Friday, December 30, 2022

Justice League America #35 (February 1990)

Now I'm tempted to deface every Rothko painting with a tiny ice floe covered in superheroes.

When Kooey Kooey Kooey Island woke up and floated away last issue, much of the infrastructure on the island was destroyed. The Justice League teleporters sank to the bottom of the Pacific but, thanks to Kilowog being some kind of a technological and engineering genius, remained powered on. This was unfortunate for reasons you're probably guessing at right now.

Max Lord survives this catastrophe.

I'm a dumb person reading a dumb comic book which creates two major problems when discussing this scene. The first is that I'm too stupid to know if Max Lord should survive something like this. The second is that it's a comic book so who cares because he does. The other people who have no problem with teleporting to the bottom of the ocean: Oberon and The Huntress. The people who teleported? Max Lord, Oberon, The Huntress, and Ice. Instead of popping straight up to the surface, Ice takes a side trip into a Hentai adventure.

Me at my first Anime convention in San Jose in the mid-90s watching the late night movie which followed me crying my way through Sailor Moon R: The Movie: "Oh boy! More innocent young people finding love and friendship! Um. Wait. What?!"

The Huntress interrupts a surefire erotic story arc by shooting a crossbow bolt through the Man-o-War's, um, head? It'll probably be okay, right?! Ice is delirious from either the poison stings of the jellyfish or the lady blue balls. Luckily everybody else is okay. Unluckily, none of them are useful members of the Justice League. Not that there were a lot of members to choose from who would have been useful here. The one time Aquaman would be handy and he's off fucking around with Beetle and Booster at the Kooey Kooey Kooey Resort, Casino, and Kaiju Experience.

Is this the reason Max Lord gives in Infinite Crisis for murdering Beetle?

What is Ice going to do about it?! She's still shaken from witnessing The Huntress murder her new lover! She's going to be useless! I mean other than to make an ice floe for everybody like on the cover, I guess.

Meanwhile, some creep keeps going through the Justice League New York Embassy garbage. He doesn't reveal what exactly he's looking for but it looks like he's collecting their hair! Maybe he's going to clone them to create a whole Justice League of Bizarro heroes. And since Bizarro versions of characters do exactly the opposite of their namesakes, the Bizarro Justice League will be a competent team of super heroes who constantly save the world.

Back on Kooey Kooey Kooey Island, Major Disaster reveals himself to Beetle, Booster, and Aquaman in the hopes that he can help anchor the island to a nearby underwater active volcano. Beetle flips the fuck out because he recognizes him as the guy who won all of their money in the casino and since Major Disaster is a known super villain, he assumes shenanigans. But there were no shenanigans other than some minor card counting by a dufus and if your casino loses all of its money to a card counter, I'm pretty sure that's on your casino for not establishing precautions against smart people beating your system with one of their own. Unless Big Sir's power to read cards is magic and then I don't know what the laws are because the real world has never had to make laws dealing with magical abilities. But even knowing what a card is before it is played can only help you marginally in Blackjack. It'll keep you from busting but you've got no control over what the house's hand is. So if Major Disaster and Big Sir busted the house, I don't see anything suspicious there except maybe a really incredible run of good luck.

Since the team floating on ice in the middle of the Pacific are probably going to die, Max Lord decides to tell The Huntress that he used his psychic powers to force her into joining the League.

The Huntress reacting appropriately to the information.

The Huntress, realizing the implications of a man with the willingness to use an ability in this way, intends to murder him. And, just for the record, Oberon doesn't lift a finger to help. This raises my esteem for both characters because imagine if The Huntress had snapped Max Lord's neck and tossed him to sharks here? Wonder Woman wouldn't have had to do it fifteen years later! And Blue Beetle would never have been killed! I don't mean to suggest that The Huntress wimped out like The Batman would have done and realized killing Max would take her over a line leading to killing more easily. She definitely intended to kill Max here in the Pacific but Max, realizing he's going to die, uses his powers yet again! This time he makes The Huntress let go and forget about his confession so he can go back to seeming like a guy who doesn't mind rape people.

Max doesn't tell Oberon to forget though and Oberon doesn't shove Max into the ocean which puts my esteem for Oberon back to about where it was. Which is to say I don't really think about him that often. Max promises Oberon that he'll straighten it out with The Huntress later but since Max lives to be killed by Wonder Woman fifteen years later, I'm guessing he never again broaches the subject with her.

Major Disaster saying what we're all thinking.

Remember that thing about how I was stupid and also this is a comic book? I've never been clear on how Aquaman's power works. He can speak with fish and ask them politely to help and they always decide to help because they're so dumb? Isn't that just as bad as ordering them to do what he wants when he wants them to? And if he can "speak with fish," how come he can also speak with whales and dolphins? Does that just mean he can talk psychically talk to anything that happens to be in water? But then he sometimes talks with lizards and things, the writer at the time always saying some dumb shit about accessing the part of the brain which evolved from fish? Is he just a less stylish Max Lord from the ocean who knows better than to coerce people and so sticks to lesser and dumber animals? Oh, and dolphins! I think digging down into how Aquaman's powers work really makes me hate Aquaman even more than I already hated Aquaman which was substantial. I'd rather believe he gives them orders and they slavishly have to follow his orders or else he causes them great psychic pain. He's a terrible super hero so why not just make him a dick as well?

Also, if Aquaman and the whales are "brothers, equals working together," how often does Aquaman help the whales to move or give them rides to their whale airports? I bet somebody has written an Aquaman story where Aquaman is helping sea creatures and I don't mean helping them in a "Hey, our habitat is being screwed by a super villain in his base" kind of story because that, ultimately, is just a normal super hero comic book story. I mean he helps some lobsters decorate the ocean floor for a big lobster quadrille or something.

Major Disaster causes the volcano to erupt just as the whales push the island over the lava flow which quickly cools underwater, leaving the island firmly attached to the ocean floor. And probably causing a bunch of underground pressure now that the lava can't vent which means it'll probably blow out the side causing a tsunami which will kill hundreds of thousands of Pacific Islanders.

While underwater, Aquaman hears a bunch of agitated sharks and swims off to investigate. So maybe he does help is finny friends! He hears some hungry sharks having trouble getting some food and he's off to help them eat Max Lord, Oberon, The Huntress, and Ice. What a good friend to the fishies!

Before being rescued, Oberon notices hundreds of thousands of dollars floating around in the ocean. So even though they'll all probably be dead soon, Max collects as much of it as he can find. Hopefully, for Blue Beetle and Booster Gold's sake, he'll just manage to get all of the cash back. Maybe Aquaman can demand his stupid fish friends help collect it all. And even though it's legally Major Disaster's cash now, I'm pretty sure Major Disaster won't mind just letting it all go, as long as nobody sues, beats him up, or kills him.

I mean? Were Johns and the other writers of Countdown to Infinite Crisis actually referencing this?!

Anyway, everything works out just fine. Max doesn't kill anybody. The Huntress doesn't kill anybody. J'onn doesn't kill anybody even though he threatens to murder Beetle and Booster when they get home. I'm starting to notice a trend with this group! They're love language is pure violence! That's what comes letting Batman lead the team through fear and intimidation!

Justice League America #35 Rating: B. Once again, nobody who didn't need saving based on the Justice League's actions was saved! Sure, a lot of people stranded on an out-of-control island were saved! But they were saved by Aquaman and Major Disaster and a bunch of whales. So in a way, the Justice League of America were the bad guys in this issue, endangering hundreds of people through their actions. And their leader, Max Lord, admitted to mind rape and probably should have been killed. At the very least, Oberon should have reported him to Batman and J'onn, getting him kicked off the team or imprisoned in Doctor Fate's tower. He's proven himself to be a bad, greedy, terrible person and yet he's still just going to be the leader of this group? Kind of spoils the entire enterprise, doesn't it?

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