Thursday, September 24, 2015

I always liked Lucas "Snapper" Carr.

In the late 1960s, the editor of DC Comics told the writers of Justice League of America to add a hip, cool young character to the team...something "the kids" could relate to. That ended up being Snapper. He got his nickname from his habit of snapping his fingers like some jive-talking, yippie-lovin', beatnik coolio. It was embarrassing. He saved the League from Starro the Conqueror in their very first adventure, and was made an honorary member of the JLA. He was also their mascot. In the early 1970s, Snapper was even more of an embarrassment, and the writers allowed The Joker to trick him into betraying the location of the JLA's secret hideout in Rhode Island.

Snapper disappeared...............

All that was before my time. I didn't start reading Justice League of America until 1976. I was 11 years old.

But -- wow! -- what a run Snapper Carr had just after I started reading the comic! In Justice League of America #140 (March 1977), a long story arc began which eventually brought down Snapper Carr for good. The Manhunters return, seeking to arrest Green Lantern for destroying a planet. They turn out to be corrupt (GL didn't destroy a planet, they faked that), and are defeated by the JLA. Mark Shaw, the Earthly representative of the Manhunters, quits the intergalactic police group.

In Justice League of America #142 (May 1977), the world's radio waves form a sentient being called The Construct. He seems easily defeated by Elongated Man, Atom, and Aquaman. But he returns in the next issue, even more powerful -- and the Injustice Society returns as well! In a major plot twist, the Injustice Society satellite is destroyed. The JLA is helped by Mark Shaw, now acting as the superhero named The Privateer.

In Justice League of America #144 (July 1977), Green Arrow learns of the secret origin of the Justice League as they fight off Commander Blanx and the White Martians. This issue radically alters the League's history, and introduces an extremely large number of supporting characters who hadn't been seen in DC Comics in decades: the Blackhawk Squadron, the Challengers of the Unknown, Congo Bill and Congorilla, Rip Hunter, Plastic Man, Roy Raymond and Rex the Wonder Dog, Adam Strange, and Vigilante.

After a one-off villain attacks the JLA in Justice League of America #145 (August 1977), Construct returns again in Justice League of America #146 (September 1977) and begins his long association as the arch-nemesis of Red Tornado.

Mordru the Merciless appears for a SUPERB two-issue run alongside the Demons Three (Abnegazer, Rath, and Ghast) as the JLA and JSA team up for the first time with the Legion of Super-Heroes in Justice League of America #147 (October 1977) and #148 (November 1977).

Another one-off battle, this time against the ineffectual Doctor Light, occurs in Justice League of America #149 (December 1977). Not only does the Privateer return, but so does Snapper Carr. And so does a new villain -- the Star Tsar, a man with the power to draw on starlight in order to power his energy blasts, invulnerability, super-strength, and ability to generate explosions. The battle continues in Justice League of America #150 (January 1978) -- which features the return of The Key -- one of the JLA's deadliest foes!!!!!! This is a villain the League has never been able to defeat, just stymie.

As the battle comes to a conclusion, the Star Tsar is revealed to be none other than Snapper himself -- having betrayed the League a SECOND time (this time on purpose).

Yes, Snapper got a mega-hot, ripped, muscular body in his years away from the Justice League. I mean, masturbatory hot.

DC Comics tried to rehabilitate Snapper in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He got experimented on by the aliens known as the Dominators, and was accidentally given the power to teleport by snapping his fingers. He worked with the Omega Men for a while, and then formed his own group of Dominator-experiments, named the Blasters. In due time, the aliens known as Khunds captured him and cut off his hands -- depriving him of his ability to teleport. He was rescued by L.E.G.I.O.N. (an intergalactic super-hero police force) and his hands were regrown by Vril Dox/Brainiac 2. But he still couldn't teleport.

Snapper became an advisor of sorts to various superheroes, including Hourman and Young Justice. He's still a hipster, and he still has that mega-hot, mega-muscled body of a porn star. During the "Final Crisis" events in 2006, he was revealed to have been a high-level member of Checkmate, an international group of law enforcement officers who monitor all metahumans and aliens on Earth. He'd apparently not been a member long. He became a member in 2005 when Batman's intelligent satellite, Brother Eye, and the former JLA advisor-turned-villain Maxwell Lord tried to use the OMACs to wipe out metahumans.

At the end of "Final Crisis", we see Snapper again -- although now he's a low-level Checkmate operative (with no explanation of why his level changed) and he has his teleportation powers back (and ther'es no explanation of that, either). Snapper engages in a series of minor missions to sabotage Darkseid's installations on Earth and to locate heroes who've managed to avoid being taken over by the Anti-Life Equation. In his last mission, he saves the Wonder Woman villain Cheetah. Cheetah is so happy, she rips his clothes off and has wild, passionate sex with him for a night and a day.

Unfortunately, Snapper loses his teleportation powers due to Darkseid's interference. The last time we see him, he's running into battle against Darkseid's foes with Mister Miracle. (One assumes he survives.)

I started reading JLA about 1975, so my first introduction to Snapper was that great Mark Shaw/Privateer/Star Tsar/The Key run from 1977 to 1978. Not only was the story good, but the artwork was SUPERB.

Snapper was one of those people who were incredibly campy and goofy, a leftover from the 1960s that DC Comics wanted to get rid of, permanently. These characters often got killed off or turned into villains. In Snapper's case, it was a super story and I totally got hooked on Snapper Carr!

Giving him teleportation powers and all that stuff seemed silly and stupid. And, at first, I thought that making him into a Singles movie reject (as if somehow grunge still lived) was inane. But he's continued to grow on me, and his immense immaturity and lucklessness as a character -- along with his complete ignorance of how hot his body is now -- are endearing, I find.

No comments:

Post a Comment