Wednesday, June 16, 2010
60 WEEKS WITH THE JUSTICE LEAGUE: Week 42
It's the album of the decade brought to you by those lovable mop-tops:
Keith Giffen, acoustic & electric guitars
J.M. DeMatteis, lead vocals
Mike McKone, bass
José Marzan, Jr., piano
Gene D'Angelo, percussion
Bob Lappan, drums
Management: Kevin Dooley
Produced by Andrew Helfer
"The Extremist Vector Part Four: The Happy Place"
Keith Giffen, plot/breakdowns
Gerard Jones, script
Bart Sears, pencils
Randy Elliott, inks
Bob Lappan, letters
Gene D'Angelo, colors
Kevin Dooley, wacky
Andy Helfer, wicky
I've been looking forward to this week with both excitement and trepidation since beginning this whole "60 Weeks" experiment. Indeed, for me, JLA #42 is where it all began. Back in 1990, I'd only recently gotten into reading comics, but it didn't take long to hear about the Justice League of America, the premier assemblage of the World's Greatest Heroes. Superman! Batman! The Flash! Other characters whom I was still getting to know! I explained the premise to my folks and how this must surely be the greatest comic book ever put to press, and, if I recall correctly, my dad soon thereafter brought this and issue 43 home for me after stopping by Cleveland's Super City Comics on his lunch break. Admittedly, it wasn't exactly what I'd anticipated--who were these strange characters on the cover? (Hell, I asked myself the same thing before reading it now, in 2010.) At least this Blue Beetle guy looked pretty cool.
Now though, with 20 years having passed and having finally read the previous 40 issues, I must say this issue is fantastic through and through. Hands down one of my favorites of the series. Even McKone's art seems to have taken a quantum leap forward into greatness since just the previous issue, where I was still dogging it; his characters here show tremendous acting chops, and his layouts are all first rate. He still might not be an Adam Hughes or a Kevin Maguire, but he clearly stands on his own and knocks this membership-drive story right outta the park. And speaking of the story, let's finally get to it.
Recognizing the need for more muscle on the team, Max sends Blue Beetle and Fire out to recruit El Diablo, Guy Gardner to recruit Starman, and Ice and Huntress to recruit Hawk and Dove. Each bit, more or less, turns out like this:
Complicating matters further, J'onn feels the need to take some time away to clear his own head after the Despero debacle. His absence should have been mitigated when the real Scott Free returns to Earth after completing his indentured servitude to Manga Khan--it turns out that kooky Mr. Miracle that was blown up and then buried last issue was one of Manga's robot duplicates--but instead he decides to let the world continue thinking he's dead while he takes some time off to barbecue with Barda. All's not completely hopeless, though: First, Max trades the test-tube remnants of Despero to Manga Khan for Manga's erstwhile robo-servant L-Ron; then, on the last page, New Gods Orion and Lightray arrive at the embassy, ready for action.
JLE's also a fine piece of work this time out, and definitely the most entertaining chapter yet of "The Extremist Vector" storyline. Trapped in Silver Sorceress' nuked-out dimension, the Leaguers are summoned to Wacky World, a pristine amusement park populated by lifelike robots who, in turn, demonstrate a religious devotion to the park's "visionary" (apparently a sort of cross between Walt Disney and L. Ron Hubbard) and his living servant/prophet/freakazoid, Carny. Carny, in turn, has been holding Silver Sorceress captive, and now he's bent on keeping the JLE imprisoned in his house of horrors. Zaniness ensues, and when said zaniness goes against Carny's plans, the big boy throws a fit and blows up Wacky World. The League, protected by Metamorpho, appears to be safe; the Sorceress' fate is less clear; and the last page reveals a mysterious figure waking from some techno-slumber contraption. Perhaps it's the visionary himself?
"Justice Log" alerts us to these cover credits for JLA: "Adam Hughes, pencils/inks; Bob Le Rose, colors." No letters page this month in JLE--instead, there's an ad for Justice League Quarterly, which I won't be covering during this initial 60 Weeks project, but I do hope to come back around for sometime next year--but how about that cover, referencing JLI #11?
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, #26/2, #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, #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.