Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Justice League International #19 (1988)

This is probably the original cover that caused me, whenever I saw similar covers, to simply think, "Now kiss!"

Even for the late 80s, Lobo and Guy Gardner both had fucked up haircuts.

First, let's take a look at the inside cover advert from our delicious corporate overlords, M & M's:

I'm sorry if this truth is a little too raw for the post-physical-bullying generation but if this guy showed up like this to Winchester Skate Park, he would have gotten his ass handed to him.

I know, I know! Nowadays, we're all just dying to get our hands on a free M & M's painter's cap and an M & M's custom designed shirt (not to mention the weird modern art covered skateboard). But this was the late 80s! If you didn't have the style of Lobo or Guy Gardner, your head was destined for the bottom of a toilet bowl. Which, ironically, would give you both Lobo and Guy Gardner's haircuts.

This issue is called "No More Mr. Nice-Guy" which is almost the title of an Alice Cooper song except Alice had the sense not to put a stupid dash between "nice" and "guy."

Guy Gardner suffered brain damage from an accident with Hal Jordan's power lantern. Then he suffered brain damage from Batman's fist. Last issue, he suffered more brain damage by being at direct center of a Boom Tube opening. Now he's fighting Lobo and he flies head first at full speed into a lamppost. That can only mean one thing!

Oh wait. Guy's fine this time. Batman must punch really hard.

I probably didn't know much about Lobo when I picked up this comic book in 1988, having never been even close to tempted into reading The Omega Men, which means this is probably when I fell in love with Lobo, even if he is nowhere close to looking his sexiest. Maybe this is also when I fell in love with Guy Gardner. Is this why I modeled my adult persona around being an abrasive asshole?

The fight between Guy Gardner and Lobo reminds me of the fight between Superman and Doomsday except it's far less serious and way more bad-ass. I really don't know why DC had to create a whole new character to kill Superman when Lobo was just sitting right there on his space hog looking hot and sexy. We all know Lobo could have done it if he'd really wanted to. Or, you know, if the writer had decided Lobo could kill Superman. But no! The writer had to be Dan Jurgens and Dan Jurgens was all, "Duh! I'm going to make a huge mistake and not have Lobo kill Superman! Duh! I'm a dummy!"

I hope Dan Jurgens doesn't search the Internet for his own name because I'd feel really bad if he read that and started to cry. I'm sorry, Dan. I don't really think you're a big dummy. It's just that I get really passionate about two things: Lobo and comic book writers who make huge mistakes by not having Lobo kill Superman. Those are my two biggest pet peeves.

The Justice League break up the fight and invite Lobo in for coffee and doughnuts. Lobo, not having signed anything that would make sure he gets paid for killing these guys, decides to stop killing these guys. That makes sense because who wants to do their job if they're not getting paid for it? Only sociopaths! Which means Lobo is a completely rational and reasonable dude. Which means every citizen of Czarnia must have been a complete and utter shite-head.

Through an unfortunate mishap called "conversation," Lobo learns that he was Boom Tubed right into Justice League headquarters. He decides to wait around for the jerks he fought in space to return before he kills them all and earns himself ten years worth of space dolphin chow. I wonder how long ten years is in Lobo's junkyard home? I suppose everybody in the DC Universe simply reverts to using Earth measurements because Earth is the only place where humans exist and they're special because they fall in love and have willpower and, I don't know, are based on the writers of the comic book universe, I guess? Humans rock!

Max decides Lobo should be granted temporary admittance to the League which just shows what a terrible leader Max Lord is. I guess he got confused because Guy and Lobo just met and instantly got in a big fight which must mean this was one of those comic book misunderstandings where two good guys wind up fighting. Therefore Lobo is a good guy who must be hired without any kind of background check. Batman arrives and instantly shits all over the idea. But then Batman shits on every idea, making the meaning of "shitting on ideas" completely worthless. Which is more proof that Lobo should be on the team, I think. Plus Batman doesn't already know about Lobo?! What kind of super detective is he?! Oh yeah, that's right. The kind who bases his whole career on a confused bat crashing through his window in the middle of the night.

The rest of the issue turns into a recruitment drive which seems like a huge double cross after that cover of Lobo about to kiss Guy Gardner. And it's a terrible recruitment drive! They hire the cosmic assassin Lobo. Black Canary quits. Captain Atom talks Max out of hiring Major Force. The Flash misses his invite. Superman turns down Batman. And Batman convinces Hawkman and Hawkwoman to join (yes, convincing Hawkman to join is worse than him refusing to). This team sounds like they're in huge trouble without even needing to find any enemies to battle.

Meanwhile in space, Barda realizes where The Cluster must be going with Scott: to Apokolips to trade him to Darkseid. So they're off to the most dangerous place in the DC Universe in 1988!

Justice League International #19 Rating: C-. Normally, if an issue features Lobo, it gets an A+. But Lobo just sits around in the dark getting flirted at by Fire. He barely does anything! He doesn't even kill Guy Gardner! And, of course, he's not really all that attractive here. He doesn't really become a super hot hunk of killer love until Simon Bisley gets his pencil on him.

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