Thursday, September 28, 2023

Justice League Europe #34 (January 1992)

This fight is still going on.

If Guy Gardner had left Lobo to do what Lobo was on Earth to do, this whole Despero situation would already be wrapped up. Some readers might think, "No way! Despero is way more powerful than Lobo!" But need I, as an impartial judge, remind those readers that Lobo is the fucking best and can beat the shit out of anybody, no matter what writer thinks differently and then writes a story where Lobo gets his ass beat? That isn't the fault of Lobo, the most powerful and sexiest character in the DC Universe. That's a fault with the writer not understanding just how spectacularly awesome Lobo is. I just can't see the logic of the Justice League members not wanting Lobo's help.

Maybe the way I do logic is faulty because I refuse to see anything from any other point of view than my own. I've been watching Fear the Walking Dead lately and in the second or third season when the father runs out of the Mexican vineyard locale to hunt down his psychopathic son in the middle of the night, the scene cuts to the morning or the next day where, I guess, he's been hunting him for hours. His feet are bloody and raw and it took me forever to figure out what happened. I was like, "Did he run through some glass? Did a land shark attack him? Did a roving gang of torturers grab him for an hour and slice his feet up with razor blades?" Eventually, I, a person who walks everywhere barefoot constantly, realized that was the writer's way of showing that he had run out in the night without his shoes and that's apparently what they think feet end up looking like after walking barefoot for several hours. I assure you it is not. But for whatever reason, the Fear the Walking Dead writers loved this aspect so in another season, a whole bunch of people get their boots taken and wind up with the most bloodied, messed up feet you've ever seen. Maybe in the zombie apocalypse, running around without shoes is tougher on your feet. Maybe I've simply trained my feet to survive the apocalypse better than most people. Like I said, my logic might be due a slight "not everything should be viewed through your own personal experience, asshole" tune-up.

I almost wrote, "Where was I?", but I know where I was: Lobo is the best!

Oh! Should I try to guess what line from Yeats' "Second Coming" Jones will use for the title of this issue where Lobo and Despero beat the space shit out of each other?! Do you think it'll be "The Blood-dimmed Tide"?! That would be cool, right?

Fuck it! I take all that shit back about my logic being faulty. I fucking rule!

My mom used to always get mad at me and say, "You always have to be right, don't you?" And since she was talking to an adolescent boy, she was right to take that tone because I was not always right at all! But I was quite adamant in thinking the things I knew were really the way things were. They often were not. Then in my early twenties, I had a girlfriend who once got angry with me after I was proven right about some disagreement we were having and she said, "Why are you always right?" See, she was angry that I actually was right all the time! But the only thing that had changed was that I stopped defending everything and only defended things I was pretty sure were correct. So maybe that made it seem like I was always right? Because I'd learned, after being a stubbornly adamant jerk teenager who was often wrong but wouldn't accept it, to be a lot more fluid about reality. I'd often say things like, "I think this is the case but I definitely wouldn't stake my life on it." But now as an adult, I'm always right because I have my own blog and you can fuck off if you don't like my opinions about how Lobo is the sexiest beast in space and Supergirl has the best bum across DC's infinite universe.

Sheesh, I don't even like myself now! Seriously, I don't fucking care about being right or wrong anymore. I think maybe all those whiny jerks who think kind is better might be correct. I didn't spend all those years reading Kurt Vonnegut and not learn a little something about kindness. I guess.

You all know my bravado is hyperbolic facetiousness filled to the brim with spontaneous whimsy, right? Does that come across in my writing? Because, really, I'm just a quivering blob of insecurity who can barely function in reality let alone on the Internet. My favorite place to be is on the couch with my cat's head on my cheek, both of us halfway adrift in slumber.

Last issue of "Breakdowns" ended with Flash, Booster Gold, and The Conglomerate about to attack Despero in an attempt to save Martian Manhunter. This issue will probably begin with DC having five fewer heroes than it did. That's how many members are in The Conglomerate if you didn't get the joke or couldn't do the math. See, they're basically amateurs and shouldn't be up against Despero. I'm saying they're going to die quickly.

Booster Gold, leader of The Conglomerate, yells, "Conglomerate, take him!" And boy howdy do they go at it terribly.

Why is Vibe's brother just massaging Despero's butt?

The Conglomerate are so bad at superheroing that even Booster Gold realizes, immediately, that they know fuck all about stopping a threat like Despero. Hopefully Booster Gold's force field has an infinite batterly life so he can simply keep his entire team inside of it for the rest of this issue. Or maybe they'll get lucky and Despero won't kill them because he doesn't hate them. Apparently he really only has hate for the Justice League and that's why he's on Earth. Because his hate must be expressed through an annoyingly long vocalizing process where he does nothing and finally, hopefully, ending with extreme violence.

Blue Beetle flies Kilowog, wielding a pocket-sized L'ron remote control to shut down Despero, into battle. What he does not do is get on the communicator to let everybody know there's a new plan that doesn't involve getting your skull crushed by Despero. Although the old plan of letting Lobo crush Despero's skull still seems like a good one! Hopefully the writers will eventually show why that's such a bad idea. Like maybe have a baby crushed in the fight which should make me change my tune and start screaming, "No! They should never have let the fight between Lobo and Despero get out of control!", but will actually just have me shrugging my shoulders and thinking, "Big deal. One baby. So what."

Judas Priest! We get it! You hate. YOU HATE!

Groot in The Guardians of the Galaxy movies has a larger vocabulary than Despero.

Blue Beetle lands enabling Kilowog to sprint into battle to save the day. He's surprisingly chummy with Lobo.

Why do I suddenly like and respect Kilowog even more than usual?

What story did I miss where Kilowog and Lobo became mates? I never read much Green Lantern at the time so unless I happened to see Lobo on a Green Lantern cover, I completely would have missed any issue with Lobo as a guest star. The above panel makes it feel like they were once college roommates who haven't seen each other for fifteen years.

Kilowog's device doesn't work exactly as intended. Instead of shutting Despero down, it replaces Despero's mind with L'ron's. L'ron now controls Despero's body and Despero's hate has simply dissipated among the residents of New York. So unnoticeable, basically. Manga Khan, watching from orbit, quickly teleports to Earth to take possession of his new L'ron-Despero unit, pay Lobo, and promise to Venmo some cash to help rebuild New York City. So all's well that end's well! At least with the minor Despero vs Lobo problem that had cropped up in the middle of the "What's going on with Max Lord?" plot line. It's all wrapped up nicely and not a single member of The Conglomerate was killed (which is disappointing). At least I got to gaze upon multiple panels of Lobo flexing his muscles and looking aggravated and enraged.

Speaking of Max Lord, he's now Dreamslayer and he's proper angry that Lord Havok was destroyed. His Extremists are well and truly dead so he needs a new army. Using his power (and probably a bit of Max's), Dreamslayer commands the natives of Kooey Kooey Kooey Island to destroy the Justice League. Not that he wants them to sail out and find them! Dreamslayer expects the League to figure out he and Max are behind Lord Havok's attack. When they do, they'll attack him on the island and fall right into his trap. Mostly because J'onn has really shown he's a terrible leader that nobody listens to. I guess Dreamslayer gets to be the final ultimate threat because there are only three issues left of "Breakdowns."

Justice League Europe #34 Rating: A+. The Justice League have now battled all of their major foes since this whole Justice League International began: the United Nations, Bialya, Queen Bee, The Global Guardians, Despero, Lobo, and Lord Havok. I think the only still living villains who they haven't had to face during this story arc (who can be categorized as villains and not reporters or cats or incompetent buffoons) are Starro and Simon Stagg. I guess they still have three issues to make an appearance!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Justice League America #58 (January 1992)

Lobo + Despero = Sexually satisfied and exhausted.

Rocket Red has been reduced to his helmet. That's usually a bad sign for Rocket Reds because it means it's time for the new Rocket Red to join the League. They've tried to establish Dmitri as a personality that stands apart from just the Rocket Red character but mostly he's just a guy with a Russian accent who gets English idioms wrong. That means he's easily replaced by the next stereotypical Russian in armor. Sorry, Dmitri, but there's just no room for a solidly fleshed out non-American character! Especially in 1992! We were still a very young country then and could only handle, intellectually, foreign stereotypes. Anything more complex and the American readers would think, "Is this character Canadian?" That's because the only complex characters we ever saw on television growing up were on Degrassi Junior High.

This issue begins with the most confusing line I've ever read in literature and that includes all of the things I've read by Gertrude Stein.

"Ugly one"?! "UGLY ONE"?! How fucking dare they!

I don't know what television would air a debate between a 70+ year old man and a penis but my penis has now challenged J.M. DeMatteis to debate about Lobo's handsomeness. My penis will fucking destroy DeMatteis!

I'm not sure I can stand this blatant disrespect for The Main Man. Certainly some level of subjective reasoning must be taken into account when we discuss aesthetics. But I also think we must acknowledge the objective truth when dealing with certain things and one of those things is the sexiness and attractiveness of Lobo. Some might consider his general look that of Space Clown or Glam Assassin. But we must also understand that even while they mock his general appearance, the gears are moving in their front bottoms to prepare for the Objective Truth they refuse to acknowledge in a public forum. I suppose I could agree that somebody finding Lobo ugly and yet still wanting to fuck him does not mean Lobo is not ugly. It just means that raw sex appeal is raw sex appeal and it cannot be denied. But even so, I will not forgive DeMatteis for trying to canonically label Lobo as "the ugly one." Even if Lobo is being drawn by Bart Sears this month.

The cover is by Chris Sprouse and it is subjectively gorgeous. I love me some bright comic book colors on stark white backgrounds.

I think I found the ugliest one: Bart Sears' Guy Gardner.

For some reason, Guy Gardner decides that leaving Lobo to beat up Despero wasn't the most obvious best plan. Instead, he decided pissing off Lobo so that the Justice League would have to fight Lobo and Despero was the way to go. Maybe it's just because I'm really lazy but I would love to have a Glam Assassin come down from space and do my job for me. Get to floor polishing, you stupid Space Clown!

While Guy Gardner distracts the greatest weapon the Justice League have against Despero, Martian Manhunter proves that Ralph Dibny is a fucking jerk.

Look at that! A hero who can stretch who has never once made their neck 20 feet long!

Technically Martian Manhunter can "shape change" but as I pointed out when I said "technically," he's really just a stretchy guy. Plastic Man might as well be called a shape changer. But maybe Ralph can't quite do the same things a "shape changer" can so the neck thing is all he really has. Oh, and the gross twitchy nose.

While Guy Gardner distracts Lobo and Rocket Red tries to lead Despero out of New York to prevent more destruction (although Major Disaster sort of took care of that already by destroying everything so that no more can be destroyed), Lord Havok teleports into the Justice League Cave to murder the Silver Sorceress. This is where I'd usually say something trite like "Luckily other members of the League are there to protect her" except the only members of the League still in the cave are Blue Jay, Elongated Man, Crimson Fox, Sue Dibny, and Catherine Cobert. Also there are the Injustice League which are barely worth mentioning and General Glory whom I wanted to leave out because he actually could be of some use in defending her.

Catherine radios for help when she realizes Ralph Dibny might currently be their only hope.

Jesus, Catherine. I thought you were the diplomatic one!

Catherine makes peace with her Lord when she realizes the only help coming is Blue Beetle. I understand that they're only battling one lousy Disney automaton but the "they" battling the automaton are the left over bits that the cat licks off your plate when you're done eating your Justice League International taco.

I can't know for sure if I filled my pants with baby mayo back when this issue was hot off the stands but if there was a time traveling betting shop that took odds on the various things that made me come in my underwear throughout my life, I'd probably put money on it having happened due to this page.

Guy Gardner and Lobo fist fighting in a trademark Giffen nine-square Brady Bunch layout? Yes please.

Other than Guy's ego and DeMatteis's need to increase the level of conflict and draw out the battle across more than one issue, it makes no sense that Guy Gardner tries to stop Lobo from defeating Despero. Lobo hasn't even caused any destruction in his fight with Despero. All of the buildings were already rubble thanks to Major Disaster! Lobo is a gift horse and Guy is all, "How are his teeth?"

That shield that saved Guy's life was projected by Booster Gold. Lobo turns his attention to Booster Gold and so I'm just going to assume that Booster Gold is dead now. I don't remember him dying but then he probably just got resurrected almost immediately, comic books being what they are.

DeMatteis finally reveals where Kilowog and L'ron will get the parts to create the control mechanism to shut Despero down using the collar around his neck: L'ron's innards! The little guy must sacrifice his life to save his adopted home planet and all his new friends. This is the part where I'd probably tear up a little bit if I had a heart or if I felt any emotional connection to L'ron or if my dick wasn't so Goddamned hard after several pages of Lobo beating people into pulp. DeMatteis should have timed the reveal better.

The middle of the comic book just seems like two pages of various panels with the Justice Leagues battling Lord Havok and Despero but actually it's a double-page spread highlighting how cowardly and weak the Injustice League are. The pages feel redundant because hasn't that been what 25% of the total stories in this series have been?

Aw shit. Cullen Bunn's tumblr catchphrase for metrosexual Lobo, "Sorry not sorry," has some support in regular continuity.

Guy Gardner returns the favor and saves Booster's life by punching Lobo into the bay. Coincidentally, that's where the rest of the Justice League are now battling Despero (and by "battling," I mean "getting killed by").

It's embarrassing for the rest of the characters in the story when Lobo is the voice of reason.

Oh wait. I just found a way for the Justice League characters to be even more embarrassed.

I can't read minds but I imagine Despero is currently thinking either "Yes" or "Who?"

Back at the cave, Lord Havok has Catherine and Silver Sorceress cornered and is about to kill them when reinforcements (of a kind) arrive.

Even in the middle of a life threatening situation, there's always time to call out sexism.

Take a look at Beetle's face in the above panel. Now you know why I scoff loudly so the people around me in the coffee shop where I'm reading my comic book can hear whenever I read a letter praising Bart Sears as the best artist working for DC (or even just a competent artist). I don't know what kind of bullshit aesthetics rule the mind of comic book fans and J.M. DeMatteis, but how is the narrator not butting in at this point to say, "Sorry, the truly ugly one is Blue Beetle or any regular human drawn by Bart Sears. And don't get me started on their hair! Although Lobo's hair seems to work really well with his style."

Blue Beetle quickly turns the ship around in the space between panels and blasts Lord Havok with the engines, reducing him to a pile of ash and burnt robot bits. It's the kind of heroic move I'd love to see more often. Like maybe in Detective Comics except with Batman in the Batplane doing it to The Joker.

Dammit! It's too late to get me to like Ralph Dibny, guys. But this almost worked!

Based on that last panel and the earlier bit in the "Breakdowns" arc when the Ex-Leaguers were adventuring together, I think DC missed the mark by continuing to have Blue Beetle and Booster Gold pal around as best friends. I might like Ralph and Ted's interactions even better! Sure, some would say it's the same banter and Giffen and DeMatteis don't really care which characters are speaking which parts. But there's definitely a subtle difference with the Ted/Ralph banter over the Ted/Michael Jon banter.

Lobo finally decides to stop going easy on the Justice League and just destroy them so he can get around to his real job of catching Despero. They should feel honored! Lobo is going to kill them all for free! That doesn't happen often, what with his solid work ethic and all.

I wonder why nobody has ever paid for Lobo to come by my place on my birthday and beat the shit out of me? I guess my friends just don't really care.

Justice League America #58 Rating: A+. Not only did this issue receive an "A+" because Lobo was in it but it also received that grade because Lobo was fantastic in it. He beat up several people and he had some good lines and he looked downright sexy doing it too! It's got me wondering: why am I reading these old Justice League comic books when I have a whole self-titled series starring Lobo?! I should read one issue every week or so, as a treat.

Justice League Europe #33 (December 1991)

I love when the cover instantly lets me know the rating this issue will receive: A+!

Lobo and a Doom Patrol reference on the cover?! It's almost as if this cover were made for me! I say "almost" because Lobo still has his pants on.

I just had a terrible thought. Despero is naked and has no penis. Captain Atom is naked except for a thin silver laminate of radioactive material and has no penis. Booster Gold wears skin tight latex and has no penis. What if Lobo also has no penis?! My God! What if the only character in the DC Universe that has a penis is Doctor Manhattan?

I know, I know! Batman showed his penis in a Black Label comic book! But it was quickly taken out because DC canon is that Batman does not have a penis and he does not engage in cunnilingus. Which forces one to ask this question: "Why the fuck does Catwoman put up with him?!"

How come DC never put out a cereal called "DC O's" with little marshmallow Amazos, Desperos, Lobos, and Starros? Missed opportunity, guys.

Gerard Jones continues to mine Yeats' "Second Coming" for the titles of his "Breakdowns" issues this month with "Mere Anarchy." It's a good pull for a huge fight between Lobo and Despero but might I suggest "What Rough Beast"? I'm sure he's got that one in the hopper for an even more appropriate issue.

Monty Python's Flying Circus?

Catherine is, of course, screaming about Despero who has just destroyed Times Square like in another story with a character that actually has a penis (remember? I mentioned him earlier!). All the countries on Earth become united against the threat of an alien menace. Despero accidentally becomes the hero Ozymandias thought he was. Unless what actually happens is J'onn blames Manga Khan for losing control of Despero rather than blaming himself for selling Despero to an intergalactic flea marketer. J'onn also doesn't take responsibility for the Justice League causing this tragedy by making a huge enemy of Despero and then not killing him because Batman said that was bad. Look, you assholes. I'm not normally for killing in the name of justice but in an extraordinary universe you have to take extraordinary actions. I don't believe in God but if I were in the DC Universe, I'd be an idiot not to believe in Gods since they're walking around all over the place. In the same manner, I'd have to believe in killing in the name of justice if I were in the DC Universe because what else are you going to fucking do?! Unless Superman suddenly gave everybody access to The Phantom Zone, how else are you supposed to stop these maniacs from killing over and over again? And also, The Phantom Zone itself isn't a perfect answer as we've seen every time some Kryptonian villain pulls a Joker-out-of-Arkham and winds up on Earth killing regular people to force a confrontation with Superman. New York City Councilwoman Elizabeth Alderman knew the answer before anybody else and she was painted as a villain. But she was right! These heroes are a threat because their enemies always attack the public to get at the heroes, or start a huge cosmic brawl in the middle of the city just to—I don't know—punish their child or sister for not wanting to be evil or something (e.g. Trigon, Deathstroke, Mento, Blackfire).

Now, I don't blame heroes and I don't think they're responsible for the evil their enemies do. I blame lazy comic book writers who stopped trying to come up for criminal motivations for the bad guys and simply decided the main motivation of every super villain was to get revenge for the one time they were captured by the heroes. Obviously if the heroes are simply defending themselves, or defending the public from the threat of the villain attempting to get revenge on the heroes, they cease to be heroes. They have now become a huge part of the problem and the only sane thing to do if you're Batman (or the like) is to retire so that The Joker stops killing thousands of people twice a year so he can battle you. Okay, there is one more sane thing Batman could do: kill The Joker. But apparently Batman's zero kill tally is more important than all of the future victims of The Joker.

I guess I should also blame the medium of comic books which take place in a weird static timeline that never really reaches any conclusion and needs to milk the rivalry between long established characters. But that really just goes back to the lazy writers who can't be bothered to figure out a way for the heroes to discover the bad guys doing some bad thing so instead just have the bad guys leave a note for Batman or go on television and say, "I will kill five citizens every hour until the Titans give themselves up!" Then the Titans don't give themselves up because Dick Grayson would be all, "If we give up, the bad guy will just kill more citizens! We have to not give up and ignore all the people he kills so we can be praised later for saving all the people the bad guy didn't kill!"

I like to view these two panels as an homage to The Police's "Synchronicity II" and how they show the cop is the real monster.

Despero throws a DC Comics billboard at the police which is another metaphor of some kind which I'll leave to you to figure out because I'm still trying to wrap my mind around DC Comics existing in the DC Universe. I say "still trying" because Giffen and his cohorts love reference DC Comics within the DC Comics universe. I don't know how it works. Have they all signed away their likeness rights? Do they get to approve the scripts? Was that story about Guy Gardner meeting with Keith, J.M., and Andy not a parody and actually canon?

I like to view this panel as an homage to anal.

Why do all of these panels have me thinking about sex?

J'onn J'onzz, Sex Therapist.

Despero's naked ass has my mind in a weird place. It's so well formed with such a nice, defining crack and yet, no fruit and veg. Having no penis at all is more distracting than if they pulled the Austin Powers' thing every panel to hide what was obviously there. I don't want to live in a world where Despero doesn't have a thick hog.

Yeah, no idea why I keep thinking about sex.

I think I might be into hate fucking.

Lobo arrives. Or Lobo arrived and has been watching Despero beat the shit out of the Justice League. And why not? Let his prey tire itself out fuck fighting the Justice League before going in for the easy knockout. But before that can happen, Major Disaster creates an earthquake to not faze Despero at all and to destroy even more of Times Square. J'onn flies off calling him an idiot but, once again, I think J'onn really should be looking inward. He's making a lot of terrible decisions as the leader of the Justice League. I hate to think it but where is Batman?!

I've been wondering why this comic book was so thick as I've been reading it and I just discovered there's a whole Sonic the Hedgehog story advert slammed in the middle of this issue. I am not reading it.

Sonic looks like he has a bald man emerging from his stomach.

Every single member of the Justice League begin to complain about Major Disaster's fuck up but not one of them thinks, "The Injustice League was a huge joke and could never do anything right and even when we tried to steer them away from a life of crime they were defeated by some vampiric penguins and wound up unemployed and homeless. This is absolutely J'onn's fault." I hope Councilwoman Alderman shuts the Justice League down!

L'ron recognizes the mind control collar which adorns Despero's neck because he designed it. And he knows how to build a new control mechanism for it so he enlists Kilowog's help. But there's only one place to find the materials to make the collar on Earth and it is ... well, I don't know where it is because too many comic book writers like to build tension by withholding information. They think, "The reader will be on tenterhooks wondering what the characters know that they are not privy too!" More comic book writers should realize that the real tension is revealing the dramatic thing and leaving the story at the point of revelation. Then the reader is all, "Oh my God! Not that!" That's much better plotting than leaving the reader with "What? WHAT?! What the fuck, you stupid piece of shit comic book! Stop keeping the story from me!" They should read more Stephen King where he starts his books like this: "Nobody likes to think much about that night Carrie killed half the town." But they shouldn't follow Stephen King's lead based on at least his first four books which all end with the location of the story being burned to the ground. You'd think an editor might have mentioned that a little earlier. I say "at least" because I don't remember how The Dead Zone ends. But then his fifth book was Firestarter so I'm thinking maybe King just figured burning everything to the ground was his thing.

Booster Gold sees the battle on the news and decides to join the fight without his Conglomerate teammates. But I don't see how that can last because The Conglomerate were created for some reason. Put them in a fucking comic book already!

Finally, Uncle Mitch Wacky gets Lord Havok back online but only because he used parts from the other Extremist automatons. So at least The Extremists won't be a threat. It's just the worst of them (Lord Havok) and Dreamslayer in Max Lord's body. I'm pretty sure the Justice League can defeat Lord Havok. And Max Lord will probably defeat Dreamslayer in a mind contest.

Justice League Europe #33 Rating: A+. Not only is this issue an A+ but I already know Justice League America #58 and Justice League Europe #34 will also receive A+ ratings because I can see Lobo on the cover of both of them! The '90s truly were the greatest time to be a comic book fan!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Justice League America #57 (December 1991)

I have no idea what the "Extremities!" above the title means.

"Extremities!" seems to be an interjection of some kind based on my detective work that discovered the clue of the exclamation point. But what is it trying to convey? This was the era of Bill and Ted with the release of the second movie this same year so it feels like it it's parodying their use of "Excellent!" Maybe it's just their cleaned up version of yelling, "Shit!" Either because Max Lord, a terrible person, has woken up from his coma or because he's been taken hostage by The Extremists. Take your poison, I guess.

I never do this but you know what? We have access to creators so easily via the Internet these days, I'm simply going to ask J.M. DeMatteis if he remembers the reason for this cover design. This is a good excuse to not have to work on this review while I await a reply! I can now go play some Starfield without thinking about all the other shit I should be doing!

*One Day Later*
Well, I asked him and my levels of clarification are now at a whopping -100%!

This answer feels like a personal insult! How dumb and unobservant does DeMatteis take me to be?!

Don't answer that question! He probably hasn't read all of my reviews which prove me to be a hyper-intelligent, astute, insightful critic of the comic book medium and not a dolt like some of you readers with no reading comprehension think they prove me to be! But wait! There's more helpful information!

I've truly never been more insulted regarding somebody's perception of my intelligence ever before!

"A play on words," he says! He really does think I'm a huge idiot! I did manage to figure out it was a play on words, Mark. My problem was I didn't understand what the play was! What does it MEAN?! I suppose I could have replied asking for more clarification but I didn't want to bother him anymore and he was trying to be truly helpful and I absolutely appreciate his responding to a question asking about some dumb comic book cover that he might not even have had anything to do with from over thirty years ago! You'll also note I didn't post my question to him because it was probably confusing and unclear and the main reason DeMatteis didn't quite understand how to answer the question and we've already spent too much time on my mental and writing limitations so maybe we should just move on!

Shit! I think I just figured it out! It was a play on Stan Lee's "Excelsior!" Sorry, J.M., for bothering you and I wasn't being mean about your response here! Just whimsical and hyperbolic. I really should have been more clear about my confusion when asking about the cover.

This issue is called "The Descent of . . . Despero!" With a title like that, I'm expecting something on the scale of a Shakespearian tragedy like King Lear or As You Like It.

The story begins as grand as some of the greatest novels in Western literature with a memorable opener that can't be denied. Maybe even greater! It outdoes "A screaming comes across the sky" by a million miles and two tight cheeks! It stands gorgeously quaffed hair and broad shoulders above "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." It's clown make-up better painted on than "All this happened, more or less."

Jesus Christ, look at that ass.

I'm glad Lobo wore clown make-up and was so pumped full of sexual charisma that he could never quite become a right wing symbol of over-the-top violence in the name of justice like The Punisher. Also Lobo fucks space dolphins and might be a bit too tied to planetary genocide to represent American justice (not that that doesn't represent Amercan justice quite well! It's just people wouldn't want to signal that part of America's virtue). Although most of them are so stupid they really can't see much past their love of violence as a response to any disagreement with their bigoted views or overly aggressive attitudes. I mean, cops are too dumb to realize that The Punisher has killed as many cops as bad guys in his Memento-like impossible quest to bring back his family masquerading as a war on crime. He's just Batman with bullets, really.

Lobo is so much better than Batman and The Punisher! The universe doesn't need more sad toxic males maiming and murdering whomever they see as a stand-in for the person who killed their loved ones (again, Memento-like!); the universe needs a nihilistic clown with a tight ass who doesn't care who he kills or why but also always keeps his word for some reason. I guess a character should have at least one flaw to round them out.

Lobo has been hired to hunt Despero and bring him back to Manga Khan. Not because Manga Khan is worried about the destruction Despero is apt to cause while loose but because Despero is unpaid for merchandise.

Every night I dream Lobo will say these words to me.

Well, that's the best part of the issue done! I'll probably have to wait until the next issue of the "Breakdowns" story arc in Justice League Europe #33 for more of my Main Man and his Main Ass.

Back in London, Inspector Camus teams up with The Beefeater to go on a mission to tell the Justice League that somebody has stolen The Extremists from Tussaud's Wax Museum. "Extremities!"

Max Lord attends a Coming Out of a Coma Party at the Justice League's old cave. He's acting so weird that maybe I've just figured out the whole "Extremities!" bit! What if Mitch Wacky took the Extremists from the Museum to use their parts to make a Max Lord automaton? That would mean each of the Extremists could have been used as one of Max's extremities. Did I figure it out?! Maybe that's why J.M. DeMatteis was so vague about the "play on words." Because saying too much would have been a spoiler!

Lord's head begins to hurt, probably because he has robot brains or he's using too much concentration to make everybody party in a way many of them never would (like J'onn and Kara and, well, that might be it, actually), so he leaves the party. Inspector Camus and Beefeater also leave, heading to the old UN headquarters to look up Mitch Wacky's address. While there, Despero crashes through the ceiling to begin a brawl with The Beefeater. How this wasn't the cover done in a mirror image style of the Lobo vs. Despero cover for Justice League Europe #33, I can't imagine. Those two comic books on the shelves next to each other would have sold so many more copies! I know a comic book with Lobo on the cover would already completely sell out so what I'm saying is more copies of this issue would have sold if they'd done a Beefeater vs. Despero cover matching the Lobo vs. Despero cover.

Despero makes quick work of The Beefeater and Inspector Camus which is probably why Beefeater didn't make the cover. But he did act heroically which is probably important for him getting a little respect in the future even though he's been played as a complete joke up until now.

Chris Wozniak working on the composition of this panel: "I think it needs a little more woman ass."

Before I noticed the woman's ass in that panel, I was going to comment on Despero's lack of genitals. So let's do that one too.

Despero's hate is a manifestation of his NDE.

Max Lord tells Catherine he's going to Kooey Kooey Kooey Island to recover for a week or so but in actuality he's headed there to make sure Uncle Mitch Wacky gets the Extremists back up and running. Because Max Lord's body has been taken over by Dreamslayer! "Extremities!" for real!

Justice League America #57 Rating: A+. Every comic book review is somebody's first comic book review so I'll explain why this issue received an A+: because Lobo was in it. You see, I don't really review comic books. I just read them and write some nonsense about them and then give them a rating that means nothing depending on how I remember being entertained while writing about the comic book (not how entertained I was reading it! And not how entertained I was writing about it! Always just a vague emotional memory of how I think I felt while writing about it!). I love when Lobo makes an appearance because then I don't even have to pretend to care about the reasons for my rating! It just automatically gets an A+ because every issue with an appearance by Lobo is one of the best comic books ever created. I would say the same thing for Ambush Bug but I don't think I have yet to review a comic book with Ambush Bug in it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Justice League Europe #32 (November 1991)

Another Giffen/DeMatteis old fashioned phrase usage.

In 1991, these guys must have been the oldest late-thirty year olds in the comic book business. Just try to hold them back from a reference that was at least fifty years old and much older than themselves. It couldn't be done! Editorial, who were probably twenty to thirty years older than they were at the time, must have loved these whippersnappers. "Good show, good show," they would mutter after reading a Giffen/DeMatteis script that referenced, in 1991, Mae West, Lou Costello, and the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti.

I understand that their references sound even older fifty years later because they are very much older now because that's the way time works and maybe I shouldn't complain because time was different pre-Internet. But culture speeds along so much faster in the Internet Age of the 21st Century that these references might as well be stone aged cave paintings. But also in the Internet Age, you can actually (if you're curious) discover where these references came from. But only if you're good at Internetting. I tried to figure out where "It's a doozy" came from but I'm no Thomas Pynchon. I don't have access to whatever time machine Pynchon uses to live in the age he's writing about so that he can be as historically accurate as he is. Plus I'm easily distracted so instead of discovering the phrase probably morphed from "It's a daisy," especially because a car ad campaign for a car whose name could be shortened to "doozy" made "It's a doozy" popular in the '20s, I immediately tripped over a Reddit post where somebody heard the phrase in some show and was all, "This is obviously a reference to Groundhog's Day." That post made me shit myself and vomit at the same time because my immune system has no defense against people on the Internet who recognize something from some other thing they're familiar with and instantly believe the thing they've most recently experienced was obviously an homage to the thing they were already familiar with. Half the time, they don't even check the dates and wind up asking Neil Gaiman on tumblr, "Was this moment in your book a reference to this other pop culture thing I know about it?" And then Neil is all, "Well I don't own a time machine so the thing I wrote which came out first couldn't possibly be a reference to that much older thing, you fucking idiot." Neil, being a polite person, always leaves out the "you fucking idiot" part but I know he thought it as he hit enter on his keyboard.

I also understand this is a Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones script so I probably shouldn't have even mentioned DeMatteis but what am I supposed to do? Not get confused about which comic book I'm reading when they're basically the same comic book and also involved in a lengthy crossover story? I am not a god.

That wasn't a reference to Young Guns because the pronoun is incorrect and I also didn't mention pulling any triggers. Just clarifying that for all the Internet pop culture detective narcissists.

This fucking issue is called "The Center Cannot Hold" because I told you it would be. Except I made a joke that it would be called a lesser line that nobody would give a fuck about or remember because that leans more to my hyperbolic and facetious carefree and whimsical attitude. I'd rather sound ignorant than correct. But the brain inside my heart knew Jones would use this line as the next title. I suppose the final issue of this "Breakdowns" thing will be called "The Falconer Lost His Fucking Falcon." Ha ha no it will be this: "Slouches Towards Bethlehem."

Jones wastes three of the first four pages with a flashback showing how the JLE came to live in a cave.

I guess showing how The Flash has rage issues, how Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress still don't feel quite settled, and how Metamorpho uses expressions I've never heard before was important thematically. Like if I eventually find out Rex Mason is from Pittsburgh, I'll be all, "Oh, that's why he says so many odd things that I don't understand! 'Get your daubers up' must be an old steel making expression!" Or when Blue Jay kills himself, I won't think, "He must have finally realized his power of shrinking and flying are the dumbest combination of powers to have!" Instead I'll be compassionate and feel sincere empathy for his loneliness! And when Wally West eventually goes to super hero therapy and winds up killing Blue Jay and some others, instead of thinking, "Tom King sucks," I'll think, "His unbridled rage and inappropriate sexual comments towards his coworkers finally got out of hand!"

Just to keep the record straight because most people have terrible reading comprehension, I don't think Tom King sucks. I didn't say or think that. That's a thing I just pointed out I wouldn't think because I read this issue of Justice League Europe which set up how angry Wally West could get! Also because I love everything Tom King writes because he isn't shackled by continuity and fan service. Also also you should always blame editorial and Dan DiDio if some writer writes something you don't like. As if Tom King or any writer at DC has the pull to fuck up any character they want! You think Johns wanted Blue Beetle to get shot in the face? Oh, you know what? Johns probably did want Blue Beetle shot in the face. Unless Judd Winick wrote that part. Although Max Lord didn't say "Again!" when he shot Ted so it probably wasn't written by Winick.

If you're looking for casual pop culture references that don't actually improve the current writing or make any sense really then that one was for you: a reference to the time Judd was on Real World: San Francisco and he was discussing his writing process with one of his dumb roommates. Man, I hope the dumb roommate he was talking to wasn't his future wife! I wouldn't want to insult his "Rachel didn't love me because she fell for that asshole puck so I guess I choose you" true love, Pam.

Christ. I just reread what I wrote. I'm such a prick.

Oh! The other reason to drag the story out was to rub J'onn's face in how the Europe crew all stuck together instead of throwing tantrums and disbanding.

Meanwhile in space, all the boring Manga Khan crap dealing with Despero being used as a world killing puppet but immediately breaking free and escaping to Earth after a potential buyer is killed while test driving Despero pays off.

Be still, my beating loins.

Even when Darick Robertson interprets Lobo as a Beelejuice/Art Garfunkel getting electrocuted hybrid, I can't get enough of him. Even though Robertson gave him a majorly receding hairline and Insane Clown Posse makeup and yellow peril mustache, my love endures. Especially when Darick draws Lobo's forearms so thick and veiny. I'm about to fill my underpants with love swoon.

I had an inkling that Lobo appeared in "Breakdowns" but I was worried it was delusion masquerading as hope brought on by my enduring love for this raunchy space clebel (clown + rebel). Plus he'll be fighting on the side of the Justice League to take out Despero. Is this when writers and editors realized Lobo's perfect fit was the unkillable, unbeatable anti-hero who is only fighting on the right side because the right person is paying him? Or was all that already figured out during The Omega Men and/or L.E.G.I.O.N.?

Ralph Dibny and his weird long neck should have been a member of the Doom Patrol.

Wally, Ted, and Ralph wind up in a hallucinatory landscape being led to a flying nose by a little guy with a bureau for a head. I don't know if this is Gerard Jones' attempt at being Doom Patrol weird or if he's mocking Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol as some kind of bullshit weirdness for weirdness sake. Maybe this was just Jones' attempt at writing Ann Nocenti dialogue. If it's the first one, Jones doesn't have the chops for impenetrable but alluring weirdness. If it's the second one, it's insulting to Grant Morrison to believe there's no rhyme or reason to Grant's use of weirdness. If it's the last one, he nailed Nocenti's dialogue. Five stars. No notes.

Just pages and pages of this unreadable swill.

I was excited for a Doom Patrol cameo but now I'm just sad and angry. To not be sad and angry and to maybe give Gerard Jones the benefit of the doubt, this entire scene was caused by a hallucinogenic gas used by The Chief to keep people from wandering into his inner sanctum. What better way to keep people out than to assault them with the dumbest characters spouting the worst dialogue you've ever read (assuming you've never read an Ann Nocenti comic book. If you have, just change that sentence to read "nearly the worst dialogue you've ever read"). Obviously anybody with an ounce of dignity would turn around and not put up with this level of shit writing. It's a really good security measure thought up by The Chief!

Inspector Camus, working as some kind of liaison for Justice League Europe now, investigates a disappearance from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. It seems The Extremists (who were automatons from their previous world) were put on display in the museum. They were placed behind one of Booster Gold's force fields to keep them locked away and safe from causing harm. But they've either escaped, been stolen, or turned invisible because their display is now empty and the force field is still up. It's a mystery! But not as big a mystery as Batman and Robin's wax-work pose.

I didn't mean the mystery was what they were doing. The mystery is why somebody would pose them engaged in anal.

And finally, Max Lord wakes up from his coma after hearing Multi-man and Major Disaster discuss the United Nations walking away from the team. As if that were the entire reason for Max Lord's accident! If it was an accident. Is it physically possible for somebody to snipe themselves in their own head? Was that ever an episode of Mythbusters? Oh wait. Max can Manchurian Candidate people so anybody could have been the shooter, really.

Justice League Europe #32 Rating: A+. I may not be a great reviewer of comic books but I try to be consistent and since Lobo appeared in this issue, it's one of the best comic books I've ever read. Right up there with the last time Lobo appeared in a Justice League comic book. Or that time Lobo appeared in Action Comics. Or the time Lobo had his own series. Or that incredible issue of Omega Men where Lobo was introduced! So many A+ comic books out there. So weird how they all star Lobo.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Justice League America #56 (November 1991)

This cover is genuinely creepy.

The cover or pull date on this issue is November 1991. That means the comic book probably hit store shelves in September of 1991, exactly ten years before the destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists in 2001. Happening concurrently to this issue in the DC Universe (or just finished) was DC's series called Armageddon 2001. Martian Manhunter, being a telepath, must be contemplating the future tragedy. He probably read the mind of Monarch who was from 2001 and learned what was going to happen ten years from now. So he's taking a time out to contemplate life and love and existence. He's also probably thinking, "I know we just changed the future by defeating Monarch but I don't think I should change the future that much! The towers are just going to have to come down." I bet he put a mental block in his memory to make himself forget so that he wouldn't be tempted to interfere with the time line.

This issue is called "Look Homeward, Leaguers." That's probably a Thomas Wolfe reference but since Giffen and DeMatteis use references with no context, it's hard to tell. Just like Blue Beetle doing a Joan Rivers impression on the cover of the previous issue. Does it make sense? Does it add any layers to the meaning of the piece? Do most people not even realize it's a reference? No, no, and yes. Unless that yes should be "No, they don't." I probably shouldn't have asked a question with a negating bit in it. I never know how to answer those.

The credits have an added thank you bit for this issue:

Yeesh. I wonder how old Mark Badger was?

Justice League America are informed that their United Nations charter has been revoked so they're now as homeless as Justice League Europe. That must be why they're returning to the old Justice League cave headquarters where the Doom Patrol are possibly squatting right now. Or maybe it's just Joshua Clay from the Doom Patrol that's hiding away in the cave? J'onn seems upset because the Justice League has helped save the world multiple times (his words, not mine) and they don't deserve to have their easy paycheck and free living quarters taken away from them. Isn't that all the benefits they get from having a United Nations charter? Supposedly the charter makes it easier to save the world but it really just causes a huge bureaucratic headache. As an independent contractor, the Justice League can go anywhere and create any kind of international incident they feel like without anybody telling them boo! Oh, sure, some political leaders will scream at them and condemn their actions. But who gives a fuck? They're the Justice League! Let's see some non-super humans try to stop them!

Whoops! Sorry. I stole Guy's thunder. Here he is saying basically the same thing.

Blue Beetle agrees with me and Guy. He decides to abandon the League to go join The Conglomerate while Guy Gardner goes back to doing the job he's been slacking on: guardian of Sector 2814. Fire and Ice quit and go their separate ways as well. But the biggest surprise is when these two leave:

Just kidding! I already forgot they were on the team!

Why did Giffen and DeMatteis even bother to bring them on the team?! They didn't do shit! Tasmanian Devil punched Guy in the face but that's about the extent of their accomplishments as Leaguers. And if Doctor Light didn't want the job, why did she sign up? This smacks of some kind of meta-publishing bullshit. Does DC need to make sure every single one of their characters makes an appearance every two or three years or else they lose the right to not pay royalties to the creators? It's just fucking weird. Half of the time I've been reading this comic book, it feels like the creative team has been adding new members who leave just as quickly or suddenly losing long-term members out of nowhere in an editorial note. It feels less like an ongoing story and more like a storage cabinet for barely used DC characters.

The Conglomerate doesn't hire Blue Beetle because he's too fat. The news devastates Booster Gold who now has to live with Ted as his filthy roommate because Ted can't afford to move out. I guess Blue Beetle takes the news badly as well although without the job, he gets to hang around Booster's sweet apartment eating pizza and watching game shows all day. I'd be Booster's wife for that gig. And I wouldn't mind keeping the place clean and tidy! Or maybe throwing him a handy every now and again. Not leaving the house while eating junk food and watching game shows all day has been my dream since 1st grade. I'd do some pretty degrading bedroom shit to maintain that lifestyle.

Bea and Tora have decided to do modeling for a living because remember that scene where they were battling Norse Gods? That was the top picture in their portfolio. But the agency that had been courting Bea for months tells her they're not interested if she doesn't have a connection to the Justice League. Which seems like bad business to me because she did have a connection to the Justice League and just because she left them doesn't mean that she suddenly lost all of that cultural cachet or her hot ass. Only two reasons can exist as to why this guy is passing on the opportunity to hire Fire (and Ice): 1. He's bad at business. 2. Hiring Bea was his plan to get an in with the Justice League so he could meet and fuck Martian Manhunter.

Imagine using these two adorable faces so you can suck a Martian's dick.

Dammit. Now I'm imagining sucking a Martian's dick.

Bea doesn't let this one dropped job offer stop her quest to become the hottest model since sliced bread. And Tora goes with her because she's bad at finances. At one point she says, "Our credit cards are only going to hold out another few days—and I don't want to blow what little savings I have." How does she think credit cards work? She's blowing her current and future savings by maxing out her credit cards! Fucking Goddesses and their inability to understand human monetary bullshit.

Guy Gardner acknowledges in a soliloquy that he's only a super hero so that he can beat the shit out of people and still feel righteous. I've defended him a lot because I loved him so much in the '80s and '90s and I was desperate not to acknowledge how wrong I was to feel that way but now his conservative values have really come to the forefront and I have to rethink my love for him.

Like all conservatives, Guy wants to murder homeless people.

Why do all conservatives desperately want to commit violence and murder? So much so that they "other" everybody possible to lay the foundation of the excuse they'll use the day they finally feel justified in taking another person's life. To them, every manufactured offense can be met with deadly violence. Disrespect a cop? You should die. Fall through society's cracks and lose everything so that you're living on the street? You should die. Shopping while Black and being incorrectly reported to the cops as being a shoplifter? You should die. Live your life as a gender different than what's on your birth certificate? You should die. Enjoying a carefree and humanist life unrestricted by religious dogma? You should die. I could probably go on and on with the examples because they fucking despise anybody who wants to make the world a better place for everybody (a better world they would reap the benefits of, by the way). They're small-minded, petty people who need to control everybody else's lives while also feeling like they're some kind of victim. Don't they realize nobody would have a problem with them living their life of conservative values if those values weren't all tied up in not letting anybody else live their lives?

Dammit. Now I hate Guy Gardner.

Guy comes home to the apartment he shares with General Glory to discover the General has invited all of the homeless people in the area in to have a nice meal.

General Glory's values come from a time when the United States was at its most socialist which is why he believes compassion is The American Way.

It should also be noted that General Glory's values come from a time before the Civil Rights Era where "socialism" meant "the government helps white people." Once it became clear that the government legally needed to help all people, "America" suddenly decided that maybe the government shouldn't be helping anybody at all. At least General Glory didn't pick up on the dog whistles of American mid-century socialism so he's genuinely trying to be compassionate to anybody who needs a little help. Guy, on the other hand, is a fucking prick.

J'onn tries to live a quiet, meditative life in a house he's rented but makes the mistake of taking L'ron on as his roommate. And since J'onn can't get any peace and quiet with the subservient, fawning little droid hanging about, he decides to try to fix the Justice League. Besides, the League has been his family for comic book decades. He doesn't know anything else. Also Despero is coming to Earth to start trying to kill them all again so J'onn will need some help dealing with that problem.

J'onn isn't the only one suddenly desperate to fix the League. Blue Beetle decides to get in shape and save the group. Fire decides to abandon her modeling career and get the League back. And General Glory talks Guy through his feelings for Ice and his teammates so that Guy also believes the League needs to be reformed. So basically the Justice League didn't exist for about six pages. This is what happens when you don't have Batman on the active roster. One day you lose funding and everything descends into chaos for a while (a very short while) because you don't have a super rich guy to buy a satellite headquarters for you.

The entire team wind up meeting outside the old cave headquarters and agree on the thing they should have agreed on immediately instead of all running off in a huff: keep the team together. It was so obvious! Even when they had a United Nations charter, they still kept sneaking into Bialya to cause trouble. Now they can do that whenever they want without anybody threatening to cut off funding!

Once they enter the cave, they realize somebody has recently been there. Like Joshua Clay!

See? I remember some stuff! But only if it's traumatic and reading Morrison's Doom Patrol was exactly that.

All memory is trauma in some form or another. It's why it's memory! If you didn't suffer some form of trauma, you wouldn't form a memory of the event. On some level, pure joy can be just as distressing to our mental state as terror. So while trauma can be defined as a physical injury, I think it's also a mental injury—a scar—caused by the power of the event. A memory is a scar.

I have a scar on my left arm, just beneath the inside of the elbow. It's a long cat scratch made by my poor, long-dead, best friend Judas. It's about two inches long and was caused when you was jumping up on the arm of a couch to jump up to a higher location and didn't realize my arm was there. I got the full brunt of one of this back claws just digging through my flesh as he propelled his fifteen pound body high into the air. It instantly welled with blood and I looked at it, got really emotional, and began to cry. Not because it hurt but because I knew it would scar and I would have a lasting memory of my favorite boy ripped into my flesh. It still makes me tear up when I look at it. That's what I think of memory.

Turns out the people currently living in the cave are the jobless, homeless Justice League Europe. Everybody vomits when they see them because Ralph's neck is fifty feet long. But I think everything goes smoothly after that.

Justice League America #56 Rating: B. The individual scenes of the Leaguers trying to live their non-League lives was entertaining enough to support the stupid premise that the League completely broke down as soon as the United Nations kicked them out of the Embassy. If I were more cynical than I am, I'd say the whole break-up was just an easy way to fire Tasmanian Devil and Doctor Light. Or I suppose if I were more charitable and less cynical, I wouldn't even have mentioned how silly it seemed for them to break up for a day or two before realizing the League didn't have to die without the United Nations backing it. Emotionally, they all needed time to settle down and re-evaluate their lives without the other Leaguers breathing down their necks. Every one of them needed to come to their own conclusion that being a member of the League was actually what they wanted. Except Guy. He needed help from his surrogate father and therapist, General Glory. And Ice knew all along but she had to support her best friend in her decision to leave. The only real problem now is that they have to live in a cave with Ralph Dibny.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Justice League Europe #31 (October 1991)

Does Ralph's elasticity extend to his hair?

This issue is called "Things Fall Apart" which means it's super intelligent and artsy. I still love "The Second Coming" but I have to admit, the part in The Sopranos where Anthony Junior becomes obsessed with it seemed prescient. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention at the time and the worst people in the world were already obsessed with it and showing their ignorance by quoting it in situations where they thought they were making a point but they were really exposing how ignorant they were. I just recently watched The Sopranos for the first time so I first began to realize loads and loads of people were quoting "The Second Coming" when that shit pile of rancid maggot shit television show Heroes used it. I've since seen it used in other various places but fuck if I can remember where. My main memory of the poem first being used by a clueless individual was when my friend Soy Rakelson, who was always full of passionate intensity, began quoting the lines about the worst people being full of the same while the best lacked all conviction. It always made my head hurt. Anyway, I'm no Yeats scholar so even though I love the poem, I know I'm missing a ton of meaning in it because that guy's entire oeuvre was basically a cypher full of his own metaphors and symbols. People love "The Second Coming" because all the words seem to make some kind of mysterious sense (plus it has some of the best poetic pull quotes in the game) whereas a fuckton of Yeats' other poems just leave your brain struggling with the sudden realization that you are the dumbest person on Earth. Also "The Second Coming" has the line, "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born." Fucking kick ass, man!

Look, after 4000 or so comic book blog entries, a person is going to begin repeating themselves. Usually not in such rapid succession. I mean, it was just last issue of Justice League Europe that I copy and pasted that from! I suppose next issue is going to be called "The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned," mostly because Gerard Jones is all about drowning innocence. That could have been a much better joke if Jones had been convicted for drowning some kids instead of just collecting sexual abuse images of kids because then I could have said, "Jones is all about drowning innocents." Sure, it wouldn't actually be funny in the sense that it would make a person laugh because everything Jones has done (and also all the stuff he hasn't done which I'm pretending he has now, like drowning kids) is awful. Except Green Lantern: Mosaic. That was pretty fucking good. Not good enough to forgive what he did! But good enough to ignore that he's the writer of Green Lantern: Mosaic while I'm reading it. You know, the way people ignore the person who wrote those books about the kid magician. No, not Neil Gaiman. The British TERF. You know what hag I'm speaking of.

This issue begins with Sue Dibny having a rape fantasy dream about Captain Atom.

Look how hard she's coming.

Okay, that's probably Catherine Cobert. But I wish it were Sue. Sue wants atomic dick so badly.

Oh shit. I just reread that page and I think it was meant to be malevolent and a nightmare! I think she's crying at the end! But I don't think she's crying because the dream scared her. She's crying because Captain Atom died between "Breakdowns, Part 5" and "Breakdowns, Part 6" in the second issue of Armageddon 2001 and she'll actually never get to fuck him like she obviously wanted. Or maybe she's crying because she knows Captain Atom should be Monarch and she's upset that DC decided to take a huge swerve and make Hank Hall Monarch—a move which makes no sense upon reading the series and all the annuals. Look, DC. We all knew it was going to be Captain Atom. But you thought it would be better to publish a story that surprises the audience and makes no sense instead of publishing the story that makes sense which everybody guessed because, you know, you were successful with your foreshadowing and character development. You idiots.

"War of the Gods" as well? Christ, DC. Maybe string out your big event story arcs across the entire year instead of cramming them all into summer next time.

Some of you might be calling me a fucking moron right now because in what universe is October summer? Well, in the comic book universe, you fucking jerks! The month on the cover of a comic book was always about three months ahead of the month the book was actually published. This was some old timey publishing trick to keep magazines on newsstands longer because the seller would look at the cover and be all, "Oh, this book is still new! It says October but it's only August! That doesn't make sense but I guess I'm falling for it!"

This thing with Kara and Captain Atom not being around for the rest of "Breakdowns" is why I despise the need for absolute comic book continuity. I'm reading this years later. How the fuck would I know Kara was participating in "War of the Gods" and this comic book at the same time? I fucking wouldn't. But some asshole basement dweller's mom kept buying him stamps in the '70s and '80s so that he could send letters to DC to point out when a character was somehow appearing in two comic books in the same week. And the editors were all, "I can't read another one of these letters that smells of stale farts and Cheeto dust. We must get a tighter control on our continuity!" Anyway, that's the first five pages spent letting readers know what characters won't be available for the rest of the story due to conflicting story arcs in other comic books that most readers probably aren't even reading.

Meanwhile in deep space, Despero remembers how much he hates the Justice League. He's flying to Earth to try, one more time, to murder them all. But this time he has a fancy new collar that enables a person with the right remote to control his behavior. But that remote is floating in deep space and I don't think universal remote controls existed in 1991. So unless Kilowog invents one in a hurry, the collar will remain decorative.

I wonder why DC never made this a wall poster?

Even though this is the Justice League Europe comic book, they only appear because Justice League America needed help responding to whatever this sexy situation Fire and Ice have gotten themselves into. And before you chastise me for equating violence with eroticism, just remember that some people need to be choked during a good fuck! If Fire and Ice are battling for their lives here, I would think Darick Robertson is to blame for me thinking they're having the time of their lives. I know looking at this panel, I'm having the time of mine!

Sometimes I wish I didn't rely so thoroughly on the creepy image of the leering, sex-starved comic book nerd trope of the '80s. Or '70s. Or '90s. Or '50s. Or '60s. But probably not the '00s or later because those decades took place after the first X-men movie after which it became mainstream to like comic books. If you want proof that before that movie comic books were only for nerds and outcasts, I can't give it to you. But I was at Comicon in San Diego the year X-men came out and it would be unrecognizable to fans today. People were actually there for comic books! And Kevin Smith, I suppose. But not for Paris Themmen, poor guy. I mean, I was there for him. But absolutely nobody else was.

I feel really bad, 23 years later, that I took this picture but didn't purchase anything.

This picture was taken at the 2000 Comicon. I know this for certain because my friend Upright and I saw X-men at the theater while in San Diego. While digging out this picture, I also found badges from three earlier Comicons: '96, '97, and '98. So I've been to four Comicons? That boggles my mind. I remember one where I got super drunk at a party where they put on Trainspotting and while I can usually understand Scottish accents, I was so drunk that it just sounded like a foreign language. I remember another one where I purchased a dozen or more pirated Sailor Moon VHS tapes because they were of seasons past the Queen Beryl season that had been dubbed for North American television. And the one where we were trying to get into the Star Wars collectible card game. And the one where we had breakfast with Dan Santat and convinced him to do the art for our Alternative Press Expo Special of our Galactic Hero Corps fanzine. Also I guess we looked at comic books and shit. Oh! There was the one where we went to a tiny panel about the upcoming Elfquest movie which never did upcome. Fucking lying Marv Wolfman! I don't blame Wendy and Richard at all. They probably wanted the movie to happen nearly as much as I did.

But I was going to say before Truth broke in with all her matter-of-fact about Mike Teevee and the San Diego Comicon, Fire and Ice seem to be battling Norse Gods. The three in the sexy panel are Baldur, Thor, and Loki. I bet Marvel was just bristling at this scene and their inability to copyright myths and legends.

Goddamn. This scene just keeps getting sexier.

Baldur and Thor flex their muscles but ultimately it just takes Loki a few seconds to defeat the Justice League by turning them into trees.

J'onn still traumatized from being turned into a tree way back in 1962.

Well, that killed the sexiness of this scene really quick. Trees are only sexy to elves and that one producer who insisted the tree raping scene remained in the 2013 remake of The Evil Dead, Evil Dead. Sometimes trees grow into shapes where they look like they have boobs or dongs or buttholes but even those are only slightly sexy because I don't want a beetle going up my dickhole.

Turns out Loki just covered the heroes in a shell of wood instead of actually turning them into trees. None of them realized this because they're all dumb as fuck. Only Metamorpho figures it out and that's mostly by accident. These idiots actually thought they were wood when they had simply been encased in wood. True, I've never felt what that was like, so maybe I'm judging them too harshly. Maybe if I were encased in wood, I would think, "I'm still able to think so my guess is that I haven't actually been turned into wood. And why is my dick hard? Am I an elf?"

Guy breaks free after Metamorpho does and then Guy breaks out J'onn who could have simply phased through the wood immediately. I suspect he was too traumatized from the first time he was turned into a tree and was in shock. After J'onn is saved, he insults Ice.

Beetle was right. Nobody fucking respects Ice's powers!

Loki, Thor, and Baldur disappear leaving this plot thread either dangling or tied up. It's hard to tell because nothing fucking happened. Ice ran off to save her people in the last part of "Breakdowns" and now, after nothing was resolved, she declares they're safe. What the fuck was that about? Did somebody at DC simply want to irk somebody at Marvel by sticking Loki and Thor in their funny book?

Metamorpho feels the way I do. He basically says, "What the fuck was that about?" Everybody else is all, "Maybe we should just move on! It'll all become clear later. Maybe! Was it a 'War of the Gods' crossover? Who can tell?!"

The issue ends with the United Nations revoking the League's international charter which means all the members of Justice League Europe just got their visas cancelled. Time to move back to the states and not have a job!

Justice League Europe #31 Rating: D+. Nothing happened in this issue that wasn't spoiled by the cover. A few pages were spent explaining why Captain Atom and Kara wouldn't be in the comic (even if Kara was on the cover). A few pages were spent on a battle with Norse Gods that didn't matter. And then the League's charter was revoked which the cover already mentioned. I guess maybe Despero heading back to Earth was relevant to the chaos to ensue? I imagine Loki will return as well. That plot thread has to pay off somewhere down the line. The cat wasn't even in this issue! Did he go off to fight in the War of the Gods with Kara?