Fire & Water #173 – “Return of the Starfish Conqueror!”

Rob welcomes back podcaster extraordinaire Michael Bailey (VIEWS FROM THE LONGBOX) to discuss the classic "Return of the Starfish Conqueror!" from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #s 189-190 by Gerry Conway, Rich Buckler, Frank McLaughlin, and more.

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Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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8 responses to “Fire & Water #173 – “Return of the Starfish Conqueror!”

  1. I had a subscription to JLA at the time, and couldn’t wait for the second part. Glad to hear more people than me liked it.

    I liked that both Ralph and Bruce were concerned about Barry, as I always saw him as the glue that held the League together, and once he lost Iris, that was the beginning of the end of both the League and really the entire DC universe.

    Editors used to buy cover ideas and have stories written around them. I think Cary Bates broke in that way.

    Sadly, Jim Burke, The Mad Maple, died back in 1994.

    FTF, RTW!

  2. “If I had your action figure as a kid, I thought you were important to the DCU.”

    That’s the same way I felt about Hawkman. I loved his Super Powers toy and I never really got over the costume design, which is why he continues to be one of my favorite DC characters, despite not many quality stories to back it up.

    As a Black Canary fan (it’s true, I have a website), I love moments like in this story where proper respect is paid to her fighting ability. Obviously Batman could take her down, but it means a lot that he stops and considers it. Probably the next best flattering moment is during Gail Simone’s run on BIRDS OF PREY when Lady Shiva admits that Black Canary is one of the greatest hand-to-hand fighters in the world.

  3. Thanks for reviewing! I’m also a big fan of the League around this time. I think my heyday with the team was a few years earlier, the last years of the Dillin era. But I did pick up the book here and there over this time period. Unfortunately, I missed this story even while knowing about the strong covers! I have looked for 190 many times just because of the cover but I have never been able to find it!

    There is definitely a 50s horror movie vibe to this. Whether it be Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Village of the Damned or the Blob-like ending, this had a nice retro feel to it without feeling campy or dated. So much fun!

  4. I bought issue #190 off the stands, due to that spectacular cover. I think it was the first time I saw Bolland’s work. The heroes never looked so…REAL! I wanted those stupid starfish off their faces to see how he drew them!

    Despite never finding the first part, I still really enjoyed this story. This was the JLA at high-tide for me as well.

    Buckler seemed to be on EVERY DC book back then, and I couldn’t have been happier. Nowadays I see the obvious Adams swipes during this period, but it’s still gorgeous, solid stuff.

    Great show fellas! Always nice to have Mr. Bailey stop by.


  5. Great show, Rob and Micheal. Would love if DC continued to do the Showcase Present volumes just so that we can get these stories collected. I love those 6 JLofA volumes and would gladly want to see them do the remainder of this run as it is unlikely at this stage I would be able to collect the remaining issues in single copies.

    Brian Bolland art is stunning on those covers. His covers really lift a title, whether it was Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman, Zatanna or Dial H. Of course when you buy the title and not have Bolland on the interiors, it is a bit of a let down but Buckler’s art looks very good from the gallery you have posted.

    My main Starro story was in JLE where Starro tricked the JLE into dispersing his spores across Great Britain and he took over the JLE and Martian Manhunter, only to be stopped by Ice. Excellent story. I also remember they did a version of him in the second incarnation of R.E.B.E.L.S. which was good as well.

  6. Great episode. I remember my first Justice League of America. Issue 203. Tat cover was so awesome. also my first time seeing Aquaman and Firestorm on a great opening page.

  7. Great show from Aqua-rob and Michael Bailey! These really do feel like “classic” JLA stories, so they are enjoyable to revisit. I was shocked to hear the issue was based upon the Bolland cover!! It’s always been one of the stand out covers from the Bronze Age JLA, so it kinda makes sense.

    The only thing that really got missed in your coverage was that sexy Wonder Woman pose while she was relaxing on the picnic blanket with Reddy’s girlfriend. HOT!

    Really, really enjoyed listening to two of my favorite podcasters enjoying comics!

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