JLI Podcast #10 – Justice League International #10 (Feb 1988)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST and The Irredeemable Shag welcome guest and comic’s professional Michel Fiffe to discuss Justice League International #10 (Feb 1988)! Superman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and more in this MILLENNIUM tie-in! Justice Leaguers new and old team-up to battle the Manhunter menace! Plus the introduction of Gnort! Michel and Shag cover what was on the shelves that same month, recap and discuss the JLI issue, and finally tackle YOUR listener feedback!

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38 responses to “JLI Podcast #10 – Justice League International #10 (Feb 1988)

  1. Stephen DeStephano designed Black Canary’s jazzercise/Mockingbird costume.

    It first appeared in WHO’S WHO volume 2 drawn by Terry Austin.

    It first appeared in-story in the backup strip of DETECTIVE COMICS #554 drawn by Jerome K. Moore, but it also debuted on the cover of that issue drawn by Klaus Janson.

        1. Not to be pedantic, but Black Canary’s “Jazzercise” appearance in Crisis #6 was released a few weeks *before* Detective Comics #554 (even though the Crisis story takes place afterward), making this issue her first in-story appearance after Who’s Who #2.

          (This is according to Mike’s Amazing World.)

          The scene she is in actually continued from Crisis #5… but I do not recall seeing Black Canary in that issue. I will need to check…

          1. And I checked. Black Canary does appear in the “addressing the crowd” seqence) in Crisis #5, page 10, panel 11. So this is technically her first in-story appearance in the “Jazzercise” costume…

            (“Jazzercise” is a fun word to say, by the way…)

            (She was not shown in the “mission briefing/Monitor satellite being destroyed” scene on page 22-23 of that issue, but neither were Azreal, Blok, Katana, Supergirl, Changeling, Jay Garrick, Martian Manhunter, Kole, or Wonder Woman of Earth Two, who all appear with Black Canary in the continuation of this scene in issue #6…)

          2. Thanks for pointing that out, Xum. Never heard of this “Crisis” story of which you speak, though. Must’ve flown under my radar…

  2. I’ll probably have some further thoughts on this issue but I wanted to post this really quick because it’s pretty dang neat.

    That is the cover to Superman Monthly #36. Superman Monthly was a UK reprint series. Some guy named Martin Gray ran the letters page.

    Great episode so far!

  3. Michel gives an impassioned and thoughtful defense of MILLENNIUM. Here’s my rebuttal:

    Reading MILLENNIUM makes me sleepy.

  4. Shag, You were correct about the four Jerry Bingham Millennium crossover covers forming a single picture, as shown in this post on the “Splitting Atoms” Captain Atom blog:

    https://splittingatomsblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/captain-atom-11-january-1988/

    And I do have to admire the dynamism of Joe Staton’s art in the Millennium series — lots of good character expressions and body language, as well as very dramatic shifts in camera angles…

    I have a story about my response to the Gnort (later G’nort) introduction (as well as Hawkman’s characterization) in this issue, which I will save for a more appropriate time…

  5. I’ve just started listening to this episode, so I might have more thoughts later; however, I wanted to add to the initial Millennium discussion.

    While I am unable to defend the core mini-series, a significant number of the tie-in issues were a lot of fun to read. This issue of JLI; the Detective/Suicide Squad/Spectre/Captain Atom crossover and the various Superman titles just to name a few were all excellent.

    Millennium may have had lofty goals, unfortunately the parts were greater than the whole.

  6. Fellas, great show!
    Weren’t the JLA Hawks retconned to be the Golden agers Carter and Sheira Hall? Or was the JLA Hawkman always a spy until Katar joined the WW league?

    1. Yes, a retcon put Carter and Sheila Hall as the JLA Hawks. However, this was in the weird time when the JSA went to Ragnarok, including the Hawks. Thus the need for the “patch” using the Thanagarian spies. It’s Timey-Wimey.

        1. It was explained in the Hawkworld series issues 21-25 “Escape to Thanagar”. Initially, it was revealed that the post-Crisis Katar Hol (i.e. the one from Hawkworld)’s father, Paran Katar, had been in the 1940s and helped the Golden Age Hawkman, Carter Hall, develop the Nth metal. When the JSA vanished during the Congressional hearings in the 1950s, it was as a result of Paran’s teleporter. Later on, the Hawks came back and they were the ones who joined the then new JLA era and they were with the JLA until they disappeared with the JSA.

          Some time later (which was not specified), a new pair of Hawks turned up in Midway City. J’onn J’onnz went to investigate and said he did so because the original Hawks had disappeared with the JSA and because they were his friends. The new Hawkman told J’onn that he was in fact Carter Hall, Junior.

          This of course was a lie – he was in fact Fel Andar, a Thanagarian undercover spy who married an Earthwoman, Sharon, to perpetuate the idea that they were related to the original Hawks. During the Invasion crossover however, Sharon discovered Fel Andar was betraying Earth to Thanagar and was mortally wounded by him in the Australian Embassy. However, she managed to teleport out and tell her story to J’onn and Amanda Waler before she died. Maxwell Lord decided that it was not in the interests of the JLI to reveal that they had been harbouring Thanagarian spies and that instead it would be leaked that the Hawks quietly retired after the Invasion, thus keeping the good name of the Hawks.

          Who said revisionism was tough?

  7. Loved that cover. Michel is great. He even schooled Shag on some points. The recap was good, but you guys are no Howard Simpson. Michel’s impassioned defense of the crossover may not have changed anyone’s mind, but you can’t listen to it without examining your own prejudices.

    Nice to see Driq again. The Mark Shaw Manhunter series spun off of Invasion, not Millennium.

    Giffen absolutely swiped Munoz. It’s one thing to take a panel or two, but he was taking entire pages. I was really mad at KG at the time it came out, as I thought he was a good enough artist on his own. The money quote on swiping comes from Wally Wood: “Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.”

    Also: This is the true story… of seven Lanterns… picked to live in an illegally built beach house… and have their lives drawn… to find out what happens… when people and aliens stop being polite… and start getting Green…The Green Lantern Corps.

    The Englehart Manhunter story was adapted for the Justice League cartoon, and the two issues he skipped were the JLA/JSA/LSH crossover by Levitz and Pasko.

    Bill Willingham was the regular artist on GLC at the time, but Staton still drew one of the Millennium crossover issues.

      1. Ah, you’re right. I confused it with the retool of the series after Invasion where Shaw became an alien tech salvager.

  8. First off, yes Shag I have been yelling at you to read Twilight for a long long time. I guess now that a comic professional recommended it you’ll run to your shelf and devour it.

    Next, I also like Chris Wozniak. I will point you to Hawk and Dove #5 (the kesel series, not mini-series) to get a sense of his bold style.

    And I have said every time that this Canary costume is my absolute favorite for her character. I love it!

    I suppose this issue might be one shiny gem in the otherwise turd field that was Millenium. But I cannot give the event anymore love than that.

  9. It’s terrific to have Michel on, he can certainly hold his end up. I love the swipe talk, it’s fascinating. I don’t always have the eye/memory to recognise a swipe but I can see when the style changes from panel to panel.

    Talking of Giffen doing breakdowns, do you think the Breakdowns crossover was so titled because that was a word so associated with this run?

    The Steve Englehart JLA issues were amazing, I’m not so sure Michel is correct that it was a forgotten run – in my corner of fandom it was legendary for such things as the Wonder Woman subplot and the cross-company continuation of his Cosmic Madonna storyline. And yeah, Dick Dillon was brill.

    I thought Chris Claremont took over the second batch of X-Men AFTER Len Wein came up with the characters.

    I like Eighties Staton art better than Seventies… much as I love Showcase #100, for instance, his work there was far too loose for my liking. I really liked Staton inked by Ian Gibson. And I’m also no Millennium hater. I didn’t like such rubbish as the destruction of Laurel Kent, or Lana Lang and Rudy West as sleeper agents, but the central conceit and operatic sweep sucked me in. The New Guardians were, or course, pants.

    Shagg, for defending Vibe, I will forever love chu.

    I’m only just at the start of the Feedback section and the music in the background isn’t too bad. Must try harder!

  10. Michael Bailey: Thanks for sharing that UK cover. I never knew it even existed. I’m a huge fan of such reprints, since they usually blow up the art and contain all sorts of cool odds & ends (articles, pin-ups by locals, etc).

    Xum: You’ve left us hanging… now you *have* to tell us this story about your Hawk-related response. I’m curious how a fan of the Hawks took to this humorous re-imagening.

    David Ace Gutiérrez: The JLI Hawks were the spies (I’m assuming it’s them in the Atom #4, as well); HE was Thanagarian, SHE was an Earth woman. John Ostrander reveled it in Hawkworld #23, where he also wrote Hawkman slaying Hawkwoman before she teleported to the JLI embassy and died in Martian Manhunter’s arms (Amanda Waller was there, too–?), all occurring in the middle of the “Invasion!” attack. And yet, once the Invasion was over, both Hawks can be seen in JLI #24 (where Hawkman expressly quits). It’s a continuity goof in an otherwise clean, and streamlined continuity. 😉

    JoeX: Willingham was more of a fill-in artist, pinch hitting during the crushing Millennium deadline. Some of his nicer work is in those GLC issues. Also, spot-on Real World recap.

    Anj: Hey, at least we see eye to eye on Twilight, Canary’s Mom Pants costume, and the WOZ.

    Martin Gray: I have a couple of pals who remember the Engelhart run fondly, but I generally never hear much fuss made over it. No blogs or podcasts, and certainly no collections (hoping that will change). And you’re right about Claremont. It was Wein who had a major hand in making the new X-line up based on high sales in the respective regions the new characters came from. Anyway, take a bow, Mr. Letter Column Editor To One of the Greatest Single Issues Ever.

    Shagg: Thanks for having me on! I’m dead serious about Dark Knight Strikes Again, but I doubt I’ll find takers. For now, I’m content with this latest bout.

  11. This was probably my fav issue of the series, at least the Maguire run. I loved seeing the new team’s take on the “classic” characters. That Hawkman thought balloon is still funny–it can’t be the first time any fellow JLAers thought that.

    Michel Fiffe was a great guest, he really brought energy and enthusiasm to the discussion. I will definitely be considering him for the new co-host job on FIRE AND WATER that I am currently auditioning people for.

    And if I may offer a controversial opinion myself (or Going Fiffe as it will now be called), I liked Gnort in this first appearance, it was a funny gag to learn that the GL Corps is just as flawed an organization–when it comes to giving unqualified people too much responsibility–as, say, the U.S. Government.

    That said, I thought every other Gnort appearance after this was not funny and only got less so as they went on, to the point where I avoided comics if he was in them. IMO, def a one joke idea that should have remained so.

    And I agree with Michele, the Englehart issues of JLA were great!

    Wonderful episode.

  12. Great episode! Michele’s passion for Millennium is very admirable. I salute him for defending it so well. But, I can’t really say he changed my opinion of it. Like Shag, I was there too, and my evaluation has always been the mini itself is not worthy of the giant crossover status. But I’ve been there…I like many things others scoff at and out-right ridicule. Love what you love, and to hell with everyone else. Fly that flag man!

    As much as I loved the JLI, I always enjoyed these issues where the “real” Justice League more-or-less returned. Maguire’s Reeve-like Superman has always been a favorite, and yes, I’ll admit, I was quite fond of his rendition of Arisia. Hey, I was a pre-teen/teen in those days, so I retroactively don’t feel bad about oggling her. DC liked gold women with big boobs in the 80s, and so did I.

    It was a shame the JLI team lost the Hawks to Hawkworld, just like they lost Canary to Green Arrow. Their take on these characters is my all-time favorite, and really gave them a unique identity as a couple. Grumpy old fart who misses the old days and the fun-loving woman who adores him. Perfect. For more of that, listen to Super Mates, The Husband and Wife Geekcast!

    Again, great, GREAT episode, and I hope we hear more of Michele on the network!!!

    Chris

  13. Guys, outstanding episode. Shag, I’m afraid that I have to agree with pretty much every single point made by Michel during the podcast (even if I’m not a big Millenium supporter myself).
    Jokes aside, it’s very refreshing to have a honest-to-goodness comic professional in the podcast: all the points of view were from someone who not only loves the medium, but also has inside knowledge of the workings of the industry.

    I also have to side with him in the Giffen debate. I know about the Muñoz controversy (I’m from Argentina, for chrissakes – give me that embassy!), and yes, if he was indeed channeling, he did take it too far. Still, love what he did with it.
    Also, the Maguire influence is VERY visible, both in Invasion and the late-Levitz Legion issues he did before 5YL. But, I direct you exactly to those 5YL issues to show how he took his own personal style, plus Muñoz, plus Maguire and did a synthesis: something that was more than the mere sum of parts.
    We are nearing JLI goden age here with the Max issues, looking forward to those.

    Gus

  14. Irish Embassy calling – apologies for the delay but had to clean up dog mess that was all over the Embassy gardens. Security footage shows G’nort and a man holding a copy of Copra in his hand in the gardens so when I get a hold of them……

    Another great episode, Shagg and Michel. The first time I read this was in the UK Superman monthly issue that Michael Bailey mentioned earlier, and if I remember correctly, it also had a nifty summary of what Millennium was about, which was brilliant for a newcomer at the time like me.

    Michel’s defense of Millennium is admirable. I think a lot of comic fans could be a lot more charitable to creators. As was mentioned in the episode, no one sets out to make a bad comic and just because a particular issue does not meet one’s fancy does not mean that the creators involved did not do their best.

    Having said that, I did not like the Millennium series itself, although the actual crossover issues were quite good, especially the JLI and the Batman/Spectre/Captain Atom/Suicide Squad mini crossover in a crossover. There was a lot of mumbo-jumbo involving the numbers 1-10 when explaining the role of the Universe to the chosen, some dangling plotpoints (What happened to the Manhunter Nancy Reagan?) and the use of Booster gold as first a traitor and then reverse it without so much as a discussion….well, I can appreciate the work it took to put this together, and to co-ordinate it with the other titles, and the plot is decent – the execution was not the best, in my opinion (sorry Michel!)

    Another plot from Millennium that was not explained very well was the use of the Hawks. In issue 1, the Hawks flew away from the meeting, not agreeing with the prospect of the Millennium project but promising they would return if needed, which they did in issue 5, which led into this JLI issue. This wasn’t explored very deeply though – why were the Hawks not anxious to be involved in this? I guess the retcon with this Hawkman being a Thanagarian spy would fit here but at the time, it really was not explained well.

    Back to this issue and G’nort!!! Great first introduction and it was brilliant to see how he interacted with the other heroes. Look forward to more in depth analysis when he becomes more entangled into the JLI in the later issues.

    Can’t wait for JLI 11 – the introduction of Dmitri, Canary as mission leader and the start of the unravelling of Max’s secrets (but wait, wasn’t he shot?) – all to look forward to!

  15. I just…
    I mean I want to like this issue….
    I like G’nort, his first appearance and all that…
    But I just can’t…
    I own it, bought it “fresh” bla bla bla…
    But it feels like an interruption that was forced on too the book… even if you tell me it’s not really that…
    That’s how it always feels, every time I’ve reread the series…
    I want to like this issue but…
    Still can’t….

  16. I appreciated Fiffe’s defense of Millennium, which was also my first attempt to collect a DC event mini-series. I bought the core book and a bunch of spin-offs for the first month, then lost interest and followed the rest of the story through tie-ins. I think that first issue and the basic premise are really solid, but the story meandered and I wasn’t much into the art. The Englehart/Staton run on Green Lantern was a high water mark for that franchise, but the sales bump is overstated. The book never cracked 100K in the 1980s, and only jumped from 81K to 96K in the lead-up to #200. Still, they played with a lot of interesting concepts and it was easily one of the best books DC was releasing at the time. However, it got drowned out by 1986 and the revolutions that followed, plus Englehart seemed to cross over from intriguingly “out there” to “go away” as the decade progressed. I think he lasted six issues on New Guardians, a notoriously bad book. Anyway, I became a DC fan between Bloodlines and Zero Month, so who am I to judge?

  17. Gosh, it seems lots of people loved this episode of the podcast. Guess what? Me too! Shagg and Michel’s debate on Millennium was really fun to hear! We haven’t had many disagreements on the show yet, but this one was fascinating. Both of you really know your stuff. Aces!

    I’m afraid to say that, yes, I have my opinion on Millennium too. I think it could have been better, but Englehart/Staton had 3 huge obstacles: the weekly schedule (never done before), two huge storylines (Chosen and Manhunters), and I suspect too much editorial input. Michel hit the first two really well, and I can’t confirm the third point, but I have strong suspicions that the Englehart had a mandate to include as many DC characters as possible, like there was some intern with a checklist saying “the Secret Six hasn’t appeared yet. Oh, and Brother Power the Geek needs some time.” I have a clear memory of Etrigan the Demon in a one-panel soliloquy in issue #8, and it was awkward, unneeded, and felt shoved in.

    Consider: Crisis had 12 issues, 3 of them double-sized, and a year of production, and that’s what it took to include all of the DC characters in one mini-series. And poor Englehart had to approach that breadth of characters in a mere 8 single-size issues? Dang it, the 2 storylines alone needed 20 issues to be told properly, and only 2 months of crossovers couldn’t make up the difference. By contrast, Legends had a mere 6 issues, but with 5-6 months of crossovers, very successfully spanned the DC universe. Millennium suffered from being rushed, which I give them props for trying. It could have been great, but stumbled under outrageous managerial interference. In the end, at least they got it done. (with my job, I sympathize completely)

    Oh Gnort. You’re finally here. Glad to have you, buddy! But please, have a milkbone, It whitens your teeth *and* freshens your breath.

    Actually, doesn’t it seem like Gnort’s introduction is the *point* of this issue? I mean, from a story-telling standpoint? Sure, killing robots is great fun, but you know, doesn’t really say much about the human condition except that we like to murder things without consequences. But a new character? And a disruptive one at that? Bwah. Hah. Hah!

    Ok, maybe someone can help me with this nitpick. On the main story’s last page, Arisia and J’onn see the other heroes coming, and J’onn says “Harbinger and Driq!” But … J’onn has never met Driq. The only hero in this book that had was Katma. Now, I’m sure Katma and the other GLs told Hal and Arisia about Driq and his friends, but that it’s not Arisia recognizing him. I really don’t think Driq would be part of idle conversation. I guess it had to be a goof, but it just bugs me. Could J’onn have read the GLs’ minds to know Driq’s name? Wouldn’t that violate “never read minds unless lives at stake y’adda-y’adda-y’adda”?

    Oh the Hawks. I loved them here. I loved Hawkworld. Such a shame we couldn’t have them both.

    Again, wonderful episode, Shagg and Michel! Looking forward to #11! (Jimmy McGlinchey bogarted all my reasons, so … yeah.)

  18. Whoops! Almost forgot. I agreed with Michel’s comment on Keith’s Maguiffen phase on LSH. But I like that run quite a lot. Any other fans of that run?

    1. Total fan here. It’s one of my favorite reads and I LOVE the art.
      I hear and understand all the reasons people why people hate it, but for me, that is a high point of Keith AND the Legion.
      Bu then, this was a Giffen Imperial Phase, wasn’t it? Dr Fate mini, JLI, Legion, Invasion, L.E.G.I.O.N …

  19. !!! I’m finally up to dat—A new episode came out this week?!!! Damn it!

    Just wanted to give Michel Fiffe a salute though. We’ve been carrying on a bromance for a few years now on Siskoid’s Blog of Geekery, I’ve covered one of his stories on Lonely Hearts, and I love love love his art.

    I liked his defense of Millennium. Intent and ambition are worthy of praise, even if we think execution didn’t achieve its ends. But while I think the mini-series itself too often became an intersection where the heroes met to recap what happened in their own books, I’ve usually been pretty positive about the tie-in issues where heroes had to tackle the problem of a traitor in their midst. Not always happy with who turned out to be a Manhunter, but at least elicited an emotional rise. Except in the case of Overthrow. I mean, who thinks you can infiltrate a hero’s life by becoming a z-list villain?

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