in 1977, the Earth is under attack from the greatest threat the DCU has ever known:
Don't you wish you could talk that way?
Particularly during times of planet-wide distress?
Oh, and if "Jean Loring and the Orgy of Destruction"
is not the name of someone's band, it should be.
For those of you just tuning into the Absorbascon, you need to know that the girlfriends of DC's iconic heroes in days of yore were not cookie cutter copies of one another. They were not all smilingly supportive confections of sugar & spice & everything nice. They were formidable characters in their own right, with personalities all their own, as we've previously elaborated upon.
It makes an odd sort of sense that extraordinary heroes would seek out extraordinary partners. Any one of these heroes could have opted for a gushing giggling groupie, but... none of them did. Except of course for Ralph Dibny, who was an egotistical, self-centered weasel. Real heroes enjoy a nearly insuperable challenge, and the girlfriends of the Golden and Silver Ages were certainly... challenging.
When introduced in the first Silver Age Atom story, Jean Loring was obviously supposed to be a break from the traditional "Must Get a Man!' mode of portraying women. The opening schtick was that Ray had asked Jean to marry him some 20 times. But she kept saying no because she wanted to focus on establishing her career as a lawyer. Jean was focused, independent, and driven.
But over time "focused, independent, and driven" became "unfocused, incoherent, and driven crazy." I guess it was just too hard for writers of that era to portray a stable career woman. It became easier -- or more fun? --to pick a simpler, single way to characterize her: as BAT-SHIT CRAZY.
Poor Jean. Always caught attacking innocent people in hotel lobbies in a fit of paranoia. Or threatening to rip a stranger's face off. Or ruling as a demented queen of an alien microscopic world. Or stepping on her friend's brain. Or terrorizing South America. Or being dragged off to Arkham in a straightjacket. Or becoming Eclipso.
Sad, perhaps... but very amusing.
Anyway, as mentioned in the panel above, the Crazy-Evil that resides in Jean Loring's brain possesses the power to destroy the Earth. I mean, even more than usual.
It was kind of T.O. Morrow's fault (you know, the futurist inventor who created the universe's most tedious weapon, the Red Tornado, and who regularly took on the entire Justice League). He got it in his head to take revenge on the JLA by kidnapping...
wait for it...
Iris West and Jean Loring.
Now, usually, I think of T.O. Morrow as one of the smartest villains in town, but anyone who's idea of a plan involves kidnapping the Meanest Woman Alive and the Craziest Woman in the DCU is none too bright. That sounds more like a JLA plan to take revenge on T.O. Morrow than vice versa.
Sure, T.O., maybe you've kicked the entire JLA's butts a couple times. But, really, taking on the JLA is one thing, but... taking on Iris West and Jean Loring? At the same time?! Are you freaking NUTS or what?!?!? Jean Loring will rip off your face and destroy your planet in an orgy of destruction while Iris West demeans you, undermines your manhood, and eats your dog. And if you don't believe that last part, then maybe you can explain what happened to the dog that appears in her apartment for one panel of the new Flash #1 and hasn't been heard of since.
Anyway, he carted them off to some alien world (like ya do), but the planet turned out to be sentient. And how did we learn this?
Because the planet was terrified of Jean Loring.
Being terrified of Jean Loring is one of the basic characteristics of all sentient life.
Yes, Jean Loring was SO crazy that the living planet was afraid she would drive it insane. So it sacrificed a huge amount of its, um, world-energy, I guess, by transferring it to Jean so she would teleport to ANYWHERE else.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jean Loring, Threat to Sanity!
More in our next installment.