Crises on Various Earths
I have only recently discovered the delighful terror that is the Pre-Crisis JLA/JSA Team-Ups. I thought I might share my thoughts on some of the more... Interesting ones. So, without further ado I present to you the horror that is 1974's Justice League of America #113: "The Creature in the Velvet Cage!"
Our story begins -- as stories often do -- with Hal Jordan using his ring on something yellow.
Following their stunning victory over the "Horned Owl Gang" the JLA and JSA decide to go get coffee. And yes, it was Elongated Man's idea. But before they can arrive at a convenient coffee shop, trouble strikes! A mysterious alarm goes off and Sandman reacts with... Terror! Leaping into his sweet red convertible (shockingly enough called the "Sand-Car") Wesley Dodds speeds to his plush townhouse.
The JLA and JSA follow. Once they arrive at the townhouse, they enter the hidden stairs behind the giant freakin' hourglass that Sandman keeps in his living room. There, the teams discover... Chaos! It seems that Wesley Dodds has kept a terrifying secret for years. Sandy the Golden Boy hadn't left New York -- he'd simply been transformed! (ironically enough, into a sand monster)
His young sidekick transformed, Sandman did the only logical thing: he drugged Sandy, locked him up, and then had himself hypnotized so that he would forget it ever happened.
I'm not joking.
The teams decide to overlook Sandman's callous actions and help the "Grainy Gladiator" recapture his missing ward.
They track Sandy to a wedding being held in nearby "Gladstone Park." The heroes soon engage the monster. Here, the readers are treated to one of the greatest panels in the history of comics:
Yes, Superman is saved from a terrible fate thanks to an irate bride with a pie.
But the battle is far from over. Though the creature escapes, the teams redouble their efforts to capture him. Since they don't wish to harm Sandy, Batman -- that most brilliant of thinkers and planners -- stumbles upon an ideal solution:
Unfortunately, it doesn't work out quite as well as Batman might have hoped:
Nice going, Batman.
The Flash finally succeeds in driving Sandy away. The transformed Golden Boy then flees to the "famed Machisimo Beach, where virile young athletes flaunt their accomplishments to the delighted squeals of their lovely companions."
I swear, you can't make this stuff up.
The JLA and JSA are nowhere to be seen... So the afore mentioned "virile young athletes" take it upon themselves to stop the monster!
That works about as well as can be expected.
The JLA and JSA quickly arrive for their final showdown with Sandy the Sand Monster. Hal quickly attempts to subdue the creature with his trademark "wit" and "ability to always freakin' forget that his ring doesn't work on yellow." (though the editor makes sure he reminds us!)
Sandy proceeds to beat the snot out of Hal, at which point Wesley Dodds finally decides to take some responsibility for his actions. He steps in and distracts the monster while Hourman takes him out.
But the trouble isn't over! An earthquake strikes, opening up a gaping chasm in the middle of the famous "Machisimo Beach"! But is Superman concerned? Of course not. This is Pre-Crisis Superman. He simply borrows Wonder Woman's lasso and goes to work with his Super Sewing powers:
With that, the crisis is averted... Or is it? To the shock of all, Sandy speaks! Wesley Dodds is horrified to learn that Sandy has been conscious and aware of his conditon all these years. Thus the Pre-Crisis Sandman is revealed to be a total jerk.
With that, "The Creature in the Velvet Cage!" comes to a close. But that's not the end of the story. In time, Sandy the Golden Boy will be restored to his human form -- no thanks to Wesley Dodds.