Thursday, July 9, 2020

Justice Society of America #3 (1992)

In this issue: old guys versus monkey monsters! I don't know how this issue didn't win a Harvey.

This comic book might have won a Harvey. What am I? Wikipedia? An adult capable of doing research? No, I'm a lazy, cynical, piece of shit who purports to be a comic book critic but who really just uses the medium as a confessional. And most of my confessions are lies to make me sound cooler than I really am! Which is still pretty cool, actually.

This issue begins with an old guy stowing away on an Ultragen train car while suffering from sever cramps or possibly even a heart attack.

Is this a super hero comic book or an Alfred Hitchcock movie?

Now that I'm an older man (not old! Just older!), I don't fetishize old men like I did when I was five. But I'm guessing, at 21, I still had a bit of that zest for old man content. What else could drive me to purchase ten issues of this comic book about old men whose glory days are long past but they keep trying to relive them as their wives sit at home rolling their eyes?

The stranger stumbles into Doctor Mid-Nite's offices. I guess he's named that because his medical practice stays open all night? The man has something wrong with his stomach. Judging by the strange colored splotches all over his clothing, I'd say he ate too much chili. Or he's bleeding out from a gut shot. Both are probably pretty painful but I can only speak for one. You'd be surprised which one.

No you wouldn't. I was just trying to sound cool again.

The mystery man from the end of the last issue was Johnny Quick and, judging by how much I'm now yawning and how my head keeps nodding forward, I'd like to apologize for claiming that revealing his identity would have been more exciting and sold more of the third issue. Len was right to conceal his identity.

While the Justice Society were keeping Ragnarok from happening, Johnny Quick got a gig endorsing nutritional supplements on late night television infomercials. He was laughed at by scientists when he tried to figure out why his nonsense formula made him so fast. They were all, "You know that's idiotic, right? We can do actual science tests to find out why you're fast. It's probably the Meta(l)gene, you know?" But Johnny didn't want to hear their scientific mumbo-jumbo (which might make him an ignorant jerk in our world but he lives in the comic book world where science can't explain everything and I sometimes why it even bothers to try to explain anything. I mean, X-ray vision? The power of flight? Helmets that grant magic powers by possessing the wearer with an ancient Great Old One of Order? Batman visiting heaven and Constantine visiting Hell? It's like an Anti-Vaxxer's dream reality come true). Instead, Johnny decided to visit a bunch of religious kooks who deal in utter nonsense every day. Unlike the scientists who needed proof and evidence of how his power worked, they were happy to say things like, "Oh, yeah! Your formula is a magic mantra that focuses your chi!" and "It's a message from God to grant you magic speed powers for being such a morally upstanding human being!" and "What exactly do you want to hear and how much will you pay me to hear it?"

So after realizing that his super power came from believing in himself, Johnny Quick decided to tell everybody else to believe in themselves too! Did he invent The Secret? Because, as a narcissist, I understand why The Secret is so compelling! Doesn't everybody want to believe that they themselves are the reason all the best things happen to them and also want to believe that everybody who is poor or sick or devastated by random tragedy did it to themselves like big dumb suckers who just weren't strong enough to believe in themselves?! Obviously the only reason I didn't fall out of a tree and die when I was twelve years old was because I believed so strongly in myself and not because I was just another lucky asshole who somehow survived childhood.

That's enough about Johnny Quick for the entire ten issues of this comic book that I own. I'm never fucking mentioning that jerk again. I don't care if he becomes super important to the plot! I'm erasing him from history right now!

Although I'll probably still discuss Jesse Quick when she turns back up because she's hot.

Oh what the hell. One last parting shot at Johnny!

Maybe if you spent less time trying to find the secret to your nonsense formula and more time trying to find Libby's clitoris, you'd still be together! By the look on Ted's face, I bet he could have helped!

Doctor Mid-Nite arrives to let everybody know that their favorite jazz musician died in his arms last night because he was too blind to save him. Probably. But what he discovered was that the man, Reggie, had signed up to become a test subject for Ultragen! He was locked away with a bunch of half-man, half-animal creatures as Ultragen searched for a drug that could make people youthful again.

Apparently what the writer is saying is that corporations are the new Nazis. Maybe that's why I bought ten issues of this comic book! Because I was all, "Yeah! This analogy is so apt! Fucking corporations think they can get away with whatever they want! Where's my current girlfriend so I can mansplain this shit to her?!"

I don't want to get too cynical here but what else am I supposed to do when a comic book asks me to just buy into this whole Doctor Mid-nite thing. So he goes blind when a grenade goes off in his face. But he discovers he can still see in the dark because, you know, fuck you and comic books and all that shit. We've already established that science doesn't live here. But I don't have a problem with that! Okay, great! So he can see in the dark but not in the light. His reaction to this is, "I should use this new power to fight crime! I just have to wait until a bank robbery happens in the middle of the night with a new moon perpetrated by a bunch of robbers who forgot their flashlights and whiz bang! I'll have the advantage!"

I know, I know! He invents dark glasses so he can see while pretending to be blind. I guess that helps him catch muggers who prey on blind people. And then he created smoke bombs which are conceivably his best idea, creating pockets of dark where he would have the advantage against the criminals. But it's not like his eye-sight based super powers gave him the ability to fight well or gave him invulnerability in case of a lucky shot in the dark or allowed him to protect other people at the scene of the crime from stray bullets fired wildly out of the area of effect of his smoke bomb! Doctor Mid-Nite's whole deal is so implausible that it breaks even my capacity for disbelief while reading super hero comic books. It simply makes me think, "This guy sounds like a bad idea from a desperate writer looking for another big super hero hit." Which is what it was! Which is why it breaks the entire comic book! I'd be okay if it simply made me think, "This guy's an idiot with a dumb idea! It's going to get him killed! Ha ha! That'll probably be funny!"

While Doctor Mid-Nite is conferring with the Justice Society about what to do with Ultragen, Ultragen is raiding the his free clinic. Luckily Johnny Thunder just happened to be stopping by, probably to get a check-up on his genie. He gets shot and his genie appears to help when a young girl comes up and is all, "Oh hey! I recognize that genie! It's a Badnesian Hex Bolt!" And the genie is all, "Yes, I am! Do you want me to inhabit you for awhile so I can get rid of this old guy (who isn't that old for some reason? Probably a reason that has to do with me living inside of him?)" I just feel like, with Jesse Quick appearing earlier, this series is headed toward creating a younger JSA so the older members can simply fall into the role of mentors.

The Atom, Wildcat, and Doctor Mid-nite head off to investigate Ultragen's experimental laboratory and they make a discovery that causes me to literally kill myself because I was too stupid to call it.

This is Grunion Guy's assistant Pickle Boy. I think I'm supposed to make a naughty joke caption here? Like, um, "What is that guy's pee-pee doing inside that kangaroo?!"

Justice Society of America #3 Rating: Does anybody know how to get blood out of shag carpeting? Also, if a person's will is found written on used tissues (hopefully for his nose), is it legally binding because I don't want to inherit this blog and all of its debt.

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