Thursday, February 15, 2024

Justice League America #70 (January 1993)

"Superman is dead. But we can't help making a stupid pun to show how much we don't fucking give a shit."

The best part of this cover is hidden by the special Superman is dead flap. I'm going to show it to you now but I suggest you prepare for boners and/or pelvic moistness.

"The Mourning After" pun probably applies to the pill Beetle's going to have to take after his wild night with Booster.

I just realized I have a newsstand copy of this issue! What the fuck?! Was my comic book store sold out so I had to pick this up at 7-Eleven?! Aside from that question, my other main question has to do with how Booster Gold had a Superman armband prepared to acknowledge Superman's death before even getting Beetle to the hospital after Doomsday kicked the shit out of him. No wait! My brain just answered that question. Booster Gold is from the future. He knew what this day was and had the armband underneath the outfit Doomsday tore off of him.

Maybe everything after last issue kicked off so quickly that nobody had time to get Blue Beetle to the hospital. But that seems weird because there's no way Blue Beetle wasn't on the brink of death after what Doomsday did to him. Even if it was 1% of what he did to Superman, Blue Beetle's entire fucking head should be paste.

The issue begins with the Narrator explaining how people always remember where they were when they heard great leaders were dead to force the reader into trying to remember the moment they read Superman #75. Apparently, the story was a momentous epic.

I guess it was epic if you're a boring twat who thinks long, drawn-out fist fights done in 22 splash pages is epic.

I don't care if you're Superman or Apollo Creed. Dying in a fist fight isn't fucking epic. It's tragic but not in the way "Oh, somebody just died unexpectedly!" is tragic. It's tragic like in "Wait. Somebody got punched in the face a bunch of times and then died? Hilarious." I'm sure plenty of people have had loved ones die from being punched in the face and what I would say to them is this: "Don't tell me the story unless you want me to offend your sensibilities by giggling at the traumatic tale."

"How am I going to look people in the eye when I have to tell them you died from a couple of haymakers? It'd be easier to explain if Lex had done you in with a Kryptonite strap-on!"

Ice makes a huge speech about Superman's sacrifice and how the Justice League failed him while Lois cradles her dead boyfriend in a pile of rubble. Later, Lois will think, "Why was that Ice woman so upset? Was she fucking my dude?!" But that comic book only exists in my dreams. You know how Dream of The Endless has the library of books that never actually existed? My section of DC Comics that I wished had been made would be the most entertaining wing of Dream's fucking domicile.

Welp. There's a couple more never-to-be-published DC comics that I just created in my head. Namely one where Ice was killed by Doomsday and this shot was reversed with Supes crying and Ice's tit out. And also one where Ice falls on his dead body and starts sucking on that nipple like a rapid vampire bat.

Oh shit. I'm supposed to find this shit emotional, right?! I know it's thirty years past the peak emotion of the event and that's probably why I can't take any of Superman's death earnestly or emotionally. But I was probably laughing at this shit 30 years ago as well because I do not have the ability to treat anything as sacred. As far as I can tell, having never had therapy, it stems from one of several possible events: the death of my cat Bozo in which I actually did the thing where I cried for three days straight and swore that I would never love anything again like a fucking cliché character in the worst melodrama imaginable; my mother raising me on horror movies so that I had to bury every single one of my emotions deep enough that I wouldn't be terrified every single minute of every single day; or my father leaving when I was two and being mostly out of my life with rare appearances where he tried to act like a father and, being starved of fatherly affection, I tried to appreciate it until around my 18th birthday when he sobered up because he'd hit rock bottom and, alcoholism being what it is according to AA, cured himself when he was ready, I seethed, unconsciously, for years that "rock bottom" wasn't when he lost his relationship with his children, wasn't enough of a moment for him to "cure" himself by stopping drinking.

Look, I said I haven't had therapy! Saying these things is my therapy!

Guy Gardner shows up to be a sexist jerk to Maxima and she decides it's time to kill him. But shirtless Booster Gold (the best Booster Gold?) breaks up the fight because they need to fly Blue Beetle back to Justice League headquarters in New York and stare at him for three weeks before somebody, probably Bloodwynd, mercifully pulls the plug. Unless Bloodwynd pulls the plug because Blue Beetle knows his secret! Man, that's another comic for the DC dream long box.

Um, Superman?

The doctor declares that Blue Beetle isn't just in a coma, he's in a "very deep coma." The deepest he's ever seen! Practically Stygian! But not only does Beetle suffer from very deep comatitus and swelling of the brain. One of his kidneys has shut down as well! And his liver has been damaged! And all of his bones have been shattered! I'm assuming that last one after seeing what Doomsday did to him combined with the knowledge that Doomsday killed Superman. It's the only thing that makes sense. Somehow Blue Beetle's skin remained intact while everything inside of him was jellified. This may be a comic book but my disbelief can only be suspended so far before the rope snaps, whip-cracking back up into my face and putting me in a very deep coma.

Booster Gold points out he's now powerless since all of his powers came from the futuristic technology built into the suit that Doomsday shredded. His only power now is flight unless Doomsday broke the Legion flight ring as well. But Oberon has some words of wisdom to help Booster get through this crisis!

Um, what? Hopefully he'll expand on how he reached this moral to the tale.

Oberon does not expound on his thoughts and nobody questions his wisdom so I guess I must be the dumb one who doesn't understand how Superman's death teaches us not to quit. I think Superman's death teaches us to think our problems through instead of resorting to violence. Why would Superman have to punch this creature to death? Superman loves throwing things into The Phantom Zone. Superman has a genius "friend" who always has a solution that isn't "kill the son of a bitch" (although that would mean having to deal with that smug Gotham bastard). Superman knows a slew of magic heroes who could have, at the very least, teleported Doomsday to the moon where he could be dealt with after some consultation with other heroes. Superman may have felt pressured into beating the shit out Doomsday but that doesn't mean I have to learn a lesson from the dead jerk's refusal to find another way to stop the rampaging creature. With all of his powers, seems to me like Superman just wasn't thinking!

Just in case, as a reader, you're not on the same page as DC about how important Superman has been to our culture, let Wally West explain it to you:

"Look at all the Earth flags at half-mast. This has affected the universe!" is a thing a great big dumb piece of shit thinks.

Dan Jurgens really doesn't want anybody missing out on how big DC thinks this event should be. Assassination of JFK? As big if not bigger! Death of FDR? Please! So much bigger! This is the kind of fictional event that shakes the very foundations of existence is what DC wants every reader to believe and they have hired Dan Jurgens to write as many hammer-like scenes as he needs to until the reader's head has been so battered about that the reader puts the issue down, concussed by DC propaganda, to weep inconsolably.

I fucking hate my 21 year old self for wanting this event to mean something, for buying into it as some once-in-a-lifetime moment that would rock the way I viewed the world. I thought a boundary was being set up, as great a boundary as the death of the frontier to American history: Superman-time and post-Superman time! I may have lost my innocence some years earlier to a woman who desperately needed to fuck me after she saw me take charge when a tire needed changing and helped to lift a car up enough so a jack could be slid underneath the low frame and then changed the tire as fast as a pit crew at Daytona. But this was even bigger than that! This was huge! Enormous! The Death of Superman! It would affect the entire universe!

At least that's how I felt with all the DC PR leading up to the event. But then I read this shit where Dan Jurgens used the death of Superman as an excuse to jerk off all the readers. My cynicism grew like a cancer! It overtook the earnest innocence existence had yet to strip me of and I exploded into the raging bitter Hulk that I've had to live as ever since. Maybe that's the reason I can't feel anything! It's this fucking comic book! My bitterness and rage have finally come home!

Wally meets up with Booster to rend their garments and gnash their teeth. Aquaman soon joins to point out how his son died and that was nearly as bad. Then Batman and Robin swing in because they lost their parents too! Unless this Robin is Tim Drake (which it totally is. What do you think I am? A comic book newbie?). That bastard has yet to learn anything about grief! And then Hal Jordan arrives! And then Hawkman! Then Starfire and Nightwing!

Yeah, Dick, we know. Are you once again going to tell the story about how you took the name Nightwing from some creature from Krypton Superman told you about?

So many heroes have gathered that it's suddenly like an Irish wake. Or, I mean, any old wake, I guess. Why do the Irish make funerals and wakes more romantic?! I wouldn't even know what a French wake looks like! Except that it probably takes place in a brothel, I'd wager?

Next to show up are Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Ralph Dibny, and Power Girl. I don't know what name she was using in 1992 other than Kara. Kara El? Karen Starr? Kara Arion? After that, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary stop by. I wonder how many have come to pay their respects and how many were forced to show by their agents? Even Etrigan shows up!

Read the fucking room, Etrigan!

Etrigan! What a fucking Chad! Shows up to a gathering to mourn Superman and is all, "I want to mourn Doomsday!" I'm going to read it that way even if Etrigan meant it another way. I can't tell if he's being earnest, cryptic, or Dan Jurgens didn't control his thoughts well enough and spent all of his poetic import on the rhyme.

Oberon arrives to pass out black armbands with Superman's logo on them as if he were prepared for this eventuality. My guess is that before Batman arrived, he stopped by to give the box of armbands to Oberon. Alfred had certainly been commissioned to create these for the eventuality that Batman would have to kill Superman.

Everybody puts on their Superman armbands and looks sad while Batman is all, "A gesture more eloquent than any words could ever be, Oberon." Oh yeah. That proves it. These were Batman's armbands.

Being that Brian Augustyn is the editor of this comic, he has his monthly character fly by to judge the heroes.

Black Condor has learned the real lesson of Superman's death: don't fucking put yourself in harm's way, Goddammit.

The issue ends with Booster Gold crying on Blue Beetle's squishy chest. I mean, there's also a moment where Guy Gardner gives in, puts on an armband, and admits that Superman was maybe a little better at heroing than he was. But I like to think that was some delusion of Blue Beetle's, maybe a death dream or something. The real Guy Gardner would have flown over the ice sculpture Superman Ice created and piss on it until it melted. Hmm, that's one more dream comic book for the dream library!

Justice League America #70 Rating: A. It was melodramatic at times but, overall, it was an emotionally well-handled wake for Superman. I think. What do I know about emotion? One page had Fire, in her new skimpy costume, consoling Ice and I didn't think, "Oh, this is so sweet and heartbreaking! They're such good friends!" Instead, I just thought, "Kiss!" But worse! Not one cup worse! Less vulgar than that but maybe a bit more vulgar than a Skinimax flick. I also thought the same thing in the final scene where Booster Gold was basically lying on top of Blue Beetle! Anyway, Superman is dead. Long live Superman! Or something. Who cares? Fuck Kal-El.

No comments:

Post a Comment