Review: Justice League of America #150

Justice League of America #150 cover
Cover by Rich Buckler and Jack Abel

Justice League of America #150
Published and © by DC, January 1978

Title: “The Key – or Not the Key”
Synopsis: The entire might of the JLA combines to stop a plot by their one-time sidekick and the villainous Key.

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Dick Dillin
Inker: Frank McLaughlin

Review: This reviewer would often pick up Justice League of America as a kid, drawn in by its impressive collection of heroes and the consistently solid art of Dick Dillin. But the villains on this series were often a letdown, a problem that plagues this issue. The Star-Tsar? Really? And a guy in a giant key helmet? Wait, what? He’s the Key? But, of course! And the secret villain who gives one of the longest explanatory monologues in comics’ history? Someone should just punch him already. In fact, more punching would generally help this issue.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin can do fine work, and have on occasion – but not on JLA.” – Mike Tiefenbacher, The Comics Reader #178, March 1980 … Included on Alan Brightmore’s “Individual Comics That You Should Not Be Without” list, from “A Consumer’s Guide to D.C. Comics, Part 2,” Comics Unlimited #51, October-November 1979. … “Steve Englehart, who wrote #139-146 and #149-150 … produced the best run of stories seen (on this series).” – Hassan Yusuf, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: DC’s 48-page “Giant” format (though not nearly as cool as DC’s 100-page “Super Spectacular” format, of course).
Not-so-cool factor: Once again: Dude has a key for a head.

Character quotable: “I’m grown up  now, and man enough to take the rap for my decisions!” – Snapper Carr, as Star-Tsar

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on April 15, 2009.

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