JLI Podcast #13 – Justice League International #13 (May 1988)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST and The Irredeemable Shag welcome guest host Aaron “Head” Moss to discuss Justice League International #13 (May 1988) and Suicide Squad #13 (May 1988)! It’s a crossover where the JLI come face-to-face with Task Force X! Aaron and Shag cover what was on the shelves that same month, recap and discuss the JLI and Suicide Squad issues, and tackle YOUR listener feedback!

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48 responses to “JLI Podcast #13 – Justice League International #13 (May 1988)

  1. “Was this an effective crossover?” Hey, it worked on me! I read the Squad issue first – I was 8 – and on the strength of that story alone, I became a fan of both the Squad *and* the JLI. Safe to say this sparked an unhealthy obsession with comics that continues to this day.

    Re: Leialoha on upcoming JLI issues. I’ve always liked his stuff and never minded his fill-ins. But now that I think about it, I can’t help but think that the mark was a little off. Who else would’ve been a good fit? Two more issues of Giffen would’ve been sweet, but he was slammed drawing Video Jack. Two possible replacements that were on Helfer’s speed dial but were unfortunately deep into their respective projects: Kyle Baker and José Luis García-López. (!!!!!!) Hell, Kevin Nowlan wasn’t locked into anything major. Neither was Ty Templeton!

  2. “Was this an effective crossover?” Hell, it was effective even before I read it! I’d been reading JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL and when it came to these issues, I decided to figure out who the SUICIDE SQUAD was before reading the crossover. I binged the first year of SUICIDE SQUAD issues and discovered how much I loved that series and Ostrander’s work with the characters. So, yeah, the crossover got me reading the other series, but maybe not the way the creators intended.

    Great episode as always, Shag. Aaron did a great job representing his Task Force.

  3. I love how some of the “fighting pairs” just hid in a corner and talked instead.

    To your question about Duchess, it wasn’t yet SAID outright, but always had been heavily implied. I knew from her first appearance, and any other identity would have been a surprise I think.

    Great episode, with 2 of my favorite comics/teams of the mid-80s!

      1. But it gets confusing on what she remembers and when as in this episode, she seemed to freak out as she knew Scott, but couldn’t remember from where… Like I think Shag said, if she was faking, it would have been smarter to keep quiet as Scott didn’t seem to recognize her.

        But in Suicide Squad a few months later, it’s clear that Amanda knows who she is and it’s equally clear (to me) that Duchess also knows who she is and is playing with The Wall. (in the issues I’m currently covering on my Task Force X podcast *plug plug*).

        I think she might have had some amnesia and slowly over time got her memories back… but I’m not willing to bet the farm on that…..

        What do you guys think?

        1. Duchess’ reaction to Scott only makes sense if she has some amnesia. But one thing to consider: was she completely amnesiac, saw Scott, her memory starting returning making her blurt out “why do I know you?”, and her memory finishes returning. So it’s not an absolute of having or faking memory loss, but starting out with memory loss, and seeing Mr Miracle in costume was the trigger to begin the restoration process. Hmmmmm.

          Or, what is Duchess is a completely chaotic personality? And recognizing Scott is just her playing a game just to cause confusion? I wouldn’t put it past her, but it’s a real stretch in terms of writing her. I didn’t the impression Ostrander wrote Duchess/Lashina as outright insane. Not really favoring this theory, but who knows. Those Apokoliptians can sometimes just act nuts!

  4. I’m glad you are doing this show concurrently with Knightcast Shag. You’re a few months ahead of us, but it’s interesting to see that Batman is being portrayed as the obsessive control freak in JLI, and we haven’t really seen it yet in Batman/Detective in our coverage. In fact, I remember being kind of surprised how torn-up Batman was about the Squad in these issues. It does jibe with Barr’s portrayal of Batman in BATO, so I think that title’s portrayal was far more influential on the Post-Crisis Batman than most give it credit for.

    And in defense of my bringing up Max’s heel turn in Countdown to Infinite Crisis…I’m just saying, the groundwork was there IF a creator wanted to go in that direction. I had forgotten how slimy Max initially was. And I still don’t buy the JLI taking him in on faith as they did. I hate what they did with Max and especially Ted, but…I don’t think it was as out of left field as a lot of these “surprise twists” we’ve seen in comics before. Gwen Stacy shagging Norman Osborn: hackneyed crap. Max Lord going betraying his former teammates for what he considers “the greater good”. Plausible.

    Chris

      1. Dreamslayer of the Extremists took possession of Max, amplifying his mental power greatly so he could easily “push” several people at once without getting a nosebleed. After the villain was purged, Max had several thoughts of regret and shame over the deaths he caused, even thought they weren’t his fault. This is a great example of why the Countdown changes to Max just don’t add up. IMHO.

  5. This crossover made me a Justice League guy, as opposed to a Suicide Squad guy… there was much debate as to which was “bettter”.

  6. Hey Shagg, loved the show, but really missed Maguire’s work in it all. In reference to Leiloha’s work, I think it was his trying to adhere to Giffen’s panel breakdowns’ that hurt his pencils, though that is just an opinion. I never went out of my way for his work, but I did not hate it. Now on to the comment discussion on Metron. I think Maguire was using Jonathan Harris, the infamous Dr. Smith (That big booby) from “Lost in Space” as his character model for Metron. I got a Dr. Smith vibe from him and even heard Harris’s voice when Metron spoke. It was kinda like his Cylon character back in the late 70’s “Battlestar Galactica”. Next, I wanted to ask a question on the dual covers. I did not hear you guys mention the fact the the covers omitted characters that showed up on the others, like Beetle, Martian Manhunter, Bronze Tiger and Deadshot. They each showed upon one cover, but not the other in what should be a mirror image. I guess it could have been considered not a mirror image and from a slightly different angle. I just found that odd. anyway, keep up the great work. You keep recording, I will keep listening.

    Brian Hughes
    3rd Degree Byrne
    Fear the Walking Deadcast
    Twotruefreaks.com

    1. I may have to relisten, but I thought I brought this up (the character’s missing from one another’s cover). It was one of the “bad things” on a great couple of covers. If I didn’t mention it, I thought it… I may have mentioned it on my Task Force X episode from last year that I did with Crocodile… err Capt. Boomerang and just thought I mentioned it here…

      Early stages of Alzheimers I think….

      But on behalf of Shag (as we know he won’t say anything nice), thanks for the comments and listening to the show.

  7. I heard Shagg say that I was right twice. So … great episode!!!!

    Seriously, this was a Reese’s cup of a crossover. Two very different teams that made a great story together. Likewise for Shagg and Aaron. You both were having lots of fun discussing these issues, and it was a joy to hear. Cheers!

    Side note: when I started re-reading JLI to follow this podcast, I also started reading the same issues of Suicide Squad. Since both series started after Legends, it’s a fun way to relive those years of collecting. How did two such different teams/books become the major hits of DC at that time? Interesting times!

    Maybe this is just me, but when Flag is on the phone with Waller (see the image gallery), I figured his left hand was doing “blah blah blah” movements. Just imagine Flag thinking to himself “yeah, whatever, blah blah blah” during the phone call, and the hand motion makes more sense. Absolutely hilarious!

    The Captain Atom/Nightshade scenes were also a great highlight. When it comes to their history, I thought the Secret Origins issue for Nightshade (someone should do a podcast on that, cough, cough) revealed that the silver age Captain Atom stories were actually Nightshade’s adventures, but with King Faraday filling in for the Captain. Am I remembering that wrong?

    Coincidentally, when I was really young, I sometimes got those 3-packs of comics from toy stores for Christmas. One of those packs had a Captain Atom comic featuring the first appearance of Punch & Jewellee, and Nightshade helped beat the duo. That issue is long gone, but it still was a treat to see all four of those characters return in a big way in the 80s.

    Now, I do have one nitpick about this story. In JLI, when the Squad is invading the prison, they take out a lot of guards. Did they KILL them? Giffen’s art leaves this very vague. If so, how can the League justify letting them go? These are Soviet soldiers doing their job, and that would be outright murder, not self-defense. If they’re just knocked out, then I can go along with the League (especially J’onn) going along with the plan. But if they’re dead, then I’m on Batman’s side. Thoughts?

    Finally, totally agree on the artwork. Giffen and McDonnell complemented each other well, just as much as the writing/plotting collaboration. And Aaron nails it that McDonnell is better for grim, realistic stories. That may be why JL Detroit wasn’t doing so well under his artwork, but conversely, why Luke was *perfect* for the concluding 4 issues of that run.

    So, I hope that’ll help Shagg’s daughter get to sleep tonight. Always glad to help. 😛

    Looking forward to the next episode! (But not Leialoha’s artwork. sigh.)

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Tim. Means a lot (cuz we know Shag won’t say it).

      As to how the two teams became great successes… I’d say the writers did such a wonderful job (with great artwork (normally)).

      As far as you Rick Flag phone comment, that makes sense. I didn’t really think of it, but now that you mention it, that sounds about right. Thanks.

      It’s been a year or so since I’ve read that Secret Origins, but I think you’re remembering it pretty much right.

      Finally, as far as the guards… with Flag in charge, I’d like to say they were just knocked out. But at the top of pg 18, it looks like blood oozing over the ledge, so that would say that there may have been some extra force used.
      My no prize answer for why the JLI let the Squad go, was that the League was already inside when the Squad did this and when they went out, they went a different way so they didn’t see the bodies. Otherwise, I agree that the JLI would/should have said/done something about the trail of bodies….

  8. Hey, Thim Prize here. How about the great feedback from Tim Price! So insightful! As a completely different person and *not* Tim Price, I have some additional thoughts on the story.

    The Amanda vs Max scenes were so good. Glad Shagg and Aaron appreciated them just as much. That match-up was just as important as any of the other VERSUS pairings in the issue: leader vs leader, but using their strengths. Although, in its way, it was as brutal as Flag vs Batman. Max’s foot! Ow!

    Speaking of Flag vs Bats: yes, Flag got a little boost, but I thought in Secret Origins Annual featuring the Squad that it showed Flag going one-on-one with brainwashed Bronze Tiger, and holding his own. That could set precedent that Flag’s combat skills are WAY up there. I’ll need to dig that up.

    Another “well done” on the episode. Signing off again. I mean, for the first time since I’ve never posted feedback before because I’m *not* Tim Price. Nope. No way. Nyet. Non.

      1. Careful Aaron, you’ll give me a swelled head! Far too kind!

        “Burried Alien!” BWAH-HAH-HAHAHAHA! Quasar jokes!

  9. Great episode! Weirdly, in my broken memory head cannon, Vixen had joined the Squad much later, so I forgot about her reunion with J’onn. It totally hit me the first time I read it. I was JLA Detroit for life, so seeing Vixen and J’onn share the weight of that loss was a powerful emotional surprise from a usually comical book.

    Loved revisiting this crossover. Two great books at the height of their power.

    Sean

  10. Great episode as usual — one question, though… Wasn’t Firestorm Annual #5 before this? (If it wasn’t, how is Batman back on the JLI there?) I was a little surprised Shag especially didn’t mention it even in passing — still one of my favorite JLI/Squad fights with Parasite, Firestorm and Firehawk thrown in as wild cards. (“Your weapon is a gimmick, Boomerang — *I* am my weapon.” and “Great now that I know I’m getting all of you, I can hit you with a couple hundred tons of concrete…. at a couple hundred miles an hour…. a couple hundred times….” are lines that I still love.)

    1. Yes, The Firestorm 64 and Annual 5 came out July of 87 (same time as Suicide Squad and Justice League International #6). That was about 6 months before these issues came out.

      Me and The Irreplaceable Shag covered these issues on Episode 12 of my Task Force X podcast. Shag will be covering it in a couple of years on his Firestorm and Aquaman show…

      As far as him not mentioning it on this episode, I’m going to blame Shag’s advanced age as being the reason behind it… that and we were trying to cover 2 comics and both of us just forgot about these comics when we were recording (and it was late at night).

      Good catch SDF.

  11. This was a very enjoyable show loved it top to bottom your comments about the in the house ads reminded me how much I loved the Crimson adventure and I reading that miniseries

  12. Great episode as ever. I was reading both books at the time and enjoyed seeing the teams come together hugely.

    ‘Someone’s moved our cheese’ – I’d never heard this expression previously, but the day I heard you say it, Shag, the author of the book of that name died. Just sayin’.

    Oh this is picky Shag, and you probably knew and were just going for a gag, but when you said JLI editor Andy Helfer would have no problems getting an ad for the Shadow in there… the ads were organised as blocks throughout the entire line, so it would have been in all the books that month.

    So Kevin Maguire says he only ever based Max Lord on Sam Neill in a single panel? Well it obviously made an impression as that’s all I ever saw from his first entrance, a character visually modelled on this terrific actor. Perhaps he didn’t deliberately reference Sam but he must’ve had him in mind all along

    Now come on Shag, if you’re disqualifying Clark Gregg’s Coulson as a supporting character who caught on because he debuted in Marvel films, then you have to out (ho ho) Renee Montoya for beginning in the telly cartoons. OK, she appeared in print first, but she was created for TV.

    Would someone check the basement teleporter? We’re missing Jimmy McGlinchy!

  13. Irish Embassy here. Sorry for the delay in replying – I have been dealing with the exterminators about the Aaron Moss infestation that has been found in all the embassies. People, please, if you see an Aaron Moss nibbling Oreos in the embassy, do not approach him. The last person who did this was Guy Gardner, who chased him under the table, banged his (Guy’s) head and is now currently singing the back catalogue of James Blunt to anyone who would listen!

    Another great episode Shagg and Aaron. I read these stories first in the UK Reprints that Martin Gray was involved in and it was my first exposure to the Squad. Luckily, the UK magazine gave a handy text piece outlining who was who in the Squad. I loved the interactions with the League and when I started buying the American comics, started to collect the Squad. That iteration by Ostrander and Yale was a great series and it is good to see it being collected in the trades.

    I’m surprised that there was so little discussion on the “Most likely to be killed off in Suicide Squad” character of Javelin, or as Booster pointed out in the story, someone who had an impeccable dress sense like him! Guess they wanted to save Javelin’s death for a bigger story, like War of the Gods (cough). I did pick up Javelin’s first appearance in Green Lantern and it was amazing that he was actually able to go toe to toe with Hal.

    The battles between JLI and the Squad were well done and this was a nice interlude for the teams before the upcoming Nightshade Oddessy and Shop or Die storylines for the two teams.

    Now, be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting Awwon Moss….huh huh huh!

    1. Javelin who? Was he in this issue….

      Since Shag has fled the country (and I don’t think he knows how to say anything nice), I’ll say thank you for the kind words Elmer… I mean Jimmy.. and glad you didn’t get lost in the teleporter….. I was afraid I messed it up when I was playing with the settings.

      Glad to hear that the UK books gave you a text piece outlining the Squad members. And I have to agree with your comments about loving Ostrander’s work and that it’s finally being collected in trades. Now if we can just get an awesome movie that the Squad deserves.

      And yes, this was a nice relaxing battle before the Nightshade Odyssey (which me and Ryan covered in episode 24 of Task Force X *plug plug*)

      Oh darn… I think I see Jimmy coming my way…. time to take my pack (well, it was J’onn’s, but now it’s mine) of Oreos and skedaddle to my next hidey hole.

  14. Very late to the party, so I’ll keep it brief.

    I think Steve Leialoha’s covers were among the weakest of the Giffen/DeMatteis run. I just glaze over the JLI #13 one, so it’s odd that I like the SS #13 variation so much better that I though it was by Luke McDonnell instead. The backs of the JLI versus a bunch of minor leaguers doesn’t work as well as the Squad with its backs to the wall against oncoming Leaguers. Plus, Mr. Miracle suits his style the best, and is given a better showcase on the Suicide Squad cover.

    I read this two-parter as a back issue, probably in the late ’90s. I felt like JLI #9-12 were solid to varying degrees, but this issue was an uptick, followed by a few more lesser issues. Conversely, Suicide Squad was on a consistent elevation after struggling a bit with me in the earlier issues. So the crossover was a high water mark for both books that would go on to heavily influence comics that followed to this day.

    I miss flats. These reproduced pages look great with simple but effective art and colors that didn’t reek of desperation to compete with CGI or video game pixels.

  15. I may be in the minority, but I didn’t think this was the most effective crossover. Yes, I was reading both titles, and the VS match-ups were handled beautifully. But I didn’t think the slapstick style fit well with the Squad. And even though McDonnell’s art is darker, I’d take his penciling over Giffen’s in this era. I liked Giffen’s earlier artwork with the Legion, but to me his later stuff just seem sloppy and rushed.

    Regarding Flagg’s martial prowess, I think the Mayfair stats handled that quite well. Flagg’s Martial Arts skill wasn’t at Batman or the Tiger’s level, but it shows what a couple levels of the “Mind Over Matter” power could do.

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