JLI Podcast #12 – Justice League International #12 (Apr 1988)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST and The Irredeemable Shag welcome guest and comic's professional Thom Zahler to discuss Justice League International #12 (Apr 1988)! Finally, all of Maxwell Lord's secrets revealed! Plus we finish up the first year of JLI comics! Thom and Shag cover what was on the shelves that same month, recap and discuss the JLI issue, and tackle YOUR listener feedback!

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47 responses to “JLI Podcast #12 – Justice League International #12 (Apr 1988)

  1. I actually think Shag’s first choice for Bwah-Ha-Ha Award–the Star Trek banter between Blue Beetle and Mister Miracle–should have won. I rolled my eyes in weary exasperation when Shag dismissed his clearly superior option in favor of a lesser comedic moment. Thom’s choice, however, was a close second. You could even lump the two panels together as one scene and award them both.

  2. Thanks for one of the best shows yet, you and Thom made for a nice pairing. And Mr Z has a great voice.

    Thom is entirely correct about Max looking pained on that cover, but I do love covers with lines emanating from a central point. Neal Adams gave us a classic of the form with Action Comics #466, the one with Luther punching a Superbabied Superman.

    Thom’s précis was really amusing – and I thought you wrote them for people, Shagg!

    I liked this story. I was predisposed to like Max because of his likeness to Sam Neill, of course, but this story made it OK to be a fan. The mastermind computer in a cave bit was done several years previously, of course, in Captain Britain.

    I think you overestimate how much people like Maria Hill – she exists only to be a jerk and was inflicted on us by Bendis at every opportunity. I hate how no Marvel team these days gets to exist without oversight/interference from SHIELD and she is symptomatic of that (UK equivalent STRIKE from Captain Britain would never be such pillocks).

    A supporting character who caught on in the last couple of decades? It’s tough, given how little time is given to private lives nowadays. Whatever happened to,,, Secret Identities? How about Damian Wayne? He was certainly a supporting player for a couple of years before being promoted to a leading role.

    My favourite JM DeMatteis story is his lengthy Dr Fate run, basically one long meditation on loss and love and life and hope, beautifully drawn by Shawn McManus and with a killer final issue. Neat lettercols, too!

    I always like the Global Guardians too. Did everyone read their Primal Force series after Zero Hour? Now that would make for an excellent episode of Fire and Water Presents. I never get to hear that book discussed, or to talk about it with anybody.

    1. Oh heck, forgot to say, the Seventies Mister Miracle revival wasn’t limited to the three issues from Englehart and Rogers, these were immediately followed by three issues of Steve Gerber/Michael Golden Goodness. Loved ’em!

  3. For years I’ve wondered who Maguire based his Metron on. He certainly looks familiar, especially when he’s looking down his nose at the Leaguers. But I Just can’t place him. I almost get a Roddy McDowell vibe from him there, but not quite.

    Thom (can I call you Thom with a hard “H”?) was a great guest! You keep getting all these comic pros on this show and making the rest of us look bad Shag! The idea of a time travel story based out of a winery is just too unique to ignore. I must check this out!

    I hate to be a negative Nancy, but I had this same thought in 1987, so I’ll bring it up here: would the JLI REALLY trust Max after all of this? Maybe if they set it up that they wanted to keep an eye on him, or something, but just because J’onn mind-melded with him, that seems a bit loose to go on based on what he did and what he had planned to do. I hate to say this, but maybe there was more to Max’s turn in Countdown to Final Crisis than most folks want to acknowledge? I don’t want to admit it either, but I hate to say he seems more sinister than I remember.

    It is odd that Mister Miracle was thrust into the spotlight so hard in this era. The Super Powers figure;the JLI post after no appearance in Legends; the one-shot. After nearly a decade of relative obscurity, he came back strong out of nowhere.

    Great episode as always and if anyone wants to go spelunking during Heroes Con…count me out!!!


    1. What’s in the water, because I’m agreeing with Franklin? The league was way too lax with Max after this. You know what that can get them? A bullet in the head!

  4. My entry for the Yard Sale Artist contest:

    My favorite J.M DeMatteis story actually comes from animation…the Thundercats reboot, to be exact. It’s an episode called “Song of the Petalars” Long story short, the cats come across a race of little plant people called Petalars. Now, why pick this over something like a JLI or Mister Miracle story? The episode focuses on the preciousness of life. The Petalars age at an accelerated rate. One of the children forms a bond with Lion-O and as the cats escort them through the forest to their destination, the child becomes a teenager, and adult and eventually an older man. I won’t give away the episode, but needless to say it’s quite touching and shows that our experiences shape who we are and how precious life is. This could have come off very corny or have had apt comparisons to something like The Smurfs or Ferngully, but I dare you to watch it and not get choked up by the music or the message. It’s a true testament to Mr. DeMatteis writing and that’s why it’s my favorite of his stories.

  5. Thom was a thremendous guest, very arthiculate and a huge comic thalent to boot.

    I know this opinion can be unpopular, but I embrace the changes that were made to Max’s character in the lead up to Infinite Crisis. Max had some built in sketchiness already. I hated that Ted died, but I loved that it led to a continuation of his legacy.

    I usually decline entering your competitions as I dislike inflicting overseas postage on people, but that Yard Sale Artist piece is too awesome. My fave JM DeMatteis work is his JLI creator reunion on the Metal Men backups in Giffen’s Doom Patrol volume 5. Metal Men were a perfect comedic vehicle for his sharp dialogue. Loved it.

    1. Thanks for the kind words about my marker piece, Paul! Good luck on it!

      Metal Men & Doom Patrol are a kind of blind spot for me in comics that I’m getting more & more interested in thanks to a lot of the wonderful podcast work out there!

  6. Another issue I don’t have and so I am learning about this from you.
    As a result, not much to add to the JL story. Glad to learn about this piece of Lord history. Semi-sympathetic here!

    But I do have a few comments about some of the stuff mentioned elsewhere.

    I thought Action Comics #600 did a great job explaining why Superman and Wonder Woman would never be a couple. In a few short pages it became apparent, he is a simple country farm boy. He wasn’t comfortable running around Olympus. He felt like a fish out of water with her. So they can be friends not lovers. Great story.

    I just semi-reviewed the Englehart/Rogers Mister Miracle on my site. I bought it off the rack way back in the day. It is just gorgeous. I didn;t understand it then. I kind of get it now. But it is definitely worth looking for.

    As for JM Dematteis? I love JL 3000/3001. But my favorite is his one shot Elseworlds called Supergirl:Wings. It is a philosophical and rather religious look at angelic beings being tempted. It was a nice riff on the troubled Linda Danvers/Matrix character in the Peter David Supergirl at the time. And it’s Supergirl (sort of)! What’s not to like!

    1. Psst. We didn’t say Yard Sale Artist – but like Flanger, I wouldn’t wish to impose a big postage bill on anybody. I just wanted to worship at the feet of DeMatteis!

      1. I don’t mind shilling out the shillings (I’m overly proud of that joke) for you, Martin. Good luck in the raffle & thanks for liking the art piece!

  7. I’m hard-pressed to think of a supporting character introduced *since* Max Lord whose popularity rose so quickly, but I’m particularly fond of Superman’s pal Bibbo, who seems to have been introduced in the same month.

    As to the favorite J.M. DeMatteis story (for Yard Sale Artist), I’m indebted to Mike’s Amazing World for jogging my memory. HIs work on the final four-issue story arc that closed off the original Justice League of America surely deserves mention, but I’ll give my nomination to the issue that comes just *before* it (JLA #257), which features one final appearance (in JLA) by Firestorm, who arrives to beg for help in defeating Brimstone, a battle which sets up that final arc.

    Finally, a word defending the spelling of Thom’s name, which I have understood to be a viable alternative to other spellings since at least 1980, when Thom McKee, the Ken Jennings of his generation, established a then-unprecedented 46-episode streak on the game show Tic Tac Dough in 1980, winning over $300,000 in cash and prizes (a practically unheard of amount for that show, and a solid $100,000+ more than the next-highest winner). In fact, according to his Wikipedia entry, Thom *still* holds the record for most individual games played in a row (88 games) thanks to the nature of Tic Tac Dough’s gameplay allowing for tie games (Wikipedia specifies this is the “American” record, but I know of no international rival on this point). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thom_McKee

  8. Bibbo was just mentioned above, but there’a another massively popular DC supporting character introduced around the same time as Max Lord-well, few months earlier, I guess. But I suspect you’ll have some things to say about her next week, no?

    Since then, Hm. Starman was lousy with great supporting chracters, Bobo and the O’Dares to name a few. But for even more recent additions, I’d go across to the Marvel side and name Amadeus Cho and Phil Coulson. Maybe Diggle for DC too? (Has he Jimmy Olsened into main DC continuity yet?)

      1. I think as long as they’ve found a significant and lasting place in the comics afterwards, other-media debuts don’t matter. So yes for Jimmy, Diggle, and Coulson; no for Chloe Sullivan.

  9. Senor Magico is a recent supporting creation in the Power Man & Iron Fist comic by David F Walker & Sanford Greene. Mark my words, that guy is going to stick.

  10. My favorite JMD arc is probably (an unoriginally) the initial run on JLI. It really opened my eyes to fresh storytelling & the DC Universe in general! And I love the Yard Sale Artist because he’s the sexiest man alive & if I win, I get to keep the original to sell it & I save on shipping! Pick me, Shagg!!! Lol!

  11. Zoinks! The Yard Sale Artist has done it again! LOVE that art! My favorite JM Dematteis story is Justice League #5, the one punch issue! I love the whole series, but I’m picking that one because I had my son, Silas (12), read those first issues and I really enjoyed talking up the fight and then getting his reaction afterwards. It’s something we can laugh about along with Blue Beetle, and Black Canary’s reaction was priceless! Having said that, I’m definitely going to seek out more JMD stories, like his Spider-Man and Captain America runs, that I haven’t read yet.

    When you mentioned supporting characters that have been embraced by fandom, Harold from the Batbooks was the first one I thought of. I like how Batman took him in and let him live in the Batcave, and he had a great rapport with Ace as well. He also built useful tools for Batman.

    What a coup! Thom Zahler was a great guest on another great episode! Will we be seeing returns for guests once you get into JLE, JLQ, etc.? I like that you’re getting a different guest for each issue, but I wouldn’t mind seeing former guests return on different series.

    1. I guess I meant JM DeMatteis in my comment. I wasn’t sure on the spelling. You know, when I was trying to win that awesome art by the Yard Sale Artist and I picked Justice League #5, with the one punch and priceless reactions, as my favorite JMD story? Hey, I think I just entered again! Zoinks!

  12. I’m fairly anti-social and don’t chat much with artists I get commissions from, so it’s nice to know for sure Thom Zahler is a good guy besides being a great artist who has helped me indulge in our mutual love of Martian Manhunter a fair few times now.

    I thought I heard Kevin Maguire disputed Max being based on Sam Neill, even though he really, really looks like Sam Neill. I haven’t read #11-12 but once or twice, and don’t recall particularly liking this story. I do like Max Lord, but only forward from this point, and especially because of the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire run’s final story.

    “Me-Tron” sounds like a Snapchat filter or someone discussing a film about people getting sucked into an arcade game in broken English. Metron is Kirby’s shortened version of “Meta-tron”, so “Met Ron.”

    People like Maria Hill? How about Bob the Hydra Agent or Fat Cobra?

    DC Bloodlines has proven to be a taxing podcast to produce, especially lately due to association with a particularly distasteful writer, which is why the last two episodes of this “season” are late and I’m looking forward to a lengthy hiatus from it. However, the plan is to individually spotlight a bunch of Global Guardians, as we’ve already done with Dr. Mist and the Green Fury radio play. I love the concept.

    Shag does kind of look like Shaggy-Beetle. The goggles and skullcap help. I’m digging that Daphne. I disqualify myself from the contest because I won’t pick just one DeMatteis story. Highlights include his run on Captain America, “The End of the Justice League of America,” and numerous Justice League America stories. So basically, I like him best when he’s writing something with “America” in the title.

    1. I was noticing the “ME-tron” scourge show up in the recent “Gimme That Star Trek” episode, too. What is it about F&W Network folks that compels them to ignore basic rules of phonetics?

      In Siskoid’s defense, apparently the pronunciation of “Metron” in “The Arena” varies throughout the episode, but not only is “Meh-tron” is how the alien pronounces their own name, but the alternative given there is “Meh-troan”, which is something else entirely!

  13. Irish Embassy calling, and I have recived a very irate e-mail from Cave Carson, who says that he can’t go spelunking any more without coming across another dead CEO. People, dead CEOs should not be dumped in the bottom of caves – they are recyclable and should go on the compost heap. Please think of the environment!

    Another excellent show from Shagg and Thom. I managed to come across Thom’s Love and Capes series and would heartily recommend this to anyone – very funny and sweet series.

    I see a few people have queried Max’s “Road to Damascus” conversion and easy acceptance by the League of his new benevolent status. Looking back, it does seem a bit convenient, but my guess is that the writers wanted to progress beyond the evil Max storyline and not have to refer this for the next 12 months while new storylines develop. And as I recall, Max was in the hospital for the next few issues so the writers developed a bit of distance before integrating him back into the team.

    Regarding supporting characters that grew popular, I’m surprised no one mentioned Renee Montoya, who went from a bit role to the major character in Gotham Central, and then beyond into 52. I would also mention all the supporting cast from Garth Ennis’ Hitman series – all great characters.

    For the Yard Sale Artist, one of the best JMdM’s stories was the “Going Sane” from Legends of the Dark Knight, which looked at what would happen if the Joker actually achieved his aim of killing Batman. A very deep story and one that shows a side of the Joker that is hidden under the madness.

    Next time – Suicide Squad! Excellent!!!!

  14. Well, as a longtime listener to practically every show on this network (even before some made the switch), who is, in general, pretty terrible at giving feedback, it looks like it took Shag (oh, sorry, the Irredeemable Shag!) and the talented Yardsale Artist offering the chance for some sweet artwork inspired by one of my favorite Comic Creators to acctually get me to come to the website and leave feedback (as opposed to that one email I sent, a ways back).

    As for this issue of Justice League International, I read most of this series back to back, after I found most of them in the back issue bins at the comic store in my college town, so never had the suspense of “who is Maxwell Lord?”, for more than a few hours, at least. I grew to love Fire and Ice, so this issue marking the beginning of their plans to infiltrate the League of course holds a special place in my heart, as it does for the similar reason of somewhat redeeming Max, who went on to be a great foil for the team, though any affection I might have ever held for the character was squashed when he killed Blue Beetle in Infinite Crisis.

    And as far as the contest goes, my favorite JMDM story is actually not genre fiction at all. It is, instead, the semi-autobiographical Brooklyn Dreams, drawn by the wonderfully talented Glenn Barr. A 4-part epic over 4 digest sized volumes, they came out ~my freshman year of college (about the same time I went deep diving for DC back issues that netted me the JLI run) and it was a perfectly timed coming of age story that was quite unlike my own, yet with so many similarities its kinda uncanny, at times. If you haven’t read it before, you owe it to yourself to do so. Coincidentally enough, the sponsor of this very network has it in stock!


  15. Great episode! And I have to agree with Shag (eeeewwha ……I just threw up a little). When you can work the word “metronome” in to a funny bit, it should get a award of some kind.
    As far as my favorite JM DeMatteis story, I have to do with the first arc of Justice League (International). It give us the beginning of the Blue and Gold. And the “One Punch” doesn’t hurt either.
    The JLI Scooby Doo mash up art by Jarrod Alberich aka…
    The Yard sale Artist is brilliant! It would be well loved with me.

  16. What’s that I hear? The JLI Podcast is getting so little listener feedback that it’s resorted to a contest to encourage more fans to write in? Well! Allow me to rectify that situation! Just give me a moment to prepare…

    Dictionary? Check. Thesaurus? Check. Manga Khan’s Guide to Dramatic Correspondence? Check.

    Another great show, Shagg! You and Thom brought up lots of good points on the issue, even though Thom obviously hasn’t read “Legends” to make that gaffe about Mr. Miracle! Yes, I was literally shouting at him while listening to the show during that part. (Excited? Me?) Thanks for setting him straight, Shagg.

    The cover always bothers me as not reflecting the story literally. Aside from the bullet patchwork, Max is never “part machine” in any sense. Sure, his partnership with Evil Puter inspired the cover, but it’s not as symbiotic of a relationship as the image implies. (Thesaurus paying off, right there!) I mean, it’s a beautiful Maguire cover as always, but it just didn’t work for me.

    “Metronome.” Still love that. With so little time for jokes in this issue, we can count on Beetle to get in a zinger. And not enough Black Canary either. Only one issue to go. Oh no, I feel a Canary Cry coming on.

    Ok, crazy question if you read the trades first. Those of us that read the individual issues saw the backup in #8 with the Global Guardians being shut down, so seeing them again in #12 was just a continuation of that subplot, including the Tuatara/parking gag. But since the trades didn’t have those backup stories, was it a big surprise in #12? Did it feel out of left field or forced or just weird? I’m really curious your take.

    And then there’s Ice Maiden and Green Flame. Did Giffen and DeMatteis know they were losing Canary, and thus laid the groundwork to get some replacement characters on the team? Or were they trying to add some much needed women? Hmmmm.

    Hey, about that contest: Big shout out to Yard Sale Artist on that fun JL-Doo piece! Love it! I must say, while I have great affection for the Dr. Fate and Mr. Miracle runs, my favorite JM DeMatteis story was in Spectacular Spider-Man, in the opening storyline versus Harry Goblin where Peter is forced to face the loss of his parents. Not to get too real here, but that spoke to me quite personally, and Sal Buscema did some of his best, emotionally gut-wrenching work in that run. Thank you JM.

    And … yes, I did hear that bit in the listener feedback. Oh god, I was laughing so hard, I had to pause the podcast so I wouldn’t miss too much! I hope you appreciate that I’ve scaled back my comments this time. (MWUH-HUH-HUHUHUHUUUUUUH!)

    Until next month, same JL-Time, same JL-Channel.

    1. Wait! How could I have forgotten? It’s 3 months without Maguire!


  17. Fire and Ice! They’re on their way. Great episode. Have to agree that the JLI shouldn’t have trusted Max. Gee I wonder if this will haunt them later. The whole Max origin was creepy and while I know they had no idea what DC would 20 years later this whole story just showed how much Max is a sociopath which would explain his rather ” odd” behavior later. Still he was an interesting character for this book and added an air of mystery while still being an obnoxiously fun character. Giffen and DeMatteis knew what they were doing when creating Maxwell Lord. Nice job my friends.

  18. That winery – Brotherhood – is literally next door to where my daughter goes to school and mere minutes from my house.

    Never been there. Although I drive past it with great regularity.

  19. The supporting character I immediately thought of is Amanda Waller from this very era of comics.

    Thom’s story about his Dial H character makes me want to start up my Dial H feature on my blog again. The last issue I covered was New Adv #32, so I’m real close to his design!

    1. I wasn’t going to comment on the supporting character thing, but it’s too fun!

      The big difference with Max and Amanda versus most SupChars is, they’re actually protagonists in the stories, just un-super ones in a superhero story. By their nature, SupChars are either servants (Alfred, Jarvis), comic relief (Woozy Winks), or plot devices (Lois Lane). But Max and Amanda were leaders, AND well-rounded fully-realized characters.

      The 80s had a couple of other examples like this. Heather Hudson in John Byrne’s Alpha Flight. Later writers turned her into a super, but Byrne never intended that. He wanted her to stay a regular person among the supers. Lesser-known perhaps: Candy Southern
      (Angel’s girlfriend) in New Defenders was another norm leader, and showed that writers were all interested in mixing up super-teams with un-super characters. It was a fascinating trend.

      But I can’t think of any that were as popular as Max and Amanda, and stayed un-super in the process. Max’s “pushing” power didn’t change his status for me. He was a normal guy who held his own with extraordinary people.

      BTW Siskoid, I just started listening to your Invasion! podcast. Love it. You’ve been warned!

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