Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Made Me Quit... JLA

JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #80, DC Comics, September 1993
"MADE ME QUIT" Week can't just be about the Great Marvel Purge of 1990, but my brand loyalty to DC Comics through the 90s means that I quit most of their series when I quit comics altogether for money reasons at the end of that decade. Not so the Justice League titles circa 1993! I was a big Justice League fan, but when they got as bloated as Marvel's X-titles, there were too many books, and too low a quality. I dropped them en masse.

Justice League America started out as an original action/comedy mix and it really worked. It later became a little more action-oriented, and there's nothing wrong with that, but by #80, it was a pale shadow of what it had once been.

The story would have an alien spaceship crash-land in Alaska, piloted by escaped convicts who not only look humanoid (albeit with skin and eye color differences), but have names like Blake and Corbett as well. You'd think their parents had watched some old science-fiction shows or something, but it's doubtful, because they're surprised by what they find on Earth. Actually, that is the one redeeming feature about this comic: The aliens are rather alarmed that the natives fly and fire rays from their hands etc. Wow, THAT's the redeeming feature?

Well, despite the cover's promise that the JLA "breaks loose" here, there's a lot of yammering on about what each character should do next. It smells like the writer is rebuilding the League in his image, but he's taking the long way round. Fire has lost her powers and angsts about it, Booster Gold's costume was destroyed along with HIS powers and he angsts about it, and so on (it's like the X-Men, I tell ya). It's a lot of talking and looking up at the sky in pain.

Meanwhile, Ice is back in her home fairyland, which seems to be a futuristic city under the ice somewhere, at her father's deathbed. Her brother wants to rule, but he's a jerk about it, so the dad wants to leave his kingdom to her instead. A lot of clichéd grandstanding and Ice's reaction to this? "Uh..." And that's all she says. Gotta admit, it's close to my reaction. Although with me, the "uh..." is followed by "who cares?".

Back at the base, Blue Beetle can't help Fire, but he's built Booster Gold some cool new armor. NOT!!! How awful is this? The damn thing even has exposed wires in the back for your typical villain's convenience.
Of course, when the writer introduces crap, he admits it, as the other heroes all comment on how stupid the new outfit is. Guy Gardner's in this too, actually a parody of the jerk he used to be, with "naked pretzel" comments directed at Wonder Woman (I appreciate the thought, but still...). Here again, other characters comment that he's suddenly gotten too obnoxious. I think we could almost play a game of "spot the editor's comments".

But I'm not sure the editor was really paying that much attention, because there are actually typos in the lettering! Fire congratulates Booster on his chancing the subject, for example, and later, Wonder Woman exclaims: "Aptain Atom!" when Captain Atom shows up. Even the art is a touch messy. Like here, how does that force screen work and where is that second missile going?
Anyway, boring story short, the JLA gives temporary asylum to the fugitives on the basis that their pursuers look like the aliens from the black lagoon, and then Aptain Atom shows up for the US government to extradite them. Oooh, and he brought back-up!
Yeah, you know what? The JLA just beat up some ordinary guys with guns in under 4 pages, so what will make these any different? Solid cliffhanger, right there. I have a feeling the ugly aliens will turn out to be in the right after all, and the Justice League will learn a valuable lesson about not judging books by their covers (readers of this Bustin' Loose issue will have already learned the same), but I couldn't be bothered to find out.

Not exactly crap, but...

10 comments:

snell said...

Hmmm...I also had to "quit comics altogether for money reasons" near the end of the 90s.

Are you my long-lost Canadian twin?

Jon said...

So that's where Booster got that god-awful armour he had in Extreme Justice...

De said...

Ah, the Dan Jurgens era of the JLA. Not as bad as the Detroit-era stuff (hi Vibe!), but very static and plain. My dropping point was over a year before yours with Justice League Spectacular #1.

Reading it now, the Jurgens era isn't awful but I'm glad he's grown out of that style of storytelling to do cool things like the new Booster Gold.

Siskoid said...

Snell: Only if you're somehow heir to a family fortune.

Jon: I cna't believe that armor was seen in two series... it's a crime.

De: This is just after Jurgens' stint. To be fair, he's not credited as writer for Booster Gold (but as artist/creator).

SallyP said...

Hmmm...if memory serves me correctly, the reason Guy was even more obnoxious than usual, was because at this point, he's ACTUALLY Guy's CLONE!

Yes, I realize that this actually doesn not make the story better.

FoldedSoup said...

Like here, how does that force screen work and where is that second missile going?

Maybe the first missile has a green nosecone.

Y'know.. to get through that yellow force barrier.

(Ba-Wha?!?)

Maxo said...

That armor ... that's just ... ohmigod ...

I'm really digging this series, by the way!

Jack Norris said...

I remember my interest and buying pattern for the title flagging & falling off altogether during this era & I can't disagree with anything you say here...
But, like a total hypocrite, when I heard that the 2nd tier cast members were going to be swept aside for a "big guns" team I was all resentful, even though I hadn't voted for them with my cash for ages.
Well, until I found out about Morrison coming onboard, though his JLA run still slightly underwhelmed me after my expectations had been inflated by Doom Patrol and the Invisibles.

Stephen said...

i can't wait till booster see his old armor in his new series it is quite cringe inducing

Jeremy Patrick said...

I was a *huge* fan of this and collected it until the end, even though I pretty much stopped liking it around the General Glory stuff circa # 50.

I'm still confused about that whole thing with Ice being dead, but she has an exact twin or maybe she doesn't, etc.

I will say I like the final story arc that ended the series, though I have no freakin' clue why DC thought light comic characters like Blue Beetle & Booster Gold would sell an X-Men clone like Extreme Justice . . .