Friday, February 22, 2013

JL #26 'The Stormy Return of the Red Tornado!" Afterward

So...what did you think?

If you are an actual comic-book fan and are familiar with the Justice League of America, you will recognize the two stories I mashed-up. As mentioned in the Forward, I used JLA 106 and JLA 146. The first was Red's initial initiation into the Justice League written by Len Wein. He had written the three-parter where Red Tornado had seemingly sacrificed his life to save the Justice League, the Justice Society, and the Seven Soldiers of Victory (JLA 100-102). I adapted that story in my JL #s 21-22, if you recall. Then Mr. Wein  had Red Tornado suddenly appear at the end of JLA #105, so that is why I had him appear at the end of my last issue. My story here followed the plot of JLA #106, ie "how are you still alive, and why are you on our planet instead of yours?" And we were off! 

In the real comics Red was being used by his creator, a mad scientist named T.O. Morrow; here I replaced him with Brainiac. I had recently purchased the Skyline DC character cards and collected a set in my town's library.One of the villains featured was Brainiac, as shown here. I liked the look, and thought it was not above him to alter Red Tornado ala T.O. Morrow and use him to attack the Justice League. This worked especially well when I continued Len Wein's story with Steve Englehart's. Mr. Englehart had re-established the Red Tornado as a tool of a living machine called The Construct (featured on the cover of JLA #146, shown elsewhere on this page). Instead of introducing him, however, I simply morphed the villain of #106 into the villain of #146, ie, Brainiac from the beginning! 
In case you are wondering, my adaptation of JLA #106 ends immediately after page 37. In the original, the JLA faces T.O. Morrow in one page. It's here that I switch to the climax of JLA #146, where the Construct attempts to destroy his tool, and instead empowers him and helps him realize his humanity. 

These are two of my favorite comic-books, and I think I did a better than adequate job adapting them to "my" universe. The story has a cohesion that I'm quite proud of, and now I'd like to toss out a few specific scenes I like or thought I did well. 

I almost never did changes to the panel format. I hit on the idea of doing this panel without any lines in order to help accent Red's sense of loneliness. I almost never did changes to my panel format, so I tried this figuring that if I didn't like it I would simply draw in the lines. I was happy with the way it looked and kept it in, obviously. When I come across it in the story, even now, I stop and think, "wow, that really works." 
In the original story (JLA #106) it is Green Arrow who questions the validity of having Red Tornado join. However, I thought it worked better for GA (the emotional one) to support him and Hawkman, the cold and calculating one, to resist him. 
I added one page to the original plot where I have the JLAers talk to Red about setting up a new identity for him. Here I make a joking reference to the last time the JLA went looking for new members, and that was to help alleviate the number of times each member had to serve on monitor duty. I think Green Arrow really was willing to have Red Tornado live at the space station, just so that he wouldn't have to do monitor duty! 
few words about this group. I thought Black Canary would naturally be Red's first friend, because she had known him when they both lived on Earth-2. I wasn't sure if they had both been members of the Justice Society together (her mother was still alive and possibly his team-mate) but they definitely had known each other before. If you don't believe me, go back and check out the background pictures of her "origin" re-told in JL #21; she, Red, and her mother are all there. Also Red appeared in her night-mare sequence in JL# 15. So if she was there then Green Arrow would be there. Elongated Man has been shown to be Red's friend in the mainstream comics (they joined immediately after one another) and I thought he would be free from any other cases to hang out for a little bit after the meeting broke up. And it made sense to me to have Martian Manhunter as the "big brother" of the League there. If this had been a real DC comic it would have been Superman. ;-) 
Lastly, these two rows (above and below) show a conversation that I think must have happened but was never shown in the comics per Red's creating the identity of "John Smith." It had already been established that Red wanted to be considered human; it made sense, therefore, that his new friends would help him to pass the time before he could return to his home dimension by helping him to create a new "life." And to also get rid of his mechanical voice, which really was a pain to print out every issue. 
Speaking of voices, Brainiac's voice was even more of a pain to write than Red's special font was. If I had brought Brainiac back I would not have had him speak in these syl-la-bil-lic style a-gain. Uggh! 
One very specific change I made was to change the race of John's romantic interest, Kathy Sutton. In the DC comics she is very definitely caucasian. I have said before that I wanted to make "my" universe more diverse, so since race really had no place in her personality as it has been established, I changed her. I do like that I did it, too. They look good together. 

And here's the last panel of the story again. In this we have the Red Tornado realize that he is not a machine. He proves that by NOT using his mechanical voice any more AND by calling the Elongated Man by his first name, Ralph. I liked that. 

And to close out this Afterward....the covers of the two stories I adapted!
Red Tornado joins the JLA (#106)
Red Tornado re-joins the JLA (#146)
Red Tornado joins "my" Justice League

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