Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Justice League America #40 (July 1990)

Why are they all walking away?! It's Mister Miracle! He's bound to appear in an explosion of smoke any second now!

You don't know for absolute certain that I couldn't stop looking at Ice's ass on that cover.

Here's how comic books work across the decades: a fondly remembered comic book series eventually gets some kind of reboot several years later. The creative team working on the reboot remember the things they loved about it and try to recreate those things. But inevitably, they just ramp up the pace and make it far less effective. So the initial run of the Justice League ran for 261 issues until the team was broken beyond repair. A few years after that, this Giffen and DeMatteis run began. It was goofy and charming and silly with little real threat, a modern throw back to the fun adventures of the golden age characters where the villains were never an existential threat, often just some tarted up dumb-dumb trying to rob a bank or rule the world (but through goofy tricks rather than excess violence!). Eventually, remembering how things got desperate and depressing in the final few years of the original Justice League run, Giffen and DeMatteis begin to crank up the threat. Here we see the first casualty of this ramping up the danger: automaton Mister Miracle. In just a year or so, it will all come to a smashingly serious head with Breakdowns. The same kind of arc as Volume One of the Justice League's 261 issues but in 50 issues.

And just to show how this trend continues across time, we get another incarnation of the Justice League (not the next because Grant Morrison's JLA was something a bit different and more spectacular, incorporating modern dangers but against the most powerful DC heroes. We'll get to that in a few years!) in The New 52 which takes the same formula and winds up at a complete and utter breakdown of the team in just twelve issues.

And at only 20 pages per issue, you barely even care about whoever the fuck died here!

Judging by the statue, it was Rocket Red so that's probably why I barely remember it. Oh no! A Rocket Red died! The needle on my emotionometer jiggled less an old man's penis in the mouth of a willing prostitute. Not that I know anything about that! I used my imagination for that metaphor!

My first thought upon seeing this cover with Mister Miracle's grave (and I had more than one so numbering them seems appropriate!) was, "Didn't they do an autopsy?" But then I remembered he died when Despero blew up the ship he was piloting. So his robot pieces probably just mixed with space ship pieces and everybody believed his body was disintegrated. Which just shows how much they think he fucking sucks at the one thing he's supposed to be super capable at: escaping. If I were Mister Miracle, I'd be fucking pissed. "Why wouldn't you think I made a miraculous escape when you didn't find my body?! It's right there in my fucking name, you assholes!" I'd fucking quit the League and go see if Darkseid needed any help destroying the League.

You don't want to know my second and third thoughts because they had to do with Ice's ass. We'll ignore my fourth thoughts too. You guessed it: Fire's ass.

This issue begins where the last issue left off: the Justice League getting their very fine asses handed to them by the naked and angry alien, Despero. Now they're all just hoping J'onn comes along to do that mind trick to Despero where J'onn enables Despero to live out the dream of killing the Justice League in a forced telepathic fantasy. Then Despero will simply go away and never, ever come back to Earth ever again ever. Certainly no writer could come up with a way to make Despero realize he didn't actually get to kill the Justice League, right?!

Aw. Despero's hate is simply fueled by envy! He wants to fit in and be loved!

It's been many years since the above panel so now I have to wonder: has any writer done a John Gardner-esque version of Despero? Or has there been a Broadway play where we're forced to empathize with Despero because the songs are so well written? I think it would work because I feel bad for him just from that single panel!

oh no beetle is dead oh no tragedy

That caption was me acting sarcastic because I know Beetle isn't actually dead and not being sarcastic because I'm glad Beetle is dead.

Maybe Blue Beetle was never shot in the head at all! Maybe Martian Manhunter just used this same trick on Max Lord! And then Blue Beetle quietly retired because being a superhero is hard and painful and why would anybody do it when they don't have to, especially when they don't have super powers? Beetle could easily have gotten rich being the Lucius Fox for some other rich dumb-dumb playing superhero.

oh no martian manhunter is dead oh no tragedy

That was me being sarcastic because I'm glad that sanctimonious bastard is dead.

Okay, fine, he's not dead and I wouldn't be happy about it if he was. J'onn is a pretty cool character. I wonder if 18-year-old me was fooled by this telepathic murder fantasy? Probably! He was so stupid!

I just remember that in a past comic book review, I threatened to start publishing old poems and other stories from when I was much, much younger! I think 18-year-old me was a treasure trove of terrible heavy metal songs! Just the lyrics, of course! Why would I have learned to play music?! So difficult!

Despero snuffs out Fire in one clap of his hands and then walks past Ice having a sexy dream while napping.

Oh the vulgar captions I wrote out and deleted before this one!

Hopefully nobody tells me that Ice really looks hurt in the above panels because I don't need to know that I'm the one who has a serious problem and it's not the way comic book artists draw hurt women at all! I don't need to suddenly know, at fifty, that, with a little more ambition, I might be a serial killer.

Despero dreams he destroys the entire Earth leaving him with a sense of peace and contentment. Being that he was mostly already dead except for the hate which kept him alive, this allows him to shrink back down into non-existence. Martian Manhunter has saved the day by hypnotizing Despero and convincing him to revert to a tiny little space fetus.

Oh he's adorable!

I wonder which one of the League is going to eat Despero? I'd put him in a bottle of tequila and call it Hate. I bet he'd be so delicious!

After the fight, it's time to attend to Scott Free's funeral because, as I pointed out, everybody fucking believes he was disintegrated rather than harbor the hope that he did what he does best. These fucking people.

The priest, in his overblown eulogy, comes closest to possibly suggesting that Scott escaped the tragedy. But even he is all, "Yeah, no, the guy is toast! But he's more free than ever! God is so good! Thank you for killing us, God!"

The issue ends on a number of scenes where everybody gets to be sad and angry and not-ridiculous for once. Guy even acts human as he offers Ice a shoulder to cry on. I mean, obviously everybody reading that scene believes he's just trying to get in her pants. But in offering to listen, Guy simply talks. Because Guy can't express his feelings, he has to project them onto Ice. And Ice understands that he needs her more than she needs him.

In another scene, Batman yells at Superman because Batman is a gigantic dick who has never learned how to deal with his grief. And Booster Gold is too sad to make money! And Max Lord doesn't have time to mourn because he needs to get some stronger members on the team. Luckily for him, Scott Free's "brother," Orion, has come to the funeral to connect with his dead brother and maybe try to better himself. Probably by joining the League!

Oh yeah, and Barda punches the fuck out of Maxwell Lord who somehow survives. She also doesn't seem to believe her husband could have pulled off a last second escape! Too bad Oberon isn't around to tell call everybody fucking idiots. But that's because he's on space tour with the actual, non-robotic Mister Miracle.

Justice League America #40 Rating: A-. I like how Martian Manhunter defeated Despero with his telepathy although it was much more than that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual gift that one Martian can give to another Martian to make a fantasy seem more like reality. I guess they usually use it to have one unmatchable session of sex. But J'onn had to waste it on taming Despero's hate. It had to be a one-off Martian trick so that readers don't ask, every time there's a huge threat, "Why doesn't J'onn do that Mayahavanana thing?!" It was also nice to see a writer give Guy a human moment! Sure, if you hate Guy, you can write it off as him wanting to get in Ice's chilly pants. But it's a really carefully constructed scene and I thought it was perfect. Especially the way Ice realizes Guy is looking for consolation rather than giving it. The only thing that could have been better was the damage to Max's face and head after Barda slugged him. Nobody should be able to take a sucker punch from Barda! That fucker should be dead.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Justice League Europe #15 (June 1990)

Was the world they destroyed Marvel's Earth?

Despero is currently kicking ass in Justice League America and now The Extremists have come to town to kick Justice League Europe's ass. It looks like editorial called Giffen into their office and were all, "Enough with the jokes, funny man. You know that grimdark realistic and serious shit you're pulling over there in your LoSH comics? Do that shit here. Put all of the ridiculous characters on ice and get serious!" So then Giffen stormed out of the office, knocked the child pornography out of Gerard Jones's hands, and screamed, "We have to kill some superheroes or I'm going to lose my job!" Then DeMatteis was all, "We could kill G'nort, I guess?" And Giffen was all, "They told me I have to send him to the arctic! This fucking sucks! I'm so angry, I'm going to have to kill at least three members of the Legion of Super-heroes this month!"

I have never willingly read a Legion of Super-heroes comic book so I have no idea what it was actually like. For all I know, it was just as stupidly goofy as Giffen's incarnation of the Justice League! And before you say, "Hey, Tess, you did willingly read Legion comics during The New 52!", I'd just like to say, "No, I didn't. I read them because I was reading all 52 of the comic book series DC was putting out as a project. I didn't want to read them!"

This issue is called "Kings of the Dust" and begins with Silver Sorceress wandering about on her old dead planet. A few issues ago, she decided to go back home, leaving Blue Jay to escape a Russian gulag all by himself. But now that she's back home, she's finding the intense radiation and the never-ending rubble to be a bit of a downer. As far as stupid mistakes go, going home is almost always the stupidest.

I don't know what she's talking about because I'm admiring how Bart Sears sneakily got her nipples in.

Elsewhere on this elseworld, The Extremists are moping about because instead of every nation on Earth surrendering so that the Extremists could rule over them, they decided on suicide. I don't think they planned on suicide! I think their plan was fighting back but everybody knows that fighting against power just makes power more violent and homicidal. I guess the nations of this world also thought they were "the power" because why would they think five super villains were a match against all of this world's nuclear arsenal? Although fighting back with your nuclear arsenal probably is the definition of suicide. So basically the world leaders killed everybody in the world because they didn't want to lose power. Not that having The Extremists rule would have done the people of this world much good. But they wouldn't be dead, I guess?

This paper tries to get across a certain narrative but I live in a post-Fox-News world so it's actually pretty ambiguous.

If this newspaper were written by Fox News, the demands that were too crazy by "Extremists" could be a long list of popular civilization improving ideas that disrupt a certain segment of the population's power of economic, legal, and social control. The Extremists could have been demanding Universal Basic Income, free health care, steep taxes for the upper income earners, and rent control. Hell, judging by the way conservatives lose their mind at any suggestion that they try to be better people and understand that they benefit from living in the community around them, The Extremists may have simply been asking everybody to stop using the words "retard" and "faggot." Some bloated pink man who constantly argues they're more logical than everybody else probably stroked out from screaming about how their British friends can no longer simply state how they're putting out their cigarette! Guy on the radio logically screaming, "Just try saying, 'I retarded my faggot before stepping back in the building,' and see how quickly you're cancelled!" And all his pasty older listeners angrily bristling, reminding themselves to bring this situation up to their children when they came to visit. Later, many weeks after that visit, those same people were left wondering, "Why won't my children come to visit anymore? I guess I've been cancelled too!"

Being that The Extremists just tortured and killed the last non-Extremist resident of this dying planet, I'm fairly certain none of that was the case here. I think they're actually a bunch of evil nihilists!

I think this Earth has characters who are meant to be Marvel look-a-likes but I suck at knowing Marvel characters so I'm just guessing as to who each of The Extremists are parodying. Lord Havok is probably Doctor Doom. Gorgon is probably Doctor Octopus. Tracer seems to be Sabretooth. Dreamweaver might be The Scarlet Witch (unless the Silver Sorceress is. Maybe both are, depending on if Scarlet Witch is working with The Brotherhood or The X-Men). And the last member, Doctor Diehard, represents somebody else. Magneto, maybe? I don't remember this guy. Maybe he dies pretty quickly in this story arc. I hope that's the case or I'll just have to reckon with the fact that my memory is a real fucking tragedy.

I'm going to assume that I can't start using "mental quadriplegic" in place of the r-slur.

The Extremists are all really angry that they no longer have anybody to torture. But whose fault is that? If they hadn't destroyed the world, they could still pass the time playing video games or watching pornography on the Internet. But all of those modern conveniences are things of the past and the only hobby left is kicking rats and torturing the last living non-member of their gang. Gorgon decides that since Tracer killed their torture victim, Tracer should be next in line. And Gorgon has a weird way of torturing people: slamming them into the ceiling and jerking them off with his tentacles.

My endurance record for being jerked off by an octopus is 23 seconds.

Having escaped from a Russian meta-human gulag, Blue Jay seeks asylum at the Justice League International Embassy in Moscow. But being as how this is Russia and Russia is full of duplicitous scumbags, the shadowy man running the Embassy reports back to his superiors that Blue Jay has arrived and must be recaptured. But not before Justice League Europe has been alerted to Blue Jay's harrowing story of escape. I don't even know what the word "harrowing" means but I know when I'm supposed to use it! And escaping from a Russian gulag is totally the time for that word to make an appearance. That and when you're being jacked off by an octopus.

Some disturbing developments are taking place at Justice League Embassy and I'm not talking about Rocket Red fucking the shit out of his wife after Bart Sears uses his creepiest art style possible to show Dmitri coming on to her. No, what's really disturbing is this panel that I'm going to assume, and almost certainly incorrectly but based on his criminal history, Gerard Jones wrote it into the script.

Interior: JLE Rec Room. The Flash plays table tennis against himself while Dmitri's young daughter stands nearby, her leotard crawling up her succulent buttcrack, naked cheeks hanging out to either side. Script continued after I masturbate.

If Gerard Jones didn't write that scene into his script, are we sure Bart Sears' house shouldn't have been thoroughly searched as well? No, no! That's just me being silly and/or libelous! We all know comic book artists don't know how to draw non-sexy women! Remember that cover where Ice was knocked into a coma for JLA #38? That shouldn't have been sexy but meow! Although this picture is less "meow" and more "what the fuck are you doing, Bart Sears?!"

Power Girl shows up in her new skin-tight costume to distract everybody from the inappropriate skin-tight costume on Dmitri's daughter. Wally is all, "I see your tits and vadge!" And Power Girl is all, "You better stop looking at them or I'll kill you!" And Wally is all, "I don't know what to do now!" Luckily, Power Girl's nipples and camel toe have gone to wherever Captain Atom's dick goes when he's in his skin-tight costume so this comic book can still be approved by the Comics Code Authority! Whew! Good thing! Nobody in 1990 was going to sell a comic book without that useless relic on the cover! I'm fairly certain that by 1990, even the Comics Code Authority had stopped reading comic books and were just selling their stamp of approval to whatever comic book figured they could get away with sticking it on the cover.

Metamorpho is chosen to investigate the Blue Jay matter because even though he's long been comedy relief in other comic books, he may be the most serious and mature member of the current incarnation of this team. He's also willing to start an international incident in the name of justice.

Back on The Extremists' world, they've found Silver Sorceress and have begun beating the shit out of her while, once more, using the wholly inappropriate sound effect of "FAP." I mean, maybe not totally inappropriate:

See what I mean about comic book artists? She's practically dead and here I am with this boner.

Some comic book reviewers might get really serious discussing things like male gaze and misogyny here, especially considering the angle of this shot and the use of the word "penetrate". But that's not what I do. I don't write about the obvious social commentary that can be made about the audience being catered to by comic book creators, especially in 1990. No, I make jokes which point out those things but also cause Anonymous on tumblr to ask me things like, "Did you say you were into pedophilia in your Justice League Europe #15 review?" and "I have written to the animal cops about your penchant for sex with octopi, you disgusting pervert." Also maybe that second ask wasn't by Anonymous but by Gail Simone.

The Extremists learn the spell to go to whatever Earth Justice League Europe takes place on (probably Earth-1 unless Post-Crisis, it's the only Earth left? Which means it's Earth-1, I guess! But then what Earth are the Extremists from?! How is "the Earth from another dimension" any different from one of the infinite Earths of the pre-Crisis DC Universe?). Before heading to the non-destroyed Earth, The Extremists send Silver Sorceress to somebody named Carny. Amazing that with the mention of one stupid name, the reader can be left chilled and worried about what's going to happen to Silver Sorceress. Carny?! *shudder*

The Extremists transport themselves to Blue Jay's location where Metamorpho acts tough and then gets his ass slapped. They throw him into the teleporter and send him back to the European embassy where he gets to warn the others about a terrible threat to Earth. Although are they a threat? Five super villains appeared and beat up Blue Jay and Metamorpho. They could be a minor threat to, say, one Moscow neighborhood! I guess, as a reader, I'm supposed to buy into all the background information on them, like how they destroyed a whole world, how they love torturing people to death, and how they quite easily beat up the Element Man, so that I think, "Wow! This is a major threat to the Justice League and the world! I can't wait to see how this fucking plays out!" And I probably thought all of that when I first read this comic book at 18 (I was a dopey and naive 18 year old). But now I'm a cynical old man and all I can think is, "Does Metamorpho feel the same pain as a non-Element man when he's kicked in the nuts?"

Justice League Europe #15 Rating: A. It's the first appearance of The Extremists! That's got to count for something even if it was written by a pedophile and drawn by Bart Sears! The Extremists are pretty fucking cool even though one of them is named after a battery and one of them is based on Hentai and one of them has a broken egg for a face. They're still somehow bad ass! Or maybe I'm just basing it all on my memory of reading this when I was much younger and much easier to convince that things were super cool, especially if those things were ultra-violent and nihilistic! Now I just want my nihilism to come with strawberry milk and a nap.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Justice League Antarctica Annual #4 (1990)

Get it?! They're all so stupid that they're facing the wrong way for the cliché Justice League first issue cover pose!

I have a stack of Justice League America and Justice League Europe comic books sitting in a perfect shuffle to be sure that I read them in order. And because I'm an idiot who constantly thinks that cover dates mean anything and that Annuals actually come out once per year, I stuck the Annuals at twelve issue intervals. But while reading the letters in Justice League America #39, the person who answers the letters whose name I really should know after 39 issues revealed that JLA Annual #4 was "on newstands now!" What the fuck is that about, DC? It's not even close! You guys do know that a year is a month or two longer than ten months, right?

At the moment, I don't know who did the cover for this issue but I do remember some artist (or artists?) loved to draw a G'nort like a hideous combination of Beetlejuice and Taxi Driver (which is the name of De Niro's character in Taxi Driver, right? Like the shark's name is Jaws and E.T. is E.T. and that Tatooine farm boy is Star Wars). G'nort looks less like a space dog and more like an overworked, disgruntled tech programmer who just found out his rent doubled on his mini-studio on the outskirts of San Francisco.

Oh wait. That's Kevin Maguire's cover?! I didn't recognize his people by the backs of their heads. So he's the one who drew G'nort that way?! Or is it just because Rubenstein inked this? What the fuck is going on?! I mean, it makes sense because I have more memories than just this cover of G'nort looking this horrible. But even the side of Big Sir's head doesn't look particularly Maguire-like. Was Rubenstein working on a rushed Maguire sketch?! The point I'm trying to make is that G'nort fucking looks weird and awful on this cover and we'll see a lot more of this G'nort style, I'm sure, as I dig into my old comic books. Although I already read my Green Lantern Quarterly comics and I feel like maybe that's where he showed up a lot like this?

This issue begins with most of the Injustice League in line at the unemployment office. I don't think it's a purposeful statement on the way state safety nets actually help prevent crime when the Injustice Society decides to go back to being criminals when it's clear unemployment isn't going to provide for them but it's accurate nevertheless. Conservatives have carefully cultivated a worldview that conveniently excuses them from ever having to pay taxes that would ever go to helping somebody else while having no problem paying taxes for things that hurt and punish other people. They decided, not because of evidence but because it's convenient to their sense of self and their pocket books, that criminals are criminals because they haven't been threatened with harsh enough punishments. They ignore that people who need food and shelter will do whatever they need to to get that food and shelter. They believe if somebody in need is given money, they'll spend it on drugs, living a fulfilling life of tax-payer-paid luxury in a squalid tenement or alley. They probably think Javert is the hero of Les Mis. They're fundamentally awful people whose only goal is to destroy any service that helps the needy if one single person abuses that service. They latch onto any ridiculous argument that simply defends their selfish beliefs. They have never once sacrificed a single thing for the community that provided so much for them while insisting that everything they ever did was caused by their own tugs at their own bootstraps. It's why so many of them see social justice as some kind of harmful movement! It's because it exposes their beliefs for the selfish, harmful bullshit they really are. If they read a comic book where the villain robs a bank, that's acceptable because they would never rob a bank. But if they read a comic book where the villain reflects back their own beliefs and attitudes, they're offended and begin ranting about woke comic books full of social justice warriors. Every single criticism they lay at the feet of social justice is simply a dramatic monologue akin to the Duke in "My Last Duchess" as he accidentally confesses to murder.

The fact that every person in the unemployment line looks like an out-of-work comic book villain might also be some kind of commentary reverse to what I was saying.

See?! If you legalize unemployment, only criminals will go on it! Or something. I don't know how to think like a conservative! I've done so many mushrooms at once that I had complete ego loss and couldn't understand the reality around me and that was more relatable than the conservative mindset.

Not only are four of the Injustice League members looking to get on the dole, they discover their compatriot Bruce working at the unemployment office and convince him to ditch his job and go back to a life of crime. They also discover Multi-Man is living a fulfilling life as the butler and bodyguard of an elderly rich woman and fuck up his life as well. See what happens when you provide welfare to those pretending to be in need?! They just bring everybody down around them with the lure of a terrible, anxious, dangerous life of crime (especially when you consider the world is full of people like Batman, Vigilante, and Peacemaker. I mean, I'd rather clean the backroom floors of porn stores (which I have actually done!)).

Like every other terrible-at-crime gang of supervillains, the Injustice League decide all they need is one last big score to pay for their retirement. They've never in their lives been able to pull of a small score so how they think they're going to accomplish a big score is beyond my limited imagination. Being so much smarter than me, Major Disaster has a plan: steal a popular and well-known gemstone from its case in the middle of a swanky event full of the most prominent local citizens! I must be really stupid because I see so many flaws in that plan just from hearing it that I wouldn't attempt it. But he's the master criminal, so I'll just shut my big stupid liberal mouth and see what happens!

Oh look! The plan was so foolproof, the Injustice League weren't the only ones to think of it!

DC really cheaped out on the color separations for this annual, didn't they? "You know what? The Injustice Society have too many disparate colors in their costumes. Just cover them in a weird pink glow!" I suppose that matches Mike McKone's effort to just fill the bottom half of the panel with smoke so he didn't have to figure out how to make the lower torsos of the figures he drew make sense to the figures' upper torso proportions.

This is what a scary, threatening terrorist looks like to a comic book artist.

Apparently the scariest person Mike McKone knew in 1990 was Marv Wolfman.

The Injustice League, tired of being beaten up and laughed at, kick the asses of the terrorists and save the day. The Daily Planet reports the story as "Former bad guys saving the day" and call them "New Heroes on the Block." But they still refer to them, in the article, as the Injustice League. It makes you think, "Did the journalist think the article through even for a second?" Although most of us have been thinking that question every day of our lives for the past forty years so I guess it's simply the status quo of journalistic ethics. I mean, they're called the Injustice League! They just happened to be at the event where a diamond was on display to be stolen! How would they have known a crime was even being committed even if they were trying to suddenly stop crime? Since I've already called one huge category of people pieces of shit (and if I forgot to, let me do it now: conservatives are pieces of shit), I'll let the journalists off this one time. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and agree with their take on this story: the Injustice League saved the day and did the opposite of the definition of their name!

The title page comes after that long opening, revealing this issue is called, "What's Black and White and Black and White and Bl". I guess that's going to be a penguin joke since this is a Justice League Antarctica comic but there aren't any stairs to fall down or nuns to have sex with in Antarctica so I don't know what the punch line will be.

Now that the Injustice League have been tagged as heroes, Major Disaster believes they might be able to make money at it. He approaches Max Lord to see about a paycheck. So this issue should be over in one more page as Max Lord says, "I'm already paying too many screw-ups as it is! Get out of my office!"

This is why Max Lord is a competent business man and I'm an abject business failure. Because this sounds like a stupid way to conduct business.

Max also believes he's found a way to get G'nort out of the embassy by hiring the Injustice League. That seems like a lot of work. I'd just pay the Injustice League to take G'nort on as a member. Then everything they do is their responsibility and you can pay them more because you're not out money on their living expenses and maintaining an embassy in Antarctica. But like I said, I'm a terrible business man and Max Lord is like the best business man to ever business or man.

And so it comes to pass, the Injustice League and G'nort take over Justice League Antarctica! Why does the Justice League need an embassy in Antarctica? Fuck if I know! Penguin crime probably hit some kind of peak in the late 80s.

At least I think, based on the cover, that they're stationed in Antarctica.

Sub-arctic?! Why the fuck does DC have such a hard time distinguishing between the Arctic and Antarctica?! It's fucking elementary school geography!

I'm about half of the way through this issue so I guess it's now going to be twenty pages of nothing at all happening in the freezing cold. Probably some jokes about G'nort eating dog food and Big Sir eating yellow snow.

For those of us who can't remember anything and/or are new to the Injustice League, the comic book creators put in a page of Blue Beetle reading the bios of the members of the Injustice League (and G'nort), probably at the demand of the editors. "Everybody knows what Clock King does! It's obvious! His face is a clock! He's good at clock facts and boiling eggs! But how many people think Multi-man multiplies into lots of people or is as good at math as Clock King is at reading analog clocks when he's actually more like Resurrection Man, dying and coming back with a new super power every time?! Nobody fucking knows that! Why would they?! You don't call somebody with that super power 'Multi-man' unless you're a nihilist who loves to sow chaos! And what about fucking Cluemaster?! What kind of a shit name is that?! 'My crimes are so puzzling and mysterious that I leave clues just to give the good guys a chance at stopping me!' What is mentally wrong with that asshole? Does he love getting his ass beat by Batman?! Just stick a fucking facts page in the middle of the story because judging by the sales of Who's Who, nobody fucking knows anything about these assholes!" Man, I should have been a comic book editor! I could really stick it to those stupid writers and artists! Imagine how much better Cullen Bunn's run on Aquaman would have been! And I'd probably be dating Ann Nocenti!

G'nort goes out on patrol in Antarctica (unless it's the Arctic but, judging by the cover, I don't think that can be true) and discovers an abandoned base.

If DC writers didn't constantly show they have a problem understanding the difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic, this caption would say, "G'nort is a fucking ignorant motherfucker who doesn't know where he is!" Instead, this: "DC Writers are fucking ignorant motherfuckers who don't know where G'nort is!"

The Scarlet Skier makes an appearance, having been asked to join the team by G'nort, because I guess DC's editors wanted all of the stupid Justice League shit contained in one place while they try to write a serious Despero story? But the Scarlet Skier got directions from G'nort which means he's flying around in the Arctic rather than Antarctica. No, wait. Once again, that was just the idiotic writers having dropped out of 3rd grade. The Scarlet Skier crashes into the snow where he discovers some weird animal tracks. They're the same tracks Big Sir found! And they're probably the tracks of the creatures who escaped from containment and killed all of the French scientists at the base G'nort found! And, judging by the name of this issue, they're probably mutated penguins or nuns (depending on if they're in the Arctic or the Antarctic because, as we all know, there are no nuns in Antarctica).

The actual Justice League learn that the French were conducting genetic research at the base and things have gotten out of hand. Not trusting their new team based just a few hundred meters away, they decide to send a team to solve the problem first.

"Up" there, J'onn? I guess Martians view the top of the Earth differently than we do! There's no reason they shouldn't!

As you can tell by the last caption, I got tired of simply blaming the ignorance of the creative team. Although what should I expect from the people who brought you the Eclipso summer annual event where the entire plot revolved around Eclipso's base being encased in darkness so it was on the "dark side of the moon," a place that absolutely is not dark for at least two weeks straight every month. Maybe the event simply lasted for two weeks? And Eclipso was ready to move his entire base to the other side of the moon as needed?

G'nort brings back a video cassette warning the world that the French have crossed penguins with piranha. So what? The scary thing about piranha is that you're in their element. They're like birds flying around you and attacking while you're stuck in molasses. Whereas penguins, while being birds, are more like fish on land. I imagine I could just stand there for hours punting piranha-penguins with my foot as they waddled near me with their sharp little beaked teeth. Have you ever seen a penguin try to change any elevation greater than half an inch?! Just step up on the smallest available terrain change. Anybody killed by piranha-penguins never fucking deserved to live.

These must be the penguins that are constantly following Lobo around.

Predictably, Justice League Antarctica are defeated by the penguins. They're driven into a storeroom, surrounded and only minutes away from death by ravenous penguins. But Justice League International arrives just in time to battle the penguins and save the day! Which, if nothing else, gives us this canonical image of Martian Manhunter smashing penguins to death:

Okay, this is worth the cover price.

Since it takes so long to manually smash in the head of every single penguin, Justice League Antarctica have time to formulate a plan and save themselves. Major Disaster has G'nort form a protective bubble around everybody while he creates a huge earthquake which swallows the building and kills all of the penguins. It also traps the Injustice League underground. So, in a way, they still needed saving by the Justice League. There's a bit where somebody thought it would be a good time to make a religious point but I'm in a good mood after seeing J'onn smashing penguins so I'm going to ignore it for now. Not that I have anything against penguins and love to see their brains dashed out on rocks! I love penguins! But I love the idea of Martian Manhunter, arguably the most even tempered hero in the DC Universe, brutally murdering the lovable little birds.

For some reason, Justice League Antarctica were blamed for this fiasco when it was actually the French government at fault. But nobody loves to actively participate in reality and would rather view the world through a distorted lens of societal bias and their own inherent flaws and desires, so Max Lord disbands Justice League Antarctica instead of praising them for destroying the piranha-penguin threat. Being complete and utter jokes in the DC Universe, the Injustice Society is disbanded at the end of the comic book and the members all go their separate ways with a little blurb addressing their near future like the ending of Animal House (unless I'm remembering that wrong and then it's like the ending of The Great British Bake-off).

Whoever wrote this blurb didn't read the Multi-man entry in DC's Who's Who.

Justice League Antarctica Annual #4 Rating: Wait. I don't rate annuals! I mean, I don't know why I don't rate them since my ratings are complete and utter made-up-on-the-spot garbage with little thought put into them. I might as well rate it! This one deserved a C+. That's mostly because annuals are so fucking long. You'd think longer comics would be better because, hey, more comic! But it just becomes a trudging drudgery to write about. This took me like a week to read! And I enjoy these dumb spoof comics about C-list characters that are total fuck-ups! Maybe the threat was just too unrealistic, even for a comic book! Now if Aquaman had to fight these vicious little fuckers in the ocean, I'd buy it. But a piranha-penguin scourge on land?! I can't think of a less dangerous scenario! Climb one fucking step and just curb stomp them on that step when they get close! Stupid little fuckers.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Justice League America #39 (June 1990)

"I'm looking at an alien who can turn intangible being choked out by another alien so I'm guessing it's a sexual kink."

Last issue, Despero let everybody know just how full of hate he was and how he was channeling it into destroying the Justice League. I wonder if this story arc was inspired by all the letters the art team was receiving from fans who couldn't stand the wacky slapstick adventures of the new Justice League? It's perfect! Despero becomes the metaphor for the angry fans and by introducing Despero into a Justice League plot, the comic book becomes super serious, hopefully calming the irate fans who, if you had to admit, were probably getting inordinately angry about a four color funny magazine. I'd like to suggest the 90s were better because fans were angry that a comic book wasn't being serious enough as opposed to the 21st century where fans are angry if a comic book has too many Black characters and women but I've got a feeling the anger all stems from the same basic issue. I'm not going to get into what that issue might be because people who haven't had sex yet can get a bit touchy about the issue I'm not discussing but you might have ferreted it out in a clue somewhere in this sentence. It's not their fault society puts so much pressure on the issue! It's society's fault for not allowing a legal outlet in which these people can solve their dilemma!

DC and Marvel should open up super-hero themed brothels in Las Vegas and Reno is an idea I just came up with out of the blue and has nothing to do with a thing I wasn't mentioning in the previous paragraph! I bet they'd make more money than they make with their big dumb action movies! I mean, I'd probably fuck somebody dressed like King Shark. Also I could have left out "probably" in that last sentence.

Gypsy's leg is broken and her family and entire hometown have been killed but she's still got time for a KEKW when J'onn arrives.

In my write-up of Justice League America #38, I mentioned The Trolley Problem without referring to The Last of Us season finale nor this dream I had thirteen years ago. Cabin in the Woods is also relevant to this discussion in that The Trolley Problem almost always uses anonymous people as an example: do you let the trolley run over the people who are about to get run over anyway or do you, the only one in power for some reason, divert the trolley to run over one person. Because as my dream and The Last of Us and Cabin in the Woods indicate, no matter how correct the philosophical opinion that the greater good is worth more than the individual, a lot of us are still willing to let the fucking world burn if it means harm comes to somebody we love. This might not have anything to do with this current issue of the comic book so I'd better figure out how to make it relevant in the next paragraph.

Batman, we know, is of the opinion that if the trolley is going to run over a bunch of people and the only way to stop it is to divert it over less people, Batman would do nothing. If he did something, somebody could point out that he was responsible for killing somebody and not ever taking the blame for killing somebody is his whole schtick! Sure, people could blame him for all the other deaths but he has logic on his side to defend those deaths: he didn't put the trolley in motion! Here we see Martian Manhunter is willing to kill Despero to save lives. So Martian Manhunter would absolutely divert the trolley. Which is good because Batman would just be all, "Choo choo! Despero trolley coming through! Nothing I can do to stop it because I don't kill!" No wonder Jason Todd was so pissed at Batman! The fucking Joker Trolley has been running people over for decades and Batman is just all, "Hey! I occasionally divert it into Arkham but is it my fault Arkham is just a roundhouse where the Joker Trolley comes barreling out in a random direction on tracks just full of tied up Gothamites?! I say no, sir!"

Looks like my comparison to Batman was also on the mind of the writing team.

J'onn tries to battle Despero on two fronts: punching him and telling him all about how love is better than hate. Neither one works because Despero's hate and strength are infinite and also because love was invented by Hallmark to sell more greeting cards. Despero only battles on one front and that front is hatred coming out of his "third eye" which has the power to send J'onn into a catatonic state as he gets trapped in a memory. Also "third eye" is not a euphemism for Despero's pee hole.

J'onn trapped in a fantasy of his dead wife covered in Oreos.

Guy Gardner arrives just in time to save Gypsy's life by putting a green bubble around Despero's "third eye" (again, not a euphemism. He has a literal third eye in his forehead). Despero's "third eye" splooges all over itself, temporarily blinding him and saving Gypsy from a life of being sent links to the "Gypsy gets third eye bukaked by Despero" pornhub videos.

Seriously. This was a close one! So gross.

You know what? I changed my mind after seeing that panel. Despero's "third eye" absolutely is his pee hole.

Guy Gardner launches Despero into the air and fly off to become somebody else's problem after which he immediately begins to sexually harass Gypsy using love lessons he probably learned from Hal Jordan.

For a second there, I was worried that Gerard Jones was writing this issue.

The reason I was worried is because if the writer were somebody who has been convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography then Guy Gardner's dialogue would be an absolute projection of the author. But since it's DeMatteis and he has never been convicted of that kind of thing, I can assume that DeMatteis, like most writers at DC, simply hate Guy Gardner so much that they don't mind portraying him as a possible pederast. I mean, why not? They've already got Deathstork the Terminator and Hal Jordan!

Whenever I point out that Deathstork is a pedophile, the Deathstork fandom comes out in force to tell me I'm a fucking idiot and a piece of shit and don't know fucking anything. Whenever I point out that Hal Jordan is a pedophile, Hal Jordan fans simply say, "We don't talk about Arisia." But I, being a real comic book fan, don't pick and choose what's canon! I don't make any excuses for terrible writing by creating logic pretzels to justify why a character did something I don't like. I suppose if Deathstork and Jordan fans wanted to destroy me in some kind of debate where they take the side of a pedophile, they could point out that I'm being a bit hyperbolic because it's not like those characters are attracted to toddlers! They just like to fuck young girls! And while I would be fine conceding that point to them and letting them win that debate, it's a bit of a rough argument to embrace.

I should also point out, before somebody throws it in my face, that I was being facetious about being a "real comic book fan" and that I don't "pick and choose what's canon" because I will defend Lobo to the death and absolutely explain away Cullen Bunn's run on Lobo for The New 52! It was a wet nightmare! Or it was a Lobo clone and not the real Lobo (which is what they should have done but I don't think they ever did but if they did, it was my idea after reading Lobo #1 during Villain's Month! Probably!). Also, if somebody points out Lobo is a pedophile (and he might be although I can't provide any examples immediately), I'd just point out that he genocided his entire race and, at that point, pointing out he's a pedophile is like trying to shame a serial killer for jaywalking.

Guy Gardner acts like a total scumbag until Gypsy and J'onn convince him that Despero has just murdered a ton of people and needs to be stopped. At that point, Guy begins to see the need to help although he paints it as an opportunity to get revenge for Gypsy's folks. He flies off to almost certainly get his ass handed to him. But at least he does it for the right reasons! I mean, not the revenge thing! Guy's mouth likes to create a reality that paints him as a gigantic misogynist blowhard when really he wants justice! Or he wants to be the gun wielded by justice for the barest of righteous reasons! And, really, what's the difference between being a hero and a vigilante as long as the ends are the same? Bah, don't talk to me about the means! This world is fucking garbage! Means are a luxury few people can afford!

I pause my defense of morally dubious characters for this shot of Ice's ass.

Okay, now that I've won you all back to my side with some cheesecake and you've forgotten how much I like Guy and Lobo, it's time find out what Despero is up to!

Oh isn't that cute? He's doing young Jason Voorhees impressions!

Despero tackles Guy Gardner into midtown Manhattan to pre-enact the battle between Doomsday and Superman in the upcoming Death of Superman but at lower stakes. Does anybody care if any of this Justice League are killed by Despero? Especially Mister Miracle's robot replacement! Obviously he's going to be destroyed. Just ask Red Tornado how many times he's been killed and how many comic books he's been in. It's pretty much 1 to 1.

Despero knocks out Ice by accident. Then he mind blasts Guy Gardner with his pee hole. After that, he psychically blasts Fire so that she passes out from terror. Finally, it's just him and Blue Beetle (because Robot Scott Free is flying the JLA shuttle).

Smartest character in the JLA: eats Oreos. Second smartest character in the JLA: can't say anything serious. I must be a fucking genius!

I'm surprised Despero doesn't snap Beetle's neck on accident just picking him up by the throat. Despero must have a very gentle and loving touch! Why is he so angry?! Maybe he's too sensitive and that's why he's constantly jizzing out of his third eye! But would creaming my jeans every time somebody touched me fill me with hate? I suspect not! Perhaps Despero's word for "orgasm" is our word for "hatred"? Therefore Despero thinks he's filled with infinite hatred when actually he's just constantly cumming.

Robot Mister Miracle save Beetle's life but pays the ultimate price if the ultimate price is "just another android being destroyed by the bad guy for some free comic book gravitas." At least Mister Miracle's death is dramatic irony because nobody has been trying to fool the readers that it's the real Scott Free. Only Blue Beetle actually thinks Mister Miracle has died. Although that merely proves that Blue Beetle isn't all that smart because the main thing about Mister Miracle is that he can escape anything! Sure, not this time! But then nobody guaranteed that his robot double would be a super escape artist! He's just a barely acceptable stand-in!

Blue Beetle will have to wait to die next issue (no, next issue is not Countdown to Infinite Crisis! He's not really going to die next issue but I wanted to play up the possibility!). J'onn doesn't realize his team has just been destroyed because he's currently acting as Gypsy's emotional support Martian. But he has a plan! His plan is to use his telepathy to make Despero think he's murdered the entire Justice League and then, I don't know, stick him in cryogenic chamber in the Fortress of Solitude?

Justice League America #39 Rating: A. See? This version of the Justice League can be all the things at once! It's serious and dangerous and funny and misogynistic and emotional and full of the most enjoyable male-gaze moments! Fire and Ice are such a welcome addition to the team! One way you know the Justice League comic is about to get super serious and deadly is if the villain they're fighting has a name which ends with an "o". It's a huge clue and probably why Lobo was named Lobo! Because he's such a huge threat!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Justice League Europe #14 (May 1990)

Every month, The Elongated Man discovers new ways to be absolutely disgusting.

In a way, I'm glad Elongated Man has made his eyeballs protrude like he did on the cover because it gives the reader some insight into his powers. Can he do the same with his rectum, creating a kind of xenomorph butthole that can engulf a bad guys head? Why yes he can! Can he extend his belly button (if he's an outie) to give Sue a little DVDA pleasure (the other three members being Ralph's penis and two of whatever the fuck else he wants (including his rectum, I guess!))? You bet he can! The Elongated Man is less a wacky super-hero and more a living nightmare of body horror and I hate him for it.

Like most issues involving Keith Giffen on "plot and breakdowns," this issue took two writers to write it: Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones. I guess "plot and breakdowns" are the meat of the story and probably the story boarding and page layout aspect which really seems like most of the work. All Gerard Jones had to do was come up with all the stupid words coming out of the heads of the characters. That would have left him with a lot of free time which he probably spent scouring CompuServe for child pornography. That's not a tasteless joke; it's just a logical assumption based on existing evidence (that evidence mostly being how Gerard Jones was convicted of distributing and possessing child pornography!). But my main question doesn't have anything to do with Gerard's criminal activities; my main question is this: why the fuck can't Keith Giffen write dialogue?!

Some of you may be answering that question right now (if you're not currently Googling Gerard Jones) and, believe me, I don't really need an answer to it. I've read Giffen books where he did the dialogue and it can ranges from "nearly incomprehensible banter" to "could have come right out of a Marx Brothers' movie." I have a feeling that DC editors perhaps didn't appreciate how often Giffen's dialogue roamed into "nearly incomprehensible banter." But for me, I love it when I have to read a full page Giffen dialogue between several characters eight times before I fully understand it!

The issue begins with a self-proclaimed smelly nerd enjoying some alone time at home. Technically all of his time is alone and he probably "enjoys" most of it.

Um. Oh no.

This is Gerard Jones as a self-insert, right? Or, at least, a Giffen/Medley insert! But Jones wrote the dialogue so if it is him (which it totally is!), he was in on the joke that he's a smelly gross pervert with a huge collection of pornography! I'm assuming that this character's pornography isn't super-duper illegal though!

You might be thinking, "Come on, Tess! How do you know that smelly nerd who has no friends (all evidence expressed in the dialogue!) is going to watch pornography?!" Well I'll be think-answering that question (being that I'm a Level 12 Clairvoyant), "The subsequent panels are all the proof you need, my cynical Internet friend! May I call you a friend? It sure would be nice to have some!"

Hopefully he was going to end that sentence with "woman" and not "small child."

See? You don't get excited about where the movie was last paused unless it's paused at a graphic sex scene you're all hyped up to jerk it to! This is obviously a porn parody of Gone With the Wind. I'd think up a clever porn parody title for that movie but one doesn't exist. It's parody proof! I'd just call it I Left My Muff at Home which is probably the sexiest line from the actual movie.

The smelly little nerd nearly dies when his VCR electrocutes the shit out of him (probably because it's full of jizz). In that moment, his consciousness transfers to the character in the movie and he climbs out of the television.

No, YOU'RE relieved to see the romantic lead is old enough to have breasts!

I'm confused. Who prepares to jerk it to porn with their belt still on? That fucker should already be pre-tightened around the neck.

I am not *wink* advocating that people *wink* participate in *wink* auto-*wink*-erotic asphyx*wink*iation. *wank* I mean wink.

Apparently this happened seven years ago because the scene shifts to a caption that says "Brooklyn. Now." with this loser lamenting how his super power has gotten him nowhere.

Duh! Who is looking to book a Harold Ramis impersonator?!

Oh, actually he's being Woody Allen. Gross. But fitting, I suppose!

The poor Gerard Jones Mary Sue has discovered that he can't even enjoy his movies anymore because he had an irresistible urge to become Marilyn Monroe while watching The Misfits. What's wrong with that? One of the first things I would have done if I'd had this super power was pop in Heathers, become Winona Ryder and just go to town on my pussy! Heck, I'd probably just fuck myself seeing as how my actual body still exists while I've become somebody else (as you can see from one of the previously scanned panels). This guy's main problem is that he's weirded out by wanting to become a woman?! Dude, you should be so lucky!

Instead of becoming a woman and fucking himself like any rational person with this power would do almost immediately (after first seeing if they could become Alf and then checking out Alf's junk), he decides to become a male movie star who simply gets a lot of ass.

Funt Cuntwood is definitely my next gnome character in Dungeons and Dragons.

Meanwhile in Cannes, France, Wally, Kara, Ralph, and Sue have been invited to the film festival. Ralph can't go two minutes without embarrassing Sue by elongating his neck to grotesque proportions. She's also embarrassed because he's stretching his neck to get a closer look at a picture of cleavage on a nearby billboard. That's probably less prurient than Wally taking pictures of women passing by in bikinis. There's so much tit and ass in this panel that I break out my dainty paper fan to fan myself down. Plus Sue has a Band-aid on her knee and you know what that means! Ooh la la!

While Ralph and Wally try to convince the women that being horny on main is what France is all about, they run into Fire and Ice.

Get it?! He's really talking about Fire's ass!

That panel is basically the distracted boyfriend meme!

Nearby, phony Funt Cuntwood gets it on with the ladies.

His legs are crossed because he blew his load as soon as he smelled these women.

What the fuck is Funt Cuntwood drinking? Charcoal?

For some reason I can't put my finger on, Gerard Jones chooses to have characters say "Funt Cuntwood" in nearly every panel. I mean "Flint Clintwood," of course! But you know Jones knew it was going to read as "Funt Cuntwood" in at least 50% of the panels. I guess the unwritten rule that you never name a character "Clint" should have been a written rule! Especially over at Marvel!

Funt Cuntwood gets arrested for no other reason than that the manager of the hotel believes he's not really Funt Cuntwood. It's France so I don't know what kind of proof is needed before you're hauled off by the police. According to other Americans who believe that America is the only free country in the world, I'm guessing anybody can be arrested by a French cop at any time and for any reason! So unbelievable! Not like the most free country in the world where they'd never arrest you without proof because they can just kill you on a whim and never face any repercussions.

To escape the police, Funt Cuntwood (I don't know the character's real name and that one is so entertaining, I'll just keep using it) escapes the police by turning into Godzilla which is playing on a nearby massive television. What luck! I mean what bad luck because the Justice League are just around the corner.

Maybe if you wanted to meet women, begin with showering and not magically turning into Funt Cuntwood to trick them into fucking you.

Cunt Funtwood manages to evade the Justice League by turning into Winki the Dog and just walking away. Since none of the Justice League have any clue as to who they're chasing or what he can do, it works. The world is once again safe from a man who can't get laid. For now!

Justice League Europe #14 Rating: B+. I found it entertaining! Probably because it was so stupid and also I'm willing to believe it was mocking Comicsgaters. Take that, youse guys! Stop being so angry that you can't get laid! It's probably the biggest obstacle to you getting laid! Just pay for it already so that the pressure is off. Maybe multiple times! Once you're not obsessed about getting laid, you can, maybe, be somewhat normal! I'm going to have to pay attention to the letters in future issues to see how many fans felt they were being laughed at by this story!

Justice League America #38 (May 1990)

The Justice League are defeated by 1/3 of Despero.

Is this a Despero issue? It's too early for Breakdowns though, right? And if it is Despero, wasn't it Despero who destroyed the previous incarnation of the Justice League? If only I could remember any DC history, imagine what an amazing comic book reviewer slash historian slash pervert I would be! Instead all I remember are stupid jokes Phil Newby told me in elementary school and how many boners I got from New Titans issues.

Speaking of being a pervert, I began wondering if I would have masturbated to this image of Ice back in February/March of 1990 (the cover says May but remember that comic books were pre-dated by a couple of months for super duper economic complex reasons that mostly had to do with old men running newsstands and throwing out any magazine whose cover date had past. Hmm. Was that complex?) and I don't think I would have. Pornographic imagery was difficult to come by for young people in the pre-Internet era so you'd be surprised at the porn I jerked it to. Like a young person on the frontier in the mid-1800s, I sometimes drew my own porn. And it wasn't graphic or well done! But I also had my go-to if I was desperate: the succubus entry in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. This one of Ice is pretty good but by March 1990, I was almost not a virgin! So you wouldn't have caught me jerking off to the cover of a lousy comic book! I was almost a man!

Now y'all better calm down before you ratchet that "Tess is a gigantic pervert dial" all the way up to ten! It's not my fault that artists constantly draw women getting knocked into comas as super sexy! If you saw Ice separated from the context of this cover, you'd just think she was lying on a bed while somebody buzzed a remote control vibrator in her pants! Show me one panel of an unconscious female superhero who doesn't simply look like she's just had a massive orgasm and I'll quit doing comic book reviews! Of course, I'll be the final arbiter on it and I think every drawing of a woman looks like she's having an orgasm! Mostly because I don't know what a woman having an orgasm looks like.

This issue begins with a few pages from Spy! Magazine. That's because the person who was going through the Justice League garbage cans is a journalist for that fake magazine. Or at least the fake version of what is probably a real magazine!

This is unfair! They often fight bad guys. The problem is the bad guys are almost always directing their crimes specifically against the Justice League. So they're only saving themselves.

The article written for Spy! outs all of the members of the Justice League, which would reveal their secret identities to the public if it wound up being published. In the article's terrible treatment of Guy Gardner, in which they make the most base assumptions on evidence that simply points to Guy being a guy, they reveal a bill from a sanitarium where Guy Gardner spent seven years in a coma. You know, because of the brain damage he received from Hal Jordan's faulty Green Lantern battery! And yet nobody treats Guy with any sympathy due to his brain trauma! And yet they all kiss Hal Jordan's ass even though Hal Jordan was the one who fucked Guy in the skull! Hopefully the rest of the League read this article and realize how terribly they've been treating poor Guy. They should be ashamed! Especially Batman for punching a brain-damaged man in the head! Even though, technically, it was Guy banging his head on the underside of the Justice League computer desk that caused the subsequent trauma. Still Batman's fault!

Luckily for the League, the article is pulled before going to print because Crimson Fox in her public persona, whatever her alias's name is, owns the European side of the publishing company and vetoed the article. The guy writing it, Wally Tortolini, threatens to get even with the publishers. That probably means he'll come back as The Turtle or The Ravioli or something. And, as the correction I made to his article pointed out, he'll be going after the Justice League directly! Meaning he's only a threat to the world now because the Justice League exists. Just like nearly every other bad guy in the DC Universe.

Meanwhile, Despero heads toward Earth to destroy the Justice League. Just like I was just talking about! He crashes into the United Nations' parking lot and decides a UN Flag would make a great cape. Since he arrives naked, I'm not sure what he uses as his underwear but seeing as the only other flag in the panel is the US flag, he just made every Conservative apoplectic.

The Manhunters beat Despero to the killing Steel punch.

I'm not sure why Commander Steel's body is in a huge iron lung since the guy was killed. Maybe it's somebody's trophy case?

Despero is disappointed to find that Steel is already dead because his sole purpose for coming back to Earth was to kill the Justice League. And what is life without purpose?! That's practically death! Although my life hasn't had any purpose so far which is probably something I shouldn't have thought or typed because now I feel like shit. Maybe I should knock somebody up so that I can project all of my hopes and dreams onto a child! And every night as I tuck them into bed, I'll whisper, "You'd better make something of my life!" Hopefully they'll be strong enough to bear the burden of the intense and insane pressure I heap on them every day to become successful so that I feel like my life had some sort of meaning. Although I should probably be ready, genetics being what they are, to cope with a child that shows no ambition or passion for anything except naps. Stupid me! I mean stupid kid!

Since his "hate needs expression" (in ways other than just screaming, "My hate needs expression!", which seems to me a viable means of expressing that hate), Despero flies off to find other members of the Justice League to kill. I'm guessing that'll lead to Martian Manhunter because wasn't Vibe already dead? And he can't go after Gypsy because I don't want the Internet to get mad at me for saying Gypsy! And why bother with Aquaman!

Meanwhile, Booster Gold hires somebody named Maxi-man for The Conglomerate. His super powers probably involve growing large or multiplying himself or absorbing fluids.

Gypsy's mother is woke and Gypsy's father calls his daughter Gypsy.

Don't worry, Comicsgaters! This mother who is all "the past sucked unless you were a white male" gets blown up in the next panel so you won't have to listen to all this moralizing from this comic book from the time you remember comic books not being woke and judgmental. You fucking idiots.

Gypsy comes home to find her family dead and Despero waiting to kill her. But she manages to hide behind the neighbor's house which Despero blows to smithereens. Take that, you dumb fools living next door to a DC superhero! I hate that every single issue of this series (and many, many others! I'm staring directly at The New Titans (and only partly because Starfire is half-naked)) justifies every story line that has ever been written where some Glorious Godfrey type (or, you know, simply Godfrey himself) convinces the normal people of Earth that superheroes are a curse and a constant danger to everybody. Too bad Gypsy's neighbors are dead because they'd totally agree with me.

Despero kills everybody in Gypsy's hometown so she flees on a train which means everybody on that train will soon be dead. Except Despero chooses to spare them as long as Gypsy appears so he can kill her. Being a hero and a dumb high school student, she decides to throw her life away by appearing before Despero. Doesn't she know this isn't the trolley problem and she's not saving these people's lives by giving up her own? After Despero runs her over with the trolley, he's just going to back it up the tracks and run over everybody else! The real solution to the trolley problem is to make sure you're never one of the people on the tracks! Unless the real solution to the trolley problem is to never try to solve the trolley problem? Maybe the real solution to the trolley problem is to tie the people who keep tying people to the tracks to the tracks themselves and just letting the trolley run them over! Who is this maniac who keeps tying people to different tracks on a trolley and then forcing other people to choose which track the trolley goes down? Fucking maniacs.

Martian Manhunter arrives just in time to stop Despero from killing Gypsy which means the cover of this issue is a total lie! This comic book didn't feature the Justice League at all! Not one panel featured Ice sexily falling into a coma!

Justice League America #38 Rating: B. If I were a member of the current Justice League, I'd be pretty upset that an enemy from the last incarnation has decided to kill me. What the fuck did I do?! Go kill Aquaman! Wasn't he the leader at the time?! Or did he quit moments before the entire League was destroyed? Remember earlier how I said I can't remember any DC history? Well, this is me proving myself! Especially since I had a small moment when I thought this might be the beginning of Breakdowns. There's still a lot of shit that needs to happen before that happens! Like The Extremists! And the Beefeater! And Tortolini! Or will he be The Tortoise? Or The Turtle? Whatever! That nerd!