Thursday, March 7, 2024

Justice League America #75 (June 1993)

Best cover of the series so far and not just because The Atom is coming in his pants.

Why does any character with just a skull for a head seem cool? Do we all long to be liches? Mr. Bones. Ghost Rider. The Punisher's shirt. And this version of Doctor Destiny that doesn't quite make any sense but I guess he's decomposing but can't quite die because he's infused with Morpheus's dream energy? I have another question but I realize I talk way too much about buttholes so I'll just move on.

Last issue, Bloodwynd was forced to reveal his true identity: Martian Manhunter! What a twist! Somebody once said, "A real Norman Bates in a wig shocker!" And since Artificial Intelligence seems to have made it okay to steal other people's work when it's sort of mashed into a machine-formed tater tot made up of thousands of artists' actual work, I'm going to say it here but pretend I said it myself. "A rale Borbam Baterfield in a big tent shockzilla!" Pretty sure that's how AI would have said.

I wonder if I was the one to write "A real Norman Bates in a wig shocker"? Was that fucking me? In my Celtic poem of the movie Heathers? I think it was! I'm fucking stealing from myself here!

Seriously though. I had no idea that I was the one who wrote that while writing all that AI crap. The realization sort of snuck up on me afterward. I hate getting less intelligent as I get older!

Bloodwynd was punched so hard by dream Martian Manhunter that he turned back into real Martian Manhunter. As they were fighting, Doctor Destiny's control over his dream realm became strained and his dream hosts began convulsing. I say "hosts" because it seems Ted Kord, lying in a coma next to the unconscious Atom, begins convulsing as the two J'onn's fight escalates. And Booster is right there to scream at the doctor.

That's the face of a man watching the only person he really loves begin to die.

Doctor Destiny has infiltrated Justice League Headquarters but no alarms go off like they did a few issues ago when Guy just came by for a visit. Maybe Max Lord disabled them so no more tiny jerks could confuse the League by playfully setting them off just as the most reviled member of the team stopped by to try to get into Ice's pants. Doctor Destiny puts Oberon and Fire to sleep and heads up to find where The Atom is. Apparently, by working in The Atom's brain, Doctor Destiny will be able to supplant reality with his fascist dream version of it. He really is fucked up. If I could change reality, I'd make a world full of Aubrey Plazas and Sydney Sweeneys who shunned clothing and had huge crushes on me. And maybe a few naked Jemaine Clements too, just in case I feel like a bit of New Zealand dick.

Real Martian Manhunter gets his ass kicked because he's so confused. Maybe he didn't purposefully turn into Bloodwynd? And he can only turn back to himself when he gets punched super hard which is why Blue Beetle saw J'onn after Bloodwynd was smacked by Doomsday.

Just as real J'onn is about to be killed, Blue Beetle shows up and distracts the dream Justice League long enough for real J'onn to get his bearings.

Dream J'onn's weakness is farts and Beetle gets him right in the mouth.

As he frees them, Blue Beetle explains to his teammates that they're in a dream but they're not asleep. But he is asleep and he's also in their dream. He can't explain how they're in the dream but he knows he's in the dream because he's hooked up to the same machinery as The Atom. Well, that explains why Justice League Headquarters has multiple beds attached to the same life support machinery. Otherwise this wouldn't make any sense at all! Are they also hooked up to the same catheter?

Has anybody checked this doctor's credentials? I think he might be another plant by Sonar.

The doctor is all, "It's almost as if they've fused into one being!" Maybe don't plug their brains into the same monitoring system, you fucking hack! I say "hack" because if a doctor every said to me, "It's almost as if" and then followed that up with the dumbest sci-fi trope, I'd sue his fucking underwear right off his ass. How about you stop speculating about your Buck Rogers bullshit and try to save Ted's life, you asshole.

Is it gay to be hooked up to the same life support machine as another man?

As you can see in the background of that last panel, Doctor Destiny has arrived. Hopefully the doctor can defend his patients because Booster Gold can't. Unless his running shorts are infused with future technology.

Freed, the Justice League attack the dream Justice League. But it doesn't go so hot because they don't have a Flash and we all know nobody can beat The Flash. At least when the writer decides to play things straight and not fudge universal laws by allowing The Flash to be blinded by a carefully tilted mirror or hit with a slow ass boomerang. But standing outside the fight, Green Arrow finally decides he can't be a part of this fascist group of militaristic thugs anymore. And Batman is right there in the shadows to say, "It's about time! Now let's hit The Flash with a batarang (which is somehow different than a boomerang and readers will buy that it can easily take out The Flash)!"

This is where Agent Liberty's bullet theory would have been welcome. He could have blown Hawkman's head off after he says "Next shot?" whereas Ollie was still groping for an arrow three quote bubbles later.

Black Canary watches Ollie disintegrate over the Justice League Satellite monitor where she's hanging out with The Atom. While she's sighing with relief that she doesn't have to give him the "It's not you, it's me speech" she'd been working on, The Atom realizes he's in his own dream and that all of his former colleagues whom he always thought were fascist assholes must be stopped. Maybe if he'd thought better of them and all and never considered they could become power hungry monsters, this never would have happened in the first place.

Back at headquarters, Doctor Destiny tries to stab Booster Gold but misses. Then he stops trying to stab Booster Gold to tell explain what's happening. Booster Gold, instead of trying to disarm Destiny, listens patiently.

I can't blame Booster; I'd want to know what was going on too.

So I guess this is Morpheus's fault. If only the Vertigo universe had split from the main DC universe sooner, this could have been prevented! But now it's just an outdated moment that lingers in the minds of rabid continuity fans like an intestinal parasite. At least until Zero Hour happens soon and any continuity issue was just wiped away in a general shrug of editorial's shoulders so any time any fan at any convention stood up to ask why something contradicted something else, they could just wave their hands, do a little dance, and say, "Zero hour fixed it!"

The Atom, realizing he's to blame for simply noticing that Hawkman was a violent asshole and happened to think about it one time too many, turns the JLA satellite's lasers on Hawkman's Torture Barn, destroying it and nearly killing everybody. Blue Beetle escapes by wishing himself out of his coma, just in time to keep Doctor Destiny from stabbing The Atom. I mean stabbing The Atom a second time. Luckily a guy pretending to be a doctor is there to help patch up The Atom.

"Shake off your coma"? Yeah, definitely works for Sonar.

How embarrassed is Booster Gold going to be that he, a perfectly fit specimen of a muscular man, couldn't stop Doctor Destiny but his buddy half-groggy from being in a coma for weeks had no problem at all? He's probably going to take it on Skeets, either sexually or violently. I hope suggesting that Booster might rape Skeets doesn't trigger anybody because the way I view Skeets, I'm basically saying, "Booster is so emasculated he's going to go home and jerk off on the toaster."

Blue Beetle manages to bring every member of the real Justice League back as well. I'd explain it in more detail but nobody spends five panels giving all the technical information as to how it works. Beetle just reappears in the dream and says, "Touch me!" And everybody touches him and they all go home. Man, I wish that's how The Wizard of Oz had ended. "Great Oz! How do I get home?!" "Well, Dorothy, just stick your hand behind this curtain and hold on!"

Once everybody is back and the "doctor" proclaims The Atom's stab wound is just a minor flesh wound, Blue Beetle gives nobody any time to understand what the fuck just happened and turns on Martian Manhunter, demanding he explain himself and his Bloodwynd secret! Nobody seems in any hurry to get Doctor Destiny secured which makes me think Booster Gold killed him while Blue Beetle was rescuing the others.

Justice League America #75 Rating: A. It's weird that remember loving Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League America while not really caring for Dan Jurgens' version and yet this feels like the best story to come out of this entire run. It's not just a sci-fi Elseworlds story for the sake of seeing what would happen if the Justice League were evil. The subtlety of having all of this come about due to the way The Atom sees himself and his teammates really puts the idea over the top. It's also the view of the Justice League through the eyes of a villain who has constantly been beaten near to death by them. Entangle those two perspectives and you get this mess of a Justice League that's a bit too close to the truth for The Atom to take. My guess would be that he went off to become a hermit after this but I think he had a special one-shot Power of the Atom comic come out around this time. Hopefully he was thoroughly depressed through most of it. Or, at least, went around to Hawkman's flat and popped him one in the beak.

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