Random Retrospective #8 – Justice League of America #99

The three issues previous to this one dealt with the Justice League defeating Starbreaker, the cosmic vampire, before sending him off for trial by the Guardians of the Universe. JLA writer Mike Friedrich’s run had dealt with various real-world issues such as pollution earlier in his run and with new writer Len Wein due to take over with #100, Friedrich had a final issue to make some sort of stand or get a message across.

While helping clean up after Starbreaker’s final battle, Black Canary is trapped by giant, fast growing plants. Green Lantern suffers a similar fate:

It turns out there are two aliens, a father and son duo, spreading seeds in order to return Earth to balance – mankind has caused problems and these aliens are here to sort it out by planting invasive species of flora everywhere. The League attack but each time they use their powers, the aliens use their staffs to direct their effects elsewhere:

The Flash’s powers above, for example, are redirected to the Caribbean and accidentally prevent Aquaman preventing an oil slick from making landfall. Those heroes that are affected by seemingly random powers contact Hawkman who’s on monitor duty. He calls all the heroes back to the satellite where they compare notes and Batman works out what’s happening:

Bu all to no avail; every attack by the League on the aliens is countered and causes some destruction elsewhere in the world, despite Hawkman navigating the satellite and driving it around Earth’s orbit like someone who’s had far too many beers to be behind the wheel. Finally Batman tells the team he has another plan; instead of stopping the aliens, the League help them plant as many seeds as possible, until:

That’s right – the League just look on as the aliens struggle to breathe, with Atom callously pointing out their problems. It’s down to Green Lantern to lay some truth on the alien father and son:

And that’s it – the moral of the story is, I guess, that we humans needs to stop messing about with our planet and sort out the balance of nature. As clumsily written as it was in 1972, it’s a shame that fifty years later with climate change causing so many issues we’re still having the same conversation, but in a much more urgent sense.