Saturday, October 8, 2011

DC Retroactive: JLA - The '90s #1 (October, 2011)

Multi-Man beat a parademon at a game of cards at The Dark Side Club, and won a trinket from Apokolips that he gave to Big Sir. After the pair rejoined their fellows in the Injustice League, something on the device pricked Big Sir's skin, causing him to undergo rapid physiological changes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Miracle and Green Lantern Guy Gardner discovered and captured the errant parademon before calling J'Onn J'Onzz at the JLI Embassy. "Was it an Apokolipsian incursion as Mother Box indicated?" All Scott knew was that the parademon was extremely drunk, and he wished the excessively brutal Guy was also such. "My apologies for sending him with you-- but his name was next in the duty roster." Blue Beetle was eavesdropping, and wanted in on the invasion routing, especially since nothing could possibly go wrong with Guy Gardner on the scene. "I don't appreciate your sarcasm. However accurate it may be." J'Onzz ordered Beetle back to his duties, leading to puerile humor, and J'Onn walking away in disgust to meditate in his room. "He's a thirteen-year-old boy in a grown man's body." Soon, Beetle went running after Booster Gold to try getting in on the action on the sly, which doesn't work when the Martian Manhunter can shout orders directly into your brain. "I hate telepaths."

Mr. Miracle and Guy learned that the parademon had lost his Medibooster in the game, a device designed to rapidly heal the injuries of a parademon. What would it do to a metahuman? "--It could be the first step in the devolution of the entire human race!" Well, first it would turn Big Sir into a gigantic saurian Godzilla wannabe rampaging through New York. Fire and Ice were shopping nearby, and joined in on the containment effort. The Injustice League also sought to help, as they saw this as an opportunity to try going straight (at least as a cover) and become super-heroes. These intentions did not stop Guy Darrin Gardner from beating on them.

Most of Justice League America ended up tangling with Bigger Sir, and Power Girl even teleported over from Europe... with her mangy cat... which most of Justice League America feared tangling with more than Big Sir. The Martian Manhunter warned everyone not to strike Big Sir in such a way that he should bleed, since Scott Free thought he might plague the Earth with a bloodborne pathogen. Holy crap, the giant could also fly! "Most parademons can, Booster. Now if you're done stating the obvious-- how about pursuing it?" J'Onzz only trusted himself and Power Girl to wield the necessary force with the needed control, and they managed to smack Big Sir about without doing serious damage. However, the battle had been carried near to the JLI embassy, where Power Girl's cat was attacking Oberon's face. Obie inadvertently tossed it off the roof, into Big Sir's mouth, where it just so happened to act as an inexplicable cure for Sir's condition.

J'Onn: "Dead?"
Scott: "Nope."
J'Onn: "Blood?"
Scott: "Not a drop."

Power Girl couldn't believe Theodore was the reason Big Sir was restored to as normal as he ever got. "You have to admit it's odd that, mere seconds after it momentarily ingested the cat, the creature-- Wait. Did you say... Theodore?"

"Apokolips No!" was by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Kevin Maguire, reunited again. Unfortunately, it reads like their stale final years together. The jokes are predictable, and worse, set up prequels to superior material already told. It's like explaining a joke you've already heard and laughed at. What's the point, beyond strangling your enjoyment retroactively? These characters at this place are simply too familiar to surprise in any way, and the creators are forcing funny with all their might in a way that just makes me tired. Even the art is spoiled by inappropriate coloring for the paper stock that is so dark the atmosphere is less Marx Brothers than Se7en. No more trips to this well, especially in light of the editorial ineptitude that reigns at DC these days.

Continuity Note: I'm pretty sure this story had to take place in April of 1990, during Justice League America #37. It's the only way to make it work, since Scott was still a functional member of the team, but Power Girl's cat was also around, and Booster was still on the team. Basically, it has to take place entire within a span of pages in that one issue and the same month's Justice League Europe.

DC Retroactive


LissBirds said...

I had somewhat (okay, not really) high hopes for this. It looks like it's pass-worthy. Though seeing Ted there makes me a little nostalgic.

I just want to read a fun story about loveable characters. Is that too much to ask?

mathematicscore said...

I rather liked it. It certainly wasn't earth shattering, but I enjoyed it waaayyyyy more than Justice League #1 2011.

Diabolu Frank said...

Liss, your mileage may vary. Rich Johnston loved the story as much as the older ones, and you know how hypercritical I am...

Rafa Rivas said...

Well, you can also count me as a yay sayer. I actually think that this story and superbuddies are actually superior. There are more jokes and they are more effective.

I insist, they could have made a year of JLA retroactive with 4 issues per era. I miss JLA Classified.

Diabolu Frank said...

Rafa, I agree with everything you said in theory, but in practice it cost me gobs of money for consistent disappointment. There were a few solid JLA: Classified arcs (the delightfully askew Detroit three-parter being a favorite,) but the book typically read like a monthly version of the abysmal JLA: Incarnations. By comparison, Justice League Quarterly was experimental and artful.

SallyP said...

Awww...I liked it. Yes, we've read these jokes before, but dammit, I love Maguire, and I love these characters, and I've MISSED them. I'll take what I can get.

Rafa Rivas said...

Wow, yeah, JL Quarterly was quite a book.
I'll just leave it a saying that I wish there were more Satellite, International and Supe Buddies stories. Although I'm glad they did the retro 80s and the Englehart Classified, I'm not that big on Detroit, mainly because of Steel and Vibe.