Friday, March 25, 2022

Justice League International #23 (1989)

Is this Comicsgate?

I'm not here to talk about or debate Comicsgate. They know who they are no matter what they try to say to convince people otherwise. We know what they are no matter what they say to try to convince people otherwise. I've seen these sort of people in the comic fandom for decades. As soon as the villain of the story goes from robbing banks to committing some kind of social evil (like say, um, Apartheid), they're quick to complain, rising up to complain in some vague way which ultimately comes down to a defense of "Western Civilization" (a code that's as subtle as a pothead with 420 in their name). A great example is the letters pages in Teen Titans Spotlight on Jericho (I think?) where Mike Gold had to deal with letters from fans angry about Teen Titans Spotlight on Starfire because all the white people in it were the villains. Well, yeah! She was in South Africa dealing with Apartheid! How fucking dumb and/or racist do you have to be to send in a letter complaining about Starfire dealing with Apartheid because it makes white people look bad? Had they never fucking heard of Apartheid?! Oh wait. Yes, of course they had. It's just they probably saw people who thought and acted just like they would have thought and acted and realized, "Wait. They're saying those people are the bad guys? How dare they!" It's easy to not see yourself in the bad guy when they're robbing a bank or building weather control satellites because you're probably never going to do that. But when the bad guy is just an ignorant bigot? That fucking stings.

More to the point, fuck Comicsgate.

The Justice League are still in the South Pacific cleaning up after Invasion which I didn't re-read because I failed to sort my comic books by how I would wind up re-reading them forty years later.

If I were still spending the majority of my time with this blog, this would have become the new header.

Oh fuck it. You probably noticed. I made it the new header.

Ten characters nobody recognizes and/or cares about!

Look, I fucking loved the 80s Suicide Squad by John Ostrander. I'm just saying this advertisement is fucking shit. At least it was when the series began! After the series was well underway, Ostrander made most of these characters reasons to buy a book! I mean, I'm pretty sure I only read Peter Milligan's Shade the Changing Man because Shade was in this version of Suicide Squad. Not that he was the same version! But it still got me to read it! Also, why isn't Deadshot in this picture?! To me, Deadshot is synonymous with this version of the Squad! Was he less popular than Count Vertigo or Doctor Light at this time?!

Also on the island: the Injustice League! While the Justice League are busy clearing the island of battlefield debris, the Injustice League are trying to steal a busted Thanagarian warship. In the first scene, the members of the Injustice League make sure to call each other by name a few times so that readers can learn (or remember) who they all are: Major Disaster, Clock King, Multi-Man, Big Sir, and Clue Master. You can tell their second or third string villains because their names are terrible. What does a Clue Master even do?! "I'm master of clues! See how easy I make it for Batman to find me and break my jaw?!" And how shitty must it have been to be Clock King with a costume comprised of a wallpaper pattern of analog clocks when digital clocks suddenly became de rigueur? Was his super power being able to read an analog clock to the exact second, making him obsolete as soon as digital came around? Maybe he's just really good at knowing the exact number of seconds to cook anything on a microwave. I can't even take a guess at what Big Sir's power is other than being dumb and strong. Hmm, that's probably it, seeing as how these characters are so terrible.

It concerns me when a person becomes a super-villain without a compelling reason or any future plans.

If I had a super-power and decided to use it for my own selfish purposes, no way would I dress up and make myself stand out. I would not take a name that advertises the extent of my powers. I would lay low and make small amounts of money in innocuous ways. My guess is that people become super-villains for the power and not so much for the wealth. That's where I'd get it all wrong. I don't want power! I don't want responsibility! I want to lie on my couch without having to worry about rent!

Major Disaster decides to have a nice little soliloquy about how fate had always planned to make him a great man.

Yeah but Mayor Disaster just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Major Disaster's ultimate goal is to rule the world which, again, I simply don't understand. You don't become a criminal so that you can wind up doing more work, do you?! Oh wait. I forgot idiots like Putin and Trump exist. Sad pathetic little unloved men who can't simply be content with a cup of coffee and a cat on their lap. Assholes, really.

Major Disaster realizes he'll probably have to knock over some gas stations first. Which seems a little underwhelming considering his evil super group has just stolen themselves a futuristic space ship.

Guy Gardner hears Major Disaster's evil soliloquy over the smashed ship he's cleaning up with Mister Miracle and flies off to beat up this Injustice League he's just heard about. See?! This is what I'm talking about! Why name yourself something that immediately gives a super hero probable cause to punch you in the throat? Dress like a normal person! Keep your regular name! Don't speak all of your terrible thoughts aloud to nobody!

Guy Gardner makes himself known to the Injustice League and they panic, sending the ship screaming into low orbit.

No, he's implying it.

Look, I didn't read Cerebus a half dozen times and not learn a little something about implying versus inferring.

Anyway, Guy Gardner smashes their ship and before they crash, Martian Manhunter catches them. The army then hauls away the Injustice League. They never even use any of their powers (unless Clock King expressing exactly how much time Green Lantern takes to crash through the ship counts). I suppose Keith and J.M. couldn't figure out how to write a real story in an issue where the Justice League were busy fighting the Invasion crossover. This issue ends with them heading off to finish the crossover.

Letters this month were from Jacob Gilbert of Troy, New York; James Bachmann of Huntsville, Texas; Bill Thiessen of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia; Sam Quang, The Record Man, of Toronto, Ontario; and Asa Jay Ambrister of Nashville, Tennessee. Not one of them praises the letterer. Ungrateful jerks.

Justice League International #23 Rating: 2.5 Stars. If you're going to throw a group of C-list villains into a Justice League title, I'd at least like to see their powers in action. I'm assuming Multi-Man can replicate himself. My guess is Clock King always knows what time it is for those times you're hanging out with him and don't want to look over your shoulder at the clock. Major Disaster probably causes tidal waves and earthquakes. Big Sir is big and polite. And Clue Master with all the little pills on his chest? Who the fuck knows!? Later, he'll have a child named Spoiler and fuck around with Batman for 52 weeks. But in 1989?! He was just a feathered-haired idiot with little capsules on his front. I guess that's where he keeps his clues? But what are the clues for?!

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