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Aalok deciphers DC – Bwa-ha-ha!

21 May





JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL 1

Writers: Keith Giffen & J. M. DeMatteis Artists: Kevin Maguire & Terry Austin Collects: Justice League 1-6, Justice League International 7

They are the World’s Greatest Heroes brought together by a mutual need to protect the Earth….is pure crap.

Let me explain. Brought together in LEGENDS (here), editor Andy Helfer had a team which was definitely not what you’d call the greatest super heroes- He was denied Superman, Wonder Woman as they were under drastic makeovers by Messrs Byrne & Wolfman (here and here) & George Perez . So was Hal Jordan. Dennis O’Neil, group editor on Batman offered Batman out of pity. The other unlikely team members were Guy Gardner, Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Black Canary, Mister Miracle & Oberon, Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), Captain Marvel & later Rocket Red VII & Booster Gold.

Just so that they didn’t have a powerhouse team, they decided to make this a team clubhouse book-you know, a comedy book. And they had the ingredients…Guy, Ted, Billy, Scott, Dinah and even the Creeper (aka Jack Ryder) make humongous humour. Batman is the straight man of the team. It was something new at that time, but it worked.

The first issue deals with a hostage situation where a mysterious stranger, Maxwell Lord inducts Doctor Light into the League. Then we are introduced to a team from another universe consisting of Wandjina, Bluejay & Silver Sorceress who enter Bialya (an anagram of Libya) on a mission to rid the Earth of nuclear weapons. The dictator Rumaan Harjavti tricks them into invading Russia, where Rocket Red VII is
inducted into the team. Doctor Fate is in a fight with a magical being called the Gray man, when the Justice League, with the Creeper are also drawn into the fight. Maxwell Lord now brings Booster Gold in who proves himself fighting the Royal Flush gang. Finally, Max changes the odds of the Justice League receiving UN approval by generating a
threat.

These issues aren’t particularly overflowing with the BWA-HA-HA (a term coined, maybe by Mark Waid to denote laugh out loud humour) moments, but are a good template for the issues that follow. The issues here are pretty inconclusive, the supporting cast two dimensional (in this trade at least). The Gray man is shown to be an agent of the Lords of Order deputed, or rather punished to collect the left over dream essence from the unliving, so that mankind would not make magic with it. The Silver Sorceress, Wandjina & Bluejay are survivors of a destroyed universe, with a mission to rid the Earth of nuclear weapons. These didn’t exactly strike me as very creative, but as far as creative goes, Maxwell Lord takes the cake. In the introduction, Andy mentions that they created Max to echo their own disbelief – like, how did the League get International status? Max did it! Whatever it was, however it was, Max did it. Here he is shown to have mild telepathic powers. People reading DC Comics currently know how well this eventually works out for the League.

The older edition of the trade paperback called JUSTICE LEAGUE: A NEW BEGINNING, is priced at 12.95 US$ & includes an introduction by Andy Helfer, is also the trade I own. I like these old introductions seen in all the old trades, however random, by someone from the original team. I don’t actually know whether the new edition contains an introduction by Andy, or a better one for that matter.

Rating: 8.0 on 10

Contains full covers, 17.95 US$

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