Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Justice League Europe #48 (March 1993)

Even with (perhaps especially because of) Super Speed, I would not choose to punch a man in power armor in the helmet.

The focal point of this cover is Alan Scott's groin. Other less crotch-obsessed people might suggest the focal point is some other part of the cover, like Alan's head or the Rocket Red's helmet. But Alan Scott's groin, being surrounded by the only negative space that isn't the sky around the title, stands out far more than anything else. Perhaps Ron Randall wanted us to take particular note of Alan's package. Or maybe Ron did it to distract from the fact he forgot that Alan Scott wears, and often utilizes, a power ring. Although if that were Ron's reasoning, he probably would have just drawn the ring on Scott's finger at that point.

The issue begins with Sonar hovering over Russia describing the problems of all the people he can hear. He calls himself "The Master of Sound," as if eavesdropping on a bunch of people just living their life is some kind of over-the-top superpower. He thinks he's a major villain because he has Superman's least useful skill? This asshole will probably wind up being defeated by a kid with a trumpet.

Sonar goes on to brag how all of his technology does the work of sifting through the various noises for specific human voices and discarding the rest. So I guess a kid blasting a trumpet as loud as he can right in Sonar's face will just never reach Sonar's attention? Apparently Sonar doesn't even have the least useful of Superman's skills anyway. His whole "Master of Sound" thing is a result of technology he's created. So, sure, he's the master of making technology which can make somebody the Master of Sound. But that also means The Atom can shrink down, pull a few wires in his suit, and cause him to go deaf. But The Atom is currently over in Justice League America genociding the Chinese. So maybe Metamorpho or Elongated Man will have to squeeze into Sonar's suit to short it out.

Okay, maybe just Metamorpho.

I used to think that if Sue Dibny were a real person, I wouldn't stand a chance with her. But now that I've seen she wears high-waisted, belted and cuffed jean shorts with long socks, she might be exactly in my league.

Sonar's trying to get into Susan's undergarments by pointing out how lame her husband is and how awesome he is. Why do guys spend so much time trying to convince women who obviously loathe them that they're somehow the perfect partner for them? If men are so logical, why do they think women would be into exactly the sort of person they're definitely not into?

How can this man be the Master of Sound if he can't even appreciate Rubber Soul?

Looking at Sue Dibny's outfit as she fends off Sonar's mediocre incel advances, I just realized why I think she's so super cute. This comic book came out in 1992! This is what all the women in my high school class were basically wearing in 1989. I'm not in love with Sue Dibny! I'm in love with my lost youth!

Sonar, getting nowhere with bragging about himself and shitting all over Ralph, tries a different tactic: pity! He's all, "I am the man you see before you because of the...the...the silence of my childhood!" He throws one arm over his forehead and glances askance at Sue who, seeing the shadow of a poor, lost child, makes a huge mistake and shows interest in the pain of his past. Later, when she turns Sonar down again, he'll probably invoke this moment and be all, "Why'd you lead me on by acting like you wanted to fuck me by listening to me?!"

Sonar blathers on about his origin. How his parents were deaf which meant they were spawns of Satan in Modoran culture, and he an idiot spawn of the spawn of Satan. Since silence was his pain and punishment, he studied the technology of sound, so he could use it to prove he was smarter than everybody else on the Internet. I mean in the world. Eventually, after Green Lantern spanked him publicly multiple times, he returned to Modora to overthrow its dictator and become a new dictator. But a better dictator! One with science behind him!

Sue Dibny is not impressed and Ron Randall draws an expression on her face that I'm fairly certain means "My butthole has never been shut tighter."

Ain't no science in the world loosening that sphincter.

Some people might quibble with me as to what that expression on Sue's face actually means but I doubt anybody has as much experience as I do at seeing the moment a woman thinks, "No way this guy gets anywhere near my butthole."

Sonar flies off when he gets exasperated with Sue's rejections and also because the scene had already gone on for eight pages of exposition and really needed a reason to end. Mostly so readers could find out what's happening with the Justice Society! They aren't being drawn by Ron Randall in this issue. Instead, they're drawn by Mike Parobeck, artist of the Justice Society comic book that was running concurrently to this one.

First thing on the JSA's itinerary is to extract Doctor Light from Metamorpho.

I thought Doctor Mid-Nite was going to say, "I'd have brought my eyesight!" Because Doctor Light is hot is why.

Somehow, Doctor Mid-Nite and Doctor Light do not implode and cease to exist on contact. I would theorize on why that is but I'm too hypnotized by the way Atom is parting Metamorpho's metal labia to help birth Doctor Light. Hmm. This might wind up being the weirdest picture I've ever jerked off to.

Instead of immediately defeating the Rocket Reds and kicking Sonar's ass all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the members of the Justice Society stand around like old men and debate politics. Being that they are old men, they're really, really good at it. And slow. And, as you'd expect, boil it all down to "The Communists are the worst!"

Jesus, Alan! Still not over the McCarthy-era propaganda? You know what other group McCarthy really fucking cracked down on, don't you?!

Wildcat steps in to point out that the Rocket Reds just beat up a bunch of heroes so why can't the Justice Society just use that as an excuse to beat up a bunch of Rocket Reds? Why discuss politics when you can just defend yourself now and apologize to the international community later?

Doctor Mid-Nite also expresses his wishes to battle and defeat the Rocket Reds but he uses a really fucking horrible analogy.

Comparing saving the world to choking a baby in its crib isn't fucking weird at all!

The Rocket Reds arrive to put an end to the discussion. Green Lantern is all, "I am the most powerful person in the world! I will defeat them in mere seconds!" But then a tree explodes and he's knocked unconscious by some wooden shrapnel. It may be the most humiliating moment in his entire seventy years on Earth.

Jay Garrick, being one of the fastest men alive, which means he can reason things out pretty quickly, realizes trees don't usually explode and deduces somebody must have made that tree explode! And somebody did! Using sound! Which is a clue as to who is behind it all! But Jay Garrick doesn't have time to think the problem through because Jay Garrick must not have access to the Speed Force or something because he can't see somebody else moving super fast. He deserves to have his skull caved in by The Flash which is what happens point zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero two nanoseconds after Jay thinks, "What?! Someone moving even faster than--" Faster than what?! FASTER THAN WHAT?!

Before Jay Garrick's skull gets completely smashed, he does some reverse brainwashing on Wally by running alongside him super fast and going, "You're brainwashed, dumb-dumb! You're brainwashed, dumb-dumb! Snap out of it, idiot! Barry and I are faster than you!" It seems to work because The Flash concocts a plan to get away from Sonar by flinging the unconscious (and maybe dead?) Blue Jay across the frozen tundra so he can pretend to go after the escaping hero.

Back in London, a super duper twist takes place at JLE headquarters.

What?! The new tailor outfitting everybody in those horrible new costumes was a spy for Sonar all along?! No way!

I haven't mentioned over the last half dozen issues or so how suspicious everybody has been about the new tailor because I just assumed they all hated him for putting Elongated Man in that terrible outfit and Power Girl in hers. And even though I wrote that caption as if I had known all along, I really hadn't known all along. And I've read this before! I just thought he was acting nervous and guilty because he knew how terrible his fucking designs were.

The superpowered Indian girl from last issue breaks into JLE Headquarters and finds the tailor there. One of the two is all, "You shouldn't be here!", and it's not the one you think. Unless you thought it was Chandi Gupta, the Indian lass. Because, yeah, she said it. As if she knows who should be in the castle and who shouldn't? She obviously doesn't know or she would have yelled that at herself. The tailor, instead of saying, "Oh, I'm the official Justice League Europe tailor! I made Power Girl and Elongated Man's amazing new costumes!" Instead he says, "I'd like to see what a little punk like you is going to do about it." Which kind of blows his cover, no? He could have just repeated what she said and threatened to call the cops on her.

Chandi has a magic bow but I guess the tailor is already in melee range so she chooses not to use it with negative modifiers. That's when the suit of armor reveals itself as the lord of the castle and nearly kills the tailor. But Chandi stops it from murder so that she can tell it her origin story.

Yeah, but you left out the most important detail: your superhero name!

The Flash arrives to interrupt the nice chat between the mystic girl and the armored ghost. He pleads with them to contact Justice League America to save the day. I guess he doesn't know Superman is dead and Blue Beetle is in a coma and Fire has lost her powers and Ice quit and Booster Gold's technology has been demolished and Bloodwynd is actually Martian Manhunter. I don't think they're in any condition to save anybody's day. I guess, unbelievably, Sonar and the Rocket Reds are going to take over the world!

Justice League Europe #48 Rating: C. The story and art weren't as mediocre as the C rating might indicate. What the C rating indicates is how unbelievable — even in a stupid comic book that mainly deals with the unbelievable — it is that Sonar and the fucking Rocket Reds have not only defeated Justice League Europe but the Justice Society as well! And, I suppose, the Justice League Reserves! This wouldn't have happened if Batman had stuck around to lead the team.

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