Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just Long Annotations: another big Justice League of America post:

Comics were delayed at my local shop a couple of weeks back (they were mistakenly sent by train, apparently) so they had a 15% off sale on back issues. I probably could've rooted around in the boxes for hours, if the kids hadn't been squirrelly as all get out. The Oldest likes to go to the shop, but gets what he needs and then is ready to go. The Youngest was trying to climb a shelf.

I did find an old Justice League of America with Adam Strange, but this makes at least the second time I've picked up a JLA back issue with Adam, only to get part 1 of a story, and to never find the conclusion. And I like Adam Strange, but he's played for a bit of a punk in both of these issues, presumably to triumphantly redeem himself, somehow, in the conclusion.

Then I found Justice League of America #200: a good copy, so it wasn't out of my comfort pricing. I was always a sucker for the double sized issues, and this one would've made it home on the strength of the artists alone, including Gil Kane, George Perez, Joe Kubert, and just to make you miss his interior work, Brian Bolland. Bolland's section, where Batman schools Black Canary and Green Arrow, is, well:
Maybe if Dinah and Ollie hadn't been standing practically on top of each other, that might've gone better...
I don't usually run two pages together, but...
I want to like Ollie, but, sigh...After this showing, I think I see why Batman formed the Outsiders.
Holy hell, Brian Bolland can draw. Somewhere, I have a Judge Dredd reprint with a short Bolland page about why he doesn't draw Dredd anymore; and if he was burned out he at least had a sense of humor about it. Weirdly, I also picked Hellstrom: Prince of Lies #15 out of the quarter box the same day I bought this--I'm a big Ellis fan, and Leonardo Manco should be a bigger name. #15's cover was crap, but the letter's page promised a Bolland cover for the next issue, and it was featured on his entry in Wikipedia. Seems odd that Hellstrom and Lady Blackhawk are featured there rather than, say, Wonder Woman or Batman, but nothing wrong with that.
Two seconds later, the Bat-Dummy probably douses them in tear-gas or something...
I love the Bat-dummy, too; it may be the Sensational Character Find of 1982. Green Arrow tries to play it off like they would've had Bats without the diversion, but I imagine he was long gone, and left the dummy just to mess with them. Whenever Batman doesn't seem to be doing much in a story, figure he's subbed in the dummy, and ditched out to get some real work done.

Aside from that, I was a little disappointed with this issue; if only because I've seen the Appellaxians, done better, at least three other times: I loved JLA: Year One wholeheartedly, the Secret Origins version is funny and charming, and both have the more endearing Black Canary instead of Wonder Woman, who appears in the original Justice League of America #9. (I only have a reprint of that one, of course, probably from a digest.)

Yes, I called Canary more endearing. Tell me Wonder Woman would be more fun to hang out with than Dinah, and I will call you a liar.

Back to the Appelaxians: usually I'd have no problems with the return of a bunch of cranky, warmongering aliens that included a tree guy and a blob-of-mercury guy. It's just that their return in this one is so...dumb. Even for comics. And they have kryptonite meteors and eyebeams because...because...Also, since their whole reason for coming to earth was to fight out who got to rule their homeworld; considering one Appelaxian is diamond and another is fire, the two that got glass and wood either drew the shorter straws, or were handicapped going in.

I have no problem with the original Leaguers hypnotised and fighting the others, though: I'm a Marvel fan, and that's practically mandatory. Hawkman gets the shaft on this one: he's supposed to stop Superman. Alone. Where's Shayera?
'Crap! My favorite mace! The museum makes me pay for those!'
Hmm, I might not want my wife to see this, either, even if Joe Kubert drew it:
Carter never sees the punch coming, and neither do we.
Hawkman takes out a couple Superman robots, before the big man himself knocks "the bird-man" into the stratosphere. Pretty sure a punch that hard would've turned Hawkman into a smear with feathers, except, um, doesn't Nth Metal give him a healing factor or some damn thing now? He didn't have it in the stories then, but OK...anyway, in low earth orbit, he's hit by a zeta-beam, and zapped to Rann.

Yeah, this is just to get Adam Strange a little page time in this issue, but he comes off as a little harsh: referring to the first Rann-Thanagar War (which I'm not sure I even knew about before) Adam beams Hawkman back "somewhere in earth orbit, near your satellite." Near? Ah, close enough. It gives Elongated Man a chance to shine, but there are a lot of questions: Can Hawkman survive in space? Would even a hypnotised Superman potentially kill someone? The very other issue of JLA I bought mentioned there were no more zeta-beams being sent to earth, so why did one hit Hawkman? (That was an older issue, Rann could very well have started again.) I like Adam's costume, but does he have to wear it all the time? (On further thought, yeah, I would too.)
I'm going to give Aquaman the benefit of the doubt, and assume he was unfamiliar with the negative connotations of that phrase.
It keeps coming: why doesn't Firestorm, or Professor Stein at least, recognize the Martian Manhunter? You'd think his picture would be there somewhere, or they'd mention the history of the League during orientation. Wasn't Snapper living in shame after betraying the League, yet he's back this issue like he'd just been out for coffee? The hypnotised Aquaman didn't remember his brutal recent past: losing his wife, son, etc. Wouldn't he be crushed, or super-pissed, when it came back to him?

In the end, the JLA splits into smaller teams, as usual, and kicks the hell out of the Appelaxians pretty quickly, as usual. On the last page, as J'onn J'onzz and Snapper Carr depart again; Green Arrow has a change of heart and rejoins the League. So, there's at least one (semi-)lasting change this issue at least.

From Justice League of America #200, "A League Divided" Written by Gerry Conway, framing sections art by George Perez and Brett Breeding, and Roy Thomas credited as technical advisor. Individual chapters by Jim Aparo, Terry Austin, Brian Bolland, Pat Broderick, Frank Giacoia, Dick Giordano, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, and Joe Kubert.


CaptainAverage said...

YO check it! In that panel with Hawkman, Superman is Krumpin'! Yeah boyeee!

CalvinPitt said...

I don't know if I would wear Adam Strange's entire outfit constantly, but definitely the jet pack.

Although, if we're talking jet packs, I'd probably rather go with the Rocketeer's look. More muted colors, not as big of a bullseye.