Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Justice League America #61 (April, 1992)

An arrogant Green Lantern Guy Gardner brooded alone at the old, ravaged Justice League America meeting table, intent on demanding leadership of the anemic team. He was soon joined by Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, who explained the base had been trashed by an L-Ron robot possessed by Despero. "...but we'll fix it up..." Maxima, a haughty alien queen on the hunt for her perfect mate, next intruded. Her quarry would be the Man of Steel, who at that moment was tersely telling off Maxwell Lord IV...

At no point was it shown that the team officially chose Supes as their leader, but when Maxwell Lord met with the heroines Fire and Ice to discuss their future... "The Justice League is not one of your toys. It doesn't exist to feed your ego. It exists because there's a need for it--and because we say it does. The League is ours, Max. NOT YOURS!" For a guy who'd begrudgingly joined the team a few days prior, Superman sure was quick to start throwing his weight around.

Like a good little girl with a crush, Ice followed Big Blue's lead: "Superman is right... You always thought you could set our agenda and boss us around! Whatever Superman says we should do I agree with!" Okay, so one member made him their leader. Never mind that Lord financed the team, and petitioned the U.N. for their charter. That, and he was never a leader so much as a business manager, and certainly never as overbearing as Superman would become. Gee, can you tell the star member of the Superman creative team was now also helming this book? Oberon said "You're losin' 'em, Max."

On a private yacht at sea, the Dominator questioned the spectacle Weapons Master was about to make by taking on the Justice League, when only one member's power ring was being commissioned by the alien for theft. W.M.'s Girl Friday explained how it would increase his reputation, and thus his future fees. Using his teleportational abilities, Weapons Master armed himself for combat. He then materialized inside the Justice League's headquarters and back-shot Guy Gardner. The Blue and the Gold were subdued just as swiftly, but the Superman villainess Maxima put up more of a fight.

"Wasn't prepared for-- psionic blast-- but then I never expected to see Almerac's ruler here! I must retreat-- and assess my situation!" The heroes assumed he was done for now, but Weapons Master reappeared almost as quickly as he left. "You see, my dimensional arsenal is limitless. I can access the best weapons of virtually any planet in the universe... This Skellorean helmet insulates me from your psionic powers!" Weapons Master retrieved the perfect arms to defeat the assembled heroes. "Even with Maxima at their side, the Justice League proved easily vanquished. All that is left-- is to get what I came for."

Faster than a speeding bullet, a strange visitor from another planet appeared to give Weapons Master what for! Ice, in tow, mooned "Wow! Isn't he simply wonderful?" Fire agreed, "Yeah, maybe we should just change our name to Justice League Superman!" The heroines looked on as Big Blue ripped an arm covering and helmet off Weapons Master's body armor. "Gloat while you can, Kryptonian," before Weapons Master warped the Man of Tomorrow to another plane. Weapons Master quickly put down Fire and Ice after they retaliated, but just as he was about to claim the Green Lantern's ring, an otherworld voice commanded him to stop. "Another intruder? And one I don't know? I see. You're the silent type. A mystery man!" Weapons Master blasted at his new foe with an energy pistol, but he vanished into thin air. "I have no data on this man-- no information! I may have access to any weapon ever devised-- but that does me little good if I don't know which ones to use!"

The white, red and black garbed figure rematerialized, demanding the return of Guy Gardner's ring. Weapons Master's thought he might have teleported in a manner like himself, and again questioned the identity of the hovering man who confronted him. "I am Bloodwynd. My magic enables me to tap into the plasma energies of the spirits of the dead. Feel the blazing fury of those whose souls burn in hell!" Weapons Master did suffer under Bloodwynd's eyebeams, and then hightailed it outta there with the League as his captives. "A sorcerer! This is new to me! Unexpected! I will not tolerate that! After all the work I put into this operation-- I refuse to be sandbagged by a cheap parlor magician! I hope you enjoy solitude, Bloodwynd-- because I'm leaving! Exclusionary Location Warp. NOW!" Weapons Master left a sword behind, which Bloodwynd silently studied, until his orange eyes lit up!

Back on the yacht, the blond bimbo Kiki explained to the Dominator "He's like a cat, y'know? And the Justice League-- they're mice to him! --He's probably taken them to one of his dimensions-- where he can toy with them for a while-- before he kills them."

Justice League America sat at a table floating through swirling rainbow colored space. Weapons Master pondered "What is it that makes life worth living? Money? Power? No. It is the challenge of acquiring those trapping of success. The challenge. The win. The game. That what it's all about." Weapons Master wished to engage Blue Beetle in a game of death along the exact same lines as the one from the League's first encounter with Despero! "Isn't this chess board interesting? The man who sold it to me said he got it from a red-skinned, three-eyed alien. This game represents the lives of your friends..." Blue Beetle had the chance to win back Guy's ring, but every game piece he lost would cost a teammate their life, beginning with Ice...

With this issue, Dan Jurgens began a tumultuous run as writer/artist on the series. While the period had some glaring faults, the man deserves credit for showing Superman to be a fallible being. Jurgens was inked by Rick Burchett, who was clearly trying to ape the "Image style" to limited effect. Also introduced here was kewl new badace Bloodwynd, in his first costumed appearance.


Luke said...

I have something of a soft spot for this lineup, if only because it was the JLA when I first started reading DC Comics in the early-mid 90s. Weird, isn't it?

Diabolu Frank said...

I have those soft spots myself... for teams like Dragon's Claws... on my head...