Today's silliness is brought to you by All-Star Comics #36!
This is a fairly well-known story, having been reprinted a few times (I read it in the awesome DC Digests that were put out long ago). The gist of it was that if you "drowned" in the Koeyhahatingtangwallawallabingbang River (or whatever it was called), you would emerge as yourself, only without any conscience whatsoever. This was why it was also known as "The River of Ruthlessness," and was recycled in a 12-part (!!) saga in the first dozen issue of 1980's Infinity Inc., a title which quickly turned into garbage after that. See how it all comes together?
Anyway, sales must have been slipping, because they throw Superman and Batman in as a replacement for Johnny Thunder and the Atom:
Bruce Wayne? In JSA Headquarters? Suggesting he might have a replacement for the Atom? Why... sputter, sputter... what silliness! Such an eccentric billionaire!
But wait! Who is this? Batman! Emerging from the very same room Bruce Wayne went into!
And, of course, no one does the math. Why, Bruce Wayne certainly did find a substitute! Where did Bruce Wayne go? We should thank him personally! Why, it seems that Bruce Wayne inexplicably disappeared, right before Batman showed up! What a coincidence. Oh, well. The meeting is called to order! Who brought the chips and dip?
Okay, the story is that a cross-country crime wave is taking place, and the common theme is that they are taking place in the home towns of where seven men drowned in Lake WhoputtheBopShe-BopShe-Bop or whatever it was called. Sounds like a mystery worth investigating, Scooby!
As usual, the JSA divides into teams of.... well, teams of themselves, because they never seem to have enough staff on hand to send more than one guy at a time in search of a clue.
Blah, blah, blah.... the Flash defeats Mr. X, the blackmailer, only to find that:
1) The Flash can somehow identify someone he's never actually seen or met before just by looking at them and 2) Mr. X wore glasses under a mask, which would be pretty uncomfortable but he was ruthless enough not to care.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mid-Nite has some cruel fun with a desperate banker:
This banker would lose more than 10 gold coins on the old "let me borrow a gold coin" trick before he figured out Dr. Mid-Nite had no intentions of giving them back.
Hey, banker-boy! Pull my finger?
What? Well, alright!
Dr. Mid-Nite! You farted!
Heh! Sorry about that. Pure coincidence!
Very well, Dr. Mid-Nite. Say, might I have my gold coin back?
Hmmmmmm.... I seem to have misplaced it, and I need one. May I borrow another?
Well, okay. But please be more careful with this one.
Certainly. Now would you mind helping out my friend? He's a Nigerian attorney who wants to route the money of a deceased wealthy client through your bank account. All I need is your account number. And your Social Security Number.
Hmmmm.... I don't know....
Come on! He's from Nigeria! And he's a prince!
You said he was an attorney!
Yeah, sure, why not?
Very well. Shall I send him this hundred dollar processing fee to him through my Paypal account?
Sounds great. Hey, pull my finger again!
Okay, not really. But I should totally be writing for Marvel or DC.
The big mastermind behind everything was Calvin Stymes, who was driven to stuttering by the "drowned" men and wanted revenge by turning them into criminals, causing them to lose their reputations and spend time incarcerated. This was actually a pretty good plot twist, until you see what actually caused the stuttering.
You see, the "drowned" men had belonged to the same fraternity, and Stymes (who was afraid of dogs), had poisoned their canine mascot. To teach Stymes how to properly treat dogs, they did this:
Yes, they painted their other dog with luminous paint to scare him. Because nothing says "Be kind to animals" like covering a dog in toxic, glowing chemicals.
Yes, it was silly, but I still love this story.
See you tomorrow!