Justice League America #26
“Slice and Dice! Or, ‘There’s Something Very Wrong With the Blue Beetle!’”
Keith Giffen: plot & breakdowns
J.M. DeMatteis: script
Ty Templeton: pencils
Joe Rubinstein: inks
Bob Lappan: letters
Gene D’Angelo: envelopes
Kevin Dooley: stamps
An’ the Man Helfer: editor
Justice League Europe #2
“Somebody Up There Hates Us!”
Keith Giffen: plot
J.M. DeMatteis: script
Bart Sears: pencils
Pablo Marcos: inks
Robert Lappan: letters
Gene D’Angelo: colors
Kevin Dooley: asst. editor
Andy Helfer: in need of therapy
Issue 26 marks the third title change for the League’s flagship book as it adopts the moniker Justice League America, suggesting that both the JLA and JLE teams are part of the overarching JLI organization. No mention of the switch is made inside, though, as the story instead focuses on Blue Beetle.
Answering the phone while pulling monitor duty, Beetle is brainwashed and proceeds to chase Maxwell Lord with a large kitchen knife. The hunt spills onto the street and finally into an alley, where Beetle is shut down by the Huntress, who in turn is shut down by Batman, since he’s late joining the fun and missed the whole part where Beetle went nuts. The book ends with questions lingering, but my money’s on everything tying back to Queen Bee and the remnants of the Global Guardians.
Speaking of the Global Guardians--namely the now-crazed Jack O’ Lantern--they and the Queen Bee are revealed to be pulling the strings over in JLE, making it appear the League is linked to Nazis. It’s a weird way to discredit the heroes, but it makes for an entertaining issue as the Leaguers partner up to investigate three different Nazi groups with links to meta-human activity. Each mini-team is intercepted, though, by a different super-powered whacko (all, interestingly, first introduced in DC's Super Friends comic in the late '70s) convinced the Leaguers really are Nazis: Captain Atom and Animal Man face the Wild Huntsman; Power Girl and Rocket Red battle the Rising Sun; and Metamorpho, Elongated Man and Flash fight Tuatara.
Now, I don’t want to sound like a complete pushover after last week’s skepticism regarding this JLE book, but I must confess, I really enjoyed issue #2. And even if Rocket Red and Power Girl do share a serious moment touching on the horrific legacy of Nazism, the book by and large keeps its tongue in its cheek, and consistently to good effect. Interestingly, on the art side, Giffen’s not credited with JLE’s breakdowns, but I’d say the layouts here look truer to JLI than did the last issue’s. Also, I think the Sears/Marcos dynamic is growing on me, especially when it comes to the fun they have with Metamorpho and Elongated Man.
Meanwhile, in news from JLA’s “Justice Log” letters page, a bit of backstory is revealed on the members of issue 23’s Injustice League. Writes Dooley, “Cluemaster was an old Bat villain; Big Sir was from Flash’s Rogues Gallery; Clock King was an old Green Arrow baddie; Major Disaster was a Green Lantern foe; and Multi-Man battled the Challengers of the Unknown.” Additionally, Dooley explains Mike McKone’s pencils on issue 24: “He’s our ace-in-the-hole fill-in artist (with another great issue in #28) to give Ty time to work on his own stuff (news of which will be forthcoming).”
The complete 60 Weeks with the Justice League on The Danger Digest:
#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25/1, #27/3, #28/4, #29/5, #30/6, #31/7, #32/8, #33/9, #34/10, #35/11, #36/12, #37/13, #38/14, #39/15, #40/16, #41/17, #42/18, #43/19, #44/20, #45/21, #46/22, #47/23, #48/24, #49/25, #50/26, #51/27, #52/28, #53/29, #54/30, #55/31, #56/32, #57/33, #58/34, #59/35, #60/36
All images this post copyright DC Comics. Original text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.