Challenge of the Weapons Master! last edited by Darkside_of_the_Sun on 07/19/21 10:40PM View full history

    After finding Wonder Woman's diary in the future, the criminal Xotar decides to travel to the past to face the Justice League! Using the information from the diary, Xotar prepares for battle and challenges each member in turn. Will the Justice League be able to defeat Xotar's ultimate weapon?

    In it's second appearance, the JLA battles Xotar the Weapons Master, a fiend from the future.

    The cover of this issue features five members of the Justice League in combat with the weapons master. All five will have been familiar to readers of other DC magazines at the time of publication - the Flash and Wonder Woman had their own titles, Green Lantern had appeared in Showcase and was about to be given his own magazine, Jonn Jonzz was a back up feature in Detective comics, while Aquaman features in Adventure and World's Finest. The two more famous JLAers. Superman and Batman were often played down in their early adventures, and that is the case here. Presumably DC thought those two got enough exposure elsewhere - how that would change within a few years! (especially with Batman!)

    As the story opens, we find ourselves in the far future. The year is 11,960 AD, and in a strange cavern we meet the criminal Xotar, who is surrounded by scientific weapons - but also is under siege from the Intersolar Police. Xotar has four weapons at his disposal, but knows that the Intersolar Police are able to counter three of them. His problem is, he doesn't know which three. So, just before he is captured, Xotan climbs aboard a robotic time machine and heads for the 20th Century where he will do battle with the Justice League and in the process discover which weapon he should use to overcome the Police in his own time era.

    On his journey, Xotan opens an ancient book, the writing in which is only partly legible. It reads ..."one of the four weapons used by Xotar xx xxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx to defeat the Justice League. Believing his ancient book guarantees him victory, Xotan confidently puts his plans into operation. What better way to attract the attention of the JLA than to attack their mascot, "Snapper" Carr, who had come to their rescue in their previous adventure with Starro the Conqueror. As Xotan instantly finds Snapper (surprise, surprise, there he is all alone on an ice rink!), we are introduced to the JLA signal device, and Snapper uses it to contact the League. Six members of the League (all bar Superman, and we find out why later) race to their secret hideout. Once there, they find Snapper Carr sitting rigidly upright in his chair - a strange voice coming from his lips - he is being used as the mouthpiece of Xotan.

    The futuristic villain issues a challenge to the JLA - they will fight him one at a time of in pairs - during which he will use his weapons on them and discover how to defeat the intersolar police. The JLA are all for going into action together and taking Xotar down, but a powerful force beam comes upon them, holding them firmly in their seats. Only the hero he has chosen can escape - and first into battle is the Flash. It was a regular occurrence in early JLA adventures to have the team split up and have a chapter focus on individual heroes or pairs of heroes. As Flash races to battle Xotar, we have one of three examples of how the author (Gardner Fox?) made comics both entertaining and educational. Flash discovers the meaning of the name "Hesperus" - It was the name given by Homer in his Iliad to the planet Venus. Flash uses this information to help him solve where Xotan is going to attack -it is a nearby space centre. Once there, Flash meets General Morgan Anderson (based on one of the artists of this comic?) and then clashes with Xotar. Xotar manages to hit the Flash with a shrinking ray, with the intention of sending him to the sub-atomic universe. (Was someone already thinking of the Atom - who would appear 12months or so later?). As he shrinks and shrinks, Flash manages to vibrate underground, and Xotan thinks he has achieved his purpose. However, Flash burrows up through the robot and destroys Xotar's weapon. Before Flash can capture him, Xotar is traveling back in time to a moment just after the Flash left JLA HQ.

    Next, Xotan challenges Aquaman and Jonn Jonzz, leaving them a cryptic clue as to where they might find him. As they solve the riddle, the reader is once again offered some educational information. The Panama Canal runs Northwest and Southeast - its eastern most tip touching the Pacific Ocean and its western most tip the Atlantic. Once they have found Xotar, it seems that Jonn is taken out of the game straight away by the criminal's de-evolutioniser. However, Aquaman quickly realises that the Martian Manhunter has made himself invisible, and buys some time by getting some Octopi to black out Xotars view with their ink. Xotar responds by sending some of the sea creatures back through the evolutionary stages, but as he turns his attention back to the heroes, he finds Jonn has made a mirror out of sand, potash and soda, and with said mirror he reflects the beam from Xotan's weapon back upon itself. The result being that Xotan's weapon returns to its de-evolved state. Defeated, the villain returns to JLA HQ.

    Xotan then challenges Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Batman in his next fight. Batman has an idea where Superman might be and makes a swift exit. Meanwhile, informing us that the Ring-necked Pheasant in the official state bird of South Dakota, Green Lantern joins Wonder Woman in battling Xotar. It is the Amazon Princess who first comes under attack from his magno bubble weapon. Encase in a Yellow (naturally - all together now, GL's ring doesn't work on anything yellow!) bubble, Wonder Woman finds herself heading up into deep space. However, Green Lantern is not helpless and sends a bolide to deflect and destroy the bubble. Trying to shoot straight at Green Lantern, Xotar cannot understand why his aim is off. He hasn't realised that Wonder Woman is using her magic lasso on the barrel of his weapon to keep his aim off target. Scooping up some mud, GL shoots it straight down the barrel of the magno bubble weapon, causing it to be useless. Xotan has one final weapon and one final challenge for the JLA.

    This time he challenges the whole JLA at once, and as the team head toward him, they suddenly find themselves transported to a pre-historic world, where none of their powers seem to work. Or do they? They have run into Xotan's fourth and final weapon, the Illusion-maker. It only appears to the JLA that they are in a predicament - the truth is they are almost fighting one another. Suddenly the illusion disappears as Batman turns up with Superman and Snapper. Xotan tries to turn his weapon on them, but he is too late. Batman reveals that Superman was traveling through time when the adventure began, so could not respond to the JLA signal device. We don't find out how Batman contacted Supes! Anyway, Superman captures Xotan and forces him to travel back to his own time, where he is captured by the Intersolar Police. He can't understand it -after all the ancient book promised him victory. But when Wonder Woman writes up the story we find what she actually wrote was..."The illusion Maker was one of the four weapons used by Xotar in his unsuccessful attempt to defeat the Justice League of America.!"



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