Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Justice League America Annual #6 (1992)

I'm not saying Dan Jurgens shouldn't have made Booster Gold staring into Beetle's butthole but I am saying editorial should have sent the cover back with a note saying, "Can Booster Gold be looking somewhere else, please?"

This issue is called "Maximum Eclipse." I don't understand that title so much that I can't even make fun of it. Was it just that in the '90s, every piece of media was getting "Maximum" added to the title to show how super-duper exciting it was? This book isn't about your mother's eclipse! That eclipse was all minimum and shit. This eclipse is going to be as eclipsy as possible! The most eclipse ever! Like, the whole entire moon is going to be blocked by the shadow of the Earth! But even more so than usual! Just the maximum amount, baby!

You don't need special glasses to look at a lunar eclipse because you're actually looking at less sun than usual. But you probably should wear special glasses to gaze into Blue Beetle's butthole. Like the pair Booster is wearing on the cover.

Eclipso has been busy possessing some small time heroes like Valor and Hal Jordan. But he feels like his plan won't really be set in motion until he has the telepathic powers of Martian Manhunter! Ha ha! Good luck capturing him, Eclipso! He doesn't exist in the DC Universe right now because he's pretending to be Bloodwynd! And nobody knows that secret at all! I'm not even sure Dan Jurgens knows it! Although it was hinted at in the letters pages of Justice League Europe #42. Not that J'onn was Bloodwynd but that there will be a big surprise twist involving J'onn sometime in the future. And since I'm currently way in the future, I know the surprise is that J'onn is Bloodwynd!

Eclipso also wants to possess J'onn so he can do the hand jive.

Back on Earth, Guy Gardner fished his Green Lantern gear out of his apartment's incinerator because he's been rehired by the Guardians of the Universe. Probably because he's the greatest Green Lantern and not because Hal Jordan has been possessed by Eclipso. Although those two things are really kind of the same thing because you notice how Guy Gardner isn't currently possessed by Eclipso? Hal is a loser. I'm not sure why Guy didn't just keep his Warrior outfit on though. It's not like his regular Green Lantern outfit with the turtle neck and the Nazi styling and the big boots is any more regulation than his Warrior outfit. I guess he just wanted to stick it in stupid old Hal Jordan's dumb mug.

I have no idea why Guy is exclaiming, "Twinkies!"

Guy doesn't usually scream the name of Hostess products as an alternative to swearing so when he shows up to JLA headquarters and yells, "Twinkies!", it doesn't make any sense. Later he calls Bruce Gordon a "Twinkie" which I guess is supposed to explain it but why would he make it plural in the first panel he appears? Also I don't know if the blonde Twinkie is Bruce Gordon or not but I'm making an educated guess. Twinkie has come to the League to explain how they need to defeat Eclipso but he can't explain that until Superman arrives so Superman can say, "Listen to this man!" Because otherwise nobody is going to do anything on "this Twinkie's say-so."

(The quotes around that last section in that last paragraph were there to indicate that that was the phrase Guy Gardner used when he called Bruce a Twinkie. I'm only pointing that out in this parenthetical paragraph so that I don't get accused of plagiarism by Hbomberguy.)

Superman is late to the meeting because he's trying to recruit Wonder Woman to the battle. Wonder Woman says she isn't ready for a team even though she just recently teamed up with Justice League Europe. But that was in Greece to fight some mythological titans so really Justice League Europe was sidekicking for Wonder Woman. I guess she only fights Greek Gods. She has no interest in battling the God of Vengeance if it's not Nemesis. Although her disembodied head is on the cover so she might change her mind when the shit really hits the Acropolis.

After Superman leaves, some Boston cop starts shooting up a crowd and Wonder Woman gets drawn into the story.

As if a cop needs to be possessed by Eclipso to murder innocent civilians.

Wonder Woman subdues the cop so Eclipso sets him free. Then he's all, "Oh no! What happened? I didn't discharge my weapon and harm any innocent civilians, did I?!"

Yeah. Evil. As in "Boston Police Officer."

Comic books are way better than reality because this cop probably won't be charged for murdering all of those people due to being mind-controlled and not being responsible for his actions rather than if this happened in reality, the cop wouldn't be charged due to "qualified immunity" and the excuse that he feared for his safety. Why is it always the person with the gun who "feared for their safety"? It's so much easier to plead self-defense in court when you've murdered the other person and they can't testify against you! And it's obvious people with guns fear for their safety. That's why they have a gun! And it's also why they shouldn't have a gun because they're fucking scared of everything! And since their first thought is to use the gun in a conflict, they figure if the other person has a gun, they're going to use it on them! So they just start shooting like a maniac and then plead self-defense later. Regular citizens shouldn't be allowed to plead self-defense against a murder charge simply because they felt scared or threatened. And cops especially shouldn't be able to since they're supposed to be protecting citizens at the risk of their own lives! Not at the risk of all of our lives! This is why people love firemen and hate policemen. Because firemen actually do risk their lives to save people and policemen won't fucking risk a single hair on their fat mustache to save even children.

Anyway, Wonder Woman is convinced that evil must be stopped. But for some reason, she doesn't head down to the Boston Police Station and burn it to the ground. She heads off to Justice League Headquarters to join Superman and the others.

Guy's absolutely right and he'll be proven five thousand times over in the next few years.

When Wonder Woman shows up, all the women lose their shit. Apparently Wonder Woman is so gorgeous and upstanding and confident that every other woman in the room feels like slitting their wrists. I totally get that. I've had so many friends commit suicide over the years, I can only imagine it was due to my confidence, charm, and incredible wit. They could only look at me and think, "I'm living at such a low level compared to this master of life. Why should I even bother?"

Maxima flies off in a huff because Wonder Woman is so obviously superior to her. And while flying around angry, Starman appears and hands her a black diamond. Eclipso takes her over and realizes he never needed J'onn at all. Maxima's mind powers are equitable to J'onn's and she doesn't cower when somebody lights a cigarette.

Bloodwynd says he smells a rat and holds his nose while pointing at Metamorpho. So Metamorpho, pretending that his feelings are hurt, rushes off before people figure out what's wrong with him. Jurgens probably wants the readers to think Metamorpho is possessed but I bet Rex just can't stop thinking about all the ways Crimson Fox has fucked him in the last week and J'onn (who is Bloodwynd but also still a Martian!) is simply confused by kinky human sex acts.

Meanwhile, the Justice League has obviously still not invested in a human resources department.

Poor women of the DC Universe. Booster's from the future where men, apparently, have still never learned not to pull this shit.

The Justice League discover that some hero turned Eclipsed-villain has been attacking a nuclear waste storage facility when Max Lord calls them to turn on CNN. You'd think the Justice League would have some means of learning about villains attacking places that would be more prompt than sitting in front of a 24-hour news challenge. But what do I know?! I'm not a comic book writer! I don't get how any of this shit works. Although most comic book writers have no idea either which is why the heroes are usually battling some villain who is attacking them directly. It's easier than coming up with some system to have the heroes know when shit is about to go down or has just begun to go down.

Redouble their efforts? Is math different on Krypton? Can you actually double zero there?

Bloodwynd flies off with the rest of the League to stop a future radioactive disaster while Beetle and Bruce Gordon remain behind to create flashlights. That means Metamorpho is safe to return without Bloodwynd being all, "The dead tell me you are a traitor!" Bruce Gordon rushes off too to do something mysterious leaving Blue Beetle not full of suspicion at all. Was it a big mystery in 1992 that Bruce Gordon was the main human host for Eclipso? Could he be working for him still?!

Maxima turns out to be the culprit blasting containers full of spent fuel rods. Weird that she would go after nuclear waste when there are so many actual nuclear power reactors all across the world. It's like Eclipso is just toying with the League! Guy Gardner and Superman collect a bunch of radioactive rubble and fly it out into space where it will be "harmless." Why doesn't Superman do this on a monthly basis? Just fly all the radioactive waste out to Uranus and toss it in? That wouldn't cause any trouble, right? Fucking around with Earth's environment can cause long-lasting problems but not fucking around with Uranus's! Who cares what happens to that planet, right?!

Back at Justice League headquarters, Eclipso himself attacks Blue Beetle! "What?! How did that happen?!" the readers of 1992 were wondering. Maybe that's why Bloodwynd had to voice his suspicions of Metamorpho. So that it wasn't so obvious that Bruce Gordon was Eclipso! Readers would be all, "Bloodwynd was right! Metamorpho was up to something!" Even if Bruce Gordon suddenly going, "Um, uh, I forgot I needed to do a thing!", wasn't the most suspicious part of the whole comic book. Although maybe that's the red herring! Because long time DC Comics readers would know Bruce Gordon was Eclipso. And DC doesn't like making their big event twists easy to guess! So much so that they'll change their entire plotted event at the last minute so that it doesn't make any sense. Imagine, Hawk was Monarch! Ha ha! So dumb!

Blue Beetle causes an explosion as he tries to contain Eclipso and that's when the first big twist takes place!

What is going on?! I'm so confused by this twist! Maybe Bruce Gordon really did have diarrhea!

If only Bloodwynd didn't have to appear so mysterious so his cover isn't blown, this could easily have been avoided! And I wouldn't be so confused!

Maxima tries to take control of Wonder Woman but that only works for a few minutes before Superman outwits her. Then everybody beats the shit out of her until she's unconscious and safe to transport back to headquarters where Blue Beetle can shine his flashlight on her. Except they don't realize Beetle's flashlight has been turned into slag! And Beetle's about to be!

Oh, um, also, Maxima doesn't stay out for long. The fight starts all over again and then Fire does this thing with her butt that, um, well, take a look for yourself!

Maxima isn't the only thing about to be beaten!

Maxima flies off while everybody is distracted by Fire's ass. And Beetle manages to defeat Eclipso by bluffing that all the lights were somehow going to start blasting solar energy into the building because they were running on Beetle's bug's solar charger. Except that's not how solar power works. Good thing Eclipso is just a big dumb old God who doesn't know anything about technology and science. When Eclipso flies away, he turns back into Starman whose body he was using. I guess Starman has shape-changing abilities?

Before the rest of the League return to find the headquarters in shambles, Blue Beetle does one of those cinematic movie mystery things where somebody approaches him from behind and he's all, "Oh, it's you!" Then he's blasted by a flash of light and kidnapped! Was it Rex? Was it Bruce?! Was it Eclipso himself?! I may never know because who knows where my Eclipso: The Darkness Within comic books are stored! Stupid past me deciding to organize the annuals by title instead of by event! What was I thinking?!

I bet Blue Beetle was "recruited" by Bruce Gordon to assault Eclipso's base/prison on the dark side of the moon. That might be my memory being useful or it might just be my insightful comic book reading abilities! And it could also be wrong so, you know, shut up.

The issue ends with Maxima taken, Blue Beetle missing, and Eclipso sitting on his throne pretending he's doing a good job taking over the world. I mean, a powerless guy in a stupid costume just beat one of his most powerful henchmen but I can see how, if I were a narcissistic loon, I'd convince myself I was doing a good job too. The next part of the story takes place in The Demon annual! I would have had that one even if I hadn't purchased all the Eclipso annuals! Too bad I don't have my comic book boxes organized in any coherent way or I'd dig it out and read it.

Justice League America Annual #6 Rating: B Tier. That wasn't too bad for an annual! Even the art was okay which surprises me because I first began reading Justice League Europe Annual #3 and let me tell you: the art in that is horrific! It was as if I just solved a weird cube puzzle and my eyes turned into a home for horny worms. That's something Clive Barker would have written, right? Maybe DC actually tried to put a little more effort into these event annuals than the tiny amount of effort they used to put into regular annuals. Why did annuals have to be twice as long but also four times as boring and eight times as ugly? It's like some kind of fourth dimensional equation. Have annuals gotten better over the years? I don't really remember any when I was reading The New 52. But then maybe that's because DC kept doing annual September events in lieu of annuals. Those were sort of the same thing in that they often didn't really have much to do with actual continuity while at the same time pretending that they were some crazy, can't-miss event tied in to every single title. Why do we comic book fans always fall for that shit?!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Justice League Europe #42 (September 1992)

Wonder Woman got that jerk off hand ready to go.

Judging by the look on Diana's face, she's going to jerk off whomever she's going to jerk off fairly aggressively. I don't mind an aggressive handy because it's still a handy. And it's probably better than a passive handy which, as you get older and older, doesn't always do the job. When you're young, experiences are so new and fresh that somebody touching your penis might set it off so quick you won't know whether you should consider it a sexual experience or not. But as you get older, you've had so many different hands on your penis that you've lost that wonderful experience of the newness and uniqueness of the event. I'm pretty sure that's what Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," is about. After having lost that golden feeling, you're not going to orgasm from somebody half-assing a handy while they make a grocery list in their head. Sometimes it takes some serious work and if that serious work includes punching me in the balls, I'm fucking ready to go, Diana! Let's do this! Also I've never had a lasso shoved up my ass. Hopefully the Lasso of Truth doesn't work while shoved up an ass or else I'm going to be admitting that, why yes, I actually have had a lasso shoved up my ass.

The Justice League, after being swallowed last issue by a massive Chthon, find themselves in Hell's foyer.

Why would Jones and Randall make me want to go to Hell by portraying it as a place full of naked women covered in snakes?

If I were a woman, I'd cosplay one of these demonesses at the next San Diego Comicon. Can you train snakes to strategically cover your nipples, butthole, and hoo-ha?

As you can see, this issue is called "Mother of Monsters" which, I'm assuming, means they're going to battle the mother of Ethan Van Sciver.

Oh wait. A naked woman spouting nonsense that almost seems logical? This battle is against Ann Nocenti's mother.

This naked chaotic woman speaks only truth. My only friend is Chaos. Order can get fucked. Order is a white dude trying to control all the parameters of reality through authoritarian means. Chaos is a naked lady telling me about sex. So maybe fuck Chaos too? But in the good way whereas I meant "Order can get fucked" in the bad way. Not in a rapey way! But in a "Get the hell out of my sight, Order! You suck dick!" way. But not the way Chaos sucks dick! That's good dick sucking! I meant Order should suck a grungy dick full of dick cheese and open sores! Maybe I should stop using sexual metaphors as insults because sex is awesome and why would you tell somebody you dislike to go do something awesome?! It's confusing too! Because I said order should get fucked but what I really want to do is fuck Chaos! Did you see how hot and naked she was? And this was approved by the Comics Code Authority! Somebody at the CCA must have been all, "Hey, do we have any rules against Hell being full of naked women wearing snakes?" And somebody else was all, "Not specifically!" And what they meant was, "Not specifically but that's definitely against the code." But the person asking the question just heard, "Not specifically so I guess we can't do anything about it!" And they got out their big red rubber stamper and and stamped "APPROVED!" on the comic book. And then I jerked off to it several months later when it hit the shelves.

I don't actually know whether or not I jerked off to these naked ladies. I probably didn't seeing as how I wasn't a virgin at the time which means an image like this is less alluring than it might have been. But I definitely jerked off to the Succubus entry in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual which compares to these images. But I was way younger and totally a virgin when I did that! So I'm guessing there's probably like an 18% chance that I masturbated to this comic book.

After the naked ladies fail to tempt any of the heroes into getting their dicks or vaginas out, Cerberus attacks. But Diana chokes part of it and throws it against the wall because she's an asshole. You're supposed to pet the doggy, Diana, not maim it. It probably just wanted some kissies.

That's the Flash stuck in Hell for eternity.

Speaking of masturbation, do you think The Flash would pull his own dick off if he got carried away while jerking it? Do you think he has to clean up afterward or does his semen exit his body so fast that it burns up upon exiting his penis? Being that he's the fastest man alive, do you think he's constantly jerking off in public but so quickly that nobody ever sees him? Do you think he's ever jerked off on Gorilla Grodd's face for a laugh? I believe Wally pulled his entire penis off the first time he tried to jerk off after getting his powers and then ran back in time to stop himself from jerking off which caused The New 52. And that's why the genesis of The New 52 universe was when Chronos or Volthoom or whoever looked back in time and witnessed God jerking off to create everything.

Diana warns the men against splitting up but the men are super horny and run off in all directions to fuck demon women.

The only mystery Ralph is currently interested in solving is The Mystery of His Dick in Her Butthole.

The odds of me having jerked off to this comic book have been upgraded to 34% after seeing this naked elfin fairy demon. I also probably would have read far more Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books if they had titles like the one I made up in the caption. I bet there was at least one Trixie Belden mystery that was called, The Case of Honey's Moist Undergarments.

Aquaman springs into a leadership role with some impeccable logic.

I love when a writer understands how truly stupid Aquaman is.

Rex tries to point out to everybody that they're being tempted by tailor-made Hell temptations and they're all failing. Some more naked women appear and start saying, "You're just a big scaredy cat!" That, of course, is Hal's temptation. He's all, "I am not! You wanna see a scaredy cat? Well meet my dukes, lady!" Then he lifts up his right fist and says, "Señor Meow Meow!", and lifts up his left fist and says, "And Lady Purrtessa of the Northern Sunpatches!" Metamorpho tries to hold him back but Hal is all, "Hal Jordan ain't scared of nothin', lady! NOTHIN'! Why I outta...!" And then he flies off into the darkness hoping to get in a barroom brawl with some naked demon ladies.

For some reason, the narrative doesn't follow Hal into the darkness no matter how much that seems like the most interesting plot point to follow. I'm already used to Jones choosing to portray the most boring narrative path since we didn't get to see The Flash fuck the snake woman or Ralph do some super deep Stretch Armstrong penetration on the fairy princess.

Rex is the only male that doesn't run off to fuck a succubus because he doesn't have a dong anymore. But the other men are eventually returned to the women.

Were these forms chosen by personality or dick size?

Once the men have been taken care of, Echidna, the mother of monsters, approaches the women. Doctor Light loses her mind because she's so afraid of the dark. Wonder Woman becomes trapped in a cavern wall because she was carved into the shape of the male ideal. And Crimson Fox becomes stunned by the feminine power of Echidna. But she only sees the feminine power as it can be used to control men and not what it's truly capable of. I think what Echidna is hinting at is that feminine power is the most creative and destructive power there is because it taps into only itself. Male power always has some stupid logical motivation to gain more power or satisfy their desires (as seen by the men's failed temptations). The only woman in the group Echidna seems to respect is Power Girl because she understands anger! Unless it's just the diet soda fucking with her brain chemistry. But even if it is, what does Echidna know about modern chemicals and their effects on human systems.

Obviously Echidna has an agenda! She's pissed off that the gods locked her away for thousands of years. She thinks the men are clichés but she's currently doing her best impersonation of a woman scorned. She uses the logic of men to try to convince Power Girl to destroy civilization. But Power Girl is all, "I love too much! Have you ever tried Diet Dr. Pepper?!" And Echidna is all, "If you love life, you love me!" And Power Girl is all, "Okay, sure, I get that. I see why you're angry. But I'm not going to use my power to accomplish your revenge, you twisted monster mother fucker!" Power Girl freaks out and starts punching Echidna in her snake vagina.

"Coke is it, bitch!"

Echidna threatens to collapse the underworld and bring the entire world down around it. But Power Girl chooses to make a deal with her: if Echidna stops menacing the world, Power Girl will become her student. Once a year, she'll travel to the underworld with a case of Diet Soda and Echidna will teach her the ways of the wild women. Sounds like a plot point that was never revisited. Then again, I haven't read every comic book Grant Morrison has written. I'm sure he remembered this deal at some point and made a big thing of it. Hopefully a big sexy thing!

Justice League Europe #42 Rating: A. Some people still think that men are logical and women are emotional which is a weird bigotry to have in the year 2024. This comic book plays to that because it was still 1992 and The X-Files was just getting up and running. I'm not saying Chris Carter's show changed the landscape of gender narrative but for anybody paying attention, it was full of flipped gender roles. Scully, the woman, was the rational one while Mulder was the emotional one. But he didn't just make it that simple. The show portrayed Mulder and Scully as two hemispheres of one brain. The two main characters represented masculinity and femininity, logic and emotion, faith and cynicism (possibly the best and most striking example in that Scully, the ultimate cynic and believer of evidence also being the one that believed in God while Mulder would believe almost anything except for the Christian magic man in the sky). It was such an obvious tactic to the show that eventually, when Scully was dying of cancer, the show portrayed the brain getting thrown way out of whack. As the logical, cynical, feminine side was dying, the emotional side exploded into paranoia and fear until it was seemingly left with only one way out: the masculine choice of violent suicide. Chris Carter would have done well to have the show end with Scully dying in hospital from cancer and Mulder blowing his brains out. The fact they were one brain was also one of the main reasons they were never supposed to be involved romantically. Because that would have been masturbation!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is equating a lot of stuff to easily digestible gender roles can seem academic but is often just lazy. It fits a bit better here in this comic book because the antagonist is an ancient goddess with old ideas. It doesn't work in that Gerard Jones was a despicable kiddy fiddler (perhaps just a voyeur who was never hands-on but that's probably just a semantic difference that I'm putting in a parenthetical reference so I can point to any upset lawyers how I clarified my position to line up with his arrest record). In my mind, a man interested in children is a man uninterested in seeing their sexual partners as autonomous human beings with beliefs, opinions, and lives of their own. That's probably why Jones gets so wrapped up in mythological ideas and broad gender theories in this story. When you've got weird ideas about the world projected through the prism of your disgusting desires, you don't write small and personal. You write broadly and what's more broad than ancient mythological shit?

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Justice League America #66 (September 1992)

Is it just me or does Batman look hot?

See Batman's legs? That's a favorite move of Dan Jurgens. It's his foreshortening when drawing a hero flying straight at the viewer. He loves to make one leg all fat thigh as if it's missing the lower half of the extremity. And then the other leg trails off into a weird anemic baby leg. I haven't been pointing it out because I figured we all know that's Dan Jurgens' biggest shortcut. If I pointed out how often Maxima looked like she'd been in a coma for seven months and her legs had become useless husks of atrophied muscle since Jurgens took over, it's all I would have been writing about. It's definitely most of what I'd been thinking about. Maybe that's why I think Batman looks so hot here. Because he has Maxima's useless legs and I'm remembering how naked Maxima's legs are all the time.

In other cover news, Superman's neck looks majorly fucked up. He's got choad throat.

Who do you think the question-marked face represents? Probably Batman, right? Or is it the person who has been sneaking around headquarters that I haven't mentioned because who gives a fuck? I wasn't curious enough to even mention it until now! Maybe it's Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt! He was poking around Justice League Europe's headquarters last issue. I didn't mention that either because boring! Nobody ever purchased a Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, comic book. Ever. DC probably sold more copies of Nathaniel Dusk!

The issue begins with Guy Gardner and Superman battling each other. Guy Gardner (as you can see by the cover) has his Guy Gardner Warrior costume on and his yellow lantern ring so I guess his big prestige comic book mini-series came out the summer of 1992. It would be interesting to read all of my comic books in the order they were published but unlike thousands of other comic book nerds, I never kept any records on which comic books I purchased and when. It's possible I attempted it at some point but those records would have been on 5 1/4" floppy disks so what good would they be to me at this point? My memory, which sucks, would be more reliable.

But that fight doesn't start until later! Like most comic books, this one begins in fake media res. It's all, "Let's start in the middle of the action!" Then by page three, it's all, "No, you know what? Let's go back and recount all the boring shit that led up to this exciting moment that you'd probably rather be reading!" By page four, I've decided I hate myself for putting up with this shit over and over again.

The mystery person recounts their day spying on the League. I was hoping Jurgens would reveal who the interloper was before I got too far into the story but it doesn't look like there's any hope in that. They'll probably only reveal themselves on the last page when they break up the fight between Guy and Superman. Until then, I have to read pages and pages of the League doing absolutely nothing interesting.

Superman gives Maxima a lift to court so she can deal with a murder charge and some parking tickets.

Batman shows up in court to ask Superman if he's surprised to see him.

Are all of their interactions this tense and full of passive aggression?

Does Batman show up in Metropolis unexpectedly often? Does he manipulate his heartbeat and sneak about in the shadows trying to fool all of Superman's super powers? I would expect Superman would just smell Batman as soon as he entered the city limits.

What do you think Batman smells like? I bet he smells like lavender, cave fungus and ball sweat.

Batman is all, "To keep Guy Gardner under control, you have to punch him in the face." And Superman is all, "I am not a violent person. I will find another way." But as we've seen, even Superman can't resist punching Guy Gardner in the face.

The person spying on the League keeps referring to the old days in the League, so it must be an old member like Green Arrow or Hawkman. If that's the case, I understand why Dan Jurgens refuses to reveal their identity. Readers might lose interest immediately upon finding out it's one of those old farts.

The spy watches Blue Beetle "invent" a tracking device to put on Bloodwynd's Justice League Signal Device and then follows up with a little more spying on Fire planning some new costume changes. The spy then decides to set off the motion sensors to test the team's readiness. But that coincides with Guy Gardner showing up. Which, for some reason, means everybody needs to attack him. I don't get it. Guy shows up, sets off the intruder alarms, is recognized by everybody as Guy Gardner, and they immediately attack him. Why?

Did Guy become a villain at some point in the last month or two?!

Fire attacks Guy because Guy proclaims he's there to take Ice away. So she's defending her girl's virtue. And then Booster attacks Guy because he thinks Fire needs defending from Guy. But mostly Guy, who showed up to talk with the woman he's been dating, has simply been forced to defend himself for no reason! And next thing you know, Superman's going to take a shot at him too!

Guy being the most rational person in this comic book.

When you think you're the most righteous person in the room, like Booster Gold here, it can often cause you to become an intolerable asshole. As soon as you believe somebody else has fallen, you can often convince yourself that they deserve to be treated like shit and attacked. You lose your clearheaded sense of heroism and kindness when you see yourself as some kind of unflawed moral warrior. Then somebody with a certain reputation shows up and you feel justified in beating the shit out of them. And you feel really good about it too! And you'd be hard-pressed to understand how you've suddenly become the asshole. But you have. All my morally indignant tumblr peeps know what I mean, right?!

Of course Guy fights back. Which is when Superman arrives to simply assume Guy Gardner started this mess. He throws Guy in the river and now Guy's pretty much accepted that he's in a major battle with the Justice League. A battle that they started! So he can finish it and not feel too bad!

Meanwhile, Batman, having arrived with Superman, seems less concerned with Guy Gardner than with the intruder alarm. He investigates and determines the League does have a teeny, tiny intruder: the Atom! Bloodwynd spots him hanging off of Batman's cape because Bloodwynd has super Martian eyesight! I mean he used the Sight of the Dead! I mean he used telepathy. With the dead!

Superman refuses to fight Guy and Batman is all, "You're a better man than I ever was, Superman!" And The Atom manages to talk Guy into calming down. Batman convinces Superman to ask Guy to rejoin the League and Superman is all, "Are you fucking nuts?" But Batman points out Guy needs a place to be controlled and Superman relents because one of his greatest hobby horses is micromanagement. The Atom also joins because why not?

Justice League America #66 Rating: C-. Is Justice League America better off now that Guy and The Atom have re-joined the team? They've got Superman! Do they really need a guy who can shrink and a Guy who needs one? Even Batman isn't willing to join up again! But Batman gets it. The worst part of any job is always your coworkers. Unless you have total control of your coworkers because they're also your ward and you can make them do whatever you want. Batman is all, "I'm not willing to work with adult individuals full to the brim of their own free will. But I will work with teenagers whom I can ground if they don't do exactly what I say!" That's probably why all the fans love Batman so much. He's the most relatable DC hero!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Justice League Europe #41 (August 1992)

Wonder Woman finally remembered this was her part-time gig.

Why does everybody seem so shocked to see Wonder Woman? They're in Greece battling some mythological Titans of some kind. I get that this isn't the smartest group of heroes but Wonder Woman showing up to fight some Titans in Greece might be the least shocking thing to ever happen to these idiots. I'm more shocked that Crimson Fox has changed her costume and, presumably, her name to match: Baby Diarrhea Green Fox.

Just for the record: Yes, I think Hal Jordan, Wally West, and Kara are fucking morons. Two of them think with their fists and the other one with his dick. Maybe they all think with their fists and their dicks? What do I know about Atlantean physiology!?

I'm not even sure Kara remains Atlantean. I think DC tried it out for a bit, realized it was fucking stupid, and then wrote Zero Hour to fix it. Unless Zero Hour doubles down on it? I barely even remember what happens in Zero Hour! Is that when Hal Jordan becomes Extant? Why the fuck can't I remember anything?!

This issue begins in the middle of the fight with Chthon. Doctor Light tries to blind the rock monster because she thinks science will work against an ancient magical horror, The Flash runs up its arm to give it a smooch, Power Girl punches it in the outcropping with a feeble "pok," and The Elongated Man suggests that he's filled with a purplish pink goo, just like Stretch Armstrong was.

I wonder how long the average Stretch Armstrong survived after Christmas? There's only so much to do with it before a kid thinks, "Let's test its limits!"

Stretch Armstrong has survived, as a toy, for decades now. And of course there are multiple videos of him being destroyed on YouTube. But they're all newer versions of the toy and his insides are no longer the purplish-pink goo that I remember. Was I imagining things? Was my remembrance of snapping one of his limbs by stretching him too long a dream? I found one Reddit post where somebody remembered leaving their Stretch Armstrong on the radiator until it melted into purple goo. The only proof that, possibly, my memory was correct.

Having failed to defeat Chthon last issue by knocking it to the ground because it draws its power from Mother Earth, the team's plan this issue is to knock Chthon to the ground. As a leader, Hal Jordan only has two plans of action: hit the enemy and beat the enemy. Oh, sorry. One plan of action. And remember! His ring seems to be useless against it for some reason. I think that reason was "Green Lantern doesn't actually need a team because his ring is so powerful so maybe on this first fight with his new group, his ring won't work so they have to work as a team."

Tell your Titans not to walk my way!

It might look like the Titan's pants have fallen around its ankles, causing it to trip and fall backwards in that panel. But — and I totally see how this can be confusing — that underwear is actually Ralph Dibny.

The Titan shatters into pieces and everybody cheers Hal for having such a great idea. Not that it actually was a great idea! Remember, knocking it down didn't work last issue so there's no reason to believe it'll work this issue. Readers would normally understand this but there was a month between issues so most readers have forgotten how this idea didn't work last month. But don't worry! It doesn't take long before the Titan reforms and Rex is all, "It ain't never easy when it's one o' hers." Being the Elemental Man, I guess he knows a thing or two about Mother Earth's children? Unless it's because he has a degree in archaeology? However Rex gets his information, he doesn't know enough to stop the creature (which has shattered into several creatures now). But he was smart enough to contact Wonder Woman before things got out of hand.

A real leader appears!

Wonder Woman arrives with the most obvious advice on how to defeat creatures that keep yelling, "Mother! Give me power!": break their contact with the ground. Wow! Like the exact opposite of Hal's two plans (which were really just the same plan attempted twice)! Hal and the team were all, "We can't defeat this child of the Earth! We keep knocking it back down into the Earth and it just gets stronger! We're out of ideas!" And then Wonder Woman glides in, realizes Hal is leading the new team, and carefully explains to everybody how to stop Chthon by raising them into the air. All of the Justice League go, "We have no way to do that." Except for Hal Jordan who suddenly remembers he doesn't actually need a team because his ring is so powerful. He uses it to lift the creatures into the air via little green whirlwinds.

Oh man. This is so sad. It's like they're beating up toddlers now.

In my head, those two aspects of Chthon in the panel above sound like Walter and Perry from Home Movies.

Hal Jordan, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are all reunited in this battle which is embarrassing for Aquaman who was knocked unconscious near the beginning of the fight and just lay in a useless heap the entire time. He misses out on the ending where Wonder Woman tells Power Girl and Green Lantern to beat the creatures into rubble and dump them into the ocean. I bet that would have been his plan if he hadn't choked immediately!

Justice League Europe, being just as dimwitted as I pointed out earlier, are all, "Who is this 'Mother'?! Somebody explain this to us!" So now Metamorpho has to be the smart guy in the room which has never actually happened before. He goes on and on about a bunch of Apollonian versus Dionysian claptrap, about the light and the dark, about men versus women, about rationality versus chaos. The problem seems to be that logic and reason have ruled man as a non-stumbling, undemented non-child king long enough! And now as the empire of logic crumbles, chaos and emotion will rise up as his most fitting successor! "The ol' Earth Godess [sic]" has been oppressed for thousands of years and she wants her revenge! So she's been attacking male-dominated temples and architecture recently.

Hal Jordan is all, "How do we defeat her?!" And Rex is all, "We?! Check your JLE roster again, buddy! I'm going to go get drunk!"

Earlier, Rex mentioned how sexy Wonder Woman was. So now Crimson Fox must fuck him.

Crimson Fox talks a good feminist game but, deep down, she still feels like she's competing with other women to make men pop the most boners over her. Or maybe she just wants to fuck a guy who can fill all her orifices at once. Most guys can't do that, right?

While Crimson Fox hits on Rex, Hal and Diana talk strategy. I know I've typed that but even I don't know if that's a euphemism. My mind tends to think everything is a euphemism and everybody is trying to fuck everybody else. Like how Doctor Light has gone off to shine a light down the gaping hole that Chthon left in the earth. She's all, "I must control that which I fear," which is exactly the same thing I said the day I lost my virginity. Or at least it's what I wanted to say. What I actually said was, "I must contrOOOOohooohoooOOOoh! I'm so sorry!" Then I left the woman naked and unsatisfied while I went in the bathroom to look at myself naked in the full length mirror and think, "I am a man today. A man who is terrible at sex."

Oh yeah. Also Wally still wants to fuck Power Girl.

Was Gerard Jones trying to turn this comic book into The X-men or Degrassi Junior High? I probably thought it was stupid in 1991 but I'm loving it now! Or I would be loving it if I didn't need slightly more characterization and context. Like the Rex and Crimson Fox stuff is advancing nicely. But this shit with Wally where he's always just, "Those tits make my dick hard!" gets a bit old.

You might also be curious what Aquaman is up to but I doubt it. Who the fuck cares about Aquaman?

Okay fine. This is what Aquaman is up to:

I find Aquaman so boring that this doesn't even make my dick twitch.

The huge dark thing that is coming is just Chthon again. Apparently Wonder Woman was wrong and Chthon was able to reassemble in the ocean. And because it's the realm of Proteus, Chthon manages to become even larger than anybody could have imagined. Except maybe Rex who warned Diana not to throw Chthon in the sea.

Chthon grows so large that he swallows the entire Greek island where the Justice League are staying. Or he just manages to, somehow, swallow only the Justice League. It's magic so that's probably a thing that could have happened. Chthon invites the Justice League to visit the Pillars of Unreason somewhere in the Underworld. And Hal Jordan, being the leader, is all, "That sounds awesome! Let's go!"

Justice League Europe #41 Rating: B. Gerard Jones loves to fill his stories with academic themes which you might think was admirable but then you remember all that stuff on his Wikipedia page about being convicted of possessing child sexual abuse images and all respect for his ideas go out the window. "Oh, you wrote a story about postmodernism and the inherent nonsense of language? Big fucking deal. You also had kid diddling porn." "Oh, what a treat! A mythological treatise on the balance between dark and light, reason and emotion, femininity and masculinity! No wait. You're a sick pervert. Who the fuck cares?" I guess horror stories are better when the monster represents something other than just a killer, like, say, a movie such as It Follows or The Babadook. But sometimes it's nice to not pretend that a monster is more interesting than just being a monster! It's sort of like how Gerard Jones is just a boring ass pederast but he wants you to think of him as an intellectual! It's like how when you read Frankenstein now, you might do so remembering how the creature didn't choose life and then was abandoned and you might want to feel pity for him and anger at his creator. But then when you actually read the book, you're struck at how the monster is just a huge Incel who can't stop whining and pouting about how terrible his life is and how he just wants a woman to fuck him. And that's when you start respecting Doctor Frankenstein when he's all, "Dude. Even if I make a woman out of dead parts for you, she'll still have free will and almost certainly not choose to be with you because your personality is fucking cringe, my man. No way would I do that to a woman!" And then the creature is all, "But I am owed sex and love!" And Doctor Frankenstein is all, "Ugh. You suck. Why did I even make you?"

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Justice League America #65 (August 1992)

Do cosmic vampires have a weakness to snowballs or is Ice just a deeply unserious hero?

At least Ice is trying something. Blue Beetle is just standing there thinking, "Wait. Am I just the chauffeur?"

It's times like this, when you're facing a cosmic sun vampire in deep space, elbow to elbow with a team of heroes with wonderful and myriad powers, when a man in a bug suit finally understands the true weight of his existence. And when that weight reads "Negligible" or "Miniscule," and that man in the bug suit somehow continues to battle forward, it's when true heroism shines! Or he'll just make a fart joke in a moment of true enlightenment as to his ultimate purpose.

Starbreaker breaks Almerac to pieces even though that only makes him a planetbreaker. He knows the power of branding. Besides, if he called himself Planetbreaker, the heroes would have expected this development and tried to stop him before he could break the planet. Instead they were caught with their pants on the outsides of their leotards waiting for Starbreaker to make his move on Almerac's star. And now Superman has been thrown into the molten core of the planet and all of the citizens of Almerac are dying horrific deaths.

If I were as powerless to help as Blue Beetle, I wouldn't constantly call attention to myself with nonsense.

If Starbreaker had previously mentioned how he wanted to sell more records than Madonna and blowing up Almerac was how he was going to do it, then I apologize to Blue Beetle for calling his argument nonsense. But if that didn't happen in the previous issue (and I'm fairly certain it didn't), then shut the fuck up, Beetle. You sound like an asshole.

Ice, Fire, Beetle, and Booster impotently discuss how completely impotent they are, trapped in a cage of energy. Basically they're using all the same adjectives the long-time DC fans have been saying about this version of the Justice League for about five years now: "useless," "idiotic," "underpowered." But Bloodwynd is also trapped in the energy cube and not even Starbreaker knows that he's actually Martian Manhunter. Which means he can just walk out of the energy cube!

Readers are waiting for Superman to burst out of the ground so Dan Jurgens has a short story about Superman in Almerac's core that ends with the core collapsing on Superman. That'll stop the dumb readers from thinking Superman will burst free later in the comic book! "See? You thought he'd get out, didn't you?" says Dan Jurgen as he draws Superman covered in rocks. "But look at that! I just covered Superman in rocks! No way he can get out of that, you idiots!" Dan smiles at his big trick, knowing that Superman will later burst out of Almerac's core. "Checkmate, you dumb readers!"

Why's everybody always gotta prove something to somebody else alla the damn time?!

It's always the dumb Alpha types who claim they have nothing to prove who constantly need to prove to everybody else how alpha they are. They're the true betas. And cucks too!

Bloodwynd finally comes up with a plan that won't blow his cover: he'll shapeshift into a Guardian of the Universe and taunt Starbreaker from inside the prison! Since nobody was paying much attention to Bloodwynd, nobody will notice that he's now missing. And nobody will know J'onn just shape-shifted because Bloodwynd will be all, "I channeled the dead! Again!" Then everybody will be all, "Oh yeah, that makes sense. Very clever how you challenge the dead! It's such a versatile power!"

Starbreaker doesn't suspect anything because he's too angry at the Oans to not try to kill one at first sight. And when he can't harm him through his own force field, the Oan is all, "Oh, you're too weak to blast me through your force field! The only way to kill me is to turn it off! What will you do?! Oh my!" Well, we all know what he's about to do, don't we?

Starbreaker is just as dumb as Booster Gold suspected. That makes me sad.

Bloodwynd reveals his deception and then flies away knowing that the rest of the Justice League do not have the ability to go toe-to-toe with Starbreaker. He has decided it's more important to save Almerac than to save Booster, Beetle, Fire, and Ice. And here I thought J'onn understood the importance of family! Bloodwynd flies off to fix the planet. Elsewhere, Maxima also finally finds the ability to go save her planet. That means Superman must be sealing the third and final fissure that is causing Almerac to fly off into the sun.

Back in the throne room, Fire distracts Starbreaker with her easily crushable skull while Blue Beetle proves how he's an asset to the team. Being that I'm a cynical jerk, I don't buy into the whole "Blue Beetle, being a genius inventor and having familiarized himself with Booster's future tech, invents an energy siphoning machine by combining Booster's force field device to Almerac's force field device." But that's what happens so whatever. I guess Beetle is more than a chauffeur. Look how dumb I look having written that bit earlier when he's just now saved the day with well-explained scientific bullshit. Well, maybe not exactly "well-explained." But definitely scientific bullshit.

Meanwhile somewhere in Almerac's molten core:

What?! No way! Superman didn't get crushed like I totally bought into earlier! Oh, Jurgens! You tricksy scamp you!

Superman plugs one rift and heads back to his team where he insults the fuck out of them by saying, "I never thought I'd say this but I'm impressed!" What a fucking asshole! Go suck on a Kryptonite dildo, you K-jerk!

I mean, I feel the same way. But I'm not Superman! I'm allowed to say this Justice League are a bunch of failure who probably shouldn't have defeated Starbreaker. And yet Dan Jurgens wrote them to to do just that! Incredible!

For the crimes of not giving a fuck about anybody but herself, Maxima is banished from Almerac. Superman allows her to remain on the Justice League, possibly because her ship is their only way back to Earth. At least that's what he'll have to tell Lois later.

Justice League America #65 Rating: B+. Even Ice helped out in this battle if you call making one large ice wall after Starbreaker was pretty much already defeated helping. And Fire helped by distracting Starbreaker with her easily bruised flesh. But mostly the team worked together to help save the planet from a cosmic menace. And this cosmic menace wasn't actively trying to destroy the Justice League either! So it's like they actually did something heroic! They didn't save any Americans but they did save Almeracans which is almost the same thing if you can barely spell like me! The issue lost a partial grade because Starbreaker turned into a pile of dust and I didn't want that to happen to the poor guy! He was just trying to prove himself worthy of his father's love! I think. Also, at one point, he called Booster and Beetle "boys" and that seemed pretty gay. He reminded me of Space Lestat! This was a really good time in our culture for super duper gay vampires. We know Anne Rice was the driving force for that incredible moment in time but I think Robert Smith of The Cure probably had something to do with everybody's love of gay vampires too. Just look at him from the time! So vampiric! And gay!

Friday, January 5, 2024

Justice League Europe #40 (July 1992)

Why isn't Aquaman celebrating? Did he actually think he might get to lead the team?

This cover might be the only time in comic book history that a cover mentioned a character being "back" and not shown them standing with their back to the reader. Probably because Crimson Fox had to have line of sight to Hal's rear so she could make an "I wonder how deep I can get my tongue into that asshole" face.

This issue is called "The Coming of Chthon!" which answers the age old question: "Do Elder Gods have orgasms?"

Jesus Christ, just look at these assholes. Acting like they're running a daycare.

Now I see why Aquaman is so upset. He's one of the old school dudes from back in the day and these fucking jerks don't even acknowledge him. Look at me trying to empathize with fish boy! We all know why Batman didn't consider Aquaman as the new leader and Hal Jordan didn't go right up and shake his hand. He fucking smells like the ocean. The creep talks to fish. He rides a fucking seahorse! When you're a grown man dressing up in cosplay and wearing a mask in public, your dignity is already on pretty thin ice. If you acknowledge the weird fish guy in the room, the ice is gonna crack for sure! Bye bye, dignity! It was nice having some!

Batman leaves the League to Hal Jordan and jumps out the window. But Hal isn't ready to lead just yet. He points out that he just has to take care of Guy Gardner first. I guess this was a time in DC's history when Earth could only have one Green Lantern active according to the Guardians of the Universe's bylaws. Which seems silly seeing as how there are currently three Green Lanterns from Earth (not counting Alan Scott who isn't part of the Oan organization). Hal somehow thinks he's going to convince Guy Gardner, using words and logic, to give him back Sector 2814. Fuck me. Why do I know that number without having to look it up? I'm so disappointed with myself.

Poor Aquaman. Nobody even considered him for leader.

Imagine not asking the one natural born leader on the team to be the leader. It shows how much respect land dwellers have for ocean politics. Who cares what happens underwater?! To people on land, they just see the ocean as an off-shoot of their downstairs toilet.

The Flash grows angry because Doctor Light and Aquaman seem reticent to have Hal Jordan leading the team. Doctor Light prefers the intensity of Batman and Aquaman has probably seen Hal Jordan lose his temper over some stupid barroom bullshit one too many times to feel confident in Hal's abilities. Both will be proven right almost immediately as Hal Jordan will be destroying his beloved Coast City any day now.

The Flash and Elongated Man rush off to New York to help Hal Jordan talk Guy Gardner into giving up his job as Earth's one and only Green Lantern. I feel like they're going to need a lot more help for that job. Although Guy did recently just quit Justice League America. And he will lose his Green Lantern ring in just a few months. So I guess it'll all work out but probably in Guy Gardner Reborn or the pages of Green Lantern. The issue that is most pressing for Justice League Europe this month isn't Hal's conflict with Guy: it's Kara's Bossy-Bitch Personality! Don't worry, that's not me being sexist. That's all part of Gerard Jones' story arc about how hysterical women with lots of power can become huge jerks! It's a fucking plot point backed up by DC Universe scientists who have done research into why super powered women become hysterical!

Don't worry! The research showed it wasn't because power makes women irrational. It's because women drink diet soda (which makes them irrational)!

Interesting how Power Girl's "irrationality" is a problem to be solved but everybody just accepts Guy Gardner's. This team gossips and complains about Power Girl's mood swings more than anybody has ever complained about Guy Gardner's temper. Perhaps it's a good thing that Doctor Light treated it like a medical problem instead of just assuming "bitches be crazy." Because she has found a link between Kara's brain chemistry and chemicals she regularly ingests. It would do Guy Gardner good to have a teammate like Doctor Light! Instead of assuming Guy is just an asshole, she might do some research and discover how his traumatic brain injury causes him to easily fly into rages.

This is a good example of how sexism hurts men as well as women (but in greatly different ways). Everybody on the team simply accepting that Kara is an irrational bossy woman rather than thinking she has a mental health problem spurred on by chemical intake is sexism. Everybody on the team simply accepting that Guy Gardner is a toxic male asshole instead of seeing that he needs post-traumatic brain injury treatment is also sexism. Both Guy and Kara have been judged by superficial stereotypes instead of the context and experience of their individual lives. Doctor Light is the first person to even consider that something might be triggering Kara's mood swings. It is weird that the cause is diet soda though. I'd say it's a weird conspiracy theory which Gerard Jones believes in but I think he's just decided to end the whole "Power Girl drinks a ton of diet soda!" background joke. Also Gerard Jones was convicted of owning "tens of thousands of images" of child sexual abuse (according to his Wiki). I just point that out because, I don't know, does he have a problem with adult women that leaks into his writing?

Doctor Light and Power Girl get into a discussion of sexism which Crimson Fox interrupts to be sexist. To her, women's power lies in their body and sexuality. To Doctor Light, women can only show their power by presenting as non-gendered. Power Girl, as confused about her background as every DC reader, isn't sure where women get their power.

Judging by every shot of one of their backsides, I'd say female power comes from not being bothered by extreme wedgies.

I just want to point out that I don't think Crimson Fox using sex for power is sexist. I think her expanding that idea to all women and how all women should use that power is sexist. True feminism (and masculinism?) only exists when we see every individual as an individual and not as a representation of everybody who shares their gender. This should be what true equality across all spectrums of humanity should strive for. We should all be appreciated and/or judged within the context of our own individual lives, without an assumption that we represent other people who share similar superficial qualities with us. As a start, every super hero should have to wear thong leotards. It's only fair.

Meanwhile, Metamorpho (who is not currently part of Justice League Europe) investigates some strange appearances of mythological creatures in Greece.

Dude drops a slick, casual Christian burn.

While laughing about how ignorant Christians are, Metamorpho and this Greek guy are attacked by Chthon, a massive Earth elemental and not the Marvel villain. He's super angry for some reason. The Hydra destroyed the church of Saint George for obvious reasons (I think they're obvious? He's the dragon killer, right?). Then Cerberus ate some goats because fuck goats, I guess? And now Chthon has decided to destroy ancient Greek ruins. Something has enraged a bunch of Greek myths enough to take form and destroy Greece. I suppose Justice League Europe will have to deal with this, being that Greece is in Europe.

Back in New York, Hal Jordan solves the Guy Gardner problem the way Hal solves all of his problems: with a left hook.

It looks like Hal killed him!

Poor Guy. Once more, getting his face punched in because nobody wants to take the time to understand what's wrong with his brain chemistry! I understand why Batman punched Guy: Batman punches everything. Oh, I guess I understand why Hal punched him too then! Hal always just punches the shit out of whatever he feels is in his way. But what I was going to say before truth butted in so matter-of-factly was this: Hal should understand Guy's mental state and probably brain damage better than anybody else. You would think he would care more for his comrades in rings. But no. Guy, as always, is just there to be punched. Hopefully he'll get more respect in his own series.

Now that half of the comic book has been spent on Green Lantern #25 supplementary material, the story suggested by the title can begin. Sue calls Max to call Blue Beetle's bug that Justice League Europe is needed back in Europe where they're supposed to be instead of hanging out cheering on Hal Jordan bullying Guy Gardner. They quickly return to fight figments of Hellenes' imaginations become real.

Oh, one other thing: Parliament agrees with me on how to appreciate what the League has done for them:

Right! If the Justice League causes the problem, the Justice League should not be celebrated for stopping it. And, as an extra bonus, they should be punished or fined for any damage caused.

Doctor Light, a member of the Justice League, failed to keep a dangerous piece of alien technology secure and it was used to cause havoc across London. They're at fault. Thank the gods who watched over old Londinium that Batman happened to be in town to come up with a plan (unlike Superman who happened to be on Almerac and failed to come up with any plan at all which is why they're all dying over in that comic book).

Some people don't like the modern perspective that super heroes aren't simply unimpeachable paragons of virtue and goodness. And I agree! But I don't think modern perspective is as much to blame as lazy writers. It's just easier to have The Joker return to battle Batman than to come up with a plot where The Joker's motivations don't include Batman and then have to write a way for Batman to find out. Usually Batman found out by all the dead people with smiling faces. But that was never great either because then readers have to ask, "Why does Batman keep letting this guy live?! At some point, isn't Batman responsible for all the dead Gothamites?" And while nobody wants to ask that question, as soon as you enter the modern era where lazy writers have The Joker murder half of Gotham every time he appears just to show how terrifying he is, readers can't help but to start giving Batman a little side-eye.

Meanwhile, Doctor Light fucks up rule #1 when being investigated: keep your fucking mouth shut.

Why is this so funny to me? I think it's all the yellow!

Hal and his gang return to find they're being evicted from the London Embassy. At the same time, they get the distress call from Rex. Sue thinks the group should hang around and move boxes into a U-Haul but Hal, being the new leader and averse to boring shit, decides the team should head to Greece to battle monsters. Whew. I'm glad I didn't pay $1.25 to read another issue where this fucking group moves headquarters.

Metamorpho tries to stop Chthon from destroying buildings based on Christian and classical culture but Chthon stops him by jerking him off.

If I were Metamorpho in this case, I wouldn't be saying, "Don't squeeze." I'd be saying, "Bite my nipple!"

Hal and the team arrive with three pages to spare. At first it seems like a Green Lantern is the only thing needed to stop this monster. But then Metamorpho, being an archaeologist and thus easily recognizing special magic, yells, "He's got the magic of the Earth! GL's power is no good against that!" When did Rex become an expert in both Earth magic and Green Lantern rings? Seems more like something a narrator should have told the reader.

Anyway, be here next time for "Ring a ding nothing!" or "Always Bet on Green! I mean the Earth green as in nature and not green as in the color of Green Lantern's light oh fuck forget it i hate myself

Justice League Europe #40 Rating: C. What a weird issue. The team loses their headquarters, Hal defeats Guy Gardner for the position of Earth Green Lantern but only in another comic book, and then the Justice League flies off to actually defeat some trouble in Europe. But with only a few pages left, not much can happen. So what Gerard Jones chooses to highlight is how even though Green Lantern utilizes the most powerful weapon in the universe, he sometimes can't do the job all by himself. That's lucky because this is a team comic book! The reader doesn't want to see Hal defeat every antagonist while Elongated Man fluffs him from the sidelines (with his long stretchy arm (or lips?)) and The Flash cheers him on and Power Girl, Doctor Light, and Crimson Fox discuss toppling the Patriarchy. No wait. I do want to read that comic book! But I feel like I'm forgetting somebody. I also feel like if I remembered that somebody, I'd be less interested in reading the comic book I described!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Justice League America #64 (July 1992)

Judging by the robot, this is a revamped Brainiac story.

Since Superman recently defeated Brainiac (who had recently destroyed Almerac so why would they need to fight him on Almerac now?) in the "Panic in the Sky" story arc, Dan Jurgens couldn't use him again so soon (and in roughly the same story). But most stories in comic books are pretty much the same anyway, so why not just dig up an old character that nobody remembers, give him a giant robot similar to Brainiac, and just re-use the same story? Brainiac took over Almerac with WarWorld. Now Starbreaker ("Who?" you say. "I know, right?!" I reply) has taken over with the help of his giant Brainiac robot. But I'm sure everything is totally different because this time Dan Jurgens is writing the story instead of Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and, oh, um, Dan Jurgens. Never mind.

This issue begins with Starbreaker, having just violently taken over Almerac and noticing the Justice League has arrived, innocently wondering why they're come.

I want better thought out and designed speech bubbles.

As you can see, Starbreaker is a space vampire elf. He's also a delusional narcissist if he can't figure out why the Justice League has arrived on Almerac at this precise moment. Does he think it was a coincidence? If I were a space vampire elf who has a past history of violence against the Justice League, I probably wouldn't confront them while cradling a dead woman in my arms. But then I'm not being written by Dan Jurgens or anybody else. At least I don't think I am. If I am being written by somebody, they're a fucking lazy writer because the amount of conflict I've had in my story after 52 years on Earth is, frankly, depressing. Although they could be writing one of those Jacob's Ladder type stories and everything after my 26th year has just been a fantasy as I lie freezing to death in my broken down Volkswagen bus on the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains. It would actually be more believable than how I got my bus started again by pushing it in a tight circle with one foot from the driver's side door and then jumping in to try to pop the clutch and get it started. The fact that actually worked seems less likely than the last half of my life being a death dream.

This issue is called "The Revenge of Starbreaker" which makes me sad. Because that means Starbreaker's villainous motivations were inspired by getting back at the Justice League after they defeated him in the early '70s. Why weren't more of DC's editors on the watch for stories where the villains are just trying to get back at the heroes? It's such an incestuous relationship between good and bad guys that stands apart from the world and the people in it. Who needs heroes if they're only defending themselves? Why don't they all just go live on the moon? It's like if bank robbers were all, "We should stop doing the thing we do to make easy money and make our life way harder by attacking police stations because they keep trying to stop us robbing banks."

I don't believe Superman even remembers Starbreaker let alone knew he was behind this when there was no evidence at all.

Last issue, Superman was told Maxima had returned to her planet and he was all, "Good riddance! I'm sick of Lois asking me if I've fucked her yet!" But then a few pages later, they found evidence that she returned because Almerac had been taken over in the wake of Brainiac's attack with WarWorld. Then Superman was all, "We have to go save Almerac from whoever did this!" When Starbreaker revealed himself, Superman was all, "Yeah, totally knew it was him for reasons." And Blue Beetle was all, "How the fuck did you know that?" And Superman was all, "Just smart is how. Duh." And Booster Gold was all, "But it makes no sense. How could you have known?!" And Superman probably said, "Well, you see, back in the '70s, when we first encountered Starbreaker, he had taken over a planet that had been nearly destroyed by Brainiac using WarWorld. And Dan Jurgens is writing this story, so it makes sense that it would basically be the same story."

That's not true about the original story from the '70s. I actually have no idea what that story was about. But it has to be how I wrote it because otherwise Superman has no other clues as to the identity of the conqueror of Almerac. It's also possible that I'm too stupid to have seen the clues that Superman saw in the message on the Almerac ship. Also Superman knows that Starbreaker is a planet vampire and feeds on dying planets so I guess that's a clue too! I should have more faith in Superman!

One last question before getting back to the big battle: why would a vampire that feeds on the energy of planets and negative emotions need sharp teeth?

Every time I've posed like Starbreaker here, it's because I was coming on somebody.

Bloodwynd uses his ability to contact the dead (and not mental telepathy) to read Starbreaker's mind and discover that he is an energy vampire who feeds on the fear of a planet he conquers. He then throws the planet into the sun and feeds off the cosmic energies created by the destruction of the planet. Bloodwynd sums up his oral report on Starbreaker by saying, "He is, in effect, a cosmic vampire feeding off the energies of others." Weird coincidence that a cosmic vampire would look almost identical to Dracula. It's the only reason I called him a vampire after seeing him on the first page!

Superman, like Batman over in Justice League Europe, tells everybody that they need to make a plan. What is it with these old timers and their love of plans? Don't they know that their story arc will be shortened by at least two issues if they skip the part where the team all attack individually and fail? Only then do they realize they need to work together! Maybe even a plan won't work this time because Superman points out that Starbreaker, whom nobody has ever heard of, might be the most powerful bad guy in the universe. He says it right in front of Starbreaker too so that Starbreaker can fill in the holes of Superman's story. Maybe part of the plan is buttering up Starbreaker so he becomes overconfident? I think the main part of the plan is forgetting about Maxima's corpse which Starbreaker dropped behind a rock during the initial confrontation. She's probably not dead after editorial saw Jurgens' first finished pages and were all, "She's not dead, is she? We can't have the bad guy tossing around a woman's corpse for four pages." And then Dan Jurgens was all, "Oh, what? Of course she's not dead! Why would I draw her so, um, sexily if she were dead? Ha ha. Ha."

Wait. Is attacking Starbreaker without having a plan after saying you need a plan part of the plan?

Starbreaker traps Booster Gold in a force field force field and then blasts Superman with the force of a nova. After witnessing that kind of power, Blue Beetle tries to kick him. Needless to say, the Justice League lose the fight in just a few pages. They lost because they didn't have a plan! Superman said they needed a plan and then they didn't make a plan! I'll assume they just didn't have time at this juncture. But once Starbreaker leaves them for dead to finish his preparations for the planet's sun dive (is Starbreaker just a roadie for Disaster Area?), they'll probably have time for the plan. I'm still assuming Maxima will save the day which will convince Superman that she can be a legitimate part of the team.

Starbreaker doesn't give the Justice League time to plan because he takes them as his prisoners. He has a huge robot army of creatures he calls Mechanix (because they're mechanical and, like all would-be authoritarians, he thinks the "x" makes it look cool). They carry the Justice League through Almerac's capitol city so the people will fear him even more and lose all hope. Then he feeds on all that despair so he can be powerful enough to shift the planet. Meanwhile, Maxima, forgotten, stands up and walks off to save the day because she still needs to fuck Superman.

I'm going to ignore "Starboner" for the moment because, um, what about Beetle's closet?

This is what Fire is seeing. Did Booster make an autoerotic asphyxiation joke?

I know Booster didn't. But the joke seems particularly distasteful when he and Fire are looking upon such scenes of devastation. Just imagine a CNN reporter saying, "You should see the inside of my closet," after playing images of what Israel has done to Gaza. I say "just imagine" because you pretty much have to imagine CNN showing and discussing the war crimes and atrocity being committed by Israel. And I didn't say "Fox News" because who has to imagine that? Those people live the term "heartless."

Starbreaker begins his plan. He splits into three separate versions of himself. Each one takes a couple of Justice Leaguers to a specific point on the planet where he can drain their energies and move the planet toward the sun. One takes Bloodwynd and Blue Beetle to the north pole. That Starbreaker is the first person to realize just how powerful Bloodwynd is but he doesn't reveal his real identity. One Starbreaker takes Fire and Booster Gold to the equator. The final Starbreaker takes Superman and Ice to some other important point on the globe. I don't know what that point would be and neither does Dan Jurgens so it's just described as a major fault line. I guess cracking that fault will get the planet moving and then the other Starbreaker's will use their powers like jet engines.

Maxima has been found by the people of her planet and taken to be stoned to death because she left them to die. Almerac, nearly torn asunder by Starbreaker's actions, begins to slip from its orbit and drift toward the sun. And finally, Superman is tossed into a fissure and into pure magma. That part Starbreaker does just for shits and giggles. It'll probably be his downfall for some reason like "the heart of Almerac has the same life giving properties of a yellow sun" or something.

Anyway, it's too bad the Justice League didn't make a plan!

Justice League America #64 Rating: B+. This issue would have gotten an A if Superman hadn't mentioned they need a plan and then never tried to develop a plan. Sure, Superman was right! They definitely needed a plan! They were utterly defeated due to not having a plan. But if Superman wouldn't have revealed this, I wouldn't have cared! I would have just read the issue and maybe thought, "Boy, they could have used a plan! Too bad nobody thought of that! Too bad no super team ever thinks of that until the second half of the story arc!" But Superman did think of it! I guess they were just too rushed to come up with one. Superman, being a man of action (hence the name of one of the books he stars in monthly), he thought, "We need to act now! Even though we could really use a plan." Whereas in Justice League Europe, Batman was all, "We need a plan! And I will let Deconstructo devastate London until I come up with one!" That's why his monthly comic book is named the way it is! Also, Batman waiting for a plan worked so much better than Superman deciding they didn't have time for one. But that's why everybody knows Batman, ultimately, can defeat Superman!