Thursday, February 1, 2024

Justice League Europe Annual #3 (1992)

If I were Eclipso, I wouldn't have bothered possessing Aquaman either.

For a number of years, DC Comics decided to hold huge events every summer which took place across all of their annuals. It's possible this was an attempt to make their universe more exciting by involving all of the current monthly books in big Crisis-type stories. But it's also possible some bigwig was all, "How can we sell more annuals? Even people who buy the monthly rarely buy the dumb things! Could it be because we often use them to test out new talent and the quality is generally sub-par? Perhaps it's because we never really tie them into regular continuity and the stories are just extra pages of boring fluff?" Then somebody got the bright idea to tie them all together so that completionists would feel the need to buy every single annual put out every summer. It was a pretty good marketing idea because I always hated annuals and yet I now own every Bloodlines annual and Eclipso: the Darkness Within annual and every Armageddon 2001 annual. It's possible I began to realize how terrible these things were and how you never actually needed to read all the annuals by the time the Elseworlds event was released. And I almost certainly missed out on the Year One event. I don't think I even heard of the Legends of the Dead Earth summer blockbuster but then I was traveling America in a VW Volkswagen that summer, so you can't blame me for missing out on what sounds like a great marketing ploy! I totally want to read those annuals now even though I know, from experience, how truly shit most of them probably were.

Anyway, it was a waste of my time reading this in 1992 and I'm now going to repeat wasting my time by reading it again. It's like I have absolutely no respect for my limited mortality!

"Eclipso's head looks like a condom" is what the cover caption would have been if I'd ever had sex. Remember: no respect for my limited mortality!

The issue begins with Hal Jordan and Wally West already possessed by Eclipso. And yet, for some reason, Eclipso still wants to possess more members of Justice League Europe? I get the annual needs a reason for existing but it should be a tad bit believable! He's already got Green Lantern and The Flash! Why bother with anybody else?!

I know that was a dumb question! I actually did look at the cover when I scanned it! I see that he wants Power Girl too. She really is the only one left worth possessing.

Plus Eclipso needs somebody full of rage and nobody is more perfect than that diet soda swilling jerk!

Hal and Wally have to quit their plans as they're immediately surprised by the rising of the sun. Normally I'd think that's idiotic because they just began their search and night lasts like eight hours or something! But Hal probably forgot about London being eight hours ahead of Coast City (six hours ahead of Wally's Central City!). Apparently Eclipso's biggest weakness is the sun. That might be why he's imprisoned on the dark side of the moon! Because the sun bathes it in light all the time. And maybe that's why he'll be all powerful during the lunar eclipse because not only will the dark side of the moon be facing as away from the sun as possible but the Earth will also block out the sun's light and he'll be able to break free! And if that's the case (which makes a lot of sense!), shouldn't this huge event happen about every six months in the DC Universe?

Power Girl and Aquaman begin talking about the sexual mores of Atlantis and Crimson Fox screams. She says it's because she's tired of boring conversation but I think it's because, with her superior fox smelling power, she got a whiff of Power Girl's sex juices and a little bit of Aquaman's pre-cum. That leads to Crimson Fox and Power Girl getting in a fight and Ralph wrapping himself all around their boobies and under parts to keep them from pummeling each other.

What do you think goes through a sex pest like Gerard Jones' head when he writes dialogue like this? Is he confessing?

Kara flies out the window so that everybody can discuss her personality problems behind her back. Ralph says, "It's a weird kind of philosophical issue that would drive you to pound your coworkers." Philosophically speaking, or maybe literally speaking, Kara didn't touch anybody until Ralph put his hands all over her and Crimson Fox. Crimson Fox also fought back against his grabby rubber mitts but nobody decided to stand around afterward and call her a violent psycho with a diet soda problem. Anyway, what I'm trying to point out is that Power Girl did not touch anybody. But Ralph felt the need to physically restrain two women who were simply having a disagreement. And afterward, he acted like he came in his pants from touching them. But the person everybody has a problem with is Power Girl? Echidna the mother of monsters was right! Everybody is a sexist fuck!

Crimson Fox runs off to her sister to pout because Aquaman doesn't want to fuck her and The Flash now has Linda and Hal Jordan just wants to punch stuff and Captain Atom is dead leaving her with lady blue balls. She wants to quit the League. But then she sees their company is sponsoring a film festival and she remembers how she was going to fuck Metamorpho in Greece! So she calls him up, invites him to London, and manicures her downstairs area (both sides because she's a modern French lady!).

Power Girl, upset that everybody keeps trying to control her, goes on a Diet Soda binge. If the doctor who wrote the sexist paper theorizing how diet soda makes super women hysterical wasn't completely insane (yeah, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because this is a comic book full of stupid shit), then Eclipso will find possessing a diet-soda-filled Power Girl the easiest thing in the moon. He probably won't even need to corrupt her with a black diamond. She'll just join Team Eclipse for kicks.

Have I mentioned how terrible the art is? I'll give the artist the benefit of the doubt and choose to believe that the truly terrible panels which are boring, flat, and depict strange looking faces were because of a time deadline for such a long book. Because some of the art wouldn't have made my art critic sirens go off at all. That's usually the case because I'm a terrible comic book reader who reads comic books more for the story than the art. Weird, right? I should just read John Steinbeck over and over.

Some times when I say some art sucks, I get blowback from people who think it's not right to ever express an opinion that isn't full of unicorn piss and sunshine. Then they'll say things like, "Let's see how good you could draw the comic!" Which is the best argument to use if you want me to absolutely discount your opinion about anything. Because how dare you criticize my ability to criticize! Let's see you criticize the art of a comic book!

Kilowog barges into Justice League Europe Headquarters to warn everybody about Eclipso but apparently he's a huge liar.

He did not beat Justice League America and he didn't possess Superman!

See that art? That's not bad at all! It doesn't spike the meter on either my love it or hate it meter. I think there were just portions of the script that Tim Hamilton found so boring that he couldn't be bothered caring about drawing them. He probably left them for last and then whipped them out in an hour or two.

Getting back to the plot, Superman probably got possessed in one of his own title's annuals, just like Hal and Wally. But that doesn't mean Eclipso beat the Justice League! Unless, I guess, it happened in The Demon or Valor annual. This is what happens when some idiot comic book collector doesn't store all of the "big event" comic books in one place! Not the idiot comic book collector several decades later has to deal with this shit!

Possessing Superman doesn't seem like the best idea because Superman needs the light of the yellow sun to retain his power but the light of the yellow sun will force Eclipso from his body. So how the fuck does that work then? How long can Superman's light reserves keep him strong? And also, shouldn't the solar light reserves within his body actively work against Eclipso's ability to possess him? Who the fuck was the editor on this event?! Can somebody go back in time and fire them?

Ralph phones Justice League America's headquarters to ask them why they didn't tell them about this. I'm assuming their answer will be, "Why weren't you watching CNN like us? Do we have to call you every single time something terrible happens?! Aren't you some kind of super detective, you bloody stretchy wanker?!"

Normally I'd just stare at Fire's tits in a panel like this but that portrait of J'onn is creeping me the fuck out.

I wonder if that's even a picture of J'onn? Maybe he's hiding in the wall pretending to be a picture so he can watch Fire change.

The artist, Tim Hamilton, was only 26 when this comic book was published so I can understand some of the amateurish bits. I should also apologize for negatively criticizing his art because, based on the next panel I'm going to scan, he definitely knew what it took to become a solid, long-term professional in the business.

Only a true comic book artist knows what fans really want: women in towels fresh out of the shower!

Previous to this panel, there's a full-blown panel of Ice butt-ass naked in the shower! Some of you might be upset that I use the term "butt naked" instead of "buck naked" but if you wanted to argue the point, you'd lose the argument and also I'd call you racist because there's some evidence that "buck" was an early slur for Native Americans and African slaves. Both "butt naked" and "buck naked" are generally acceptable anyway so I choose, when adding the word "ass" to the mix, to use "butt-ass naked" because that's funny! Two butts in a row! Ha ha!

Oh wait. My point was that the naked picture of Ice would have been the better panel to scan. But I didn't because I often discuss how artists like David Finch and Tony Daniels (and many, many others) just love to draw a naked woman in a towel. Which is why I point out Tim Hamilton knows what he's doing. I couldn't tie all of that together if I was all, "Tim Hamilton sure knows what he's doing!", and scanned in the shower scene! Then I'd just look like a pervert and I already looked like a pervert earlier in the review when I mentioned staring at Fire's tits! I don't want people reading this to think I'm actually a creep!

I'm sure some of you are currently saying, "You can't mention the naked ice panel and not scan it now!" But it's too late. I already tore it out of my comic book and taped it up in my "office."

I know Jones wrote this but I can still love Tim Hamilton for drawing it. I bet Finch and Daniels would have been all, "No way I'm drawing that. I ain't gay, bro!"

Also, see what I mean about Hamilton's art? I didn't scan any of the panels where it was obvious he didn't give a shit so you can't compare it to this panel. But look at how good naked Aquaman looks! Tim definitely cared about getting that right!

Kilowog says the nudity is distributed fairly but there's a big difference between Kilowog projecting his eyeballs into Ice's shower using his Green Lantern ring and Aquaman striding out in front of Doctor Light in the thinnest and smallest towel he can possibly find so that she can see the outline of his dong against the material. On Kilowog's home planet, "distributed fairly" means the victim in a peeping incident is equal to the perpetrator of a flashing incident. What a dick culture. Um, literally?

Realizing trouble is coming as soon as night falls, Doctor Light and Kilowog send up the Justice League International symbol (just like the bat signal but boring) to bring back all of their teammates who stormed off in a huff earlier. Crimson Fox returns first.

Jesus Christ. I'd kill to have a woman enter my window like this!

Right now there are people reading this thinking, "What? You've never had a woman fling herself into your window spread-eagled? Sucks to be you!" And to those people, I say, "Eat S-H-I-T, buddy!"

Hal Jordan and Wally West follow Crimson Fox into the room. Except they don't sexily use the window; they just crash through the entire wall. They are still eclipsed, of course. And also of course, Doctor Light, who shoots bolts of fucking light, doesn't affect Eclipso's possession at all. Sure, Blue Beetle made a flashlight that doesn't have one-hundredth of Doctor Light's power which can un-eclipse a person but Doctor Light's light blasts simply bounce off of Hal Jordan's face.

Eclipso realizes he can't make any of these boring turds get angry so The Flash tosses a bunch of black diamonds in the room and he flees with Green Lantern. That's when Power Girl arrives fresh off a diet soda binge, pissed off, angry, and hysterical, just like that scientist's theory said would happen if she kept drinking that swill. Remember, it was the scientist that said female super heroes would get hysterical if they drank diet soda. That wasn't my term!

Power Girl picks up some black diamonds and wham bam thank you diet soda, Eclipso possesses her. He does not immediately feel himself up which, I think, proves Eclipso should have been as huge a gay icon in the '90s as the Babadook was last decade.

Kara puts up a meager fight before being imprisoned in a green cage by Kilowog's ring. At about the same time, a mysterious figure (Bruce Gordon?) arrives to kidnap Doctor Light the same way he kidnapped Blue Beetle earlier. He's putting Team Solar Extraction together! Oh, Kilowog is also teleported away by the shadowy figure behind the blast of light. I really want it to be John Constantine but I'm pretty sure, in 1992, he was contained in the Vertigo universe. It's probably just Bruce Gordon.

Power Girl escapes the cage after Doctor Light and Kilowog disappear. She grabs Aquaman and flies high above London, with Ralph grabbing her ankle and Crimson Fox climbing on Ralph's back. Whatever their plan to save Aquaman works so much as in Power Girl lets them all drop from hundreds of feet in the air. She then flies off believing she killed them rather than watch the satisfying splat as they hit the ground. Unless Aquaman doesn't make a splat because he's so dense and instead smashes a huge hole in the ground and survives. And Ralph turns into a hang glider which Crimson Fox uses to safely get to the ground. I mean, there were so many ways for them not to die between being dropped and Power Girl flying off that it makes no sense that she simply assumes they're dead. Oh, I guess she didn't assume that! Eclipso did and he's a narcissist so he believes whatever he wants to believe no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

Anyway, the do all live but only because Metamorpho suddenly appears to catch them in himself. Crimson Fox practically fucks him before he can turn back into a human shape. But by then, all the eclipsed heroes have flown off, headed to Meteor Crater in Arizona for peak viewing of the future lunar eclipse. I've been there! But I wasn't eclipsed. I was just, you know, interested! I also went to Roswell on the same VW Bus trip. I was sad to skip visiting the Trinity site while I was in the general area. Maybe some day!

Justice League Europe Annual #3 Rating: C. Solid mediocre comic book material! That's actually pretty good praise for an annual! Most of the time, they just fucking suck. But this one had Ice naked in the shower so it may be one of the best annuals ever drawn. And the plot! So mediocre! "Eclipso possesses Power Girl because she's hysterical from drinking diet soda in an attempt to appease the male gaze!" Riveting! But why did Eclipso need Hal Jordan and The Flash to deliver a bunch of black diamonds to the Justice League? What a waste of talent!

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