First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.7: Justice League International #22

Bass and Siskoid tackle JLI #22, in which Oberon should really be picking on Khunds his own size, and the rest of the League fights more aliens in the South Pacific.

Listen to Episode 7 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.7 Supplemental

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13 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.7: Justice League International #22

  1. Great show, Siskoid and Other Guy Whose Name I’m Blanking On. This was during the peak of the JLI era and one of my all-time favorite Oberon stories.

  2. Great episode! I remember really enjoying this issue, but being slightly disturbed by the JLI heroes actually killing the bad guys! Hey, this was still the late 80s, and grim and gritty hadn’t settled in yet. In fact, JLI was the antibody to that movement. I liked how J’onn commented on this act of war. Goes to show the book wasn’t all BWAHAHAHA.

    I really hated that this version of the Hawks got retconned shortly after their brief JLI stint. I loved Katar as the grumpy old-guard member who nearly had a stroke every issue over how goofy everyone was acting. Batman even told him to lighten up! And Shayera delighted in every frustrating moment. It was such a nice, fresh take on them that still seemed in-canon and correct. The retcon was just…weird. Thanks Mike Gold!

    Siskoid, I loved your capsule history of Justice League Detroit. My 9-year old self was honked off at Aquaman for years for disbanding the REAL JLA. Then the bum took off once Mera showed up. Way to commit, Artie!


  3. Enjoy your JLI reading, Bass; it’s a great series.

    One reason why Giffen and DeMatteis were given such a free hand is that they had great track records. Giffen was part of the team (with Paul Levitz) that turned Legion of Superheroes from a cult favorite to a big hit. Given his writing partner is an executive at the company, I’m sure he had some clout. DeMatteis had a good name from his Marvel tenure, especially on things like Defenders, plus his Greenberg the Vampire was a big critical favorite. To top it off, JLA had a pretty weak track record, for several years, by that point. The pair had ideas and nothing else was working, so why not? Add Maguire’s skill (and Marvel was sniffing around for him), they let them run with it. It had enough great superhero stuff that it was a hit from the start. Plus, the team got a preview in Legends, which did well, commercially. The comedy slowly grew in proportion, so it seemed like a natural progression. At the same time, it was different enough that it felt like you were getting in on something new and cutting edge. It did eventually wear down. For those of us who were older, and had seen the ups and downs of JLA and superheroes, in general, it was the right tone and made it feel a bit more mature, even if the characters acted juvenile. It kind of poked fun at some of those juvenile superhero tropes. What was sad, was when DC all but outlawed any mention of the series, and yet when the team got back together for Formerly Known as Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice League, they were big hits. So, did they respond to that success? Nope. They turned Max into a murderer and Beetle gets one in the head, as well as raping and murdering Sue Dibny. I’ll take satire over gratuitous violence, anytime!

    I would debate you on Mark Waid being the best superhero writer of the modern age. I find that Kurt Busiek writes more interesting and more developed superhero stories. I think he gets to the heart of the characters more. I think he has best demonstrated it on Astro City; but, he did it ably on Avengers, Avengers Forever, and Thunderbolts. Regardless of who is the best (which is subjective), they were definitely the two writers who rescued us from the grim and gritty 90s. I would also throw out James Robinson as one of the most interesting, until he went off to Hollywood.

    1. I think James Robinson’s wonderful-across-the-board writing streak ends exactly at the time of Archie Goodwin’s passing. Starman had lots of great moments after that, but more patchy work began to appear in series like Legends of the DCU and Heroes Reborn.

      1. I tend to agree. Even on Starman, there seems to be a change after Archie’s passing. Part has to do with Tony Harris withdrawing from the series; but, Robinson’s writing does seem to lose a step. not as badly as later things. reading Grand Guignol, it felt like something was off. So many things he had been building never really seem to pay off, like Ragdoll and Nash. It’s still a mostly good story; but, there does seem to be a bit of a fizzle to it, rather than a big explosion.

        I really do think Robinson looked up to Archie and was probably grieving over the loss, for quite some time. Goodwin was someone that people respected, as a writer and an editor; and, just as a human being. For my money, he was the best writer to work at DC, including Alan Moore; he just wasn’t as showy about it.

  4. Siskoid and Bass seriously, couldn’t you have waited till Shag was up to this issue on his JLI podcast?

    Another great episode with a very disturning Letters from the Front segment. Thanks Frank!

  5. My following of JLI is notable for its lack of fidelity. I started with “Moving Day” as an isolated dinged purchase at a comic shop before moving out of state where copies weren’t readily available at convenience stores. I could still find it sporadically, but didn’t always bother to buy it, depending on any virtues gleaned from flipping through the individual issue. This specific copy was a major jumping on point, bought at a Safeway supermarket after I’d returned to Texas. It looked like great fun, and Kevin Maguire drew it, whose attendance record was contributory to my own. I stuck with the book until sometime after Ty Templeton took over the art, and drifted away again before Adam Hughes relieved him all the way until the start of Breakdowns, which I collected much (but not all) of as it came out. As I’ve mentioned before, I passed on Invasion! and pretty much all of its tie-ins, with JLI being my sole touchstone to the event while it was being published (and generally thereafter, though I eventually slogged through the core mini-series one time years ago as a back issue.)

    I tend to agree with Gerard Jones that JLI was lightning in a bottle, the perfect antidote for the exhausting creative monuments of 1986 at a time when readers were most receptive to challenges of the status quo in mainstream comics. I think that (purely relative to the Handbook thumping before and since) open-mindedness lasted into the ’90s, but the audience was so battered by the liberties taken that there’s now an engrained reflexive distrust and anger toward any substantial change. Also, JLI was legitimately laugh out loud funny, in a medium that throws the word “comic” around a lot while being pathetic at producing actual comedy.

    With the exception of Astro City, I’m at best indifferent to the writing of Kurt Busiek. He’s great at drilling deep into super-hero lore on a single issue anthology basis, but his long game puts me to sleep and he’s tediously precious about continuity. Mark Waid is usually the kind of writer I enjoy on the kind of characters I want to read, but he doesn’t often write “my” characters, and sometimes he even writes friggin’ Kingdom Come, the fourth horseman of the deconstructionist apocalypse.*

    Siskoid was correct that a Hawkworld Annual was where Hawkman continuity was most precisely screwed, but I don’t think the Fel Andar retcon kicked in until a couple of years into the regular series. Pulled purely from memory, Andar was a Thanagarian spy who pretended association with the JSA’s Carter Hall to infiltrate the JLI ahead of The Alien Alliance. He recruited an Earthwoman named Sharon something under this false pretense, who he murdered when she discovered the truth and notified J’Onn J’Onzz of the duplicity. Fel Andar then retreated back to Thangar after the Alliance’s defeat. The continuity patch only covers guest appearances though, so Tony Isabella’s work with the characters throughout the mid-80s exists in a limbo between the Pre- and Post-Crisises.

    * Watchmen & The Dark Knight Returns are indisputably two of the four super-heroic series that were most revolutionary, but like most revolutions, left mounds of bodies, atrocities, and widespread corruption in their wake. I believe Kingdom Come, while nowhere near as potent a work and massively more derivative than the previous two, has still had a comparable negative influence on mainstream comics storytelling. It’s the third horseman that I’ve never quite nailed down, as there are so many to choose from, though I suspect a representative of naked market lust and image over substance like X-Men #1 would be the truest icon of the chromium plague.

    1. Not Miracleman; or do you think it was too much of a cult influence to be labeled as apocalyptic? I’d nominate the Death of Superman, for launching the cycle of the big epic death (or maiming) followed by the miraculous resurrection or miracle cure, repeated endlessly these days.

      1. I’d argue that whatever influence Marvel/Miracleman had was mimicked by and dwarfed between Watchmen & Kingdom Come, each having a larger audience and a clearer indications of negative impact. As for the death of Superman, the same principle could apply, but The Dark Phoenix Saga covers a broader swath of ultimately damaging gimmicks.

  6. Another fun episode (apart from Letters from the Front, bah). This issue of JLI was indeed exemplary, from the cover onward. I love the Khunds, and will continue to pronounce heir name as I always have, Supergirl TV show be darned. Stupid Khunds!

    Busiek vs Waid? Depends what they’re writing, and when they’re writing. Both have given me an awful lot of pleasure so I refuse to choose.

    Keep those varied audio clips coming, they’re a definite highlight.

  7. Very good show Siskoid and Bass. Have said a lot about my love for the JLI series on the comments in Shagg’s Bwa-ha-ha podcast so will not repeat myself here but this was the series that drew me into DC Comics and holds a special place as a result. Would encourage Bass to read the series when he gets the chance as he will not be disappointed.

    One thing I don’t know if you mentioned was how some scenes in the JLI issue were repeated in the Wonder Woman issue by Perez and Marrinan and they are quite seamless – think there was one small hiccup when Ice and Fire’s dialogue in JLI was switched in the Wonder Woman issue, but otherwise was very good and showed a good level of communication between the two books.

    Really enjoying this series of podcasts and look forward to the next installment.

    1. We can’t comment on what we haven’t read yet! But it’s coming, two episodes from now.

      And good news, Bass has read the first couple years already, and he’s lovin’ it!

  8. You guys are giving Aquaman a ration of sh#t for disbanding the league. Keep in mind, the creation of JLA Detroit wasn’t story driven. This was an edict from editorial to make the JLA more like Titans & X-Men in hope of boosting sales. Sales-wise, it flopped. I liked it, but there were some serious flaws.

    While the goofy JLA was amusing, I’d rather have the Detroit team. Can’t say I’m a big Giffen fan.

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