Thursday, September 22, 2011

80-page Thursdays: Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011!

During the Comic Book Shop's 23rd anniversary sale, I picked up a nice pile of 80-pagers on the cheap, so we'll take this next month or so to look one every Thursday. Today: Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011, wherein the JLA go to hell. It's a bit of an odd-duck lineup, but it's not just them, either: guest-stars Plastic Man, Lobo, Ragman, Bulleteer, Oracle, Fire, the Demon, and more make the trip as well.

Split into groups of two, our heroes are stuck in various rings corresponding to the nine circles of hell in Dante's Inferno. For example, Wonder Woman and Supergirl get stuck in the second circle, Lust. Not for each other, although that doubtless would've improved sales...for Batman. A demon offers them the chance to burn for eternity with Bruce for Diana and Dick for Kara; rather unsurprisingly, they don't fall for it. (Diana knew Bruce would never smile, while Kara knew Dick was acting "icky.")

Batman and Plastic Man are accused of being frauds. Hawkman and the Demon punch it up for a while in the circle of violence. Green Arrow and Ragman do likewise for anger. A somewhat more interesting pairing is Booster Gold and Oracle for gluttony: Oracle's for knowledge, Booster's for being needed. Donna Troy and Bulleteer are up for heresy; and while I'm glad to see Bulleteer, her admission that hell might be all right if her dead husband ended up there was a little much.
The Phantom Stranger?  Geez, aim high, Booster.
Each pair of heroes finds a piece of the magical macguffin, the Hell Mask. Put the whole thing together, and you can control anyone or anything...even capital-G God. Lord Satanus put the whole thing together to get the Mask and try to retake Hell; although the how on that isn't really explained, or why this particular batch of heroes was picked, since I don't suppose they were all in one place at one time. I did like the trick that foils Satanus, but there is a heroic sacrifice here that's reversed the very same page by the sudden arrival of another hero that hadn't been seen all issue. Similarly, Power Girl can be seen a couple times in crowd shots, even though she's not in this one!


Dale Bagwell said...

Seems like an interesting issue Goo. I've read reviews on this one, and they were not flattering to say the least, but after reading your brief review, I'd be inclined to give it a shot.

The Booster/Oracle pairing was neat and nice to hear Booster's admission about wanting to be needed more than being famous, although I suspect they still both go hand in hand for him.

The whole Batman/Diana thing must have been an attempt by the writer to shoe-horn the potential love match plot seen in JLU. Just dumb here.

I also got a kick out of reading the Ragman/GA panel. That actually looks good. Hey Rags' got a point w/ that old age crack.

All-in-all you've made a better case for buying these 80-pagers than DC did at the time, so pat yourself on the back, and thanks for bringing these possibly/probably forgotten gems to our attention.

googum said...

The problem I wrestle with, is that a lot of the comics and figures I pick up are marked down, clearance, used, second-hand, whatever. If I had paid cover-price on this (or most of these 80-pagers) I might be more harsh; but for pennies on the dollar, not as much. On the other hand, even if I was paid to read something like Bendis's Avengers, I think I'd still hate it.

In that vein, did you get any of the last DCUC Wal-Mart wave? Alan Scott GL, Kamandi, Zatanna, Hourman...a local one has them on clearance, and I'm holding out for deep clearance, since Gold's sold out and I couldn't build the Ultra-Humanite anyway. Unless I give him two right feet or something...hmm.

Dale Bagwell said...

I did buy Alan Scott and Hourman. Zatanna's sold out, as are the others except for one Kamandi, but I don't care enough for him to get him, even though his figure's has the next important piece besides the head for Ultra-Humanite. Still, I wasn't planning on buying the entire wave just to make him, thus why I have numerous uncompleted C&C's. I cherry pick what I like; you have to the way they cost nowadays.

After hopefully getting the CSA 5-pack for Christmas, I'm officially retiring from action figure collecting, since it's so damn expensive.