JLI Podcast #15 – Justice League International #15 (July 1988)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST and The Irredeemable Shag welcome guest host Jay Jones to discuss Justice League International #15 (July 1988)! Manga Khan and L-Ron continue their barter/conquest of Earth! The JLI receive some unexpected help in the form of Gnort! And Green Flame and Ice Maiden prove their worth to the JLI! Plus Jay 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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21 responses to “JLI Podcast #15 – Justice League International #15 (July 1988)

  1. Fun episode, I love hearing Jay’s cheery voice. Despite the art quality dip, this issue is choc full of wide-screen goofy stuff.

    Blackbriar Thorn?!? I don’t think Shag read the same version of The Cult that I read. Mine had Deacon Blackfire in it.

    1. Dang it!! I thought I might have been getting that wrong. Haven’t read it since it was published. Thanks for the correction.

    2. Another great episode with a great guest! You guys really complement each other as frenemies.

      Not related to this episode, but I was wondering if the definitive look for G’nort you were talking about in a previous episode might be from Joe Staton, who is my favorite G’nort artist.

  2. 1. Some robots I like:

    Robotman (both versions)
    C3PO and R2D2
    Red Tornado
    Bishop

    Jay Jones was a great guest! He didn’t put up with Shag’s passive-aggressive nonsense.

    I like Leialoha and Gordon as an art team, just not on JLI. The cartooniness really looks out of place, esp. on characters like Batman (that one panel of him chasing the crook borders on MAD magazine style). Again, love the art, I just don’t think it’s a good fit.

  3. Irish Embassy calling – I had tried to post earlier but unfortunately, I realised I could not make a post because of the space suit I was wearing. The weird thing was I wasn’t in space! Ah well…

    JLI 15 was a nice wrap up to the initial Manga Khan story line and brought Fire and Ice quickly into the team. It was good to see how competent they were in this story although it was to the detriment of Blue & Gold, who didn’t look great in action by comparison. When Gnort does more to help the team to defeat Manga Khan than two of the main team, it doesn’t paint Ted and Booster in a good light. Don’t get me wrong, I love the humour of Blue & Gold but from about this point, they veered probably too much into slapstick and being buffoons rather than competent heroes.

    Interesting discussion about Captain Atom – from JLI 8 to 22, he was pretty much sidelined and was just either a bit of a hothead (as in firing first at Metron) or was a bit of a quipster (crying out “Justice League Assemble” in the fight against the Construct). If you were to look at him solely through his activities in the JLI title, you would never have chosen him to lead the Superhero forces in Invasion. I think his character was better developed when moving to Justice League Europe. I haven’t read much of his title from that era but I remember that Beetle did not care for Captain in his own title and the time Beetle, Booster and Miracle confronted Captain Atom about him being a spy post-Invasion was done well. If some of that intrigue had been referenced into the JLI title, it would have been good but I only remember it being mentioned briefly in JLI Annual 3 when the teams were being given a tour of the Embassies.

    Great show Shagg and Jay and I look forward to Annual number 2 next time (Joker!!!!) – however Shagg, you can’t tease that we don’t know who the guest host will be when you post a picture of the guest host and you looking at that very issue on Facebook! :)

  4. Quick note on the spelling of Bernie Wrightson’s name. When he first started working professionally he signed his name BERNI without the ‘e’ because, believe it or not, there was another famous person named Bernie Wrightson. That’s how the artist signed his work in the ’60s and throughout the ’70s and ’80s. At some point in the ’90s, he added the ‘e’ and went by BERNIE Wrightson from then on. At the time of BATMAN: THE CULT, he was still going by BERNI, so the house ad messed up.

    1. Aw Ryan, that was the one bit of information I could’ve brought to this feedback.

      Oh well, top episode, always good to hear Jay! I like Manga Khan, it’s good that he wasn’t overused.

      I don’t for a second think the script called the spaceships mundane or whatever as a potshot at Steve L’s art. JM DeMatteis has far too much class. They’ll have been drawn as mundane because the script asked for it, probably as a commentary on space armadas in general.

  5. I’m guessing if Manga Khan had talked to Ferengi his favorite rules of acquisition would be 34 “War is good for business” and 125 “You can’t make a deal if you’re dead.” ,

  6. Jay was a great guest host. I seriously need to check out the SNG podcast, but augh, so many podcasts, so little time! One of my great regrets was *not* following Bate’s original Captain Atom run. Maybe Comixology?

    Gosh, I’m sorry Shagg! I thought I’d given you enough material to help your daughter sleep for 4-5 years. But here’s a suggestion if this comment doesn’t last: explain how Firestorm became a blank slate and then a fire elemental. I bet she’ll sleep like a rock!

    I’m not sure why, but I felt the art worked better in this issue than in #14. Still not great, but this issue has a lot more action with lots of motion. Maybe that suits Leialoha’s style better than the previous issue’s dialog-driven nature, being the setup for the “Big Battle!©” It certainly sold me on Tora’s power level and Bea’s scrapping skills.

    Hats off to the Bwah-hah-hah Award! That would have been my choice as well. But it was a tough call since this issue was crammed with jokes! Another favorite was when G’nort (spelling approved by JMD) joins the team in space and Captain Atom says “We’re looking for a miracle, fella — and you’re it!” J’onn: “He is?” G’nort: “I AM?”

    I also loved Barda’s depiction in this book, and have to give kudos to letterer Bob Lappan for doing his part selling the dialog. “You LOST him?!?!” “GRRRRRRR” “NOW we’re going!” Check out the word balloon choices. So effective! I honestly can’t recall seeing a double-lined word balloon before this issue. Doubtful it’s the first time in comics, but such a cool way to express Barda’s mood.

    Oy, space suits. The team used them in #7, and I do find it funny for our heroes to be stuck in these awkward things, but I really didn’t get why J’onn needs one. Then it hit me. The only reason is communication. Sound needs air to travel, even to a headset, so the suit provides that. And J’onn has to use speaking because his telepathy is not in full “Professor X” mode yet, where he just full-blown conversations with the entire team at all times just through his thoughts. His ability to transmit seemed much more limited in this era. If I’m wrong, and I’m sure experts like Diabolu Frank would know, then I just see no other reason for J’onn’s suit. (that’s a bunch of apostrophes in “J’onn’s”.)

    But another reason to use the suits is one missing member: Guy Gardner. He’s not been along for either space adventure to make a green “Party bubble” for the team, or personal-space-violating green auras, or to use his ring for communication, all things that should be possible for Guy. But he’s absent, both times for hilarious “Nice Guy” situations! So, space suits it is!

    Finally, Captain Atom’s late realization “if I use my powers, I die.” I actually can excuse him because he’s a military man following orders, so when he’s told to put on the suit and go into space, that’s what he does. I’m sorry to say, I *really* fault J’onn for not thinking of this problem! He is the leader, he knows Atom’s powers! So what the frag! (Oh wait, is it too soon to say “frag?”)

    One final thought: in hindsight, it’s amazing how much Lord Manga, the Cluster, and especially L-Ron appear in JLI. They could have been one-time adversaries, never to be seen again. But instead they become a fairly important part of this era. I did not see that coming when I was reading this originally. Did anybody else foresee their longevity?

    Oh, but next issue! A certain penciller returns! YAY! Our long International nightmare is over!

    Pleasant dreams, young Shagglette.

    1. Throughout his history, J’onn J’onzz’s powers and limitations have been consistently defined as “because this story says so.” I have to admit though, despite the assertions made on this podcast, that generally speaking the Manhunter from Mars cannot survive long in the vacuum of space. Otherwise, why would he remain stranded on Earth for decades? With a few exceptions, his unaided space-faring is a relatively modern ability highlighted most recently in the painful New 52 series, where he traveled to the moon and back in short order. One of the many ways that series’ writer betrayed a lack of awareness or interest in the established character.

  7. Fun episode, as always, enhanced by the fact that I can now read the issue beforehand with my JLI Omnibus (Sadly, this is also why I’m so late getting to this. It won’t happen again… at least not for that reason…).

    While I agree with most of your comments on the cover, I was surprised that neither of you mentioned what, to me, is a significant detractor, in that the cover suggests a situation that isn’t remotely in the story itself (specifically, that Manga Khan will suggest bargaining the Earth for the lives of the JLI). I don’t think it completely negates how cool this cover is, but it’s the kind of thing I usually hear commented on.

    Finally, since I doubt there’s going to be a long line of other people pushing to do so, I’d like to side with Jay in defense of Extreme Justice. It was the only JL book I was reading at that point in time, and I was doing so precisely because it brought Firestom back (and back to “Nuclear Man” normal) after an absence of many years and a change “Elemental” status. The importance of this should not be underestimated. I even appreciated the (admittedly convoluted) attempt to fix Monarch after his botched introduction in Armageddon 2001. Sadly, after all that effort to set Monarch up as a recurring threat, no one ever used him again, and Countdown just ignored the fact that Monarch was somewhere out there in the DC universe and reintroduced *another* one! But that’s not EJ’s fault….

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

  8. I’m loving this, I’m a huge JLI fan and I really appreciate what you are doing. I’m almost not into comics anymore, but I still have a great connection with DC material from the 80’s and 90’s, specially the league of gifeen and maguire. I didn’t liked that much as a kid because I was 8 years old and was expecting something like the classic league lol. Couldn’t understood where was Superman and the other characters but eventually became my favorite version of the league ever. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to discuss it.

  9. The only bad thing about the whole run is Steve Leialoha’s work in some numbers, like this one. It’s not that bad, but his faces are not detailed enough and comparing it with Kevin’s work, it wasn’t a clever move. Maybe with another inker things would’ve been different. It’s mostly the comparison between both artists. It was like jumping from Brian Bolland to Norm Breyfogle, it’s just too different but I still enjoyed his issues as well. I do like how he portraits Beatriz though. Manga Khan!! they have to bring him back…

  10. Great episode…
    this is where I stoped buying Justice League regular like… not the books fault, I went through a couple of “no superheroes in my comics” phases and stuff that was or would become Vertigo started to eat up my comic money…
    I got over that silly phase a few times…

    1. OMGM!
      Found old “reading journal”, this was my very first pretentious “I’m better then superheroes” phase. In looking this over it seems a) the Justice League books were the last Superhero books left in my pull, and b) I took comics WAY to seriously in my early 20s.

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