Friday, March 11, 2022

Justice League International #21 (1988)

Shit shit shit. Do I discuss how this cover cemented the entire Blue/Gold dynamic over the next decade or Fire's irresistible lady bulge?

Well, being that I'm an intelligent critic of comic books, it's not going to be the thing I want to discuss. Although I could probably bluff my way through a discussion of sexism and the male gaze in comics better than I could through an essay about Laurel and Hardy's influence on the Booster/Beetle relationship. What do I know about Laurel and Hardy other than that the skinny guy was constantly getting blamed for horrific accidents by the unskinny guy and then was battered by the unskinny guy's hat while he whimpered and sobbed. It was pretty hilarious at the time! But I don't even know how much of my knowledge of Laurel and Hardy is correct being that I mostly know them through second-hand representations of them, like this cover. But I do know that most comic book readers would never even think, "Why couldn't this cover be Fire and Ice with their heads popping out having a bit of dialogue that references their relationship while Booster Gold's junk was displayed so that your eye automatically follows from the title down his leg and into his crotch?

Oh! Is this cover also the reason why somebody eventually decided to make Blue Beetle fat?! I'm surprised they never gave him a hat so he could occasionally whack Booster across the back of the head with it.

Anyway, check out Fire's crotch. So hot.

Don't worry, my feminist friends! Page one shows that there's more to Fire than just a thick front bottom.

She also has a juicy ass.

It must be a full moon because I can't get my male gaze under control. No, no. Seriously. That's how it works. It's an, um, affliction. I simply can't act any more appropriately!

You were probably too busy looking at Fire's ass eat her costume but did you notice Lobo's bicep in that picture? I'm actually not sure what got me worked up more!

Here are the butts of the other Justice League members, just so you know why I'm concentrating on Fire's:

Blue Beetle's ass. Terrible. I can see the fat guy in him ready to come out.

Booster Gold's ass. Okay. Not too bad. So muscular it scares my dick a bit.

Lobo's ass. Such a pathetic rendition that if Lobo were a real person, I'm certain he'd have a libel suit.

Ice's ass. A perfect encapsulation of Fire and Ice's relationship. Without Fire's ass on this page, I would be raving about this ass.

Guy Gardner's ass. Hmm. Well. Not too shabby, Guy!

Batman's ass is covered by a cape. Oberon's ass was available but he's not really a member of the Justice League, is he? And while I'm sure it was totally awesome and quite a quality ass, Hawkwoman's wings were in the way. I didn't look at Hawkman's ass because I didn't want to have my eyes shoved down my throat. That guy thinks he's a rational and civil human but he's really just an angry prick. So, you know, like Fire said last issue: a Republican.

Even though Page 1 has all that ass on it, Page 2 is even better! I'm surprised I don't remember having an "I love this Ty Templeton's art!" moment when I first read this. I suppose it has to do with how I'm not much of a visual person (which really calls into question why the fuck I read comic books? It's a good question because does it even sound like I enjoy them when you read these "reviews"?!).

Just look at the range of character here. Also take note of the sexy post-ejaculate emission from Barda's "mega-rod."

The panel following this one is, I think, a sex joke?

I would like to sound more confident about recognizing sex jokes because not instantly recognizing sexual innuendo is total virgin shit. And while it's okay to be a virgin, I just want to make it clear that I am totally not a virgin.

I shouldn't joke about virgins and virginity even if it's at my own expense. My guess is that virginity is the number one reason men become so angry that they want to kill innocent people. When are we going to realize that sex work saves lives? We need to decriminalize sex work, destroy the negative stigma of paying to have sex, and get young men laid as quickly as possible. No, I know what you're thinking but what I'm thinking is this: "Especially the religious ones!"

Also, sex work would be good for young women as well. That way their first sexual experience can be with a male sex worker with loads of experience who knows what they're doing so that the young woman doesn't have to put up with some frantic, pawing young man who comes as soon as his dick touches any part of her body.

Of course, that's sort of the whole problem with conservative and religious men who want to control women's sexuality. They know that if they can't control women's sexuality through religion and law, and if women are as free as they should be to have sex, especially with good looking men who know what they're doing, they'll never get laid again. Which, if you've been following along, is a problem my first point about sex work solves! See?! You don't have to trick or oppress women into having sex with you if you make sex work safe and available to everybody!

I'm not looking to debate! Those words were all just to fill out this review with words that weren't "Fire's ass" or "Fire's crotch" or, alternately when Fire isn't on panel, "Ice's boobs." I mean, I believe them but in a more complex and serious way than how I just expressed them!

Lobo follows Big Barda into the orphanage so he can kill her and the other Justice League members he was actually paid to kill while Batman encounters the new and improved Rocket Fred.

I mean, it's really not that dissimilar, Fred. Also he's the Goddamned Batman. He add up all the clues like a guy in red and white flying armor singing The Underdog theme tune? Andy Kaufman's dead at this point so it must be Rocket Red.

Barda doesn't tell the Justice League why they've just been teleported to Apokolips. They're simply expected to begin punching anything that comes within arm's range. I don't mean to be consumed by a modern awareness of everything but that doesn't strike me as the best way of being a hero. "Hey, Big Barda just teleported us into this YMCA because Scott has been taken hostage so I guess we just start punching all of these young men and boys in the face?!" I don't know. Maybe it's just me. But I'd have questions.

Ice has questions. They all have questions. What I meant is I'd have questions before I actually began freezing people in solid blocks of ice.

The Cluster continue to hover above Apokolips waiting for Manga Khan's order on what to do next.

I love how K-Dikk has a little satellite dish on his head, presumably to pick up the messages from the interdimensional pink space laser.

Kanto the assassin drops by to point out that Granny Goodness and Doctor Vundabar are making a huge mistake by creating all of this chaos on Apokolips over a guy who is simply going to escape them at the last moment. Neither Granny or the Doctor laugh at Kanto's dress style which totally destroys my suspension of disbelief.

This guy doesn't just get to walk into a room and not be made fun of.

Pardon me while I stop this review for a moment to fan myself. Whew. Ty Templeton's version of Big Barda is putting me through hormonal fluctuations I haven't felt since I was fifteen. Which is weird because I was sincerely expecting Lobo to be the character to make me feel like this.

Martian Manhunter and G'nort have been captured and Big Barda gets jumped by Lobo before she can take the fight back to Granny Goodness. So the only person who knows what is going on and seems to be doing a decent job of defending himself is Rocket Red. Seems like Keith and J.M. made a writing mistake here.

I just said all this! I suppose I could go back and erase what I previously wrote and let these two panels do all the summation for me but then I'd miss a chance to call myself a Grandmaster Comic Book Reader for anticipating this momentary recap in the middle of the comic book. Although I'm not sure how Oberon knows Martian Manhunter and G'nort have been captured.

You may have noticed that I keep spelling G'nort's name with an apostrophe and yet that isn't how it's written in this comic book. I'm fairly certain he gets an apostrophe added to his name at some point so I'm g'not going to stop doing it.

During the battle, Oberon falls into a grate and winds up in Darkseid's reading room where Darkseid is reading Mein Kampf. Except it's spelled Mein Kamph. Is that a joke or did the editor request that they change it so just really stupid people who don't pay attention to anything might not notice? And what is it supposed to mean, anyway?! That Hitler was so terrible that even Darkseid can learn a thing or two from him? Or does Darkseid enjoy it for some light, humorous reading?

Darkseid also has some comic books on the shelf under his end table: a Mister Miracle comic book and what looks like one about The Doom Patrol.

Off-panel, Oberon explains what's going on and Darkseid decides to end it. I guess he's just tired of this shit? He explains how he isn't interested in keeping Scott Free against his will and demands they all leave shut the fuck up and leave his home. Lord Manga Khan ends the contract with Lobo, paying him in full so he stops trying to kill everybody. He Booms everybody back to Earth and that's that! I guess you can't get a better deus ex machina than frigging Darkseid, right?!

Yes, that was a little anti-climactic! You can usually tell right about when I lose interest in the comic book I'm reading by how quickly I go from scanning panels and discussing the minutiae of a scene to simply summing up fifteen pages in one paragraph.

Letters this month are from Charles J. Sperling of Flushing, New York (again!); Jimmie Moss of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Brad Dent of Wilmington, North Carolina; Tom Longfellow of Elkridge, Maryland; Bernard J. Delurey of St. John's, Newfoundland; and Scott Lawrence of Address, Unknown. And not a single one of them praised the Letterer! Such a shame. I mean, I'm not going to do it! But I was hoping somebody would be gallant enough to throw the Letterer a one once in a while

Justice League International #21 Rating: B. That's respectable, right? And yes, I know Lobo was in it. But he didn't get to kill even one person. At all! And I thought the writing team made a mistake when J'onn was captured so easily. That one pales in comparison with not having Lobo kill at least a dozen people in any issue he appears in. Anyway, the humor mostly stayed at an enjoyable level with just a few moments where I'd rather the "funny" character had just stayed silent. I did find some of the earlier issues a bit annoying. But I'm really starting to see in the writing and art the series I remembered so fondly from when I was a teenager.

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