Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Justice League America #31
Oct. '89
The Teasdale Imperative Part One
"Crossed Wires!"
Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Joe Rubinstein, Albert De Guzman, Gene D'Angelo, Kevin Dooley and Andy Helfer (as the Beaver) proudly welcome new penciller Adam Hughes aboard the J.L.A. Express!

Justice League Europe #7
Oct. '89
The Teasdale Imperative Part Two
"Teasdale Unbound!"
Part two of the first JLA/JLE crossover courtesy of:
Keith Giffen: mastermind
J.M. DeMatteis: wordsmith
Bart Sears: visual vizier
Pablo Marcos: embellisher
Bob Lappan: lettermonger
Gene D'Angelo: colorizer
Kevin Dooley: boyish enthusiast
Andrew Helfer: grouch

And so begins--and concludes the first half of--the first JLA/JLE crossover, a.k.a. "The Teasdale Imperative," so named due to the mysterious machinations of one Irwin Teasdale. But, before that's revealed in Part Two, an awful lot of ground is covered in Part One, which also brings penciller Adam Hughes into the fold, and a welcome addition he is. His pencils are the best fit for the style set by Maguire that we've seen since Maguire's departure.

In addition to unveiling Fire and Ice's new duds, this issue finds the JLA's shuttle getting a refit ...

... Dr. Fate re-joining the League--or rather joining for the first time as a woman ...

... Maxwell Lord going on Geraldo ...

... and Guy taking the time to write a response in the letters page regarding his behavior in issue 28:

"I ain't pretentious. Ice just made the wrong assumption. Is that my fault? That was my ideal date and one day I'll find a girl who likes the same thing--a match made in ... wherever. Black Hand is a bad guy; bad guys get stomped by good guys; I'm a good guy, like it or not. Remember, scum stays on top of the water. You gotta handle your boss like I handle Max Lord. Walk right into his office and demand what you deserve. Only be careful ... you might get it."

All that, plus the JLA flies off to a small village in Eastern Europe to join up with the JLE in a battle against--wait for it--vampires!

Yes indeed, the populations of one small village after another have been falling prey to some weird vampire-plague that makes them bite the uninfected and seek shelter from the sun. And, as semi-spoiled above, it all seems to be the doing of Irwin Teasdale, who holds some grudge against Simon Stagg (of Metamorpho's supporting cast--see JLE #5 if you need a refresher).

But wait! Could it be that Teasdale is actually just a pawn of--the Gray Man?! His hairdo's gotten weirder since last we saw him, but he's still up to no good, that's for sure.

JLE's letters pages also give us that book's cover credits: "pencilled by Bart Sears, inked by Joe Rubinstein, and colored by Bob Le Rose, with inspirational thanks to Joe Kubert."

In case my enthusiasm hasn't been clear to this point, let me simply say, this crossover is radtastic. Be here next week to see how it all wraps up. Yo-ho!

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, #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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Justice League America #30
Sep. '89
"Teenage Biker Mega-Death"
Keith Giffen - plot
J.M. DeMatteis - script
Bill Willingham - pencils
Joe Rubinstein - inks
Bob Lappan - letters
Gene D'Angelo - colors
Kevin Dooley - asst. ed.
Andy Helfer - ?

Justice League Europe #6
Sep. '89
"No More Teachers' Dirty Looks...?!"
Once again Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Bart Sears, Pablo Marcos, Bob Lappan, Gene D'Angelo, Kevin Dooley and Andy Helfer (as "Uncle Charely" [sic]) present a tale of profound psychological insight, philosophical depth and extraordinary inanity!

Well, it's all downhill from here, dear readers. At long, long last, we've hit the halfway point. Huzzah!

First up, in JLA, the Huntress joins Fire, Mr. Miracle and Big Barda in combating the nameless punk--a member of the street gang "Slash Grinders"--who misappropriated Barda's Megarod in the last issue. And, well, that's pretty much the story. The rod itself eats away at the punk and finally blows his head off, but not until after 18 pages of fighting. Finally, at the end, Maxwell Lord Jedi-mind-tricks Huntress into joining the League.

As the letters' page reveals, "[Huntress] is officially in part-time." (The good ol' "Justice Log" also offers up these cover credits: "Kevin Maguire-pencils, Joe Rubinstein-inks, Bob Le Rose-colors.") The issue is penciled by a young Bill Willingham, whose work is hit or miss, but when he's on, he's on, and I wouldn't mind if he had to fill in again somewhere down the line.

In JLE, Captain Atom has enrolled his team (save Ralph, who already speaks the native tongue) in a French class. To celebrate the occasion, Power Girl decides to look like Mick Jagger--or is that Madonna?

As luck would have it, the Injustice League--last seen in JLI #23 and since relocated to Paris--has enrolled in the very same class. One can imagine how this all wraps up.

All told, it's a great romp in keeping with JLI's humorous spirit. It seems my early fears that this title would take itself too seriously were unfounded, and thank goodness for that; otherwise, the next 30 weeks could be a bumpy ride, indeed. Check you brakes for the downhill slope, and be here next week for:

Advertisers, take note: More Airwolf, please!

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, #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

Airwolf panel (from an Acclaim ad) copyright Universal Studios, Inc., Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. and Nintendo of America, Inc. All other images this post copyright DC Comics. Original text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BAG IT AND BOARD IT: Turtle Power!

Jon D. W. throws down a good bit of his hard-earned cash on comics. Here, he spills the beans on whether or not it was worth it. But to paraphrase LeVar Burton, don't just take his word for it--you should read comics, too.

Book Twelve: lettering, Steve Lavigne; everything else, Peter Laird
Book Thirteen: "The People's Choice"; art and story by Michael Dooney; letters by Lavigne
Book Fourteen: "The Unmentionables," by Eastman, Talbot & Lavigne

After loving every page of the TMNT's Collected Book Volume One, I decided to throw still more affection in the direction of Mirage Licensing and pick up the next four books in the series. For anyone who loves the Turtles, it's a good play that I'd highly recommend. That said, however, not everything collected across volumes 2-5 is gold. The stories in Book Two are more or less throwaways, although in a way that makes each reminiscent of the Fred Wolf cartoon, where no one episode has much bearing on any other. Michael Dooney's art in the #13 is an absolute delight, but #14 is the real standout of this batch--even if the plot does hinge on a completely absurd MacGuffin. 

Book Fifteen: "Dome Doom"; story and pencils by Laird; inks by Lawson; letters by Lavigne; t-shirt designs by Ryan Brown; thanks to Mike Dooney for his figure assistance
Book Seventeen: "Distractions"; story, Eric Talbot & Kevin Eastman; art, Eric Talbot; scripting, Kevin Eastman & Eric Talbot; letters, Steve Lavigne
Book Eighteen: "The Shell of the Dragon," by Kevin Eastman and Mark Bode

Book Three is yet more filler before the series takes a serious turn with the next volume, but once again I maintain it's all good fun. #15 finds the Turtles teaming with the Justice Force first to defend a comics shop and ultimately to appeal to the heart that still beats within the seemingly evil Dr. Dome. #17 is more or less an extended dream sequence, but Eric Talbot's art makes it well worth the read, and even if it has no "real-world" (for the Turtles) repercussions, it's an exciting story nevertheless. The black sheep of this bunch is undoubtedly #18, which inexplicably finds all four Turtles back in the "Old Country," where they take on the local underground in order to defend the best takeout in town. 

Book Nineteen: "Return to New York"; story, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; layouts, Kevin Eastman; pencils, Jim Lawson; inks, Peter Laird; letters, Steve Lavigne
Book Twenty: "Return to New York"; story, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; layouts, Peter Laird; pencils, Jim Lawson; inks, Eric Talbot; letters, Steve Lavigne
Book Twenty-One: "Return to New York"; story, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; layouts, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; pencils, Jim Lawson; inks, Kevin Eastman; letters, Steve Lavigne

This was the book I was really looking forward to. It takes the Turtles back off the farm in Massachusetts and puts them back in the NYC sewers, where of course they clash with the Foot and the resurrected Shredder (already revealed back in Collected Book Volume One). Hell, it's such a part of Turtle canon, this story even made its way into the 4Kids animated series. With expectations so high, could I possibly be satisfied? Well, mostly I was. The first part is great, with Leo and Raph duking it out over whether or not they should all go back, but once in NYC, the story gets more than a little muddled, with the reintroduction of a Triceraton (again, see the first Collected Book), the presence of three bizarrely mutated Shredder clones, and the presupposition that the Foot Clan could somehow have erected a false front over an entire city block and nobody was the wiser. All the same, the final showdown between Leo and the Shredder is pretty fantastic.

Book Sixteen: "A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Story" by Mark Martin
Book Twenty-Two: "Do Not Adjust Your Comic Book We Are Experiencing Technical Problems The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Will Return"* by Mark Martin
Book Twenty-Three: "Totally Hacked"* by Mark Martin
Perhaps that last bit sounded too harsh. I did indeed enjoy the "Return to New York" storyline, and was eager for more half-shell hijinks in a similar vein. Unfortunately for my own expectations, Book Five collects three issues of TMNT that were handed over in toto to Mark Martin. Don't get me wrong: The creator of Gnatrat--who is arguably the main character of issue 23--draws a terrific Turtle, and his trippy tale of time travel is a good fun romp, just not what I was itching for after the high-stakes storyline of Book Four. At the end of the day, I'd have to say this book is for completists only--which, alas, I am definitely becoming.

*I think in fact #s 22 and 23 are untitled, but what I've got here in quotes looks like it could be the titles, and since this is my blog, I decided to roll with it.

Michael Dooney

While visiting the Mirage website--which features a very handy checkout process--I discovered this hardcover collection of Turtles stories in minicomics form by the terrific Dooney. Split into six chapters--"Origin," "Splinter," "Raphael," "Michaelangelo," "Leonardo" and "Donatello"--the book as a whole offers a precis on who these characters are, exploring the traits that make them different from one another, but also the common characteristics and shared experiences that keep them all together as friends and family. The brief stories certainly have no direct impact on the overarching Turtles narrative, but they provide a great read all the same, cutting to the core of who the Turtles are, and it's sure to bring a smile to any fan's face.

All images this post copyright Mirage Licensing. Text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Justice League America #29
Aug. '89
"Nabu on in my Mind"
Together again, for the last time: that lovable gang of freelance fools--
Keith Giffen (plot & layouts)
J.M. DeMatteis (script)
Ty Templeton (penciller)
Joe Rubinstein (inker)
Albert De Guzman (letterer)
Gene D'Angelo (colorist)
Kevin Dooley, our hero
Andy Helfer, our flounder

Justice League Europe #5
Aug. '89
"Stagg Party!"
Another relatively witty, fairly exciting international romp, courtesy of:
Keith Giffen, plot
J.M. DeMatteis, script
Bart Sears, pencils
Joe Rubinstein, inks
Bob Lappan, letters
Gene D'Angelo, colors
Kevin Dooley, asst. edits
and Andy Helfer as the Beaver...

Dear readers, August 1989 was a very good month for the JLI. Firstly, there was Kevin Maguire's phenomenal cover to JLA #29, which takes the cake as my favorite cover yet from this whole "60 Weeks" experiment. And then, the story--in which Templeton's pencils truly shone--had the great sense to take Kent Nelson, formerly Dr. Fate, inside Blue Beetle's mind to clean house after the Queen Bee's tampering.

Meanwhile, in JLE, Sears' pencils were getting better by the month, hitting straight-up radtastic proportions in issue #5. As if to prove how awesome his skills were, the penciller finally cut Captain Atom's mullet.

Inside the book, the creators offered up a good, fun romp focused on Metamorpho, with appearances from his pre-amnesia supporting cast: Simon Stagg, Java, and Metamorpho's wife (or former wife, apparently, since she thought her hubby was dead and so remarried to Java), Sapphire. The whole thing makes Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred's Metamorpho story in Wednesday Comics make a helluva lot more sense.

Also worthy of note, the letterers apparently swapped books that month, and according to the in-book credits (not the cover credits), Rubinstein handled inking duties on both titles. (Maybe that's why I liked Sears' pencils so much.) Oh, and JLA's letters page offers this insight regarding art credits for the past handful of issues:

COVER CREDITS: We're getting queries about who did the cover to issue #27, and hence here we'll give cover credits. Issue #25, 26, and 28 were done by Kevin Maguire and Josef Rubinstein; #27 was painstakingly done by Kevin using pointillism: doing every one of those little dots by hand, hour-after-hour, day-in, day-out. Kevin also pencilled and inked this issue's cover, putting in all those women by hand, hour-after-hour, day-in ... (ahem). Which was more fun, Kev?

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, #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.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Justice League America #28
July '89
"A Date with Density!"
Giffen: plot
Templeton: pencils 1-3, 22
McKone: pencils 4-21
Rubinstein: inks
De Guzman: letters
D'Angelo: envelopes
Dooley: asst. ed.
Helfer: Mr. Ed.

Justice League Europe #4
July '89
"Bialya Burning!"
Keith Giffen, plot and breakdowns
J.M. DeMatteis, woids
Bart Sears, pencils
Pablo Marcos, inks
Albert De Guzman, letters
Gene D'Angelo, colors
Kevin Dooley, has just about had it with--
Andy Helfer, editor

This week's award for most entertaining read goes to JLE, which among other things gives us this great panel showcasing Wally West's chauvinism:

The issue also finds Flash, Power Girl, Animal Man and Metamorpho infiltrating the Queen Bee's operation in Bialya, where they discover the Queen's in cahoots with a Dominator left over from Invasion! (That story does have a way of continually creeping into these pages.) The book takes a dark turn near its end, though, when the Leaguers strike a deal with the Queen and then skip the country. it seems her end of the deal included severing relations with both the Global Guardians and the Dominator (referred to simply--albeit ominously--as "Doctor"), and she keeps her end by seeing that both are killed. That's what I call dirty business, and even if it's not what the League intended, aren't they at least partly culpable?

Meanwhile, JLA would be pretty great if not for Mike McKone's pencils through most of the book. For one thing, the transition between Templeton's work and his is frighteningly jolting, and McKone really managed to draw some of the gnarliest women I've ever seen in a comic book.

On a brighter note, though, the story focuses on Guy's failed attempt to get inside Ice's pants by taking her to see a skin flick. It's pretty entertaining stuff, and what there is to the plot thickens when it's revealed that the porno theater is owned by none other than the Black Hand. No doubt the foundation for this whole Blackest Night fiasco was set right here.

As usual, blame Guy Gardner.

Also, hell yes:

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, #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

Airwolf ad copyright Universal City Studios, Inc.; Acclaim Entertainment, Inc.; and Nintendo of America Inc. All other images this post copyright DC Comics. Original text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Justice League America #27
June '89
Keith Giffen: plot & breakdowns
J.M. DeMatteis: script
Ty Templeton: pencils
Rubinstein/Giordano: inks
Bob Lappan: letters
Gene D'Angelo: colors
Kevin Dooley: asst. editor
Andy Helfer: in need of deprogramming

Justice League Europe #3
June '89
"Another Fine Mess!"
Keith Giffen: plot
J.M. DeMatteis: script
Bart Sears: pencils
Pablo Marcos: inks
Albert De Guzman: letters
Gene D'Angelo: colorist
Kevin Dooley: asst. editor
Andy Helfer: editor

The Queen Bee's schemes--which were most visibly set in motion back in JLI #16--start coming to fruition in both titles this week, and so far, those schemes have a lot to do with mind control. First, in JLA, Maxwell Lord brings in the Suicide Squad's Amanda Waller to try and deprogram Blue Beetle after his violent rampage last ish.

Then, in JLE, Power Girl, Flash and Elongated Man decide to investigate the Global Guardians' Dome HQ, which has been made a landmark open to public tours. (It should be mentioned that the Leaguers pursue this course of action because the weirdoes they fought last issue turned out to have been former Guardians themselves. Who knew? Obviously not me, so I was happy to have it spelled out in this issue.) Once there, the crowd gets mind-wiped and attacks, much like the mob scene back in JLE's first issue.

Honestly, this week was somewhat of a downer. JLA felt a bit like treading water, and JLE seems to be floundering with its tone, unsure of the balance to strike between humor and sobriety. JLA's cover is mighty fine, though, in its homage to The Exorcist, but JLE's seems bizarrely modeled after Uncanny X-Men #141. Anyhow, next week brings two more issues, and I've gotta trust that as this Queen Bee/Bialya storyline plays out, the clouds will part and some fresh zaniness will ensue.

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, #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.