Sunday, February 25, 2024

Justice League America #72 (March 1993)

I had to double check the date to make sure this wasn't from ten years earlier.

Why is Flash in a black outfit? Is this The Flash from that evil numbered world (three being the evilest number)? Reverse-Flash, Doctor Zoom, PhD? Or, having gotten used to the terrible lighting in modern movies, I can just assume it's Flash in his red outfit but somebody fucked up on the lighting rig. I really don't know why all these old timers are suddenly on the cover of my 1993 Justice League comic book. I could speculate but there are so many comic book reasons for this that I might as well just read the stupid thing and let Jurgens tell me. But it's probably a dimensional cross-over story that won't make any sense because they'll tie in time travel somehow as well and didn't all the other worlds get destroyed in Crisis?

The story begins with Star Sapphire and Wizard breaking into a museum to steal a mysterious and powerful Egyptian scepter. They believe they've got time before the cops catch them because they left some friends on lookout. But as soon as they reveal that information, Martian Manhunter strides in dragging the unconscious bodies of Blockbuster and the Floronic Man. J'onn has a weird belt buckle that represents the American flag with a lightning bolt through it. Which must mean this is happening in one of those five thousand dimensions or Elseworld titles where the Justice League have become fascist assholes. The Secret Society of Super-Villains have a history of traveling between Earths so this might be one of those things.

Jonn's also rockin' hard cock-eyed nipples.

Wizard refers to the Floronic Man as "Plantmaster," probably because Floronic Man is an incomprehensible name that nobody has ever liked. Still, it's better than "Plantmaster." Wizard gives a whistle and Sinestro ambushes Martian Manhunter from the shadows. J'onn breaks his arm and then disintegrates Star Sapphire with his disintegration vision which is a thing I didn't know he had. I guess it's just heat vision dialed up to "murder." Green Lantern arrives just in time to see Carol Ferris slain and he's all, "Oh well. Hate to see good pussy put down but what can you do?"

Like the average gun owner, Hal only keeps from killing because there are rules against it. But he's all for doing it if attitudes and laws change. Big Stand Your Ground energy here.

You might infer from what I've written and the panels I've chosen to scan that Hal's interpretation of "Necessary Force" means murdering anybody trying to steal some old as fuck stick. But Sinestro and Star Sapphire did initiate violence against them, so I guess, with the new rules, that justifies the killing. But then again, with the new rules where the Justice League can use lethal force, I'd probably jump to the conclusion upon seeing Martian Manhunter that I needed to defend myself as quickly as possible. And while I might be dead afterward, I'm pretty sure my now being dead justifies my initial reaction to violence. Because even if I didn't try to defend myself, righteous "law abiders" like these pricks would just as soon kill me because they believe their guts and suspicions are always correct (not the suspicion that Star Sapphire is criming but that she's going to attempt "necessary force" first, is the meaning). And also they want to kill somebody. Remember that! Every cop actually wants to murder somebody! It's one of the main perks of the job!

What I'm saying is all police are sociopaths, if not psychopaths. The fact that so many comic book writers all have the "What if Superhero X Was Corrupted by Their Power?" says everything that needs to be said on that subject. I mean, it doesn't, but I'm gonna go back to reading the comic book now.

Not like this is much different from Superman sending villains to the Phantom Zone and Batman locking somebody up in Arkham without any due process.

I assume the villains Batman catch get a trial before being sent to Arkham for an indefinite period. But Superman has definitely been known to toss some asshole into the Phantom Zone without a second thought. And doesn't Green Lantern stick people in a prison on Oa based only on his word that he caught them committing unlawful acts? Aquaman probably feeds people to sharks. I think these alternate dimension stories where DC's heroes are fascists aren't meant to be "What if?" stories but stories which say, "See how terrible are heroes could be? Luckily, they're far less terrible than this!"

Green Arrow and Black Canary try to catch Sinestro before Hawkman does because they're liberal goody-two-shoes from the West Coast. They think Sinestro has rights and shit! What are they? Me?! But they fail to catch him and the Savage Hawkman smashes him in the face with his mace before taking him to the rehabilitation center in Nevada to have both arms amputated. That's not a usual punishment but Hawkman runs the outfit and is also a brutal asshole. Oh, so maybe, um, that is the usual punishment.

Commissioner Gordon, upset with how the federal government is using the Justice League to terrorize the world, decides to cry to Batman.

Two years and two months? Two-Face is behind this!

Batman informs Commissioner Gordon that he's fine with the Justice League killing super villains. Remember, Batman doesn't kill. But he sort of kills in that he lets death happen all the time. Not literally but definitely in semantic ways where a righteous asshole like me can twist the perception on a story to argue how Batman was responsible for some death or another. Somebody doesn't even have to die to prove that Batman kills. Often he'll commit such violence on a villain that if the story wasn't written the way it was, there's every possibility the villain could have suffered some mortal wound. I'm pretty sure he's run the Batmobile into multiple villains over his career. It only takes one that doesn't quite have the level of invulnerability Batman was expecting for Batman to wind up a killer. Unless he puts deaths like that in the "accident" column. That's what I did. I mean would do.

China, rather than be oppressed by American super heroes, decides to launch nuclear missiles at America. But The Flash and Atom show up to stop them just after the nick of time. The Flash, being an authoritarian jerk now, wears the black costume like on the cover. It's not a good sign when a hero changes their colors to black. Even Batman usually wears gray or dark blue and his costume is meant to keep him hidden in the shadows. You'd think black, like the Burton movie, would be his ideal choice. Maybe Batman saves his black outfit as formal wear.

Oh yeah. I said "just after the nick of time" and then didn't explain myself. The Chinese military press the ignition on their missiles so it's too late for Atom and Flash to stop the launch. But The Atom does manage to fuck up the wires in their computer console so that the silos close and the missiles explode within the Chinese base.

Atom means "another example." I guess he forgot what we did to Japan for some End of the War LOLs.

Back on the JLA satellite, everybody but Green Arrow have completely lost their minds. That's easy enough to understand. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and Green Arrow is a powerless loser. So how could he become corrupted? Hawkman points out that it's China's fault because "they rejected our plans for financial reorganization" and because of that, "they made the choice to fight." Unless he just means they made the choice to fight by trying to launch nuclear missiles at America. That's fair but his statement is patently unclear basing the second clause I quoted on the first one. Anyway, Green Arrow thinks maybe the Justice League went a little overboard by allowing a bunch of nuclear missiles to explode in China. Everybody else seems to have a super power I wasn't aware of until now: shrugging off massive deaths.

So naïve, Green Arrow!

Come on, Ollie! Nobody ever resorts to violence to teach somebody else right and wrong, or to convince somebody over to your way of thinking! They choose violence because it's the easiest and most effective way to get what they fucking want. And if you're arguing the pro-violence side by going straight to self-defense, realize that every asshole's idea of "self-defense" is finding some way to justify using violence for your own ends. Every time a gun nut has ever angrily tried to debate me when I pointed out gun owners are first and foremost cowards, they always want to bring up women using guns for self-defense. But that's mostly an imaginary tale! Usually women are killed by the gun owning men in their lives. And when a woman does shoot a man whom she's been abused by or terrified of, she's usually tried for murder. Because men are still mostly in control and men don't want to see women rising up and blowing their chauvinist heads off!

I can't fucking believe Green Arrow is my favorite character in this story. When did I become a beta cuck? I mean in my comic book reading and not my real life. I know exactly when I became a beta cuck in real life! Thanks a lot, American junior high school educational system!

Apparently, in this topsy-turvy world where Superman and Wonder Woman must have been put down almost instantly for things to get this bad, Hal Jordan is the vice president of the United States.

Hal Jordan in a political position? That's like teaching a honey badger to read fucking Shakespeare.

Hmm, there's something wrong with my analogy in that caption. I'm pretty sure Hal Jordan wouldn't have the attention span for politics because you don't use your fist enough in the legislature. But a honey badger probably is smart enough to read Shakespeare.

After 21 pages of this alternate timeline without any ties to the regular series, the 22nd page introduces the antagonist. The main antagonist? The bad guy that's bad in a different way from this evil Justice League?

Fresh from the pages of The Sandman (when The Sandman was still in DC's mainstream continuity).

Doctor Destiny lost his materioptikon to Dream recently but a lot of Morpheus's powers had leeched into his being (which is probably why he looks like a lich now). So even though he has ended up in Arkham Asylum where everybody thinks he's safe and sound, he still has tremendous power. So while I thought this was possibly an alternate Earth (even though they were all destroyed about eight years prior to this), it looks like it's the regular old Earth-2 (or is the newer, non-JSA Earth "Earth-1" at this time? I can't keep this shit straight) but warped via Doctor Destiny's power over people's dreams. That makes sense because of course Hawkman would be a huge massive power-hungry dictator! It's always the guys who fear crime so much that they believe anything they do to stop crime cannot be construed as a crime itself. The ends justify the means, so says libertarians when they're talking about a situation in which they prosper. But if somebody else is justifying some shit means to make the world better, like taxing the rich, then the ends no longer justify the means at all!

I'm really highlighting the kinds of people I loathe in this entry, aren't I?! It's something I have to do every now and then so that they know exactly where I stand and that I don't want them reading anything I write. If you don't say it pointedly and outright, they'll find a way to enjoy things that are absolutely shitting all over their ideology and beliefs. The best part about knowing my Catholic friend Soy Rakelson throughout high school was learning how they could warp any bit of media to make it seem like it supported their way of thinking, just because they liked it in some way. Being a Catholic, I don't know why Soy loved Rush's song "Roll the Bones" so much when the refrain is "Why are we here? Because we're here. Roll the bones. Why does it happen? Because it happens. Roll the bones." I think he just loved the rapping skeleton in the video because it said so many big words and it wasn't Black. Probably wasn't Black, anyway.

Justice League America #72 Rating: A. I don't know what else to say except "I love a good Elseworlds' story!" And this one gets to not just be an Elseworlds' style story but it gets to be in canon too! I also love Doctor Destiny. The Sandman story "24 Hours" is right up there as one of my favorite ever issues of a comic book (right alongside the issue of Seagle's House of Secrets about the Juris member Plyck and "The White Sheep on the Green Hill" from Peter Milligan's Shade the Changing Man). Hopefully the heroes are all dreaming this story and not actually committing all of these atrocities like the patrons in the diner in The Sandman story! Because if so, bye-bye China, I guess! Oh, and Star Sapphire. And Sinestro. And probably Superman and Wonder Woman! I mean, they're conspicuously absent! You know they wouldn't have condoned this Hawkman running the world shit. Who actually would?! I'm so disappointed in everybody except Commissioner Gordon, Green Arrow, and Black Canary!

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