Sunday, March 3, 2024

Justice League America #74 (May 1993)

Bloodwynd: Powered by Oreos.

Is this the issue where we finally find out that Martian Manhunter was pulling a Rachel Dolezal for the last few months as Bloodwynd? In last issue's letter page, Paul J. Russell from Brisbane, Australia, wrote, "at last, a black man in the JLA!" Martian Manhunter might have been thinking, "They'll never suspect it's me if I pose as a Black hero!", believing no harm could come from it. But what he doesn't realize is that the Justice League doesn't often recruit Black heroes. So if he takes up a spot as a Black hero, does he think they're going to hire a second Black hero? Isn't this activity of his a bit too close to blackface? And another thing I just realized: why was Blue Beetle so suspicious of him? Was it because he is Black? I suppose it's because nobody had ever heard of him before he floated into Maxwell Lord's office to tell Max that he's now a member. But it could also be the other thing! Fucking Ted Kord. Somebody should check into Kord Industries hiring practices.

Doctor Destiny has decided that anybody who wears a costume needs to be punished. His costume doesn't count because it's in response to their costumes. It's an anti-costume. Plus he's basically just a lich in a cape now, thanks to Morpheus's fucking dream stone that leeched the life out of him and left him a husk of a nightmare. He's escaped Arkham which truly sucks because if any costumed villain deserves to be in a mental institution, it's this looney tunes. And yeah, I meant to be super insensitive there! This guy is fucking crazy! Did you hear what he did to all those people in that diner that one time? Fucking maniac. And now he wants to do that to the Justice League. He wants them to eat themselves up from the inside by tainting their dreams. Or just The Atom's dreams. I'm not sure how it all works. It's comic book science!

Does batshit make people insane? Is that something that used to happen to sailors who trafficked in South American guano? Is that where we get the phrase batshit crazy? Am I being too literal? Whatever the case, Doctor Destiny is batshit insane. Q.E.D.

I'm not sure you can use Q.E.D. after writing one single statement without any evidence to back it up. I guess I'm expecting everybody to remember all the evidence I gave earlier (which was pretty light but more than nothing).

Farmer Hoggett voice: "Q.E.D., pig. Q.E.D."

Hawkman continues to beat the shit out of Black Condor with a mace made from the yellow light of Sinestro's ring. He's not very imaginative.

That was a lie. I fucking lied. But it's because I'm annoyed at Gerard Jones and Ron Randall for not having Hawkman use a yellow light mace against Black Condor! That's fucking funny and exactly what anybody who understands Hawkman would expect! They've completely fucked this moment! Not because Hawkman is using some giant flyswatter or huge boxing glove like any person who suddenly found themselves with a magic Lantern ring would be using. It's because it's even dumber than Hawkman using a light energy mace. He made a fucking sword. What the fuck?! He doesn't have proficiency in martial weapons! He has proficiency in simple weapons! So fucking unbelievable!

Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman would never have to ask this question. She'd just be all, "Black Condor must have praised free lunch programs in school."

The Justice League arrive to stop Hawkman from killing Black Condor but then Red Tornado arrives to stop the Justice League from stopping Hawkman killing Black Condor. Typical cop bullshit. The cop motto, "To protect and serve," has always been missing the final word: "themselves."

Not that the Justice League is any better. At least not since they decided to hire NRA mascot, Agent Liberty.

Maybe just leave this asshole and Hawkman alone to sort out their terrible ideologies. With bullets and maces.

One of Jesus's most popular sayings, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," seems to be the most widely misunderstood or purposefully disregarded of his teachings among Christians and conservatives. They seem to take it as permission to "cast stones" if you believe you've never sinned. But Jesus's point is that we're all sinners and we should all be allowed the chance to redeem ourselves for those sins. Redemption of sin is his whole fucking life's (and death's) purpose! But Christians and conservatives love to mix Old Testament with New Testament which is fucking crazy because once you're Team New Testament, I think you're supposed to disregard Old Testament. The only parts of the Old Testament that Jesus wanted people to believe in were the prophecies that would indicate the coming Messiah because he needed to use those to fool everybody into thinking he was the Messiah. How can you buy into both books when God was all, "I'mma kill all of mankind because one of them farted weird," and Jesus was all, "You shouldn't kill anybody ever because you have to give them a chance to redeem their sins, you stupid fools." That "you stupid fools" was me just consolidating what Jesus must have thought of his disciples since every time he'd give them an allegory, they'd stare at him dumbfounded and he'd have to tell them exactly what the allegory meant. I guess it's Biblical for Christians to be stupid fools.

Back to Agent Liberty, why the fuck does he think his gun and his bullets somehow trump all the other super powers? He's been too long in civilian life. I'd also suggest kicking him off the Justice League if his go-to move is blasting somebody in the head.

Luckily, Green Arrow has dropped by with The Flash. Green Arrow never misses an opportunity to best a guy with a gun with his arrows. It gets him so hard. It's the only reason he and Dinah have any sex life at all.

This absolutely did not make me think, "Bukkake."

The Justice League came upon Sinestro wandering the desert missing both of his arms and they, like any compassionate and normal human being, offered to help him. But The Flash is hopped up on the "if you're for protecting the Palestinian citizens against brutal slaughter by the Israeli government then you must be a Pro-Hamas terrorist" argument. I'm not surprised. The most vocal and terrible at logic Americans always are. It's practically the state of the union at this point, 23 years past 9/11 (40 years past Vietnam (more years past other imperialist actions by our country that I'll stop mentioning or this parenthetical reference is going to get way too deep)), where if anybody speaks up against the atrocities being committed by the United States or their allies, they're seen, not as conscientious objectors, but as traitors and idiots and, currently, antisemites. Help the wrong person and, well, I guess you deserve to get bukkaked by The Flash.

Wonder Woman answers The Flash's argument with a knee to the groin.

Oh, and some other obvious logical shit.

Hawkman ends the fight by threatening to kill Black Condor with his yellow light sword and Agent Liberty doesn't shoot him in the face as a counterargument. So much for bullets being the best answer in every situation!

Back in New York, Bloodwynd, The Ray, and Guy Gardner continue to battle Green Lantern, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter.

You can tell this is an evil version of Hal Jordan because he's acting like a cop instead of a barroom brawler.

Hal's "You have to assume they are lethal" is the modern day equivalent of Stand Your Ground lovers' "I feel threatened!" It's just an invocation for anybody standing around listening which gives them carte blanche to start murdering the people they're forcing a conflict on. It's also the modern day policing manifesto: "We always feel threatened so we always have the right to use lethal force." Of course one reason they always feel threatened is because they've cultivated such a violent and selfish organizational persona that everybody does indeed hate them. Even the people who love and profess to back them only do so in words only. Because they're usually the gun nuts who are the most ready to kill a cop over anybody.

I think J'onn has interpreted the Earth idiom "dick measuring contest" too literally.

Bloodwynd, realizing his major weakness is to fire, and seeing Firestorm descend upon him, flees from the battle, leaving Guy Gardner and The Ray unconscious on the street. He's also probably confused seeing another Martian Manhunter. For those who don't remember or don't know or haven't read me say it five million times already, I say "another" because Bloodwynd is Martian Manhunter. Unless, after all this time, I'm actually remembering it wrong! Can you imagine if I've gotten that wrong?! So many blog posts I'm going to have to go back and edit so I don't look like such a dumb asshole!

Bloodwynd doesn't just flee though: he turns incorporeal. That's a big hint as to who he is! The others don't realize that's what he's done though. They figure he probably teleported.

After the battle, the Fascist Justice League send Guy and Ray off to Hawkman's Torture Barn. Then they begin rounding up witnesses, just in case the reader wasn't too clear on the whole "Fascist" point.

Meanwhile, Fire changes into an outfit that's really just the colorist making her skin purple. And Booster Gold puts on some workout clothes. So you'd think they're going jogging or something. No, no. They've gone to check on The Atom whom they found nearly dead on the floor of Justice League Headquarters.

That's not a doctor! That's The Ventriloquist!

The Atom isn't as comatose as Ted Kord is. He wakes up long enough to tell Booster and Fire about his dreams of a fascist Justice League, his old crew. He describes his condition of sleeping all the time while having the same dream and still being exhausted when he wakes but they're too new to remember Doctor Destiny and his materioptikon. The Atom might make the connection but, suffering from such extreme sleep deprivation, his mind is absolutely on the fritz. So that gets them nowhere.

Fire, Booster, and The Atom are, of course, still in the "real" world. I'm not sure The Atom can be in the dream world! Other than his dream version, of course. But how did the others get there? Same way real people sometimes get in Morpheus's dream realm, I guess.

Bloodwynd travels to Gotham to get answers from The Batman who, of course, has them. He also has Wizard who he rescued before Hawkman could chop his balls off. With the nuking of China, Batman has finally decided to stop the Justice League. What kind of guilt is buried deep in The Atom's subconscious to make him the most vile person in his own dreams and Batman the most righteous? He's probably suffered so much gaslighting from Jean Loring that he doesn't know what's real and what isn't. Which is also why he was the perfect tool for Doctor Destiny!

Batman, Bloodwynd, and Wizard decide to work together to infiltrate Hawkman's Torture Barn in the desert.

Come on, Wizard! You don't ask another magician their secrets!

As you can see, Bloodwynd feels the best time to drop change shape is once they've entered the compound. I guess he is a telepath so he knows better than I if the place is safe to drop your guard. But since I'm not a telepath and I'm an over-critical reader of pulp bullshit, I'm going to judge his choice anyway.

Running about the complex, the trio stumble upon a room of death. They find Blockbuster, Captain Cold, and Chronos dead and strapped to torture devices.

Oh, look who's suddenly the arbiter of moral righteousness! If I were Batman, I'd karate chop his throat.

Batman here reminds me of Neil Gaiman on tumblr. Constantly being asked about and confronted on the stupidest bullshit and he always answers so pleasantly and diplomatically. I've really wanted to start a What If Neil Gaiman Were An Asshole tumblr where I just re-answer all of the asks he gets. I never would! If Neil Gaiman wanted to be an asshole, he's sure to do it himself someday.

The non-dream Justice League have been captured and placed in torture devices similar to the ones Captain Cold and Blockbuster died in. Maxima and Wonder Woman apparently surrendered rather than see Black Condor die which seems like something Wonder Woman would do but Maxima? What fucking mind game is she playing? She's obviously using her mental powers to subvert Hawkman's plans. Or else she's getting real soft around these dumb jerks. Guy Gardner has also been captured but that fight wasn't shown in the pages of any comic book. I'm sure the editor figured it would be too ludicrous to see Guy lose to Hal Jordan yet again.

Hawkman almost inventing the drinking liberal tears insult.

I'm beginning to wonder if this comic book would be too triggering for a conservative to read? It's portraying the bad guys as those who want to prevent "crime" at any cost! "Crime" being in quotes because it's not actually crime. It's just any excuse to beat the shit out of somebody you don't like for whatever reason you can justify. Although I think comic book readers just like seeing the good guys written as bad guys sometimes and they don't give it much more thought than that. Plus the only guy with a gun is on the good side! So that's one thing they can appreciate. Although he was bested by a liberal.

Bloodwynd interrupts before Hawkman and Green Arrow come to blows leading to some great moments between J'onn and Bloodwynd.

I mean great moments for anybody who reread this issue after learning Bloodwynd's secret. For first time readers, they're just normal fucking panels.

Oh, two pages later, Bloodwynd turns into Martian Manhunter with Wonder Woman yelling, "What can it mean?!" So I guess readers didn't have to re-read the comic. They could have just turned the page back while gobsmacked over the revelation. And then they'd be, "Wow! Those are some terrific panels! Look at them fly in parallel! Like a mirror universe or something!" Hopefully, Martian Manhunter can defeat dream Martian Manhunter. Although that depends entirely on what The Atom thinks of him. If he thinks he's some undefeatable God from Mars, the real J'onn could be in trouble. Hopefully he just thinks of him as a fat Oreo eating immigrant who burns even easier than we humans do.

Justice League America #74 Rating: A! This entire story arc has been a lot of fun. And I mean that in the most biased, least critical way imaginable. I know what I fucking like, whether it's good or not. Give me these mirror universe match-ups any new comic book day and I'll be satisfied. Also, I think this whole Doctor Destiny actually has been written really well. And Dan Jurgens is a really great comic book artist (aside from his withered baby legs on foreshortened flyers). Plus how can you not like a lousy old villain turned up to ten on the danger meter? Sometimes it's done with no explanation at all, like how Sonar is somehow the new DC Doctor Doom in Justice League Europe. But Doctor Destiny got his grim dial turned up to eleven in the pages of Sandman and he's come back to the mainstream universe to spray dirty Vertigo diarrhea all over the walls. That's just the kind of thing I love! Um, not literally. Unless Steve-O did it in one of the Jackass movies. Then I probably laughed until I was sick.

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