Random Retrospective #39 – Justice League #2

Ah, the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire League from the late 80s, fresh out of the gate from the end of the old JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA title which ended somewhat ignominiously after the failed experiment that was Justice League Detroit (which I still like, as I’ve said before) and this version which grew from the largely clumsy LEGENDS crossover event. Here, the team is still brand new, with Batman in nominal charge as he tries to hold this group of heroes together as they get to know one another, with mixed results.

While that’s going on, heroes from another world – the extra dimensional world of Angor because this is post-Crisis and there’s only one Earth – have unwittingly allied themselves with the ruler of Bialya in their quest to rid the world of its nuclear arsenal.

The Champions of Angor had previously appeared in the early 70s and were pastiches of Marvel characters – Silver Sorceress was Scarlet Witch, Wandjina was Thor, and Blue Jay seemed to be both Ant-Man and the Wasp rolled into one. In this new, post-Crisis iteration, they were the only survivors of Angor after it had been devastated by nuclear weapons, hence their mission here to save the Earth from itself. It’s just unfortunate that they appear in Bialya and end up working with the corrupt Colonel Harjavti.

The League attempt to get involved when the Champions destroy an Israeli nuclear silo, but they return to Bialya and Harjavti prevents the League from entering his country to apprehend the Champions. Rather than risk an international incident, Batman reluctantly has the League retreat, leaving the Colonel to direct his new friends somewhere else:

Yep, they’re off to Russia.

This iteration of the JUSTICE LEAGUE title would be a breath of fresh air after the old one had faded away, and the first few years of it were definitely the highlight. The spin-off, JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE, would start off just as good, and the Champions of Angor would return in that title, with the Sorceress and Blue Jay eventually joining the team.

Random Retrospective #38 – Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #11

I love a good WHO’S WHO book which is why I found the entire run of this series in a second hand book store years and years ago and snapped them all up in one go. One or two of the issues are a little worse for wear but by and large they’re in good condition and they’ve been a great reference source over the years. The massive Omnibus version that DC brought out in 2021 (with the second volume due any time now) has reprinted the lot.

So with no story to recap, here’s my three random, favourite entries from this issue:

The original Infinity Inc made up of the sons, daughters, and erstwhile carry ons of some of Earth-2’s greatest heroes. At the time of writing, I think only Jade and Obsidian are still active and that’s only recently since the whole Rebirth/DOOMSDAY CLOCK/DARK NIGHTS METAL things.

If I were the Tattooed Man I would so be suing the tattooist who did that to me. I mean a butterfly covering my whole face? Really?

I enjoyed the mini-series that introduced us to Jonni Thunder on the whole, but the villain being called “Red Nails” because she had red-painted fingernails is some of the laziest writing ever.

Random Retrospective #37 – JLA Classified #41

I think I’ve asked this before, but just in case I haven’t: the 60s JLA villain Amazo (and the Kid version we see here) – how do you pronounce the name? A-MAZE-O (as in amazing) or Am-Ah-Zo? I’m unaware of there being an official pronunciation put out there, but if you know of one, let me know.

So anyway, the end of the Kid Amazo storyline finds the JLA going up against the newest version of Professor Ivo’s android who has not only all the powers and abilities of the League as the old version did, but also all of their personalities as well. In order to defeat him, the League has to come to grips with being a better team (as Peter Milligan here has them going through a “we don’t trust or like each other” phase.)

Kid Amazo, meanwhile, returns to Professor Ivo and demands to know who has supplied the human side of his being, who, in effect, was his mother.

That’s right, folks – Kid Amazo and his mom hooked up earlier in the storyline. (And is my fourteen year old self the only one chortling at the line about things getting “pretty Greek back there“?)

With that shock delivered, Kid Amazo decides to fulfil his programming and take on the Justice League, taking them out almost shockingly easy not by defeating them in terms of strength but by getting inside their head. Having taken down Batman, he takes the time to put on the batsuit so we can get a quick Batman vs Superman moment:

Ultimately, Batman uses the fact of Kid Amazo having all their personalities against him, starting an argument amongst them all which leads to the traditional overload:

And a moment later, Kid Amazo goes boom, and the League feel like they’ve won only by exposing their hitherto hidden dislike of each other – so nobody ends up feeling happy.

I’ve never been a major fan of Peter Milligan’s writing so this arc didn’t do a whole lot for me, to be honest.

Random Retrospective #36 – The Boys #41

Ah, THE BOYS – what can we say about this that hasn’t already been said before, and more recently due to the excellent Amazon Prime TV adaptation? This issue sees us near the start of an infiltration plan, where Wee Hughie is sent to spy on the, shall we say, less than stellar super group called The Superdupers. And why do they need to be spied upon if they’re less use than a chocolate teapot? It’s because they’ve just been given a new leader by Vought, the very nasty Malchemical.

When the team are out on patrol in the city, the incident they get involved in is saving a cat from a tree, which really doesn’t go according to plan, and just reinforces Malchemical’s contempt for the team.

Elsewhere, Mother’s Milk has been doing some investigating of his own and realises that the reason Butcher has tasked Wee Hughie with spying on Superduper isn’t the real reason.

When Hughie tails the Superduper team as they head out to get ice cream (because that’s the sort of team they are) he watches one of the members choke on his spoon and can’t stop himself from rushing in and perform an emergency tracheotomy. With the hero’s life saved, the Superdupers rejoice and, much to Hughie’s surprise, end up almost adopting him.

Unknown to Hughie, though, Butcher is just down the street watching them and is not impressed.

THE BOYS was a damn fine series and I could do with re-reading it all at some point.