The prolific and dependable Gardner Fox delivers another clever run of adventures starring the world's greatest super-heroes. If you've read previous volumes, you know what you're getting: Plot-driven, gimmick-filled tales that sometimes strain credulity, but always deliver action and thrills. Time and again, the Justice Leaguers show that the greatest super-power is the brain: each story revolves around a mystery or puzzle that must be solved in order to defeat the menace at hand. The enemies include everything from the card-themed Royal Flush Gang to mythological beast-men to a series of truly bizarre aliens (my favorite is the one who appears to be constructed out of neon tubes, although a close second would be the blocky monstrosity whose weak spot turns out to be its enormous big toe).
Consciously or not, it looks like Fox was trying to address the gender imbalance in the series. The first story in this volume features Zatanna the magician, concluding the long-running plotline of her search for her missing father. Hawkgirl and Batgirl are prominent guest-stars in other stories. Even on the villains' side, we have the Queen of the Royal Flush Gang, the alien empress Zazzala, and the stylishly-attired Gem Girl.
Speaking of style, artist Mike Sekowsky's work is looking better than ever in this run of stories. Finisher Sid Greene adds a beautiful polish to the art, and you can really appreciate how good Sekowsky is at expression and staging. A Justice League story by definition is going to have a big cast and a lot going on, but the action is always crystal clear. He's equally good at the scenes of high drama and the small moments of humor and humanity. There's a panel in the first story where a grateful Zatanna gives Batman and Green Lantern a big hug, and their sheepish grins are absolutely adorable.
Whether you're a nostalgic old-timer like me, someone interested in the history of the super-hero genre, or just a person who likes a rollicking good adventure, this is a great volume to get.