Forget Thee Knowledge Not

April 12, 2003

By Avi Green

JLA #77: Stardust Memories
Writer: Rick Veitch
Penciler: Darryl Banks
Inker: Wayne Faucher

I hadnít been up to reading JLA in the past few months because of how disappointingly dull the Obsidian Age story arc was. But now, it looks like Iím able to get back in the saddle on one of my favorite team titles starting with this fill-in issue written by guest writer Veitch, substituting for Joe Kelly, which was a very good time filler indeed.

Itís funny, because some time ago, I was contemplating the whole notion of great musical tunes that run through my own mind, and here, the Atom/Ray Palmer brings up the subject too, as he and John Stewart, the black Green Lantern who first debuted in 1971, are doing surveillance work on the surface of the moon, which is where the JLA keeps its orbital space headquarters. Also present at the HQ, and supervising their actions, is Batman and the Flash.

It isnít long, however, before they end up discovering an odd object that can deprive them of vital memories, and that almost tries to kill them as a ploy to get into the teamís HQ, prompting the Flash to zip into action and whisk them back inside, most unfortunately taking the little device with them, since the Atom happens to be inside it.

The memory hindering device is called Mnemon (ďDemon would be a more accurate descriptionĒ, the Atom tells him noting the fact that it attacked them for no reason), and it thinks that stealing the knowledge of other creatures in the galaxy is an art. Among those whose skill memories it robs are Atomís knowing how to enlarge himself, Mosaicís of how to use his power ring, Flashís knowing how to slow down, Batmanís of how to talk, and even Wonder Woman and Firestormís knwoledge of who Superman is, so that he can try to cause some trouble for him by forcing them to beat up on him when they arrive at the station.

Luckily, Atom sidetracks Mnemon with the memory of the musical tunes in his mind, and having still got the knowledge of how to miniturize himself to move between the molecular structure of the device that Mnemonís built inside, escapes, enabling Superman to use his heat-ray vision to cause a replay effect that in turn causes Mnemon to lose all the memories that it stole, enabling all the JLA members whose minds were effected to regain whatever was lost. Superman then, with the help of Mosaic, manages to bring Mnemon over to a wormhole in space and sends it way, way out, where it canít bother anyone again.

Itís quite an interesting idea thatís played out here very well within one issue, and I was glad to be able to get a chance to read all about this close encounter the JLA have with a device that can rob them of their knowledge of how to do certain important things, with the possible exception of Superman, whom Mnemon luckily doesnít succeed in mindwiping. Plus, I was glad to see some use of thought balloons in one of the panels, something you donít see that often nowadays.

Having read that, well, I sure hope now that the next story arcs being written by current regular Joe Kelly, Rules of Engagement, and also The White Rage, which is coming subsequently, will turn out to be better than the previous story arc, The Obsidian Age, doldrummer that that one was. And somehow, Iíve got a feeling that they will indeed turn out to be pretty interesting in contrast with the previous story.

Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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