Saturday, December 18, 2021

Review of Lost in Space, S1, E1: "No Place to Hide"

To clarify before I begin, this is a review of the pilot of the original Lost in Space. This is not a review of the Netflix show that actually tries to make sense of the concept and do justice to the idea of colonizing space. Like, you know, actually sending an entire colony of families to the destination instead of one lousy family who apparently forgot to turn on the auto-pilot so their ship immediately¹ flies directly into an asteroid field, catches fire, and crashes on the most dangerous yet boring planet in the entire universe.

This is also not a review of the second episode which became the actual first episode of the entire series and introduced the first explicitly² gay couple in television history: Doctor Smith and the Robot.

The series begins with the most frightening font they could come up with in 1965.

I imagine adults in 1965 had to change their underwear after seeing this. It's like a Hippie scrawled it!

The premise of the show is that Earth has become overcrowded in the year 1997. And since the only solution Western Civilization has ever come up with when problems crop up in our civilization is to flee from the problems and start up a new civilization on land where other people already live, mankind has scoured space for the closest viable planet to ship a bunch of loser, probably poor, families to. So now you know where Elon Musk got his greatest idea³.

The Robinson family is the only family introduced or focused on because they're the most talented, I think. It's also possible that's just the way stories work. The show was called Lost in Space so why would follow the competent families who managed to make it to Alpha Centauri? Anyway, they're all introduced: the father, a brilliant astrophysicist; the mother, a brilliant biochemist; the son, a brilliant engineer; the youngest daughter, the most brilliant daughter ever; and the eldest daughter, a musical comedian. Judy is introduced like this⁴: "Their daughter Judith, nineteen, who has heroically postponed all hopes for a career in the musical comedy field for the next two centuries at least." Is the narrator being a passive aggressive dick by using the adverb "heroically"? And what does he mean by "two centuries at least"? Does he not know a century is 100 years long? The trip is only going to take 98 years! Does he have that little faith in her ability that she won't make it big until she's 119? Or is he admitting that the colonists are going to wind up having to head right back home after getting to Alpha Centauri?! The only thing I can surmise by this introduction was that the show had planned to do a musical number every episode. It's too bad the only performance we get in the pilot is Billy Mumy singing "Greensleeves" while Judith makes out with Don West.

Don West is an interesting character to add to the family dynamic because it screams, "Irwin Allen, the creator of the show, didn't want people thinking about incest in a group heading out to space to save the human population." And yet, why is it that every time I see Don West and Judith playing kissy face, all I can think is, "Good thing Don's here or else things would get Biblical⁵." Don West's bio, according to the crackly voiced narration, is a young man who "rocked" the world with his theory about human habitation on other planets. Really? What was his thesis? "Some planets are probably like Earth and humans could live on those planets. But we must be careful! Because some planets, we won't be able to live on! Although if we want to make a long running television show, most of them will be okay to live on."

Will Robinson is introduced as a college graduate from some made-up science school who had the highest scores ever and he's only nine years old. His sister, whose IQ is given as 147, simply has zoology as a "hobby." What are her real passions? Washing the dishes and perfecting toast?

Eventually the Robinsons crash on a planet where, as Don West surmised, humans can survive without having to wear space suits for the entire 52 minutes. They live there for six months, domesticating the local wildlife which appear to be Ostriches wearing feather boas and Super Mario Koopas and chimpanzees wearing papakhas. The men go out exploring every day while the women stay home picking vegetables and laminating their clothing. Will just toys with electronics.

While exploring, Don and John encounter a giant cyclops. Weird that they never saw these creatures from a distance the whole six months they've been there. Sorry, that's just nitpicking. There are all kinds of reasons somebody who thought the show was fabulous could come up with as to why they never saw these giants before this. The point is, Will rescues them by murdering⁶ the giant.

Thus the show kicks off to show just how dangerous and exciting the series will be! Along with attacks by giants, the Robinsons must also deal with runaway turtles, lost daughters, freezing temperatures, mummies, earthquakes, lightning storms, and whirlpools. I'm guessing the quicksand scene was cut for time or because it was too similar to the whirlpool scene. The entire episode is just a bunch of adventure tropes strung together and presented as a week in the life of a family lost in space. It's so exciting and dangerous!

One of their adventures, while running from the lightning storm, involves destroying the final resting place of some native population. This is important because by the end of the show, it's apparent the entire series is going to be a condemnation of missionaries and colonialism. At least that's how I viewed it from a modern perspective. Maybe in 1965, it was just a celebration of those things! Manifest Destiny and what not. See, the episode ends with Robinsons, finally arriving at a safe place, kneeling down and beginning to pray. As they do this, some bald-headed alien natives observe them through the tall grass. This is probably meant to be menacing in 1965, a sort of admission that this show is just a western in space and the savage indians are just being played by people in gaudy costumes and chimpanzees in Russian hats. But the way I saw it was that these white settlers had landed on this planet and immediately taken it for their own. They desecrated the burial grounds of these aliens and chose to kill the first sentient creatures they ever encountered in space instead of trying to find a peaceful solution⁷.

What we end with, at least with this first try at a pilot, is a show about expansionism, colonialism, and missionaries. We've got white settlers using violence to solve problems when first encountering new civilizations, white settlers treating other people's burial grounds and artifacts as mild entertainment to explore and riches to loot, and ending the entire adventure in prayer, a solid condemnation of Christian expansionism!

Maybe that was the problem with this pilot and that's why it had to go back to the drawing board. It wasn't as subtle as maybe Irwin Allen thought. The powers that be decided they needed to send the Robinsons out for different reasons, maybe to just explore and not colonize, as the initial episode opened up far too many critiques for questioning Western Civilization's awful yet accepted traditions. The Robinsons could easily be seen as the bad guys, landing on a planet and immediately murdering everybody they meet. That doesn't make for happy white people television! Instead, they needed a villain! They needed somebody who was so cretinous and vile that nobody would question the upstanding Robinsons and their kindness and charity! And boy were they right! Lost in Space fucking sucked without Doctor Smith! ______________________________________________________________
¹"Immediately" in the sense that it happened 3 to 4 years into their 98 year long mission.
²I'm willing to concede that it wasn't as explicit as a modern audience finds it. I am willing to downgrade "explicit" to "queerbaiting."
³I'm not using "greatest" sarcastically here. I'm dunking on Elon Musk by expressing that all of his ideas are so shit that his shit idea of colonizing Mars to save mankind is the best of them all.
⁴After her parents have an uncomfortably long and passionate kiss while dressed like toaster strudels.
⁵And, yes, I'm using "Biblical" to mean "incestuous."
⁶Sorry. They're a white family. I should have said "self-defensing the giant."
⁷It's even kind of played as a joke after the death of the second giant. While the women and children find it hard to look at the death brought on by their, um, self-defense, the alien chimpanzee looks at the dead body and then sticks his tongue out in a mockery of the corpse.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Justice League International #17 (1988)

Blue Beetle versus The Air Compressor.

I remember really enjoying this series when I was sixteen. Now I'm sorry I've re-read it at fifty. J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen aren't anywhere near as hilarious as I thought they were. It's possible they're writers of that particular breed that can capture the fleeting humor of the moment which never lasts the test of time. It's even more possible I was just easily entertained at sixteen, full of wonder and the optimism of life. It's most possible that I've become a bitter old man that cannot enjoy anything anymore.

Between the end of that last paragraph and beginning this one, I've thought about my feelings regarding Justice League International and I've concluded that Giffen and DeMatteis just aren't great writers.

Along with contemplating my feelings toward this comic book to reach the conclusion that this isn't as great as I remembered it, I also read the first page.

A Jim Nabors reference? Maybe this was hilarious in 1988 because maybe it was national news that Ronald Reagan was a huge Gomer Pyle fan? They were probably good friends! Or maybe Jim Nabors was recently celebrated at a dinner at the White House? Or maybe it was just "funny" to reference Jim Nabors, sort of like how it was hip to reference Chuck Norris in the Oughts or Abe Vigoda in the Tens, or how everybody loves to love Betty White because, um, she's old?

Jim Nabors isn't what upset me about this first page though. What annoyed me was how Oberon points out that Captain Atom couldn't have handled the situation in Bialya because he can't even figure out the electrical system in their headquarters. What does one have to do with the other?! Captain Atom is a military man who accidentally gained the power to blow shit up. Who (other than Oberon, apparently) is expecting him to understand electronics?!

It's because Batman can do everything, isn't it?

Also, yes, I understand it's a call back to an earlier story. But because the two things have nothing in common, it just makes Oberon sound petty and resentful. The panel on the following page doesn't help where Captain Atom says "What was that?" and Oberon responds by lying about what he, apparently, mumbled. That's also a regular DeMatteis and Giffen "punch line" which they love to fall back on.

Batman, Green Flame, Booster, and Beetle are all trapped in Bialya since Queen Bee took over by killing Rumaan. Batman is disguised as Maxwell Lord so of course he corrects Fire (currently still Green Flame) when she calls him Batman. He then precedes to refer to her as Green Flame instead of Bea and Michael and Ted as Booster and Beetle. Where does he get off?! Oh, yeah, I remember. He's Batman.

Oh yeah. It was jokes like these that made me love this comic book.

It turns out that reading a comic book without thinking too much about it allows you to remember the actually funny and enjoyable moments while conveniently speeding past and instantly forgetting the terrible bits. I guess taking time while reading a comic book to comment about it and to think about every panel only made me realize I don't really enjoy comic books that much. Perhaps the real problem is that when a comic book was seventy-five cents, I didn't mind reading a comic book quickly and enjoying the ephemeral nature of the medium, whether it was great or mediocre. But once comic books were four or five dollars, I felt the right to demand quality from the writer and artist on every single page! So here's another option as to why I don't enjoy this comic book as much as I used to: I'm reading it as if it's a five dollar investment and expect more than it's seventy-five cent worth is providing.

You might be wondering why Booster, Beetle, and Fire are running around in their underwear and pajamas. The only explanation I can give is who cares? Ooh la la!

PSA: do not climb a ladder when people are shooting at you. You are not Batman.

The military guys chasing Batman fall off the ladder after Batman blows a smoke grenade in their face. It gives us a chance to see some of the loopholes in Batman's "I don't kill" philosophy.

Keep in mind these two men are only military men following orders to apprehend some escaped convicts who illegally entered the country under suspicious circumstances. Although also keep in mind that they're Bialyan. So, you know, evil incarnate, I guess!

Batman's smoke grenade was non-lethal so he is absolved of any injury that might lead to death which stems from the act of blowing the grenade up in somebody's face, I suppose. Also since the poor Bialyan can't speak English well (in his own Goddamned country even! Fucking Batman), Batman uses it as an excuse not to help the man escape injury. And once injured, through no direct action on Batman's part (if you allow for Batman's use of loopholes in his "I don't kill" philosophy), Batman leaves him to possibly bleed out or die from his injuries (two broken legs aren't nothing!). Not Batman's problem! The guy should never have chased Batman up a ladder and then hung from an insecure laundry line and then fell dozens of feet and then chose not to roll on impact thus shattering both legs! Fucking idiot.

This is also why I probably loved this comic book at sixteen.

And this.

Whenever somebody calls out the male gaze, I think, "Stop erasing lesbians!" Does that make me a feminist? I think so!

Captain Atom arrives to save the day and/or cause a nuclear catastrophe. He and Wandjina explode in a massive nuclear blast that probably doesn't cause any real harm because it derived from super-powered people. Captain Atom probably sucks it all back in like a reverse fart.

Captain Atom wins the battle and Queen Bee strides out onto the battlefield to accuse Batman and the others of invading her country. But she's willing to let them go because she wants to look compassionate in front of her newly acquired exploitable population.

See? All Bialyans are terrible!

Speaking of people who are all terrible, have I shit on Trump supporters recently? No? Well, this was that then.

Meanwhile, Manga Khan learns that Scott Free is the son of Highfather from New Genesis. So he decides to head to Apokolips to start trade negotiations with Darkseid. The members of the Justice League stalking Manga Khan install Boom Tube technology into their ship thanks to Barda's power rod. Do I need to construct a dildo joke here or was it readily apparent with all the component parts just lying there?

This issue has letters from John Q. Gerdes of Collinsville, Illinois; "Cool Canadian" of Don Mills, Ontario; Charlie Wells of Bangor, Pennsylvania; Scott A. Leonard of Plano, Texas; Carleton K. Brown of Springfield, Massachusetts; Timothy Chin of New York, New York; Dennis Rospigliosi (address withheld); and Jesus Vergel of Inglewood, California. Not a single one praises the letterer. Shame.

Justice League International #17 Rating: C. This comic is about average now and it was absolutely average then. But it was average in a sea of even more mediocre post-Crisis comic books coming out of DC. It makes me a little worried to re-read the 1980s Suicide Squad though. Was that series really as good as I believe it was?! If that one winds up being terrible, I'll know it's true: I was a fucking idiot when I was younger. Or maybe I'm just hopelessly bitter, angry, and uninterested in everything now. A little of both, probably.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Cerebus #35 (1982)

I don't think Cerebus is jerking off on this cover. I mean, maybe?

Last issue was called "Three Days Before" so, being that I'm a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader, I'm going to predict that this issue is called "Four Days Before." I mean "Three Days Before"! I'm good reading comic books not doing math.

In Deni's "A Note from the Publisher," Deni apologizes for the note being so short. At least she's learning, unlike me, that if she doesn't have anything to say, she doesn't have to pretend by rambling on and on about nothing. If only I could learn to do that, I'd stop blabbing all sorts of embarrassing secrets about myself while just trying to review a lousy comic book. Although the amount of rambling I've done over the last ten years is kind of a blessing in that it now obfuscates all of my dirtiest and most shameful admissions! Good luck discovering any of them in the five thousand comic book and television show reviews I've written!

If I were really shameless, I'd switch the style of links to match the regular text and then link all of my terrible secrets secretly within the body of this review! Ha ha! But why would I do that?! Don't bother hovering the cursor over every word in this review looking for hidden links! They don't exist!

It may have been sooner than this but here's proof that 35 issues in, Sim has perfected his style of the character. That's probably why he makes him so fat later. Just to change up something he's been doing for twenty-five years or more.

I probably already mentioned Sim's rapid improvement on this book and the development of his overall style. But it's been months since I wrote my last review (because I was writing a 345 page book) and I can't remember everything I've already mentioned! I'm an old man. I'm allowed to repeat myself over and over again. Unless I'm using slurs that were in common use in my youth. Then maybe somebody should whack me upside the head.

Dave Sim nails the joke here with "He almost dropped Cerebus." But then, through lack of confidence maybe, he adds two more unnecessary jokes: "twice" and Cerebus holding up three fingers to indicate "twice."

Maybe this is just how you're supposed to write comedy. You can't be sure that nobody will laugh at your first joke so you just have to pile on the jokes hoping that the audience will find the humor in one of them. I suppose I've known people who definitely wouldn't think any of this was funny until they noticed Cerebus holding up three fingers to indicate twice and then they'd lose their shit. Man, how did I ever become friends with those people?

Astoria, angry at Cerebus, slips him the opposite of Rohypnol. We've already seen earlier that she's a rapist but now we know she's also an anti-rapist. No wait. Maybe she's just into slipping drugs into people's drinks. This drug makes Cerebus instantly sober with the side-effect of having a major hangover. Astoria is worried about Elrod becoming Lord Julius's next Ranking Diplomatic Representative of Palnu because she's thrown all of her eggs into Cerebus's drunk basket. She might have known better if she were more interested in researching the people she works with than she is interested in manipulating everybody for her own ends (which are power and sticking it to Lord Julius). Cerebus is the worst person in Estarcion she could have gotten into bed with (and that's even considering she's already been in bed—literally—with the Roach.

Astoria gives Cerebus a quick lesson in credit lines and debt among different nations showing that she has a greater understanding of debts and debt ceilings than Republicans. I mean, obviously Republicans in Congress understand it! That's why they make a big show of not wanting to raise the debt ceiling whenever they're not in charge and don't give a shit about debt at all when they are. But they also understand that all the other Republicans who vote for them have no idea about how any of it works and simply get angry about the things Fox News tells them to get angry about.

I think I learned a lot about economics from reading Cerebus in my twenties! I hope it wasn't all wrong and from Sim's biased point of view!

Astoria lays out the plan to Cerebus which basically amounts to convincing the Prime Minister and all of Iest's major business players that, as the Ranking Diplomatic Representative of Palnu, he'll work to keep Iest solvent. That sounds like a bad plan because it relies on Cerebus not screwing up diplomatic meetings.

Astoria believes Cerebus can become powerful to enrich her and humiliate Lord Julius. Bran MacMuffin just thinks Cerebus is some kind of God Incarnate who doesn't need the help of some trollop to achieve greatness.

Bran is correct although, ultimately, he lacks faith in the prophecies and kills himself when things look bleak (that's when Weisshaupt steps in and saves the day. You don't need faith when you have cannons). But for now, Bran walks around smugly quoting ancient prophecies at Cerebus while not actually doing anything at all to help achieve them.

Astoria arranges a dinner with the Prime Minister (and Cerebus hanging around in the background in his robe not understanding any of it) to convince him to keep Cerebus as the Ranking Diplomatic Representative. But he's not having it. He plans to do whatever Lord Julius wants him to.

I don't think you can beat a guy at a game where he's making up the rules as you go along because he doesn't care about winning so much as making stupid jokes, goofing around, and waggling his eyebrows.

The Prime Minister and Astoria don't notice Lord Julius serving them coffee because they're elitist snobs. So Lord Julius and Cerebus have a chat in the blackground (that's Dave Sim's backgrounds where he just inks in the entire panel because he's tired of drawing wallpaper). The chat is just an excuse for Lord Julius to act chaotically by having a one-sided conversation for his own amusement. Lord Julius's biggest concern is that people will be paying a gold crown for twelve beer tickets at the next day's Petuniacon where Elrod will be announced as Lord Julius's diplomat.

The issue ends with the moment all of the fans of the comic book at the time it was published had been waiting for:

ouch my heart

That's it for this issue! Except for the letters. There are some letters. And a picture of Dave Sim and Wendy Pini staring at each other.

I think they were starring together in an off-broadway production of The Amityville Horror.

Cerebus #35 Rating: B. Nothing overly memorable about this issue except for the cliffhanger Jaka moment. But still a solid issue advancing the political and economic plot well. Within 35 issues, Sim figures out a way to slide seamlessly from pulp fantasy parody to modern political and economic satire.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Justice League International #16 (1988)

If I were an assassin, I would try not to stand on the foot of my target just before killing them.

Last issue, all of the competent members of the Justice League went into space to find Mister Miracle who had been kidnapped by a cosmic televised shopping network. That means Booster Gold and Blue Beetle would have to be the main characters for this issue. I think Executive Editor Dick Giordano sent a memo down saying, "NOBODY IS GOING TO BUY THAT ISSUE SO MAKE IT ABOUT BRUCE WAYNE, YOU TWO STUPID IDIOTS!" Then Keith was all, "Why does he think DeMatteis and Maguire are idiots?" And J.M. thought, "Why does he think Maguire and Giffen are idiots?" And Maguire probably thought, "Why does he think me, Giffen, and DeMatteis are idiots?!"

The leader of Bialya (the made-up DC country in the Middle East where all the terrorists live. I think that's one tiny level less racist than just making all of the terrorists from actual Middle Eastern countries! Is that progress?), Rumaan Harjavti, has decided to throw a huge international ball where he will announce his new super deadly terrorist weapon (I bet it's a female super villain with large assets in both departments!). All of the most important, good-looking, interesting rich people will be in attendance. That means Bruce Wayne got an invite and Oliver Queen did not. Maxwell Lord's plan is to send to the gala Bruce Wayne and a few other Justice Leaguers undercover. For some reason, he believes it's a good idea to trust Booster and Beetle in a formal gathering where they can't act like vaudevillians. I mean they can because I'm certain they will. But he's trusting that they won't! I guess he's only sixteen issues into his relationship with them and he recently suffered severe blood loss and was probably dead for a few minutes which could have given him slight brain damage. So I can't really blame him for not realizing how badly Booster and Beetle are going to fuck this up.

Or maybe Lord is smarter than I realize! The cover doesn't show Booster and Beetle hanging out with Bruce Wayne. They've probably been assigned to hand out petit fours and hors d'oeuvres (I'm too embarrassed to leave in how I initially tried to spell hors d'oeuvres).

I wouldn't feel as perturbed about this panel if I knew there were a mirror image panel in a Middle Eastern comic from the time where some American was being introduced as "Chad Chadwick McChadchad."

Batman is pretending he's disguised as Bruce Wayne because I guess this was before DC stopped really caring about Batman's secret identity. I mean, I think they still give a shallow hand wave to it so that the reader assumes mostly everybody doesn't know Batman's secret identity. But way too many disgruntled heroes and super villains actually know it, it seems. No matter how many times he can get Doctor Fate to erase the memory of somebody who has discovered Batman's secret identity. I like to believe that there's a missing panel of the person winking which would usually follow a panel where somebody wonders who Batman really is.

This scene is so awful that I'm assuming Giffen and DeMatteis are still embarrassed about it, thirty-three years later.

I don't think unsubtle references to It's a Wonderful Life and a nonsense name that, I guess, is supposed to sound like Boy George are actually jokes. Even though it's not casual racism like naming that guy Abdul Abdulla Abdul, weirdly, it's less forgivable.

The page after the worst page they've ever written, Giffen and DeMatteis just admit to phoning the whole script in this month.

Big Barda, Rocket Red, Martian Manhunter, and G'nort lose the trail of Mister Miracle because Lord Manga and his cosmic boot sale enter hyperspace. And since this is the era of DC Comics where they were downgrading the power levels of everybody, I guess the Green Lantern ring can't do nearly instant interstellar travel. Or maybe G'nort is just an idiot. It's hard to tell if this inability to travel vast distances has been caused by an editorial mandate or one of Giffen and DeMatteis's dumb jokes.

Barely speaking of Martian Manhunter, have I questioned his name enough? Moving to Earth and choosing the name Martian Manhunter is like me moving to Paris and choosing the name American Who Loves to Murder French People. Maybe it's not quite that aggressive but have you heard of the concept of hyperbole? You should look it up. It'll help a lot when understanding this blog.

Fire wouldn't be this into Batman if she knew his policy on oral sex.

The woman on the cover stepping on Bruce Wayne's toe is Queen Bee. She's the leader of H.I.V.E. She's working with Bialya to do terrorist things which makes sense because her organization is called the Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination. Obviously that's a terrible name. But it's okay because everybody expects people to come up with a cool acronym and then decide what the acronym stands for. I suppose, according to the name, H.I.V.E. keeps a list of currently needed vengeances and exterminations (which would probably just be called "targets for assassination" if they didn't need the whole Bee Theme) which they rank in order from most important to least important. You would then think that everybody who is a member of H.I.V.E. is supposed to work from the top down. So if "murdering the Teen Titans" was at the top of the list, every assassin in the DC Universe should be targeting the Titans that week. But I don't think it totally works that way. I'm not sure the organization works any way at all close to how I'm interpreting the name. Maybe they describe it better in the Who's Who

Apparently H.I.V.E. did not start out bee-themed (although I think they are by 1988, right?). They were just a "hive" because the organization brought together seven scientists thwarted by super heroes to work together to destroy those super heroes. They could easily have been called C.O.L.O.N.Y. or T.E.A.M. or T.O.T.A.L.L.O.S.E.R.S. And I guess their list of vengeances and exterminations were just the seven different heroes or heroic organizations that thwarted them, the Teen Titans eventually becoming their big target.

Booster and Beetle are kidnapped after, it seems, the whole undercover operation has been sussed by Rumaan (or Queen Bee, more likely). I guess Bruce Wayne didn't get an invite to the big secret weapon reveal party like I'd thought. I suppose if you're revealing a secret weapon to bring Western Civilization to its knees, you don't invite the guy who makes all of Western Civilization's weapons which are constantly killing your people. What was I even thinking?! Sometimes it's like I don't understand global imperialist attitudes at all! It sure is a lot harder to read comic books that purport to be about justice when you finally understand how the term "justice" is often used to justify insatiable greed. But then that's why DC invented Bialya in the first place! They're just pure evil! Every citizen in the country is unequivocally evil so you don't have to worry about collateral damage (which is just Newspeak for killing innocent civilians when you meant to murder different civilians that probably weren't quite as innocent (but still civilians)).

So instead of heading to the gala as Bruce Wayne, Batman disguises himself as Maxwell Lord. I don't know if that's a better choice! Why would the guy running the new Justice League be a good disguise to infiltrate a terrorist ball where they're going to be announcing their new terrorisms?! Hopefully Lois Lane and Clark Kent are here but in actual good disguises.

Helping out with the procurement of Bialya's new secret weapon are Jack O'Lantern and Owl Lady and maybe some other members of the Global Guardians. See what happens when you put other super hero teams out of work?! They become the bad guys to make ends meet! I think this is everybody's argument for not firing police because if they lose their jobs, they'll become criminals. Which isn't the best argument for the police, I'm afraid. I guess we all just know they're criminals and at least being a police officer keeps them out of non-racist murder trouble. It's just that some of us are actually concerned about all the racist murders they love to commit.

It's possible the Global Guardians are performing the old loopity loop play which normal people call being a double agent.

I read this comic book thirty years ago or so which is why I can't remember what the Bialyan secret weapon is. I want to say it's The Extremists but I don't think that story happens until Justice League Europe begins. Anyway, the secret weapon is . . .

Oh yeah! The good guys from The Extremist world had already arrived. That's probably why my brain wanted this to be The Extremists.

Wandjina was the teammate of Blue Jay and the Scarlet Witch whom everybody thought had sacrificed himself earlier to stop a nuclear disaster. But he actually survived! I think.

Wandjina's first act as Rumaan's secret weapon is to kill Rumaan. He was less Rumaan's secret weapon and more Queen Bee's secret weapon. If that's even Queen Bee. Nobody has called her by name this entire issue! She might be Lady Shiva for all I know! It could go either way because she's been referred to as queen and lady!

No letters this issue! Just an add for The New Guardians which looks terrible because one of them is Harbinger. Although one of them is also The Floronic Man so maybe that balanced it out? There's also an add for Animal Man which I probably thought looked terrible at the time because the name Grant Morrison meant nothing to me in 1988. That would be rectified when I began reading Doom Patrol. Justice League International #16 Rating: C-. I was about to rate this a "B" and then I remembered all of the terrible jokes and also how Batman went from pretending to be Bruce Wayne to Maxwell Lord to seem less suspicious. I think my fictional memo from Dick Giordano was more correct than I realized because this issue would have been better with a little more Bruce Wayne and a little less Booster and Beetle, even though they were only in the comic for about four pages. It was way too many!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Heathers: A Pop Epic (A Thing I Wrote in my Early Twenties)

 Heathers: A Pop Epic

In the untroubled trimesters of our generations gestation,
Those innocent hours of unsurpassable pleasures:
Mallratting, car cruising; mini-golf going, keg rager hopping
McJob hunting, bike creek crashing, lazy day sitting, easy life enduring.
Those now nostalgic never ares, when we worshipped wantonly
At the prime-time rerun always was Swanson's dinner hour.
Heralding hallowly the majestic medium by our ancestors approved
Sacrificing hours to ensure a bountiful Fall Line-up.
In those half-lived lives; those dreary dreamy days due to
Nuclear free parents who purchased radioactive microwaves
Our generation was formed; living blissfully, blindingly.
What troubles were there for us, the babies of the boomers?
An unlabeled union of selfish indolence; individual inspired; apathetic impaired
From Sex Generation to Ex Generation to X Generation.
How does the boulder at the bottom of the landslide learn to control its fall?
An apathetic awareness was our tragic flaw; We saw it and we didn't care.
Stuck in a time of sterile stories; played out plots; canned laugh comedy.
Hilarious horror, deadpan drama, car chases and gun fights.
And so we lived...

 But a hero happened like none before; tons of tongues speaking, thousand eyes peering
A variety of identities, to each of us different.
The hero who happened to mesmerize me: Wind on a Rider, she appeared in the heathers.
Lovely speaking she told me a story, odd word warping:

"There once was a place made up much like your generation. It was of your generation, to be sure. I existed in this Kubrikian landscape much as you exist now in your suburban middle-middle class bubble. I was part of the controlling group: a bleach blonde bunch of neo-fascists who ruled recklessly, using people up for the pure pleasure of seeing them waste away. I was part of them and I saw nothing wrong. I was named after both a cartoon character and a Mark Twanian scamp who, like me, was hard forced to learn when he did something wrong. There was a person at this place, this Westerburg, who was similarly named. We were once friends. But I chose popularity over honesty, because, well, apathy tends to those pursuits easiest fulfilled and maintained by the majority to be most wanted. And so I cliqued with, stealing from a Gaimanist comic I once read, for want of a better title for these furiatic harpies, The Kindly Ones."

Sour faced spitting, speaking her story in spattered strangenesses
I listened loudly, for truth told awakens apathy to killing curiousity.
Hearing harsh words I wanted to know: Kubrikian, Twainian, Gaimanist.
Quieting questions I continued to listen:

"Amongst these furies was a Dohertian bitch of the 90210 magnitude. She was their bright red wearing, blond hair bleaching leader And not to be confused with the green garbed Envious bitch in their midst from whence I get the first's description. The third was more like me, a follower of popularity, Yellow cloaked, a mark of cowardice And her inability to break free from the apathetic urge to

 Follow follow follow

 She was just another Dittohead of this high school Third Reich. And I myself might have gone on unquestioningly, Happily forging handwritten notes to convince the lower strata Their dreams had come true, Happy to watch humiliation happen to those who worshipped us wrongly, But for the Dark Horse who suddenly appeared in the cafeteria's corner Like some mythological creature my eighth grade boyfriend would have known about. He was the Christian Slayer and his name implied ruthlessness beyond measure. He was also called by a consanantic couple so as to confuse the symbolic nature of his name and extend to it many possibilities."

She stopped her story; eyes deeply delving, soul searching.
Meeting this man; stopped by this stranger; she changed.
Wanting me to wonder, think this through. Wind on a Rider whispered, continued:

"Strangers are strange in their ability to evoke change.
Understand this: He saved me from faithfully following the psycho pollster Kindly Ones.

But I was still a follower and this Koreshian leader cheerily charmed me from my Inquisitional clique. The day he descended to distort my view was the day we gave Miss Dumptruck a dream from a forged note I was impressively proud of. He won me over easily enough as I asked him the poll question of the day because he was a gorgeous guy. Just as I will win you with my words because I am a gorgeous girl.

'On the day you inherit a million dollars, aliens come down and threaten to blow up the Earth in twenty four hours. What do you do?' I asked. He answered. And his answer was charming because he was charming. And I wanted him. From this point on, the Rebel without a cause could do no wrong. I went to a Remington Rager that night with the leader in Red. Have I told you yet I always wore blue? The point of the party was to prove I was no longer a Kindly One, no longer a Heather. While our Red Leader, forgive me Lucas, was blowing like the North Wind, I was reciting my prepared speech for suitors who want to go further than I am prepared to go. The refusal of this preppie's proposition was to pave the way for strip croquet later that night with my James Deanian obsession. I was blundering blindly away from the Westerburg witches and found myself falling for a devil not even in disguise."

Listening loudly, for truth told awakens apathy to killing curiosity.
Hearing harsh words I wanted to know: Dohertian, Koreshian, Deanian.
Quieting questions I continued to listen.
After a pregnant pause of proportions immense:

"The next morning I killed my best friend...or my worst enemy. Have you ever killed anything? Insects don't count for we consider them a collective, never really dead cause annoying others are all around. Have you ever destroyed individuality, a personality, a moment, unique in and of itself? Have you made something irretrievable? It takes nothing more than an opaque cup of drain cleaner. Something small can smother and smoke any fire causing it to gutter and die. As the Michael Stipe named band Concrete Blonde blared during Jumpstreet Johnny Depp images, 'God is a bullet. Have mercy on us everyone.' And we did eventually use bullets, me and my Nicholsonesque juvenile delinquint. 'Ich Luger bullets,' he lied to me, 'Tranquilizer bullets that break the skin causing a little blood but no real damage.' And so we killed because we couldn't cope. I couldn't cope with what I was:

An automaton habitually having the same conversation with my caretaker mother and father. I followed rote routines requiring little of my own thought. I was in the coolest clique in Westerburg but it wasn't what I wanted. So I ditched their debutante debaucheries for sex with a psychotic. And this smirking, eye brow arching psychotic couldn't cope with his inability to connect to anybody because of his destruction worker father's frequent moves.

'Seven schools in seven states and the only thing different is my locker combination,' he complained to me the night of my old best friend's funeral as my new best friend was being raped by her date in a muddy field of cowshit and my date was passed out in puke. My Dark Horse psychotic, this JD, learned to love destruction as the creation of the non-existent from various viewings of violent demolitions his dad was damn proud of. JD and I, a dual Dr. Frankenstein, creating a new creature out of the death of the old. In a Cobanian twist, Fury #1 Heather Chandler in Red was canonized by our classmates. Because of my dark horse's drain cleaner and my finely forged suicidal scribblings. The bitch who the student body bowed down to and cowered from as she headed down the halls became a misunderstood martyr who popped from the pressure exerted on her by societal forces. Kindly One Red Leader Heather #1 Chandler was out of my life and my feelings were hurt because she had only become more popular. The reality of our generic generation hit me full force. We were taught the stories to tell and exactly how to tell them by disillusioned parents who put all their broken dreams on our backs.

Popularity is cool was a story.

People who commit suicide are profound and deep was a story.

Fitting in was a story.

Being beautiful was a story.

But they never taught us there were variations to these tales.

There were alternative versions of beauty,

Alternate visions of suicide,

Alternate vistas to fit into,

Alternate variants of popularity.

And we knew this all along though the apathy they instilled in us was an amazingly effective narcotic. We just didn't care about the other stories. We sat in front of their Boob Tube brainwashed with entertainment. The Canonization of Heather Chandler was a twist totally Hitchcockian to me. It was a Real Norman Bates in a wig shocker. But the bigger blow to my idyllic idiocy was when we shot the high school football stars.

'Kurt and Ram killed themselves in a repressed homosexual suicide pact' was the news the next day. I'd say I felt like I was living in a tabloid news show, creating the Hard Copy and A Current Affair. But the television infestation of supermarket checkout stand rag sheets had yet to happen. And there I was. Veronica Sawyer burning herself with a cigarette lighter sitting next to a sexy psycho in a still running car. I was finally awake."

Listening loudly for truth told awakens apathy to killing curiosity.
Hearing harsh words I wanted to know: Nicholsonesque, Cobanian, Hitchcockian.
Quieting questions I continued to listen:

"Have you ever wondered why we see suicide as a romantic solution? Did you ever daydream of a demise of your own origin and how it would affect others? Did you ever think 'That'll show them?' Have you ever felt unloved? Or do you feel anything, you of a generation mired in apathy? Or have you truly despaired? Have you felt the cold comfort of a knotted noose about your neck or the cold chill of razor on wrist? Was it water you dreamed of drowning in, encloaked in some embrace for once in your life? Or did a free fall to forever haunt your heart? Which are you? I was none of them. I was a murderer. There was no helter skelter blood on any Tately walls but I was still very Squeaky Fromme-like in my deadly devotion to my Mansonesque master. But, as I said, I was awake. I broke up with my boyfriend. You smile at that? Such a simple solution is sometimes all you need. After that, he went a little crazy and decided to turn our school into a McVeighnian nightmare.

So during the slo-mo high school pep rally raucous of cheerleader underwear and stamping feet, I was busy kicking the shit out of my ex in the boiler room where he had rigged the bomb to blow. The fuse failed to fire and I walked out. And so, standing on the school steps with an unlit cigarette between my lips, I watched him shuffle by and stop at the bottom, the bomb on his breast, and just before he blew himself to bits, I was finally able to answer a poll question myself. Brenda Duke Heather Walsh #2 was now wearing red, Heather Madonna Graham Tweety #3, my new best friend, the yellow wearing wonder, so scared of something inside herself, was trying to commit suicide because everyone else seemed to be jumping off that bridge. Martha Dumptruck, the Heather's own personal Auschwitz, did a belly flop in front of a car, also trying to commit suicide in, as Heather Duke, so John Waynianly named, observed, 'Trying to imitate the popular people of the school and failing miserably,' which earned a sudden slap from me and her returned comment that I was out of control. But with all this mess around me, standing stock still on the steps, smoking my cigarette now lit from JD's fireball flash of death, I realized I was finally in control. I walked into Westerburg, bussed Heather Duke on the cheek and Spaghetti Western drawled, 'Heather, my dear, there's a new Sheriff in town' and went home to have a Blockbuster night with Martha Dumptruck."

Listening loudly for truth told awakens apathy to killing curiosity.
Harsh words I wanted to know: Tately, Mansonesque, McVeighnian.
Quieting questions I continued to listen
As she was slowly fading in a scroll of strange words.

She continued:

"Know what I think? He needed someone. He was searching for someone to share his secrets with but he never could find one. He told me right before I shot him in the boiler room, 'The only place different social types can truly get along is in heaven.' He was so deep in despair he wanted us all to die. And the irony is, his was the only real suicide, and nobody cared."

Fading fast from view, quickly questioning Wind on a Rider.

"The poll?" I pondered. "The poll you answered at the end?"

Wind on a Rider smiled wistfully, cigarette smoking, she said,

"So now that you're dead, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?"

Brunette hair blowing, Que Sera Sera singing, words rolling by,
The lovely lady, storytelling stranger, mysterious messiah, disappeared.
Lights came on, curtains closed and strangers shuffled by.
Wondering, what Wind appeared to them? Which tongue talking?
Which eye staring? Wondering how many left thinking and how many just left?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Justice League International #15 (1988)

Martian Manhunter has every power in the known universe but still needs to wear a space suit? Disbelief firmly unsuspended.

The smallest, stupidest things always take me out of the comic book world in which I'm trying to absorb myself in an attempt to momentarily forget about my eventual demise. Usually the thing that upends my suspension of disbelief is the writer doing something that seems more realistic. I'll be reading a comic book about Superman, a guy who gets powers from the energy of a yellow sun, somehow, which manifest in super strength and lasers out of his eyes, and lungs that can regulate internal temperatures so that he can exhale freezing temperatures and the ability to hover in the air and propel himself through it by no visible means of propulsion. I'll be really into it and thinking, "Yeah, yeah! I totally buy into all of this!" And then some editor will be all, "We don't want him to be too powerful. Make it so he can't breathe in space anymore, or hold his breath forever, or whatever the fuck he was doing to survive the vacuum of space. People will see that he's not way too powerful then!" And then I'll be, "What?! No fucking way! This guy can do everything else but he can't super hold his super breath?! So unrealistic! I'm out!"

That may or may not be an exaggeration. Ultimately I usually drop the comic books I'm reading because a writer I can't fucking stand takes over. I'll lobdelleave it to your imaginocentiation as to who those writers kruld be.

To be transparent about this upcoming review, I'm not totally sure what's going on in this story arc. Lord Manga's ship, The Cluster, is out of gas so he needs to siphon everything from Earth to keep the ship running. And so instead of just taking it all, he proposes some kind of scam trade or boot sale swap? I'm not sure I understand what his offer is though, aside from "Consent to us stealing all of your shit or we'll steal all of your shit." I don't blame the writers for my lack of understanding! That's completely on me and my idiot brain that spent more time looking at Fire's butt last issue than trying to comprehend what was happening.

This issue is called "GNORT AND SOUTH!" I guess I'm laughing? Because get it? G'nort's name sounds like a compass direction? But is there a better aspect to this pun here? Maybe the "SOUTH!" part is punning on whatever G'nort means? Why does it end in an exclamation point?! After some consideration, I've decided I'm not laughing at all.

The story begins with a solid "G'nort is a huge idiot" joke.

I might have used the word "solid" incorrectly in the above caption. I might have meant "hack" or "repetitive" or "really, really repetitive and hack." It is apropos because my "joke" about using the wrong word and then pointing out I meant an entirely different word might be the hackiest and most-oft repeated joke on the Internet! I'm currently pumping my fist in celebration of my status as shit writer and wondering if I should repeat the joke for my use of "apropos."

Speaking of shit writers, are those guys at the Weird Science comic book blog still doing reviews and ten hour podcasts? I hope so!

Speaking of shit writers, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis aren't as entertaining as I remember them being when I was seventeen. Sometimes I complain when an artist uses the same panel. So I should probably complain when Giffen and DeMatteis keep using the same jokes too. They love reminding the readers that G'nort isn't respected by other members of the Green Lantern Corps because he's an incompetent idiot. Which I don't find funny at all. I just find it terribly sad. I would understand if it were just Hal and Guy and Kilowog who thought G'nort was an idiot. But, I mean, does even Mogo think he's a useless jerk?!

At least the joke this time is that G'nort is so incompetent that he's actually become a threat to The Cluster. See, he's too stupid to realize he should retreat and so he accidentally begins doing real damage to the ship. And while he does that, L-ron rambles too much and Lord Manga shouts some more.

No, I'm good, thanks.

G'nort destroys The Cluster's cloaking device which gives the Justice League International a target. Up until that moment, all everybody except Mister Miracle could do was shrug their shoulders and ask each other, "Do you know where that weird home shopping network from space commercial with the chatty robot came from?" And the other members who weren't Mister Miracle would say, "No, do you know where that weird home shopping network from space commercial with the chatty robot came from?" If you're wondering what Mister Miracle was saying, he was saying, "There's something in orbit blocking out the stars. We should probably go check it out." But every time he'd say that, Beetle and Booster would snicker and say, "It was probably Big Barda's tits," or "It was probably Big Barda's ass."

Oberon jumping to the obvious conclusions! And pretty much using my description of the alien broadcast, the little plagiarist! Or did I just remember that's how he described it from reading this nearly thirty years ago?! No, no. Oberon stole it from me. My memory sucks.

The weak half of the Justice League head to Australia to investigate the global power surge while the strong half (meaning Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter) head into space to battle the alien ship. Guy Gardner remains at home on "important business." It'll probably be revealed that he was organizing his boot collection because that's the kind of hilarious punchline that Giffen and DeMatteis can't stop coming up with.

Can nobody survive in space in this era of DC?! It's fucking ridiculous!

Martian Manhunter acts as if Captain Atom was too stupid to make this realization beforehand but what the fuck is he going to do in his suit?! He can't use any of his powers either! Except maybe read some minds! So basically it's up to Rocket Red who was smart enough to make his super suit a space suit as well. And here I thought the team full of idiots went to Australia. I guess I owe Booster and Beetle an apology although who could blame me for expecting their team to be the one that fucks up?

Later G'nort saves the day which was totally expected in that it was the least expected thing G'nort would do.

I guess G'nort is an idiot. He spent the entire first half of the comic book saying he'll prove his worth to those other Green Lanterns who think he's incompetent. And now he suddenly doesn't know who's been saying he's incompetent? No wonder Mogo hates him!

G'nort saves the day by being a Green Lantern with the most powerful weapon in the universe. At least that's what the ring claims it is. But how powerful can the most powerful weapon in the universe be when it can't even protect the wearer from being pissed on?

The ending of this issue becomes a recurring theme in the lives of the Justice League post Superman/Wonder Woman/Batman (although Batman loves to hang around here and there. But, really, he's kind of useless when you realize you could have had Superman or Wonder Woman). They're getting their asses handed to them and then the bad guy simply walks away. Although sometimes the Justice League gets their asses handed to them and then a bunch of them die. It's kind of a coin toss which one the writers will choose at any moment. Luckily for Blue Beetle, Giffen and DeMatteis decide against killing anybody this issue. Writers need to save those moments for big crossovers when they know they'll have more eyes on their story. In this story, Lord Manga just realizes he's suddenly losing money on his attempt to strip Earth for parts and leaves before he loses too much more money. Which is weird that it's such a casual decision when, seemingly according to the previous issue, he desperately needed to strip every planet he came across or The Cluster would run out of resources to keep going. But then again, I did mention earlier how I wasn't really following this story too well. Damn Fire's ass.

As Lord Manga retreats, Mister Miracle gets kidnapped and taken away to be sold elsewhere. Barda isn't happy about the Justice League losing her husband so she decides to finally join the team for real. And so even though none of them can survive in space, a bunch of Justice Leaguers suit up and head into space to find Mister Miracle. Left behind: Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, and Ice. So that means next issue will either be a super exciting space adventure or a bumbling Keystone Cops slapstick farce. Smart money's on the farce, of course.

Oh, this is why Guy was too busy to save the world. He was trying to convince Batman to come back. At least Batman would have been well-prepared for a fight in space.

This month's letters were from Ron Hogan of Melrose, Massachusetts; Chris Nadiez of Thousand Oaks, California; Gerard M. Brown of Brooklyn, New York; Randy Johnson of Oklahoma City, Kansas (ha ha! Just kidding! It's Oklahoma!); Jody Peterson of Franklin, Illinois; Kim Pickford of Vancouver, Canada; Jeff Cranston of Bloomington, Michigan; Leslie Palmer of Chicago, Illinois; and Sean Hanson of Bradford, New Hampshire. Kim Pickford makes a really salient argument when Kim says, "I really like the way Kevin draws Black Canary. She's so pretty, but she's not overdone. I like the fact that she doesn't have huge breasts like most of the heroines in comics. Canary's trim bustline is much more practical for crime-fighting." It's a good thing I don't have a band because our first album would now be called Canary's Trim Bustline and it would be terrible because I can't play any instruments, I can't sing, and I have no friends to be in my band. Meanwhile, Jeff Cranston raises the standard for feminism when he says, "Boy, is [Black Canary] bitchy. That trait and her feminism make for a wicked combination. If I were female, I'd probably be really annoyed that you made the only woman on the team such a whiner, in addition to always leaving her on the sidelines. Good thing your readership doesn't overlap with that of Ms. magazine." Way to stand up for women's rights, Jeff! I also ignored the fact that every single member of the team (other than concussed Guy Gardner) was constantly being a whiny bitch to make my point about how Black Canary was a whiny bitch! At least Jeff got it right when he said, "If I were female, I'd probably be really annoyed." Especially at his own letter, I imagine!

Not one letter praises Bob Lappan's lettering. What a shame. And Mark Waid, letter column editor, puts in minimal effort responding to these letters. It's like he has nothing at all to say! I bet nothing came of his career, the lazy putz!

Justice League International #15 Rating: B-. I'm really sad to announce that there were no good shots of Fire's butt this issue. It's a dark day indeed for my penis. Flags at half mast, if you get my meaning.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Justice League International #14 (1988)

When I saw this issue on the rack at my local comic book shop, I shouted, way too excitedly, "Finally! The Justice League versus space junk!"

This cover is a good example of how I drew stuff in elementary school. I messed up a lot and my mess ups had to be covered up by other stuff. So here, Fire's left shoulder looks dislocated so gotta cover that up with Mister Miracle's collar. And Steve probably fucked up Guy's left hand so draw that piece of debris in the way. Then he probably couldn't get Martian Manhunter's nipples right, so stick that bar there. And of course nobody really knows how to draw Booster Gold's crotch so block that weird ass shit with Fire's head. I think he also may have accidentally given Mister Miracle a Hitler mustache so Al Gordon saved the day by drawing that cord across it.

The issue begins with a lonely alien watching his entire civilization dismantled and repossessed by interstellar salesaliens. The story is called "Shop or Die" so I think the destruction of this alien world isn't as serious as when Galactus or the Anti-Monitor destroys a world. I think this is a Giffen/DeMatteis whimsical world destruction. It's like, "Don't feel too bad for this alien! He just got into a bad service contract in which he didn't read the fine print which he couldn't fulfill! This isn't an exciting and destructive disaster in space! This was caused by bureaucratic legalese which means it's kind of funny. I think." Maybe I'm projecting my memories of the salesalien characters from my memory onto this introduction. Maybe this introduction was meant to feel terrifying.

Nope. I just read the narration and these guys can't be bothered with any kind of earnest storytelling.

I get it! We've all had stray ideas like "What if Galactus was really just some planet-to-planet salesman trying to sell some cheap shit?" But most of us don't have jobs at DC and Marvel. Anyway, you never know when some weird and wonderful idea will become the most celebrated idea in comics, raised up as the moment when everything changed. Who would have thought Alan Moore's shower thought, "What if Swamp Thing isn't a man who became a plant but a plant who became a man?!", was going to upend the entire genre?!

Lord Manga is the captain of this world-destroying ship and he loves to not only talk to himself but constantly remind himself (and be reminded by his lackey L-Ron) that he talks to himself. The joke is that characters like Doctor Doom and Doctor Evil and Doctor Destruction and Doctor Villainous all love to explain their plans out loud so that the reader knows what's happening. But it's an odd comic book trope so Giffen and DeMatteis were all, "What if the villain realized that explaining their plot aloud to nobody was a weird thing to do and commented on it multiple times across one single page?" In a weird, self-conscious way, that idea may have upended the genre just as much as Alan Moore's but in an absurd way that everybody was ultimately sorry for. One thing comic books never needed was for characters to understand exactly how absurd their world was. Nobody needed that kind of existential self-reflection on the part of super heroes! A plant thinking, "Why do I want to fuck a human woman?"? Yes indeed! A villain thinking, "Why do I keep explaining all of my convoluted plots so meticulously?" No thanks!

Either L-Ron is much taller than I remembered or Lord Manga is much shorter.

Look at me in that naïve caption! Thinking consistency means anything in comic books!

Lord Manga and L-Ron decide their next target will be Earth. And not in five or six issues like a good comic book plot would have been seeded in The X-Men! No way! This plot is happening immediately!

Meanwhile back at the New York JLI embassy, Fire's ass continues to outshine Ice's.

Fire and Ice (currently Green Flame and Ice Maiden) would like to join the Justice League, mostly because they're broke but also probably for feminist reasons. When Oberon refers to them, to their faces, as "costumed cuties," I understand why the current League has zero women on it (I think Black Canary has fucked off by now).

Look, I know I introduced Fire and Ice by discussing their asses but I'm not in an important position like "Justice League Manager" or "comic book writer!" I'm just a person who loves female comic book characters' asses and has access to the Internet!

This is failing the Reverse Bechdel Test.

I'm not really sure what the Reverse Bechdel Test would be but it seemed to fit that scene. Is it two guys discussing nothing but women in a sexist manner? Is it women being discussed by two guys in a sexist manner? Is it no women being in a scene while being completely objectified? Are those all the same thing?! I don't know. I told you I didn't know!

Speaking of objectifying female characters, Big Barda really looks sexy in this issue wearing nothing but overalls. The Apokoliptian side-boob alone is causing me lower torso distress.

I never really understood the phrase "homina homina homina" until this moment.

Meanwhile crashing onto the previous planet Lord Manga stripped for parts, G'nort. He learns about Lord Manga's interstellar destruction and flies off to save Earth the way a regular and normal and not-at-all-a-joke Green Lantern would. I think he's getting the hang of this job.

Lord Manga's Cluster lets the people of Earth know that they either share their resources or they'll have their resources confiscated. I think "sharing their resources" is another way of saying "consent to having your resources confiscated." The Cluster is like an interstellar swap shop where you give your stuff to swap and sit back and hope that somebody, somewhere, eventually trades you something interesting in return. It sounds like the kind of deal that needs to be investigated by Batman. But Batman isn't currently available for some reason so the Justice League will have to do it incompetently.

I wonder why Black Canary would have left? If only Batman were still around, he could solve that mystery.

Short-handed? But J'onn just told Fire and Ice to fuck off! Actually, he said, "Ladies, all you're going to be doing is leaving." Which is much ruder than "Fuck off."

Since Fire and Ice don't fuck off, J'onn decides maybe they can be useful. And then G'nort lands on the moon ready to save Earth. Although he won't. He'll just be a big joke like always. He's the opposite of Lobo. I mean he's the opposite of what Lobo was supposed to be until Lobo became a big joke. Lobo's problem was that he was portrayed as being the baddest and most dangerous ass in the DC Universe which meant that every single writer needed to show how the hero or heroes they were writing could defeat him. Which quickly meant Lobo became the one villain easily beaten by every single character in the DC Universe. And not just beaten! Also anally violated by Bueno Excellente. Allegedly!

No letters this month which means the letterer, Bob Lappan, didn't have to weep reading praise by readers about everybody except him.

Justice League International #14 Rating: B. This issue has three different scenes repeated multiple times. There's Lord Manga talking to himself while noting how odd it is that he talks to himself so much. There's G'nort suggesting he's a much better hero than he really is. And there's males casually objectifying their female coworkers (not just in the League! Some of the Cluster do it too!). Other than that, it was, well, not exciting at all. Why did I give it a B? It probably fared no better than a C-!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Justice League International #13 (1988)

Guy Gardner's got some Liefeld back problems happening.

Oh no! I forgot this series crossed over with Suicide Squad! Stupid Past Me didn't prepare for this moment thirty years later by buying two copies of each issue so that I could have the complete story catalogued with each series! And no way is Present Me taking the time to dig through all of my comic book boxes to find Suicide Squad! So here I am, once again, reading only a portion of the story. Just like with Millennium. Just like with, um, whatever. I'm sure there were more. Crossovers were practically the only strategy comics had to sell more comics. The important thing to know is that I'm too lazy to worry about it. Hopefully I'll remember what happens in this issue when I finally do get around to re-reading Suicide Squad in 2034.

Kevin Maguire must have gone on vacation; it's obviously Keith Giffen at the helm on pencils this month.

Keith Giffen was probably the first comic book artist whose work I could identify way back when I first began reading comics for two reasons: it's quite distinctive and I read Ambush Bug repeatedly. His work is a great lesson in subjectivity because I fucking love it but I'd never argue with somebody who hated it. I mean, I probably would. But I'd hate myself later for having done it instead of passive aggressively suggesting they were an idiot. Giffen's work is the opposite of Liefeld's work which is a great lesson in objectivity. Because it's objectively terrible.

I don't see an editor's note telling me to read Suicide Squad first which means I should understand this issue (at least as far as I'm capable of understanding any issue of a comic book). But I'll be left with story blue balls afterward. Like will I ever find out who Mr. Tresser is and why he's locked in a gulag? Will I care?! Sometimes I wish I were one of those nerds who needs to remember every detail of every comic book they've ever read so that they can be the smartest guy in the nerd convention. That way I'd already know who "Nemesis" was and could impress all the imaginary ladies at that same nerd convention. Not that ladies don't go to nerd conventions these days! But you should remember that I'm old enough to remember nerd conventions where only the hardiest nerd women could get past the sweaty snorting gatekeepers of the hobby.

The Russians have let everybody in the international community know that they've captured Nemesis. Amanda Waller thinks it's to lure the rest of the Suicide Squad into a trap which makes it surprising when she doesn't want to send Captain Boomerang into that trap. Batman probably thinks the same thing, especially if Amanda Waller is correct since Batman thinks he's smarter than Amanda Waller. But if it's not a trap, Batman probably mentioned that too because after the mission, people don't remember what Batman said that was wrong. They only remember the correct things he said because he always says, at the end of the mission, "Remember all of those correct guesses and speculations I made?!" Plus he probably doses everybody with some kind of Bat Drug that makes them forget his mistakes. One thing Batman definitely thinks is that Nemesis is a good guy. Weird name for a good guy. Maybe I'll become a superhero named Antagonist Dreamcrusher.

Rick Flag doesn't know how to use a telephone.

You can't fault Giffen for using the exact same image across four panels because usually he only works in three panel rows. He probably didn't know how to adjust.

Flag and Nightshade decide to ignore Amanda Waller's orders not to rescue Nemesis which is weird because the one thing Amanda Waller is known for is being super in control of everything. I guess that's only the case when everybody she's controlling is wearing exploding collars. Might be time to fit Flag with one. Batman, not needing Waller's or anybody else's permission to do something stupid that could cause an international incident, also decides to mount an operation to rescue Nemesis. He goes to Rocket Red for advice and when Rocket Red asks a few simple questions about Nemesis and why he was in Russia, Batman throws a tantrum and walks out. I'm starting to think, for the first time in nearly forty years, that maybe people who claim Batman is their favorite super hero are huge assholes.

That was hyperbole! I've actually thought that for a long, long time!

Flag quickly gets a team together without Amanda's permission. Although Amanda being whom Amanda is, this must mean she wants Flag to go on the mission but she wants to be able to deny personal responsibility when the Suicide Squad fucks everything up all over again.

This is my favorite member of the team: Nightshade's left butt cheek.

Aside from Nightshade's left butt cheek, Flag's Squad is comprised of Deadshot, Vixen, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Lashina, Nightshade's right butt cheek, and some guy in yellow and blue that I don't recognize which means he's going to be the suicidee. Also Lashina might be going by a different name which I don't remember. We're not supposed to know she's Lashina yet. Shhhhh!

They arrive in Russia and somebody says, "Somebody wake Javelin up." So I guess that guy I didn't recognize who is almost certainly going to die is Javelin.

Amanda Waller gets wind of Flag's mission and suggests to Reagan that he send the Justice League after them. So Batman is going to get his way as well. Plus the fans will get another battle between Batman and Deadshot where Deadshot pulls all of his shots instead of killing the Batman because Deadshot wants Batman to beat him to death. It's a tale as old as time! Practically Shakespearian is what I'd suggest if I knew anything about Shakespeare and also if Shakespeare's writings were as old as time.

Batman tells the other members of the Justice League that they're invading Russia again. Pretty sure the Rocket Reds and Gorbachev are going to get a little tired of this bullshit.

Oh, just read his mind and call him on his lying ass!

The worst person in the world is a billionaire saying, "Trust me." Don't fucking trust that asshole! Kick him in the dick and tell him he's out of control!

On the other hand, Reagan did authorize the mission. Reagan authorized a lot of shit that irritated the fuck out of Gorbachev but luckily Gorbachev was the only adult in the room. If it had been up to Reagan, he would have rolled the dice on a nuclear exchange.

You fucking tell them, Oberon! Only sane person on the League.

Oh, apparently Reagan hadn't authorized the incursion into Russia when Batman had the idea to invade. Turns out Reagan calls to authorize the mission just before Oberon commits suicide by challenging Batman on his dumb idea, thus being the only time Reagan actually did anything worthwhile. And since this is a work of fiction, Reagan never actually did anything worthwhile.

You might have guessed that I don't like Reagan. People who lived through the 70s and 80s who somehow think the world didn't become a substantially worse place after Reagan took office are deluded motherfuckers who weren't paying attention. I was only a single digit kid in the 70s but I still noticed!

The team learns that a team of super-villains is attacking a Russian prison. I think Vixen and Bronze Tiger would be a bit miffed to be described as "super-villains." But then I guess if you lie with dogs, you wake up feeling satisfied from all the little puppy kisses.

How would that make this issue any different from the first twelve?! Aside from it being Batman manipulating the League instead of Maxwell Lord?

A battle between the Justice League and the Suicide Squad is old hat. That trick's been done before. So to juice up the drama, the Rocket Reds are sent to stop the Suicide Squad as well. And if they can't tell who is on which team, I suppose they'll beat up some Justice Leaguers as well. Plus Red Star catches wind of the battle so he's got to make an appearance. I think that's all the Russian super-heroes there are aside from that Pozhar Firestorm jerk. And he's more of a Super Frenemy.

In the prison, the Justice League discover that Nemesis has been beaten badly and Batman calls the Russians violent thug monkeys. But then Rocket Red is all, "Please. As if America would treat a Russian spy any better!" And Batman doesn't get to respond because Martian Manhunter finally takes off his Martian diaper and puts on his Martian command pants and tells Batman to shut the fuck up and follow orders. Batman whispers, "So shines a good deed in a weary world," relieved that somebody finally has taken the helm of leadership from him. Now maybe he can find the time to go mourn his parents by finding a quiet corner to sob into.

While the Justice League solve their leadership problems, the Suicide Squad casually saunters down the hallway and bumps into the League.

Giffen stole this moment from that movie where Lou Costello backs into The Mummy and they turn around and are all, "Abbbbboooooooot!" and "Unnnnhhhhhh!", respectively.

Next: the big fight! But that's in Suicide Squad #10 so just put it out of your mind. My guess is the Justice League wins and Red Star murders Javelin.

Letters this month are from Lee Allred somewhere in Utah, Eric Fischler from Bethseda, Maryland, Bill Climer from La Rue, Ohio, Brian Saner Lamken from Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, Roy Hogan from Melrose, Massachusetts, and Malcolm Bourne from Cricklewood, London. Only one letter praises letterer Bob Lappan. So sad!

Justice League International #13 Rating: C+. This JLI/SS crossover was almost certainly spurred on by corporate looking at the numbers of each book and thinking, "Imagine if everybody reading JLI was also reading Suicide Squad!" and then trying to force everybody to do just that. Although I assume there was already a pretty high percentage of crossover of people reading both books. I just remembered I had the poster of the two covers of this crossover showing the entirety of both teams fighting. Where the hell did I get that?! I wonder if it was used as advertising at the local shop and I asked for it. I don't think it was sold or given away.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Justice League International #12 (1988)

Just once, I wish somebody would ask this about me.

Last issue, we learned . . . well, I don't remember what we learned. I don't think any questions were really answered. But this issue, the cover asks an explicit question so I'm guessing we'll definitely learn something this issue. Is Max Lord a man or a machine? My guess is he's a man because his nose bleeds when he pulls a psychic trick. That's definitely human behavior which I learned about from reading Stephen King books and watching The Price is Right. Judging by Maxwell Lord's half-expression on the cover, I don't think he's as confident as I am that he's a man.

This issue is called "Who is Maxwell Lord?" and begins with Metron telling us a little bit about himself.

I call myself a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader but I have to admit I needed to re-read Metron's final line a few times before I realized he wasn't saying, "I am VERY hungry!!"

Metron looks like he's played by David Warner in this issue which means I find myself liking him a little bit more than I usually do. I usually only like Metron about two-thirds as much as I like Silver Surfer. They're kind of the same thing: dudes riding around space on objects. But it's cooler to surf around space than couch potato around space. Unless that's just my California bias. Maybe people from the Midwest are all, "No way! Ya gotta love a guy what rides all up and down the space waves on a recliner, ya know?!"

I realize that the previous paragraph doesn't explain, at all, how much I like Metron because I never explained how much I like Silver Surfer. Oh well. That's life! Sometimes you can do the math problem and sometimes the math problem does you right in the butthole.

Dammit. Now I want some math problems to do me in the butthole.

The Justice League believe they can beat Metron's head in to solve their problems because that's the only play in their playbook. But Mister Miracle warns them to not upset Metron since he's a God. And as a God, Metron has the ability to turn the lights up to 11.

What kind of Green Lantern covers their eyes with their arm?! Make some fucking groovy shades, you dipshit.

Normally, I would lose respect for a character not doing the thing I expect them to do. But Guy Gardner is suffering from knock-on brain damage from Batman punching his already brain damaged face and isn't up to Green Lanterning at his usual high standards. So I can forgive him. Although to be completely transparent, I'm only forgiving him because he's my favorite Green Lantern. I would completely ream the fuck out of Hal or Kyle. Those guys suck.

I suppose I could also complain that the writer or the artist failed at their job but I'm tired of complaining about the real reason comic books are terrible. I'd rather write reviews in which I pretend I don't see the process and the story has come to me fully formed, as if from God Himself. I know that's a ridiculous thing to think because who believes in God these days? Ha ha! Be more believable, God!

The secret computer character whom Max has been working with (or being blackmailed by) realizes its plan has fallen apart because Metron and Mister Miracle are old buddies. It scraps the plan and retreats to wherever computer generated artificial intelligences hide in 1988. Probably a bulletin board that houses muffin recipes. Nobody would accidentally spend dial-up modem time accessing that board.

Meanwhile at the Global Guardians headquarters, everybody learns that the entire operation has lost funding and they'll now be super-heroing on a strictly voluntary basis. Since most heroes aren't Batman or Green Arrow rich that means finding another job. Green Flame and Ice Maiden decide to apply with Justice League International because how can they not get the job? I'm surprised this comic made it twelve issues with Black Canary being the only female on the team. Truly abysmal! Horrendous! Blatantly misogynistic!

Okay, now that I've proved I'm super feminist, I can do some of my "Women are bad drives" material, right?! I've got this great one about Helen Keller driving a car!

I'm not actually going to be making any gender specific jokes because I'm certain that Giffen and DeMatteis will do plenty.

The computer escapes to a lone machine in Max Lord's office where Max Lord begins to rethink his partnership with it. He's about to smash the computer when it decides to remind Max Lord how they met. It's going to answer the question posed by the title of the issue! But will it answer if Max is a man or a machine? That's the crucial question because it was asked on the cover and nothing I hate more than a comic book cover question that isn't answered.

Well, actually, I do hate many things more than that, even just in the "comic book cover" category. Like "Script and Dialogue by Ann Nocenti" or "Art by David Finch." I don't mean to suggest that David Finch is a terrible artist because I have to believe there are fans out there who love men drawn with fish lips and lines all over their faces while all the women are drawn as if they're fifteen (and quite often stepping out of the shower).

It turns out Maxwell Lord's origin story is super boring. He was an ambitious business man who probably would have become the exact person he is now except he met a computer along the way which helped him turn into the exact person he was turning into on his own. They formed a partnership and staged every single conflict the Justice League has faced since Issue #1. It's all been a big lie to advance Max and his computer buddy's agenda for world domination (under the guise of world peace). But Max was killed by the Manhunters in Millennium and repaired by his computer. But I guess the computer accidentally added a conscious when it repaired him because Max suddenly wants to be a good person doing good to help the world. He begins by smashing his computer buddy.

I guess if we ignore the metaphorical aspect of the question on the cover, this page answers the literal aspect. He's human.

Martian Manhunter reads Max's mind to make sure Max isn't still a big jerk and decides maybe he's learned his lesson. So why not keep him on as leader of the Justice League, right? It's not like Batman or Martian Manhunter want that kind of responsibility. I guess as readers we're supposed to pretend that the first year never happened? I'd probably like it better that way since the first year of the Justice League was just the Justice League battling simulated crimes. It was like Professor X's Danger Room but more stupid.

Letters this month were from Richard Heim, Jr, of Asheville, North Carolina; Dorman Earl A. Larr of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Edward A. Rozanski of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Franklin Miller III of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky; David Metz of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Charlie Harris of Tucson, Arizona; and The Purple Pickle of Nepean, Ontario. Of seven letters, only one praises the letterer, Bob Lappan. But one other does chastise him for not being consistent when spelling grey/gray. At least somebody else noticed him!

Justice League International #12 Rating: C. Most of the story was Max Lord's origin and it was just as boring as you'd expect as an origin for a business man. It was all, "Hey! I'm in business! But I want to be in more business! Because getting more and more businessier shows that you've got what it takes for business! I think it's called ambition! Unless it's actually called 'a cosmic robot intelligence with a desire to conquer the entire world.'" We did get to see the first appearance of Fire's ass. Here it is (not for prurient reasons but for, um, record keeping!):

Monday, May 17, 2021

Justice League International #11 (1988)

This issue: the Justice League go undercover as Galactus's cock.

It took me way too long to think up a masturbation joke for the cover that I was satisfied with and yet this one still has so many flaws. Like, why would Galactus be in a DC comic book? And why would he mistake a bunch of Justice Leaguer's miming his cock for his penis when he wants to jerk off? So many questions!

The main problem with this version of the Justice League, a version I truly enjoyed when I was a teenager, is that Max Lord is their main enemy. I'm all for stories having twists but you never need the "member of the team turns out to be their villainous foe and betrays them" story arc. The only reason it's a thing is because it's an easy twist if you want to make the audience's jaws drop as they slowly mutter, "Whaaaaaaaaat?" But it rarely ever helps the story. Plus, super hero stories are supposed to be about heroes being heroic and inspiring the world while also saving the world. Who wants to read a story where they're simply all the time saving themselves?! It's annoying. It's why I hate The Joker. Nobody from the last two generations (maybe three!) can even remember a Joker story where the Joker wasn't doing evil fucked up shit expressly to fuck with Batman. If I lived in Gotham, by the eighteenth Joker attack on the city (every one simply to fuck with Batman), I might think about starting a petition to ask Batman to move to Metropolis.

I just finished Jupiter's Legacy on Netflix and it suffers from this Max Lord betrays the group syndrome. Up until the last episode, the conflict is based in the philosophy of ethics between members, and between the older generation and the younger generation. The seemingly main source of conflict is between the way the Utopian thinks heroes should help the world and the way Sky Fox thinks heroes should help the world. In the end, both of them are actually trying to help the world. The conflict is only in degrees and the stubbornness of various men thinking their ideas need to be listened to without any questions. The show ramps up some of the physical conflict with villains, causing a bunch of heroes to die, so that a lot of heroes begin questioning the way they do their job. But ultimately, if the conflict is between Sky Fox wanting to intervene more in non-super affairs and Utopian wanting to stay out of them, the writers (or just Mark Millar? I never read the entire series) realized there wasn't enough meaty tension on that bone. What's going to happen? The Utopian and Sky Fox are going to slowly escalate their voices at each other in a coffee shop in Paris about whose philosophy should be followed? Not good enough! So in the last episode, surprise! One of the Union was betraying them all! What a shock! What a twist! What a needless and stupid moment. The story was so much better when Walt was who we'd been shown he was, and was growing in the way he seemed to be growing. But no. Instead of Walt thinking, "You know what? This works! I'm glad I changed! I'm glad I became a better man!", he was apparently thinking over his entire long life, "I'm going to fuck up these fucking fuckers for not listening to me and shit! Oh boy will I get them good in like 100 years! Idiots!"

Seriously. The story would have been so much better if the interpersonal relationships were worked on and resolved rather than having one of them simply enact their violent revenge plan. But what did I expect?! It was written by Mark Millar, the guy who blocked me on Twitter for saying that his writing suffered when nobody was being decapitated. And yet, look at Jupiter's Legacy?! The writing was actually better until he decided he needed a bunch of decapitations. Man, that guy needs to figure some shit out.

A bunch of office nerds at DC decided this guy was so cool he should be a major DC villain.

What made Max Lord so attractive as the big twist villain to editors, I'm guessing, is that readers didn't care enough about him to suspect he'd be more than some bureaucratic asshole. The editors were right!

Max Lord has called a meeting of all the really powerful super heroes who recently teamed up with the Justice League International to destroy Manhunter World. But when he learns none of them want to join the team (or were available for Keith and J.M. to use in their comic), he flips the fuck out and calls the other members of the Justice League "weak-kneed second-stringers." That seems unfair, especially when he's yelling it in the faces of Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter, two of DC's most powerful heroes. Although they are sort of second-stringers, popularity-wise, right? And maybe they have weak knees.

No, no. I just looked them both up in Who's Who and no mention of weak knees as flaws.

Even if you take out Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter, you still have Batman and Guy Gardner. In whose book are they weak kneed or second stringed? He must just really be angry about having Booster Gold and Blue Beetle on his team.

See? Batman's A-list material. Would a weak-kneed, second-stringer have the balls to commit a 9/11?

The building doesn't collapse when Blue Beetle flies the S.T.A.R. Labs ship into it which, I'm pretty sure, is proof that 9/11 was an inside job. Or it just means S.T.A.R. Labs makes a sturdy ship and whoever rents to Max Lord makes a sturdy building. It also shows how Batman thinks he can do whatever he wants which totally exposes him as a rich bastard. Nobody would think Batman's secret identity was some working class jerk after this arrogant and nonchalant display of vandalism. You can tell he's previously paid for this kind of damage without second guessing what kind of trouble he might get into, probably on his last date.

The Justice League have flown into Max Lord's office tower to rescue him, J'onn, and Captain Atom. Some mechanical entity has taken over the building and is trying to kill them. Or maybe it's just pretending because it might be Brother Eye who is in cahoots with Maxwell Lord (unless it's a different robot. All the various DC Universes from the past forty years have all become mixed up together in my memory). I think it's all part of some huge con so Max Lord can eventually put a bullet into Blue Beetle's brain. Which seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through to kill Blue Beetle. I think I could have managed it in three issues.

Guy Gardner kills the power to the building so that Max can explain what's happening without all the toasters and microwaves and wiring trying to kill them. Max tells some sob story about some robot hacking his email or something, and Batman is all, "That sounds like The Construct, an old foe of the JLA!" But then Batman also says, "Max's story doesn't ring true! He's lying about something! It's probably not the Construct at all!" Batman hates being wrong so he just spitballs every theory he can think of. He then finishes by listing all the other characters he can think of. "It's probably Joker! Or it's probably Lex Luthor! Or it's probably Metron!" After the battle, nobody remembers the things he got wrong because he keeps saying, "Remember how I said it wasn't really The Construct? Remember that. Remember I said it was Metron? I said that before the mission. It was a really smart thing I thought of and then said. Does anybody know the smartest type of bat because that's probably the one I modeled myself on."

This computer is sneakier than my old Vic-20.

The person the computer is greeting is Metron and it calls him master. Which means this is a computer from Apokolips (or New Genesis). Metron notices it seems to have a new smell of sentience whiffing about it but he's interrupted by the Construct crashing through the wall before he can investigate. That's because this is all part of the computer's plan to free itself from Metron's (or New Genesis's (or Apokolips's)) control. It lured the Justice League and Metron to the same place so that they'll fight and the Justice League will destroy Metron. But that won't happen because Metron has to live for another twenty years so that Batman can sit on his chair and ask the most important question in the universe: "Who is the Joker?!"

The fight doesn't take place in this issue because that might make it too exciting. The Justice League already fought sentient wires and a giant robot. Readers might lose their minds if they also fight a guy in a La-Z-Boy recliner.

Letters this month were from Chris Valin of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jim Ficken of Wrenshall, Minnesota, Bill Behrens of Chicago, Illinois, Ron Edwards of Chicago as well, Gerry Van Booven of Lawrence, Kansas, Erich Mees of Dunwoody, Georgia, and Jimmie Moss of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Out of seven letters, not one of them praised letterer Bob Lappan. Maybe that's why he's been replaced by letterer John Workman this issue! Eep!

Justice League International #11 Rating: C. The banter, which was probably a strong point for most people who loved this comic back in the day (and a weak point for people who hated it), has started to get out of control. It's like DeMatteis and Giffen just gives anybody on panel some stupid line to use on anybody else on panel, every panel. It's a little much, especially when Batman begins to get in on it (although Batman likes to think his stupid comments. It's too embarrassing otherwise). I also didn't care for the plot. I'm never fond of villains (in this case, a computer) attacking the super hero team directly. And so far in this comic book, that's mostly what we've seen. Let super hero teams defend the world rather than constantly defending themselves! I know it's much easier to just have the villain attack the heroes because then you don't have to think up a crime for the bad guys nor a way for the good guys to catch wind of the crime (other than passing by a shop window with a television playing a breaking news alert).