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.

Mash-Up #256 The Champions of Angor vs Supergirl

I think my first introduction to the Angor characters was in the Giffen/DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE run where Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay eventually joined the team. Not being a massive Marvel fan, I had no idea at the time they were parodies of the Avengers and had been around for years by that point.

Justice League Of America #1


Now 20% as great as it was in the 70s!

I kid, mostly – the new Justice League of America #1 wasn’t bad although some of the dialogue felt forced and the whole “we’re a new team who fight each other more than the bad guys” thing has been done to death.

Nice to see the Extremists again, though, as I don’t think they’ve been around in the DCU since 2008 or so and the whole Countdown thing. They appear to have a couple of new members as well, and Lord Havok seems to be wielding Wandjina’s axe which doesn’t bode well for him. Chances of Silver Sorceress appearing to save the day? Slim, I guess, but we can hope.