JLI Podcast #21 – Justice League International #21

Another international guest! Canada's own Siskoid joins The Irredeemable Shag to discuss Justice League International #21! The JLI is finally reunited but unfortunately it's on Apokolips! This action-packed (and laugh-packed) issue features the team battling to save Mister Miracle, and a final confrontation with Darkseid! Siskoid 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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31 responses to “JLI Podcast #21 – Justice League International #21

  1. Great episode as always. Glad to know Siskoid was on hand to keep things running the efficient Canadian way.

    I never called the Superman line (but I loved the Ruby-Spears cartoon, thankyouverymuch). I did get permission to call a He-Man one and a Woody Woodpecker one. I honestly can’t remember jack about the He-Man one. I remember the Woody one involved him telling you a story, but in true Woody Woodpecker style he spoke so quickly that you had to wait for the tape to repeat itself so you could try and catch everything he said. Couldn’t tell you how much it ended up costing my folks, but I’m sure it was way more than what the experience was worth.

  2. A quick note while listening: I believe SOME of the art in that Superman Action Line ad was by Keith Giffen himself! I think the images of Darkseid, the Parademon, and the background were art that Giffen produced during the Super Powers era. I’ve seen it on other products of the time, and it looks very Giffen-esque to me. Of course the main image of Supes is by JLGL (PBHN).


  3. Okay, finished listening, and I have a few thoughts.

    Isn’t it funny how…inactive Batman is in the big Apokolips fight scene? He’s basically the straight man to all the zaniness going on. A decade later, Batman would be p’wning Parademons and Fourth World flunkies left and right. Here, Giffen, DeMatteis and Templeton remember that Batman is, ya know…HUMAN. What a concept!

    I totally agree that Darkseid was a lot more intimidating when he was more hands off, and we brought up the same thing in the Sampler, Shag (PLUG!). Darkseid being the bruiser final boss-battle guy is just a yawn fest now since its done so often. Darkseid had very few physical throwdowns in the comics before the last few decades. The first one that really comes to mind is during the Morrison/Porter JLA run, and that was set in a possible future.

    I think we can lay some of the inspiration for this on Bruce Timm and company on the DCAU shows. They built up to Superman’s three big confrontations with Darkseid (like Siskoid mentioned) and each time they were thrilling, visceral slobberknockers. But we had multiple episodes where we saw Darkseid as the behind-the-scenes machinator, so it all worked beautifully. Now everyone wants to rush right into Darkseid as a laser-beam firing Hulk. Like a lot of creators who follow great works, they forget that these really cool WOW moments were the exception, not the rule, and that’s what made them unique. Sigh.

    Great episode gents!


    1. I agree so much with everything you’ve said about Darkseid here. And thank you for describing the most boring use of the character as his “laser-beam firing Hulk” mode. Just perfectly put. I also dislike how Darkseid has gone the way of the Thing over years; he started out rather normal-sized, but is now like nine and a half feet tall. I always found all of the menace and power in a regular sized individual to be more impressive.

  4. I have learned to not use Wikipedia to get story line and crossover lists. Look for binding maps or reading order. plenty of sites will come up with geeky minute detail of crossovers and tie ins.

  5. Great episode, fellas. Agree with you both on your preference of using Darkseid sparingly. Too much Darkseid minimizes the impact of his decisions.

    And yes, he does have a history of appearing in odd settings. In Shag’s other favorite series (I’m sure there’s a show for this coming soon), Darkseid appeared in a coffee shop in Sovereign Seven wearing a trench coat and fedora. He even sipped a cappuccino.

      1. I know it’s in the first trade – so between one and six? Sorry I can’t narrow it down for you more. I lose those issues long ago.

  6. I’d absolutely call that a Dave McKean drawing if it weren’t for that (presumed) signature. And after doing a google image search for samples of his signature, I’ve got to say that could plausibly be one. No close matches, but a lot of variation and a few that look like “Kay” at the end.

    The Suicide Squad Apocalypse plotline was published a couple months after this issue, but the plot and resolution track this one closely enough that I like to imaging that they’re both happening at the same time and in both cases, Darkseid’s willingness to just send everyone home is influenced by his being annoyed by the action in the other series..

  7. Also want to add that Darkseid is a long buildup that won’t pay off for the Post-crisis DC Universe for a long, long time. Legends put him in the game, but that reads like the opening moves in a bigger plan. Then we have stories like this one, the Suicide Squad one, and Superman’s early visits to New Genesis/Apokalips are all ones where Darkseid is detached and disinterested, since they’re not part of his plan. (Even in Cosmic Odyssey Darkseid is in a reactive mode. The next time we see Darkseid actually executing a plan and driving a story, it’s in the dumb, toyetic, and only borderline-in-continuity Super Powers minis. We don’t see a Darkseid-driven story worthy of the buildup for decades, in Rock of Ages.

    (For all the things the new 52 did wrong, it absolutely found the right way to position Darkseid as a DC Universe-scale threat.)

  8. I thought Giffen did a job with Darkseid in LSH 5YL’s “the Quiet Darkness “, I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned.

    1. That’s a thousand years in the future, man! It hasn’t happened yet!

      (In fairness, I did mention Darkseid’s connection to the Legion, and called it just another margin or bubble, like the Fourth World.)

  9. Interesting bit of background on those gap months in DC’s history. Marvel apparently did something similar the following year, but instead of a couple of months with no dates on their covers, they had a couple of months with cover dates that gave the appearance of a biweekly title (“Nov,” then “Mid Nov,” for example) despite the fact that the issues still only came out once a month.

    At least, that’s how it happened in late 1989 with the Transformers comic (the only Marvel title I’ve ever picked up regularly).

      1. I’d have to leave it to someone else to answer that. The striking thing about what I found re: the Marvel (or, at least, the Transformers) parallel was that is was a year after the DC gap, at least as seen in JLI (and thanks as always to Mike’s Amazing World for giving me a place to look up and see whether the JLI-related titles did the same thing again in 1989. They didn’t).

  10. Hello, Irish Embassy here and…


    Oh for the love of….

    *picks up telephone*

    “Hello, is that Apokolips? Who am I speaking to? Oh Verman, hi, how’s it going? Listen, Darkseid is after booming in some more people from Apokolips to the JLI Irish Embassy. Yes, I know it is the best way to get rid of people that are not worthy of his attention, but the neighbours are complaining every time the Boom Tube is opened and I honestly don’t think my insurance covers damage caused by Boom Tube? Could you ask Darkseid to maybe at least alternate to different guests – I know for a fact Ward Hill Terry’s has plenty of room to take a boom tube or too, while Martin Grey is in Scotland so there is no one who would get upset if a boom tube suddenly appears there. You’ll say that to darkseid? Thanks Verman, you’re a star! Say hi to Kanto for me! Bye!”

    Anyway, where was I?

    Oh yes, JLI 21. Siskoid and Shagg worked well together on this episode. It’s almost as if they had podcasted together before!

    The story was a great conclusion to the Apokolips storyline. The team is thrust into the middle of a full scale battle and battle it out with great shots, both physical and verbal. There was great humour from the situation and it was good to see, if briefly, the team flexing its physical prowess. Oberon meeting Darkseid was a brilliant fun episode and as previous commenters have said, it is nice to see Darkseid as a schemer rather than being the physical brute he has been portrayed in recent appearances in the DCU. One appearance I remember well was in the eclipse series where Eclipso and Darkseid engaged in a chess match and exchanged stories. The tagline for Cosmic Odyssey had the right portrayal of what Darkseid is in its tagline: “Darkseid has a plan”.

    Poor Mr. Miracle though – he has been unconscious for the last 6 issues. He is going to need a lot of mouthwash when he gets home!

    I agree with Shagg that what Captain Atom was referring to in the last page was the disappearance of the JLI as per last issue rather than as a foreshadowing of the Invasion storyline. I think the proximity of the tagline at the end probably made some people infer that it was referring to Invasion. Having said that, am looking forward to the coverage of Invasion next episode even though I feel I have heard this being discussed in the Network before…….

    Great show as always and looking forward to the next one.

  11. Black Orchid! Where I discovered Neil andDave! Yeah If you push me I’ll claim this is where my love for Vertigo comes from. If not for this series I would not have given Sandman the second chance. Yeah I know it predates “Vertigo” by a lot, but my love for that style starts with Black Orchid.
    That is the “signature” of either the guy who made her, or the name of said written by someone else.
    I’ll have the fun nd my copy of the trade to be sure. I’m due for a reread anyway.

  12. Lobo. Manga Khan and the Cluster. Apokolips and its New Gods. And the JLI. The slow burn has been building to the only thing it could be: a full issue free-for-all slugfest. Completely atypical for the comic it’s become, and somehow so perfect because it was hilarious! What should be a desperate fight for survival (like the Suicide Sqaud’s version), instead is almost a farce of ultra-violence. “When in doubt, FIGHT!”

    And yes, my man Dmitri was in great form, albeit briefly. “Here I come, to save the daaaaaaay!” You know he has a great Russian baritone voice. I mean, obviously.

    So Scott was captured in the middle of the Spring semester of college, and this issue came out just as the Fall semester had started. Dang! Between that and the Mr Miracle series coming out, I think this marked the beginning of Scott fading out of JLI. In my memory, his appearances are as sporadic as Batman’s by the time Invasion is done. That really makes me sad.

    Totally agree with Darkseid as manipulator. But let’s not discount LSH’s The Great Darkness saga too much. I wasn’t collecting during the Kirby era, so for me, that story established the big D as “the” big bad of the DCU. It’s not important that it doesn’t necessarily fit into present day continuity. It was that big a deal for me.

    So many awesome faces and expressions by Templeton this issue, he definitely made JLI his book. Wonderful stuff. (What’s that? Maguire’s back next issue. Hee-hee-hee-ha-ha-mwuh-huhuh-hHAHAHAHAH!)

    I’d always read Captain Atom’s panic at just the JLI being missing, and not as an Invasion! prelude. Mostly because he’s just not that panicked. He doesn’t try *that* hard to stop the team from wandering off, let alone being willing to joke about putting Gnort on the phone with Reagan, which would be hysterical! But I will concede that “The UN Security Council is in special session–” sounds like more than concern for the missing heroes. I’m not swayed, but interesting.

    Sorry for the short response. I’ll try better next time. Don’t want Shag’s daughter to get behind on her sleep.

  13. By the by we do know that the last part with Captain Atom was directly referencing Invasion! because of the first panel in the next issue (#22).

    Oberon says to Maxwell lord:
    “Oh I don’t know Max. Being boom-tubed to Apokolips*–Then coming home to find out that Earth’s been invaded by Aliens** What’s so exciting about that.”
    *last issue

      1. No problem though I hope you’re not trying to use this to prove it.

        “DRUNK‽ not so.
        See your honour, I wasn’t drunk, I knew it was connected to Invasion!.”

  14. This issue was the first JLI issue I bought and really the first Justice League book of any kind I picked up. I knew a few characters from random Who’s Who issues around this time, but I’m betting the appearance of Darkseid cemented the purchase for me.

    I was a huge Super Powers fan so this seemed superb to me. And my young mind had no problem picking up midstream.

  15. Hey guys. I love this show and as I get closer to being fully caught up I always find things to comment on.
    In this case it’s the Bwah-ha-ha moment. First of all I totally agree that the Darkseid/Oberon exchange is the clear winner. However I don’t think Oberon’s stammering sounds like “Yee yee yee yee yee.”
    Instead I think it sounds exactly like it’s spelled as if Oberon is trying to say Yikes! but can’t get the word out so he stammers on it instead. That’s how my friends and I read always read it and it sounds much funnier that way.

  16. I have a long long story about how I eventually tracked down this issue, it was the first time I set up a mail order delivery from my LCS (well not Local local, it was “The Science Fiction Bookshop” in Edinburgh which was 2hrs away from where we lived.

    We visited Edinburgh regularly, my father certainly did with his work and we didn’t even know the store existed until amazingly Teenage Mutant (Hero) Ninja Turtles had become massively popular in the run up to Christmas and there was newspaper article about the store in the national (but Edinburgh based) press. Up until this time I had mostly relied on newsstand to collect JLI (Oh the horror and risks) and other DC Comics – a story for another day. I’d missed the odd issue – and had used mail order back issues to collect (Issue 3 springs to mind on that one) that I had found advertised in UK reprint books. Many of my original JLI issues even bag and boarded are not for resale because they have my surname written on them by the Newsagent who put them aside for me so I didn’t miss them on delivery. IT was common back then to write the name of whoever had ordered the comic, newspaper or magazine from the newsagent before they were collected from the store….. Thankfully those issues are dear to my heart and I would never ever sell them – but could you imagine if your LCS did that now for anything in your pull box? The horror the horror.

    Anyway where was I? Oh yes after getting fed up with the Newsstand Roulette of collecting comics I decided it was time to pay WAY more than cover price to get the comics faster (airshipped instead of sea freight) to my door. It would have been maybe November 1988 I was doing a paper round by now which partly paid for the comics – I wouldn’t get to work in a shop until the next summer where ironically I would work in one of the two comic stores that opened in my small town at the same time (and then closed soon after). So while this issue was seminal for me personally – by moving to mail order delivery – i realise it’s not a bigger deal for that many readers.

    Now that preamble is out of the way on to this issue itself and I have to admit that I re-read it digitally on the DC infinity App and using the guided view (as recommended by Shag) was brilliant because the Bwah-ha-ha moment was revealed perfectly to the point I genuinely burst out laughing. It felt like a proper punchline in a visual joke to have the dark panels of Oberon in the sewer to suddenly Bang full screen shot of Darkseid. I don’t recall if that was set up as well in the printed copy – you would hope that the page would have been on the Right hand side of the book with an ad on the left pages so you don’t get that reveal until you turn the page. It’s something unique to comics to be able to do that if you can the placement right. It’s impact won’t be as good in the trades I don’t think. But however it is – it certainly deserved the Bwah-ha-ha moment.

    Anyway that’s Episode 23? done Issue 21 and now on to the rush to Issue 24. Then when we get to the JLE I can finally get excited about issue 4 where I get a name check in the letter column (with my full Sunday name as well)

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