Thursday, July 05, 2012

80-Page Thursday: JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant #1!

GL vs. boy scouts.
In recent years, DC's 80-pagers have moved away from simple numbering, to going by year. I'm curious if there's any particular reason for that: were sales declining because of numbering? Is there a bump in sales for Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011 that you wouldn't get if it was #4? And that doesn't explain the title of today's book, anyway. From 2000, JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant #1, featuring stories by Dwayne McDuffie, Len Kaminski, Terrance Griep Jr, and more; with art by Ariel Olivetti, Bachan, Val Semeiks, Gordon Purcell, and more.

What makes this a "Showcase" rather than a regular 80-Page Giant? Um, team-ups? That and "The Century War" came out the same year, so it's just squeezing in another issue. While there are more than a few known names, there's also a fair amount of new talent trying out here.

In "Progress," Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern (Kyle) face the Hand of Krona, an alien cult that improves worlds, sometimes by force. Kyle was no longer the green rookie here; he'd been around long enough to recognize Krona's name: "Wasn't he the guy that almost blew up the universe?" The cultists are of the opinion that sometimes science involves breaking a few eggs, and there's no stopping progress; but they'd consider leaving earth alone if Kyle agrees to join them. (Interestingly, they don't want him for his ring: having the last GL on board would be a PR get.)

The JLA faces a crisis they weren't prepared for in "The Dogs of War." With the core team deployed, the only Leaguer available for monitor duty is...Plastic Man.

Although thought of as irresponsible by most of the team, Plas steps up as a one-man Justice League to stop an alien invasion. An alien invasion by relatively harmless dog aliens intent on improving their street cred, but still.
Batman scares a werewolf to death.  Pretty much.
Investigating the ruins of Eclipso's temple on the moon, Superman and Kyle find a "Space Wolf." I liked this one, but that may also be from fond memories of the werewolf-on-the-moon storyline from Scud the Disposable Assassin. Then, in "Communications Error," Steel and Aquaman don't have much in common, but come together when the Watchtower is threatened by the "Oblivion Meme."

In a satellite-era tale, Barry and Dinah face a troublesome fairy named Liverstains. Which sounds like fun, except he was promised a baby to eat. Or the Flash, either or. It's amusingly weird, more so than the next one, "The Flashback of Notre Dame," where Captain Atom takes a day off with his fiance in Paris, and runs into a mess of gargoyles. The issue ends with "Toy Story," as two boys have to outsmart a bully to get their action figures back. (Would a toy manufacturer in the DCU sell figures of Doomsday and the Joker? They are multiple-murderers...)

So, Showcase isn't as strong as the prior three JLA 80-Pagers, but not without its merits either.

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