ro’s slave ship and use it to return to Rann.
Once back on Rann they all battle Kanjar Ro. Ro gains the upper hand and appears to have beaten all of the Justice League members present (Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, the Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman). But at the last second Adam Strange overcomes Kanjar Ro, not with super-powers, but with old fashioned brain power! He explains how he did it and then Adam Strange and the Justice League return to Earth, leaving Alanna on Rann to pine for Adam’s return on the next Zeta Beam.
It’s a pretty rousing tale told by Fox and the art is prime, as supplied by the team of Infantino and Anderson! I definitely feel that if you only own one Adam Strange Mystery In Space comic, this should be the issue you have in your collection. Nuff said.
Please come back next week for another new Fabulous Find and again in two weeks for a new RETRO REVIEW. Till then, enjoy the weather, because winter;s coming …