Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Justice League #1 (May 1987)

Maxwell Lord IV scanned television reports from outside the Justice League's mountain base: "... Many people question the effectiveness of a new J.L.A. in these times of, at best, grudging tolerance of super-- ...Two of the newer members arrive-- I'm sorry, one new member and a veteran of this oldest of super-teams-- ...A Martian. What effect his presence will have on public opinion is yet to be--"

An arrogant Green Lantern Guy Gardner brooded alone at the new Justice League meeting table, intent on demanding leadership of the fledgling team. He was soon joined by Black Canary, Mr. Miracle, Oberon, Captain Marvel, and, together, Blue Beetle with the Manhunter from Mars. Oberon felt the media circus surrounding the group's reformation couldn't hurt.

Martian Manhunter: "In light of recent events-- I would tend to doubt it."
Blue Beetle: "I think the Martian Manhunter's just being paranoid, group!"
Martian Manhunter: "Then I suggest you think again! ...They are wolves-- waiting to consume us. To them, we're novelties... Sideshow freaks-- viewed with amusement one moment, reviled the next."
Blue Beetle: "Look, J'Onzz-- we don't really know each other... but aren't you being a tad grim?"
Martian Manhunter: "You are correct, Beetle. You don't know me. Nor do you know what I have lived through... what the old League endured... what we lost.

J'Onn cued a monitor bank of images:





He gazed at them solemnly for a moment, then crestfallen, pressed a button to purge the vision of his former teammates. Dinah consoled, "J'Onn, I--" but before she could finish, the most obnoxious Green Lantern returned to demanding leadership of the outfit.

A screaming match with Black Canary developed, followed by rough handling of Oberon, prompting Manhunter to step between the pair.




Unlike with Superman, Guy Gardner felt no hesitation about tugging on the Martian Manhunter's cape, lifting him off the ground by the neck. "I strongly suggest you let me down."
"Just butt out, Jolly Green-- or I'll boot you back to the valley! Ho-ho-ho."

Gardner briefly relented, until Oberon renewed hostilities, prompting Mr. Miracle to complain, "J'Onn, this is utterly infantile..."
"You are correct, Mr. Miracle. This is infantile. And it's time our ring-wielding baby got the spanking he deserves!."

Batman and Dr. Fate walked in on a full scale brawl, as Captain Marvel took a power ring blast to the belly that launched him into a guarded Alien Atlas. The Dark Knight strode through the collection of heroes to pacify Guy Gardner with his overwhelming presence, and a meeting commenced.

Meanwhile, the heroic Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi) was at the United Nations, where her new Justice League signal-device was paging her relentlessly. She was so distracted, she almost missed the terrorists who would hold her and the General Assembly hostage.

The Batman was alerted, so he sent Captain Marvel and Dr. Fate ahead while he joined the rest of the team in flying to the scene inside Beetle's Bug craft. On arrival, Manhunter noted, "Batman-- I don't see Dr. Fate..." ...who vanished to take care of another matter.

The Martian Marvel joined his team in stealthily entering the U.N., where he embedded the heads of several assailants quite forcefully into a corridor ceiling. The Sleuth From Outer Space then invisibly contacted Dr. Light, whispering in her ear, "Show no alarm. Make no sudden moves. I'm J'Onn J'Onzz of the Justice League--"
"Y-you're invisible?!"
"Obviously. Now, please-- listen carefully." At his signal, Dr. Light blinded everyone in her vicinity, as Green Lantern swiftly handled all but two of he remaining terrorists. Dr. Light had elbowed half the remainder.
"I admire you... efficiency."
"Years of practice."
"They paid off."

Batman stared down the final boss, who thereafter committed apparent suicide. Martian Manhunter was annoyed to face the press after.

Meanwhile, the tycoon Maxwell Lord IV watched all these events from afar, having bankrolled the terrorists as part of a plot to help put the new Justice League on the international map...

Back to Justice League of America #261 (4/87)

Forward to Justice League #2 (June 1987)


Bookgal said...

I remember this story. Frankly, Guy Gardner annoyed me beyond ever being able to enjoy him all that much...and watching him manhandle J'onn didn't really endear me to this story much. I realize that Batman has the whole scary scary dark knight thing going, but to me it was just injury and insult that a normal guy (Dont misunderstand I love Bats, but lets face it he's a dude with great training and fancy gadgets) puts him in his place and J'onn looks like a chump here.

I didn't really read a ton of this incarnation of the Leauge, mainly because most of the time I was praying someone would take Guy, take the ring, and shove it where...well....lets just say they'd need a good doctor to remove it.

Diabolu Frank said...

This should be fun for you then, as I promise Guy and the series grow and improve with time. Well, for the first couple years, anyway.

Truth to tell, I didn't get to read this comic until sometime in the mid-'90s. I started reading JLI with #8, and stuck with it off and on until the end of the Giffen/DeMatteis run. Some of my favorite Manhunter moments were in the series, like this one. The important thing to remember is the J'Onn J'Onzz you love came from this series. His development began under DeMatteis in the last JLofA issues, but at this point, J'Onn wasn't there yet. As Batman's role diminishes, and especially once Captain
Marvel was being phased out, J'Onn's day truly begins.

Back to Guy Gardner-- like nature, I abhor a vacuum. Popular insubordinate jerks on super-teams go back to at least Hawkeye, and peaked with Wolverine. It was about time this type of "maverick" was treated like the destructive force they tend to be, but as usual, Giffen's attempt at parody was misinterpreted and embraced. In retaliation, Giffen and DeMatteis turned him into the resident punching bag and laughing stock, which is the Guy I fell for.

Bookgal said...

Well then I'll have to give it another chance then. :)