Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Justice League America #35
Feb. '90
Keith Giffen: plot
J.M. DeMatteis: dialogue
Adam Hughes: pencils
Art Nichols/Jose Marzon + Joe Rubinstein - inkers, each and every one of 'em
Bob Lappan, Gene D'Angelo, Kevin Dooley and Andy Helfer, all doin' that voodoo that they do so well!

Justice League Europe #11
Feb. '90
"Family Ties"
Plot: Giffen
Script: Loebs
Pencils and inks: Sears
Letters: Lappan
Color: D'Angelo
Ed. asst: Dooley
Andy: Helfer

In a turn of events I never would have anticipated, Major Disaster--with an assist from Aquaman and some of his "finny friends"--winds up the hero in JLA when he causes an undersea volcano to erupt beneath the wandering island of Kooey Kooey Kooey, thus anchoring the island. (This is comic-book science; it's best just to roll with it.) Unfortunately for the Major, his reward is paid in Kooey Kooey Kooey kurrency--and good luck spending that anywhere.

Aquaman also turns up with some sharks to rescue Max, Oberon, Ice and Huntress, who were each in a teleporter when the island started moving last issue; the teleporters were shaken loose, and this foursome was subsequently stranded at sea, where they spent the better part of this issue. By the time Aquaman arrives, Ice is in particularly bad shape, and Guy--in a rare moment of selflessness that belies the seeds of something special between these two--rushes her to a hospital. (As a fun fact for anyone keeping track at home, Oberon reveals while stranded that he's 59 years young at this point.)

As noted in the credits, there are three inkers on the book, which unsurprisingly leads to a few inconsistencies, most notably a changing pattern on Mr. Miracle's sweater. Nevertheless, each inker handles the material well, giving all due service to Hughes' pencils, which continue to wow. I didn't think anybody could replace Maguire on this title, but Hughes is undeniably his equal. Even his layouts are top-notch, and when he decides to shake up the grid, he consistently does so in service of the story.

Guy also guest-stars in JLE, where he offers to protect his own personal hero, Simon Stagg, from Metamorpho, who's made up his mind to go after his son. Rocket Red and Animal Man (sans costumes, no doubt to keep a low profile--too bad they're with the Element Man) tag along to make sure things go as smoothly as possible, but the book takes a dark turn when it's revealed that Metamorpho's son is the subject of Stagg's experiments and the source of Stagg's new fuel substitute.

After a brawl that leaves Guy a bloody pulp, the issue ends on a cliffhanger with the Metal Men--whose boss and creator, Doctor Will Magnus, is in cahoots with Stagg--promising to end Metamorpho's rampage. Perhaps even more significantly, this issue actually checks in on Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay, who have been locked up in Russia's People's Center for Meta-Human Studies. I suspect we'll see more of them soon.

JLA's "Justice Log" offers that title's cover credits: "DIS ISSUE'S COVER: Adam Hughes, pencils/inks; Bob Le Rose, colors." No credits in JLE, whose letters page was erroneously also titled "Justice Log" this month. All the same, the cover itself clearly shows the mark of "Maguire & Sears" on pencils and inks, respectively.

Last but not least, can anyone out there offer up some statistics on how many thefts were actually prevented thanks to The Official Batman Secret Code Bike Alarm and Sonic Weapons Center? Inquiring minds, and all that. I've no doubt the "buzz bomb" sent criminals of all stripes running for cover.

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, #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

Secret Code Bike Alarm ad copyright HBC and DC Comics, Inc. All other images this post copyright DC Comics. Original text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Justice League America #34
Jan. '90
"Club JLI"
Yes, they're at it again ... Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Adam Hughes, Art Nichols, Bob Lappan, Gene D'Angelo, Kevin Dooley and that fun-lovin' kid from Brooklyn, Andy Helfer, have once more joined forces to hurdle the boundaries of good taste and bad jokes!

Justice League Europe #10
Jan. '90
"After the Fox!"
Another Giffen/Loebs/Sears/Marcos/Lappan/D'Angelo/Dooley/Helfer piece o' work!

The fun train keeps on rolling right into the 1990s, and what better way to welcome the new decade than with a relaxing jaunt to Club JLI? Advertised (mostly falsely) as being "fully sanctioned by Maxwell Lord" and "a wholly owned subsidiary of the Blue and Gold Entertainment Group," Beetle and Booster funded the project by emptying the League's coffers right under Max's nose; Kilowog then built the island facilities in a mere three days.

Desperate for a break, the Injustice League's very own Major Disaster and Big Sir arrive at Kooey Kooey Kooey to exploit the latter's knack for counting cards. And quite a knack it is, as the duo breaks the bank overnight.

However, as the aptly named Major Disaster is about to leave with the winnings, the island "wakes up," destroying Club JLI--and scattering Disaster and Big Sir's money--with a violent series of Earthquakes. What's more, the destruction wipes out the teleport tubes, leaving everyone still on the island stranded--at least until next month.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Bruce Wayne's bat-sense is a-tingling, but not because of the casino's plight. Instead, he's distracted by the theft of a globe full of cash during a charity auction co-hosted by Vivian D'Aramis, who just so happens to be the Crimson Fox.

Slipping out of the event and into her crimefighting duds, the Crimson Fox ably wrestles the thieves' helicopter down, crash-landing it in Captain Atom's room at the JLE's Paris embassy. The Captain's not exactly enthusiastic about this turn of events, but despite his misgivings, it looks like Crimson Fox will be a regular in these pages.

It's a solid start to 1990, with good writing, mostly great art (there are a handful of dicey panels in JLE, I won't lie, but overall both books look swell) and one of the best covers of JLA's run.  Speaking of covers, the credits from "Justice Log" go like this: "This issue's cover was pencilled and inked by Adam with coloring by the unquenchable Bob Le Rose." And from "Europinion": "Bart pencilled and inked the cover all by his widdle self. Bobby Le Rose colored it."

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, #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, April 14, 2010


Justice League America #33
Dec. '89
"Nitwits, Knuckleheads & Poozers!"
Keith Giffen: Ideaman
J.M. DeMatteis: Wordman
Adam Hughes: Pencilman
Art Nichols: Inkman
Bob Lappan: Letterman
Gene D'Angelo: Colorman
Kevin Dooley: Boy/Man
Andy Helfer: Man?
(All men copyright DC Comics, Inc.)

Justice League Europe #9
Dec. '89
"Under the Skin"
Keith Giffen: plot
Bill Loebs: dialogue
Art Nichols: pencils
Bart Sears: inks
Bob Lappan: letters
Gene D'Angelo: colors
Kevin Dooley: frick
Andy Helfer: frack

It's a bit of a slow week, affording readers a chance to catch their breaths after the raucous ride of "The Teasdale Imperative." First out of the gate, JLA balances two simple stories that remain entertaining for the character insights they offer. In one, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold travel to the recently annexed (by the JLI--in Annual #3) island of Kooey Kooey Kooey, where they implore the native inhabitants to enter into an ill-conceived capital-raising venture.

These plans--and indeed the League's presence on the island in general--seem to be a concern to Aquaman, but his warning glare near the book's end is only a setup for what promises to be a bigger role next issue. JLA's second storyline finds Guy Gardner and former Green Lantern Kilowog (I say former because, at this point in '89, the Corps had been dismantled, leaving the lovable alien effectively unemployed) in a real bruiser of a brawl--but all in the name of good, wholesome fun, naturally.

By the end of the issue, Kilowog's been invited to stay with the JLA, although Guy's given him a bit of misinformation that'll need to be cleared up, at least for Maxwell Lord's sake.

Kilowog joins up just in the nick of time so far as the JLE--and Power Girl in particular--is concerned. When doctors find they can't operate on the hero's super-hard skin, Kilowog builds a device that basically stabilizes Superman's head so he can use his heat vision as a scalpel and conduct the operation himself.

The surgery is a success, although Power Girl's left with the ominous prognosis that her powers will henceforth be diminished to some yet-to-be-determined degree.

JLE also offers a handful of "team-ups", so to speak, including Captain Atom and Sue Dibney; the former is seriously T.O.'d at the latter for calling in Supes without proper authorization ...

... Metamorpho and Batman; the Dark Knight feels the Element Man might be unstable and therefore a threat to the JLE, while Metamorpho feels betrayed by his former teammate on The Outsiders ...

... and Flash and Elongated Man, who finally hug it out over the loss of former Flash Barry Allen.

Finally, in both books' letter columns, Dooley alludes to the Spectre now being a part-time member of the JLI--I'm not entirely sure the Spectre knows this, but it was nice seeing him in the Teasdale crossover thingy. "Europinion" also gives a lot of ink to the Red Fox, a.k.a. "Le Renarde Rousse" (according to Dooley and Helfer; I'm not positive about that translation myself, although my high school French is admittedly quite rusty), who was briefly introduced back in JLE #6, and who promises to become a bigger player with the less confusing moniker Crimson Fox. Also from "Europinion," cover credits: "This issue's cover was pencilled by Art Nichols and inked by Bart Sears. Art is now doing the inking honors on the JLA book." And speaking of Nichols, his pencils aren't bad, although I look forward to Sears reclaiming those duties next issue.

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, #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, April 7, 2010


Justice League America #32
Nov. '89
The Teasdale Imperative Part Three
"Breaking Point!"
More confusion and chaos, courtesy of:
Keith Giffen, plot and layouts
J.M. DeMatteis, script
Adam Hughes, pencils
Art Nichols, inks
Bob Lappan, letters
Gene D'Angelo, colors
Kevin Dooley, an officer
Andy Helfer, a gentleman

Justice League Europe #8
Nov. '89
The Teasdale Imperative Part Four
At last--!--The conclusion of our JLA-JLE crossover, courtesy of:
Keith Giffen, plot and breakdowns
J.M. DeMatteis, script and hasty departure
Bart Sears, pencils
Bob Smith, inks
Bob Lappan, letters
Gene G'Angelo, colors
Kevin Dooley, shreds all the evidence
Andy Helfer, takes the fall

First, a point of clarification: While the Gray Man was formerly known as just that, it seems that here in "The Teasdale Imperative," DeMatteis is going with Grey Man instead. So there you go. Apologies for not getting that right last week.

This issue of JLA focuses most prominently on the eponymous Teasdale, offering a three-page backstory that reveals he created the vampirism-inducing chemical for Simon Stagg, who in turn kept the formula and then tried to have Teasdale killed. And indeed, Stagg's plan would have succeeded if not for the Grey Man stepping in to save Teasdale's life, seeing in the scientist's chemical weapon a ticket to all the soulstuff he could ever hope to devour. In other words, this really is all Stagg's fault.

With JLE offering the story's last act, the proverbial shit gets very real indeed. The zombie horde stands at the gates of Stagg's factory, where Stagg has brought the combined JLI for protection. The Leaguers don't particularly care for helping Stagg, but it seems the lesser of two evils considering the alternative is watching six billion people turn into vampires and die; the disease, it seems, is mortal, and as those already vampirified start to die, the Grey Man's power increases--as does his size.

Clumsy as his size makes him, it's perhaps no surprise the Grey Man steps on Teasdale, eliminating half this crossover's villains. As for the Grey Man himself, his defeat is perhaps a bit of a cheat, since the Lords of Order and Chaos unite to put a stop to his antics, which apparently got so out of hand their own livelihoods were threatened.

Despite the deus ex machina, and although Power-Girl would no doubt disagree--she was backhanded by the giant Grey Man and ends the issue hospitalized and comatose--I've gotta say this whole crossover shindig was a terrific idea very well executed, and the oversized cast of characters was expertly handled.

Lots of news to report from the letters pages this time. First from JLA's "Justice Log," we've got cover credits: "Last issue's and this issue's covers were done by Adam Hughes on pencils, Joe Rubinstein on inks, Bob Le Rose on colors, and Sal Mineo on drums." JLE's "Europinion" shares that title's cover credits, as well: "This issue's cover was pencilled by Mr. Sears and inked by Art Nichols (on whom more below), who is also taking over the inking honors on JLA!" As for that reference to "more below," check out the surprise info dropped in JLE's "Next Issue" blurb:

When J.M. told us he had to relinquish his duties on JLE, we wondered who we could get. Well, starting next issue, our new writer will be WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS! (Now try telling us Wally isn't portrayed right.) J.M. will stay on JLA and DR. FATE, but next month Bill Loebs and guest artist Art Nichols bring you THE FATE OF POWER GIRL! Guest-starring Kilowog and Superman!

Finally, let's all reminisce about the nutritional merits of "crunchy ninja nets":

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, #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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal ad copyright Ralston Purina Company and Mirage Studios. All other images this post copyright DC Comics. Original text copyright Jon D. Witmer/The Danger Digest.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Post-Holiday Distraction...

...courtesy of the invincible Iron Man. Where does he get those wonderful toys?

Iron Man's way-beyond-epic battle against the Titanium Man is from Tales of Suspense #82, cover date May 1966. Scanned from the book Essential Iron Man Vol. 2, published by Marvel Publishing, Inc. Copyright Marvel.