Thursday, March 14, 2024

Justice League America #80 (September 1993)

Oh no! It's happening. Wonder Woman has '90s Image face!

I think I'm beginning to suspect the real reason I dropped this title and its name might be Kevin West! I'm not being insulting. I'm just expressing my taste for specific art styles. And my taste does not include overly long legs, grimacing men, clenched fists because fingers are hard to draw, scenes littered in rubble to hide feet, and women with whatever the fuck Wonder Woman's face is doing on this cover. Some of you who didn't have to look at the new comics wall in your local comic book shop in the early '90s might be asking, "What's wrong with Diana's face? That's perfectly acceptable, and possibly beautiful, art!" Yes, outside of the context of the art that was trending in the '90s, you wouldn't think twice about Wonder Woman's face on this cover. But sitting on a comic book shelf side-by-side with dozens of covers where women look exactly the fucking same as that, you'd lose your fucking mind. Which is what I did in the '90s. I fucking hated that art trend so much. Which could explain why I dropped this book just a few months after Kevin Smith took over art duties.

You might also be wondering what the fuck I'm talking about because if you weren't hyperaware of that fucking '90s woman face on Diana's puss, you could almost mistake this cover for anything out of the ordinary. But that face leads you to Diana's leg which leads you to everybody's fists which leads you to Booster's grimace which leads you to no feet (except The Ray's left foot which, if you look at it closely, you might just guess why Kevin West didn't draw any of the other nine feet that should be on this cover). If this were a non-'90s Image art style comic book (and, yes, I know the art trend happened before Image. But it was the fans getting their cocks so hard over the styles of McFarlane and his imitators that made them all think, "We are making so much money for Marvel and DC, we should own all of this shit outright!" And so Image. Based on this art trend. So '90s Image art), I wouldn't have been derailed by it and would definitely have spent three paragraphs on how Booster Gold's dick is about to be fried crispy golden.

The issue begins with two aliens, Blake and Corbett, on the lam from justice. Black and Corbett, who are named Blake and Corbett, are being chased by aliens who love to add the names "Blake" or "Corbett" to every single thing they say. I get the feeling Dan Vado lost a bet to his friends Blake and Corbett and was forced to put their names into this comic book a certain amount of times. Which he did. All on the first page.

Look at Blake and Corbett! How can I talk about anything else except that they look like clones of every male character Liefeld has ever drawn in his life?!

Maybe Dan Vado uses the names multiple times so that the reader will easily identify which alien is Blake and which alien is Corbett. Although if that was his reasoning, he might have thought to make them look slightly different from one another. I guess Corbett is the one with the flippy bangs and Blake is the one with the spiked hair. I'm actually surprised both characters have two normal eyes each. It's a lot easier to draw a face when you've got a distracting dead eye or bangs hanging over half the face so you don't have to think about the usual symmetry of faces because symmetrical faces are harder to draw than fingers or feet.

Blake and Corbett crash their ship on Earth and the fishy aliens chasing them give up for now. Being super into justice and catching criminals, they don't to accidentally break any of the local system's laws. They move off to research Earth and monitor the situation.

Elsewhere on Earth, in New York City where Blake and Corbett didn't immediately crash, a woman is giving a tour of the entire fucking city to some kids, ending in Justice League America headquarters.

I know some smart ass on the Internet will be all, "Look at all the fingers and feet on this page, you stupid piece of shit asshole!" But might I also point out Rick Burchett was doing the inking? He probably fixed all the really fucked up hands and feet.

I'd also like to point out how the woman has her arms crossed thus hiding her hands. We'll see so much of that that I'm not going to bother to scan in every scene with somebody hiding their hands in this way. The fishy alien already did it once and his hands are way easier to draw because he only has three fingers per hand. Also, I don't mean to suggest Liefeld and West and all the other couldn't draw hands and feet. Of course they could! You get people defending Liefeld bad art all the time by posting a picture where he drew feet and captioning it, "See? Feet! In your face, people who love actually good art!" My theory is that they're really just fucking lazy. Why draw feet if you don't to? Why draw fingers when a fist will do? Why learn what an actual body looks like and how it moves when you can just pretend your art is "dynamic"?

For some inexplicable reason, the Justice League have opened up a lobby to the public as an information center and a hall of fame. Currently the only notable member the League has had in recent times is Superman so he's the only guy in the hall of fame. It's a pretty lame set up.

See? This kid agrees with me.

Booster Gold and Fire, having absolutely nothing to do and apparently not having been given access to alternate, non-public ways into headquarters, wander through the lobby where they're exposed to teenagers who speak like an adult thinks teenagers speak. I don't blame Fire with getting instantly annoyed with Dan Vado's weird teen speak. But I do blame Booster Gold for being a total misogynist.

Firstly, I don't think this kid does know how women are. Secondly, I don't think Booster knows either. Thirdly, Fire never looked so '90s.

Here's a fun game! Compare Fire's face in that panel to Wonder Woman's face on the cover. What do you know! It's the same face! Now imagine that face on every comic book cover on the rack every fucking new comic book day! What are the symptoms for post traumatic stress disorder?

Oh shit. I mentioned the too long legs thing so I should probably give an example of that.

Look how fucking low her knee is! And how do both knees basically line up when one leg is bent?! Why do I suddenly hear helicopters and machine gun fire?!

Fire gives Booster some what-for about his sexist remarks until he apologizes. What a cuck! Although after he apologizes, he and Fire seem to get along a lot better. As if, maybe, taking responsibility for your words and actions, and making a heartfelt and sincere apology, can make the world a kinder, better place? Did this comic book fall through a temporal vortex from the future because from what I understand from the Comicsgater, this is woke bullshit that never would have appeared in a non-modern comic book? Where'd this agenda come from?! Treating women like individual human beings?! I'm fucking shook, man!

Booster and Fire seek out Blue Beetle who has just finished the first build of Booster's new armor. He was also apparently working on a way to get Fire's powers back but creating an accident that somehow gives a person super powers is somehow different than using math, science, and technology to build a huge suit of armor. Ted tells Fire she's out of luck and she hugs him for trying and he apparently thinks she's absolutely in love with him and wants to fuck him because she decided to hug a close friend in gratitude.

See? Kevin West isn't a bad artist at all! He totally nails Ted's "Oh my God Fire wants to touch my dick" reaction.

I'm serious! That's a really beautifully done panel. Which comes back to how I'm not trying to say Kevin West sucks at art. What I'm saying is that I can't fucking stand all of the lazy tropes that this "dynamic" '90s art style set up. It's weird how a lot of it tended to lazy art when McFarlane arguably began by cluttering up every single panel with all sorts of weird details. As a point of historical detail, I think Marc Silvestri is credited as being the old school guy who began the trend that became the '90s Image style. But I don't know for sure because I never paid much attention to the Image stuff. And I wasn't really buying Marvel where the Image style took off.

There's been a second plot happening in the background of the last few issues that I haven't discussed because it's been so boring and hack. It's about Tora heading back to her kingdom where she's the daughter of the king. He's sick and her younger brother has all but taken over the throne. But he's a dick so when Tora shows up again, her father is all, "Tora is older! She shall take the throne!" And her brother is all, "Ew! I'll show you! I'll get even!" Then he slams his wine down on a table and walks out.

He slams it down with his left hand even though he's been holding it and drinking from it with his right hand across several panels, and gesticulating angrily with his left.

Often when I'm angry and want to show my anger by slamming an object down on a nearby table, I take the time to switch hands, especially if I'm being drawn by an artist who doesn't give a fuck about a scene's continuity.

I love Ice and I know she was a member of the Justice League for a long time but this comic book is about Justice League America and it should concentrate on Justice League America members and not on some tired battle for the throne story arc. Also maybe they should concentrate a little bit on Blake and Corbett since I was forced to learn who they were earlier.

Several pages into the comic book and Dan Vado hasn't had an opportunity to make Guy look like the biggest pig on the planet.

Oh, there we go. Immediately as he appears in the comic for the first time.

The Justice League should have taken all the money they spent on that stupid, useless lobby and information center and used it to hire a Human Resources department. How the fuck does anybody let Guy remain on the team when he can't refrain from suggesting lewd things to Wonder Woman and Maxima? I've said the same about Justice League Europe when Wally couldn't go a single panel without trying to get Power Girl to suck his dick. Why do the writers of this comic book think this shit is cute? Does Vado actually hate Guy and just wants readers to hate him? Or does Vado think this is charming rebel talk, just like he thought the teenager speak earlier was off the cuff. Or chain. Or whatever. I'm not pretending to know how kids in the '90s spoke!

Yeah, he has gotten more annoying! Fucking Dan Vado.

Why is Wonder Woman getting angry at Maxima? This is like that time Ernesto was bullying me on the playground in elementary school and I called him a fucker and the teacher heard so we both got in trouble. Stand up for the right side of history, people! Stop getting angry at the people fighting back against oppression and suggestions that they want to suck somebody's dick! Also, Guy Gardner should sue Dan Vado. Is that a thing that could be possible?

Oberon has alerted the team to Black and Corbett's crashed alien ship in Alaska. The government wants the Justice League to escort them to the site and see what's up. Booster Gold, having not tested his armor yet, demands to go on the mission. Wonder Woman, being a terrible leader, agrees to let him go.

Meanwhile the space fish decide to recover Blake and Corbett through legal means by contacting the American government and simply asking that they be returned. It's hard to remember what America was like in 1993 but I'm pretty sure we still took the idea of taking in refugees seriously. So the fish aliens might not have a lot of luck with getting Blake and Corbett returned to them. Although Black and Corbett fire on the Justice League when they approach the crashed ship, so maybe it'll be an easy decision to give them to the space police fish.

Eventually the Justice League disarm Blake and Corbett and hear their story. They've escaped from a prison planet and claim to have been political prisoners. Wonder Woman is all, "Oh, then we should grant you asylum!" But then the American government is all, "No, no! We are extraditing these jerks!"

Captain Atom and his weak-ass ankle, returned from the dead or his trip to the past or wherever the hell he was, represents the American government.

Captain Atom didn't come alone. To make sure he can secure the prisoners from the Justice League, he brought along a top squad of government soldiers that are not exactly like every other group of high technology soldiers in every single '90s comic of the day.

Their names are probably Deathkiller, Gunpistol, and Murderbang.

Why do these guys look like every G.I. Joe figure that was ever sold that either didn't have a distinct personality or maybe got a name but never appeared on the cartoon?

Justice League America #80 Rating: B-. So many things are beginning to annoy me about this series. I only collected it for three more months, possibly to finish out this story line, or maybe I just wasn't as astute when I was 21. But it's nice to know that I'm still mostly the same person seeing as how I'm reading it now and thinking, "How much more of this shit am I willing to put up with?" Most of the "this shit" is simply the way Dan Vado has decided to portray Guy Gardner. If he got him so wrong, how can I trust that he understands any of the other characters that I'm not too familiar with? It's also possible that I've simply had too much Justice League over the last few years. I look forward to reading something entirely different in a week or two!

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