Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Justice League America #55
Oct. '91
Breakdowns Part 5
"Bialya Blues"
"Breakdowns" continues, courtesy of Giffen, DeMatteis, Wozniak, Patterson, Lappan, D'Angelo, Dooley & Helfer. (Okay, we admit it--we couldn't think of any funny credits this month. Readers who subscribe only for the funny credits should contact our subscription department for an adjustment. They can use a laugh.)

Justice League Europe #31
Oct. '91
Breakdowns Part 6
"Things Fall Apart"

... And just like that, "Breakdowns" seems to break down. Story-wise, JLA is a fine piece of work, although it feels curiously like it ought to be the last chapter in this crossover. Sumaan Harjavti plays his hand, exposing the Queen Bee's mind-control infrastructure and snapping the Global Guardians out of their collective, brainwashed stupor. (Oh, and it turns out that all this time, the dude wearing Jack O' Lantern's duds wasn't the real Jack. Convenient, or just confusing?) Then, when the Queen tries to flee the country, Harjavti kills her, and by issue's end is being hailed as Bialya's new leader. Meanwhile, Camus exposes Heimlich (who this issue is named Rolf, although two issues ago he was Kurt, but I digress), sending the U.N. into yet another emergency session. Too bad the art makes all of this as hard to decipher as possible; these pages look like the worst that Marvel comics had to offer back in the early '90s, with some downright awful layouts that do their best to confound rather than guide the reader's eyes.

There are also a few lettering mistakes from Lappan that really pained me to see. While I'm still not sold on Schubert's work for the League, this issue of JLE features his best lettering yet, and furthermore, Robertson and Beatty's art is (for the most part) outstanding through all 22 pages. Even when Robertson decides to get creative with his layouts, they're still a pleasure to behold and easy for the eyes to follow.

Unfortunately, JLE fails miserably in the story department. As if it weren't enough that we're in the sixth chapter of a 16-part League crossover event, the plot here also ties into the DC-wide "War of the Gods" storyline, resulting in roughly half the book being wasted on a portion of the team fighting Thor, Baldur and Loki (but not the Thor, Balder and Loki you're thinking of). Perhaps most egregious, as a result of the "Armageddon 2001" storyline that ran through all of DC's annuals in '91, Captain Atom is now (apparently) dead, but all we get to signify the passing of this book's team leader is a cursory reference.

Ultimately, only a few pages actually advance the overall "Breakdowns" storyline: First, Despero (predictably) escapes after battling Khunds in the depths of space, and now (predictably) he wants revenge (again) on the League; and the U.N. revokes the JLI's charter, leaving uncertain the fate of the JLA and immediately disbanding the JLE. Somehow I doubt next week's installment here at the D.D. will be much cheerier...

In other League news, L-Ron here officially takes over duties on both books' letters pages, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Most interestingly, "Justice Log" had to be printed following page 6 of the story proper in order to accommodate two painful double-page spreads. (At the opposite end of the interesting scale, L-Ron lets slip that Green Lantern #18 will be a "Breakdowns" crossover. Yeesh.) "Justice Log" and "Europinion" also accidentally run the wrong cover credits--blame it on the robot--so here I'll put things in their proper order. For JLA, it's "Sprouse by Chris pencils, Patterson by Bruce inks, Le Rose by Bob colors ... Oops, circuits got a little crazy there." And for JLE, it's "pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by John Beatty, colors by Bob Le Rose." Finally, in a sign of the awful things awaiting the League following JLA #60, the letters pages include this ballot:

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, #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, #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.


  1. Nice work 5 weeks left with the League...I can't wait to see what sort of adventures you tackle next!

  2. Thanks as always, NH. The future's gonna be even crazier...