Sunday, March 6, 2022

Justice League International #20 (1988)

Hopefully Manga Khan's deal begins with "We've recovered one of your stolen goods and are returning it to you in good faith to open up future trade negotiations."

Mister Miracle has one super power: escaping. So he's either faking or he's as useless as Batman or Aquaman in space. Sure, he could have escaped Manga Khan but then he'd just be left floating in space.

This is a great comic book cover, by the way. In 1988, DC still had a problem with attribution for its covers but this one is signed "the guy." I'm guessing guest artist Ty Templeton went by "Ty the Guy" since the art on the cover matches the art on the inside pages. No wait! No need to guess at all! I just noticed, if you bend the cover so you can see the art that trickles onto the slim spine, there's a tiny "ty" in front of "the guy"! Anyway, my point was I love this cover. Full of personality and has that animation slash cartoon quality that I really love.

Small bit of trivia probably nobody cares about but me: this is the first of like 5000 comic books I've reviewed which has Ty Templeton as the artist. But I think he got his start at DC on Booster Gold which I re-read within the last couple of years. But it looks like I didn't review them? What the fuck is wrong with me?! Here's my mini-review from what I can remember: "Booster Gold is basically Inspector Gadget from the future and Skeets is his Penny. I think he battles advertising and corporations or something. Skeets is full of his semen (which probably explains 52)."

This issue is called "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be — APOKOLIPS!" Knowing Giffen and DeMatteis, that's probably a reference to pop culture that was already old by 1988. Consulting Lord Google, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium was a movie from 1969. Granted, there was a TV Movie "sequel" from 1987, If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium, which means older people in 1988 still had it in their collective memories. Not that Giffen and DeMatteis were "old" in 1988. But they were older than me! My guess is that next issue will be called, "If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be — APOKOLIPS!" Ian McShane was in the 1969 movie so maybe I'll give it a watch to see how many people he calls a cunt in it.

The movie was "based on" (inspired by?) a New Yorker cartoon. Hollywood pitch men are fucking shameless. "Man, did you see that cartoon in The New Yorker last week? The one about traveling through Europe? That could be a movie, right? Maybe a Herbie the Love Bug film?!" The title song was written by Donovan and sung by J.P. Rags. It's actually pretty fucking fantastic. Especially the version by Bojoura.

How did we ever understand people from other generations in a world without the Internet?! Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were only about 20 years older than me and, at sixteen, their references as 36 year olds were completely lost on me! I used to say that I couldn't really get along with or understand anybody born after Empire Strikes Back. But the Internet changed all of that. Now kids know everything I know now by the time they're twelve.

Are you really a doctor if your PhD is in "excruciating torture"?

That was a joke! I don't care what your PhD was in. I'll call anybody a Doctor. Except for Gene Simmons. I'm going to first need proof that you got a degree, "Doctor" Love.

Hopefully Apokolips has a sex offender registry and Granny's name is at the top of the list in big bold block letters.

Manga Khan wants to trade Mister Miracle for Boom Tube technology. My guess is that he'll wind up trading Mister Miracle for his own life when Darkseid shows interest in the bartering. Although I'm sure it will never get that far as Martian Manhunter, Barda, G'nort, and Rocket Red have crashed on Apokolips in their terrible attempt to save Scott Free.

Don't worry, J'onn. I've been wondering that for you this entire time.

The Justice League have crashed in a part of Apokolips called the "Armagetto" which just seems implausible. Although I suppose everybody speaking English across the majority of the universe is also implausible. I guess the Green Lantern ring on G'nort's fist accounts for the ability of everyone to understand everyone else. But that just shunts the implausibility off to the Green Lantern ring! Luckily it's at this moment that I remember I have the facility to suspend my disbelief and I eagerly do so.

Luckily the Armagetto is full of rebellious citizens of Apokolips ready to help them save Scott Free. I think that means Darkseid isn't as scary as I thought he was. I would expect them all to be snitching immediately to the closest Parademon. But instead, they spend the few minutes or so since the Justice League arrived to build Rocket Red a new suit made with Fourth World technology.

Oh, they didn't build this. This is just an old suit they had lying around that looks remarkably like it was built for Rocket Red personally.

Darkseid is too busy to oversee the trade with Manga Khan which means Granny and Lord Manga have to sit around chatting until Darkseid gets back. Or until the Justice League rescue Scott Free. Or until Scott Free rescues himself. I don't remember which of those will happen first people only remember things in far back in their life if they were either terribly tragic or had Lobo in them.

Is the architecture on Apokolips boring and blocky because that's what Jack Kirby thought authoritarian architecture looked like or because Jack Kirby hated drawing buildings?

I know Jack Kirby didn't draw this issue but I'm assuming Ty Templeton is being as accurate as possible in his depiction of the original Apokolips.

The Justice League devise a plan to infiltrate Granny's orphanage unnoticed. It fails immediately. J'onn realizes that one angry wife, a dog with the most powerful weapon in the universe, a Russian in armor who's mostly just there for terrible translation jokes, and a Martian with every single super power in the DC Universe can't defeat all of Apokolips.

What they need to defeat all of Apokolips are a bug-man with no powers, an idiot from the future, and a brain-damaged simp with the most powerful weapon in the universe, apparently.

Granny Goodness and the other one with the stupid German name take Lord Manga Khan prisoner because the Justice League followed him to Apokolips (mostly the Big Barda part of the Justice League). He escapes the prison by taking off his armor and revealing that he's sentient pink gas. Well, that's a surprise even though I've read this before. Remember, I only really remember moments in my life that involved Lobo.

Back on Earth, Lobo and Guy Gardner arm wrestle while Hawkman walks around telling everybody why everything they do that's any fun is wrong.

Exhibit #4,332,226 of my up and coming trial to prove that comic books have always been full of social justice and heavily weighted against conservative modes of thought. Sorry, I don't accept evidence from Frank Miller comics.

You thought I was going to comment on their asses, right? Well, yeah, of course. Look at those asses!

Barda Boom Tubes into the room and takes Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Oberon, and Lobo back to Apokolips with her. She forgets to get Captain Atom who actually may have been some help. Oh, sure, Lobo would be great help if he was actually one of them and not looking to kill the entire Justice League himself.

I forgot to acknowledge the letter writers in some of my previous posts. I will rectify that now. Not by going back and looking up those I missed! But by continuing to do it from this issue forward! Until I forget again.

Letters this month were from Charles J. Sperling of Flushing, New York; Simon Del Monte of Forest Hills, New York; J.C., Somewhere in Readerland (um, vague!); Elvis Orten of Dawson Springs, Kentucky; Dennis Anfuso from the mountains of New Hampshire; Logan Force IV of Brantford, Ontario; David "Captain Marvel Fan Club" Clarke of Arlington, Texas; Randy Daward of Dixon, California; and Nelson Fox of Oxnard, California.

Charles J. Sperling makes the great point that "Fire has never looked sexier." I would probably have called him chauvinistic at best but then I'd look like the hypocrite I know I am for having pointed out how fine her ass was earlier.

J.C. is a woman who refuses to use her real name because she doesn't want to "become the object of further ridicule by my friends and family." Hey, J.C. You have terrible friends and family. She also writes, "What woman wouldn't want to have a sonic scream when she's being verbally harassed by construction workers?" See, young people? Some of us (I include myself because it makes me seem kinder and more thoughtful about the world and I already pointed out that I am a hypocrite if you read that previous paragraph), even way back in the dark ages of 1988, were concerned about objectifying women and harassing them in public! I don't think this can be an exhibit in the future trial I'm presiding over because the sentiment wasn't by a comic book writer. Although later in the letter she concedes a point made by a sexist letter writer in a previous issue that "Black Canary sometimes comes off as a 'female chauvinist.'" I don't see this as a fault in J.C. at all. This is just part of the problem of Social Justice and Social Awareness in 1988. You didn't want to seem irrational by being too extreme and often conceded terrible points to awful people. Especially if you were a woman harangued by men who simply believed anything that came out of their mouth was rational by the mere fact they're a man.

Justice League International #20 Rating: A+. Remember, I mentioned Lobo was in a scene. That's a Godsend when coming up with a rating because it means an automatic A+. And, yes, I know I didn't rate the previous issue with Lobo battling Guy so high. But you can't sue me because I already admitted to being a hypocrite. Suck it, faithful reader!

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