JLI Podcast #28 – Justice League America #28 & Justice League Europe #4

New York Times bestselling author Scott Tipton joins The Irredeemable Shag to discuss Justice League America #28 in which Guy Gardner and Ice go… on a date!!?!?! Then, friend of the Network Dr. Anj is on-call to chat about Justice League Europe #4 when the team has a final showdown with the Queen Bee of Bialya!! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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23 responses to “JLI Podcast #28 – Justice League America #28 & Justice League Europe #4

  1. The guy with the Batman shirt on the cover of #28 is William “BIG” Vogel from Tropic Comics, Miami Beach. (I used to save my allowance for months to binge on their half off back issue sales, which only occurred twice a year). I believe Maguire lived down in Florida and was friendly with the shop.

    I’ll be on the lookout for Scott Tipton’s letters in Gruenwald’s comics!

  2. The Black Hand Cosmic Blaster fizzling bit was a bit diluted for me since it was a couple of years after Star Trek IV came out. By itself, it IS very funny.
    The part of this issue that really hits me is that Guy basically tricks Ice into going to this film. Not just by playing the wounded outcast to get her to agree to the date in the first place…But also, he’s basically selling her on the idea that they’re seeing an innocent film starring (arguably) three of the 80’s most popular television and film actors. He waves off her questioning as she’s trying to make sure they’re really seeing what she thinks they’re supposed to be seeing. The real reason I think she got so mad wasn’t just because he took her to this movie, but also because he conned her into it at every turn.
    In today’s world, I agree…. there’s NO WAY Ice would ever be seen in the same group shot with Guy (and rightfully so) after this. That being said, I became a huge fan of the Guy/Ice relationship and I’ve often likened it to Rocky and Adrian. The funny thing is, we never see it but Guy and Ice go on a few dates between now and issue 45. …but I’ll have more to say when we get to that issue.
    I don’t have much to say about Justice League Europe except to say that Wally’s behavior IS reprehensible…which is one of the reasons I didn’t read JLE all that much when I was getting into all of these books.
    As I’ve said before, I really didn’t start reading the League books until long after they were out and the creative teams changed over following Breakdowns. And I didn’t become really a Flash fan until 1992-3 and the Return of Barry Allen. Now by the time that happened, Mark Waid had really locked Wally down into being more of a one-woman guy. So when I jumped into the Justice League Europe back issues, I was used to a far more improved version of Wally. As a result I didn’t really READ this part of JLE until long after the Morrison JLA run had run it’s course.

    1. one more thing. when Shagg brought up Wally’s hair color finally being corrected, I was reminded of Superman #2 from Last August. At the end of the issue Barry becomes disoriented and Batman reports a similar occurrence on his part. when Barry’s mask is pulled back he has Red hair and at one point even says he forgot which Flash he was.

  3. Another great JLI podcast featuring one of my favourite issues. Boy do I have a lot to say about this one.

    JLA 28
    Let’s start with the cover. This is one of Kevin Maguire’s best. There is so much characterisation, I’m sure all the pervy guys are based on real people. Only Maguire would go out of his way to feature a real Batman t-shirt (JLGL pbhn). I also love the perspective shot of the theatre. You’ve mentioned before that Maguire tends to avoid backgrounds on his covers but when they are there he really goes to town. I also love the use of the Dark Knight Returns styled hoodlums looking down on Guy and Ice menacingly. They’re coloured so well, I’m sure this must be a Bob LeRose job. The use of so many different light sources really works and leads your eye around the image. I also always loved the trash can upc box which leads me into Todd Klein’s cover lettering. Again he is showcasing so much diversity on one cover. From Guy’s balloons that show that classic Gaspar-esque bounce to using that old Orzechowski trick of small letters in a big balloon. Every body brought their A game to this cover.

    Onto the story. I’m pretty sure this is a classic fill-in story. The actual Mike McKone pages in no way reference current continuity. In fact they feel pre-Invasion to me. The Fire in this story is not recovering from illness and her characterisation feels more in line with her first appearances in the book than how she was developed. This is further supported by the use of Green Flame and Ice Maiden which I’d never noticed until Shag pointed it out. They were renamed Fire and Ice during the Apokalips story. This really might have been sat in a drawer for 6 months or so waiting for Ty to want to go on holiday. The last balloon on page 20 where Barda arrives has a real feel of a pasted-in link.

    I have to take a few moments to wax lyrical on Ty Templeton’s work. Next issue is Ty’s last (apart from the Armageddon jam annual that Shag mentioned) so I’m determined to enjoy all his pages. He puts so much acting into the Oberon/Fire conversation on page 2 and that last page splash of Barda is beautiful. I know we’ve got Adam Hughes waiting in the wings but I’m going to miss Ty.

    Onto the meat of the story- the date.
    It’s a classic sitcom set up but I think Giffen and DeMatteis add some fun touches. Guy is an arsehole but I really feel that they present his behaviour as performative. He is being a jerk because he thinks that’s how a man should behave. They very much show him as a character who is ashamed of real feelings and pretends that he doesn’t care even though he does. This has been touched on in previous issues and is developed later. He is damaged but not irredeemably.

    The Black Hand plot is hilarious. I know that it is a little problematic to joke about mental health but there are many positives. The person in therapy is presented as reasonable and relatively well adjusted which is forward thinking for the eighties.

    My final comment on JLA concerns page 2 which really stands out in light of Shag and Anj’s discussion of JLE. Oberon makes a joke about Fire being hot (now we know who is the Shag in the JLA) and he immediately apologises. She responds with a flirty line indicating possible interest but also showing that she is happy with that kind of stuff. This stands in contrast to Wally’s comments to Kara in JLE which are not accepted. It really underlines that the situations are different and that the writers knew that.

    You’ll be glad to know that I have slightly less to say about JLE 4. This issue really showcases Bart Sears. I know from reading interviews with Kevin Maguire that he was encouraged to step away from Giffen’s layouts when he thought he could better pace a sequence and I feel like there are a couple of sequences that are more Sears than Giffen this time. I’m particularly thinking of the Pumpkin Man fight scene where the layouts feel more Kubert school.

    Finally, is it possible that people are seeing Denise Crosby in Power Girl as Pablo Marcos is pencilling Star Trek the Next Generation at the same time as inking JLE. Maybe he had Denise on his mind.

  4. Fun show! Ah, the days when Black Hand was just an old, “mort” of a Green Lantern villain, and not a Necropheliac. I’m not sure how this issue would go over nowadays, but I don’t think there is anything overly offensive in any of this era of JL that needs too much defense. I know “of it’s time” isn’t an excuse for some elements of entertainment which are hard to swallow now, but I don’t think the creators ever went too far with this here…

    …except maybe with Wally’s Flash. Anj is right, Wally tended to jump in bed with any willing lady in his own comic, but he usually wasn’t the aggressor in the situation, or THIS aggressive anyway. The JL titles continue to showcase exaggerated, “funhouse mirror” versions of the characters in the other DCU titles, and the divide just gets bigger as the series progress. I’m not judging this as good or bad, I’m just stating it as an observation.

    The only other artist who could draw metal as well as Sears, and who got there first was Bob Layton, and his groundbreaking work on Iron Man, as both penciller and mostly inker.

    Scott was a fun guest, and I am going to have to try some of his Trek comics! Dr. Anj is always welcome, of course!

    Chris

    1. One more thought. Re: Power Girl’s character. I agree, PG was quite unlikeable in her earliest All-Star appearances, written by Gerry Conway. She softened up a bit once Levitz came on. But don’t forget, Keith Giffen was an artist on the All-Star series, so this is “his” Power Girl too. He helped shape the character, even if he was HEAVILY inked by Wally Wood!

      Chris

  5. This is the first time in a long time I could listen to an episode when it came out – hooray for being caught up!

    Fun stuff all around with great guests and lots of JL talk. MIke McKone definitely improved as an artist, didn’t he?

    I didn’t remember being annoyed with Wally’s portrayal 30 years ago, but man, he’s such a jerk here. He was better in all those Flash issues at the time, right? Right?? Otherwise, though, JLE #4 was a ton of fun and clearly the better of the two issues covered this time around.

    Oh, and you can count me as a Primal Force fan too, Shag. I even had letters printed in that book.

  6. Excellent episode as always! I was unaware of Scott Tipton’s work (best-seller he may be, but I am a mere Alpha-Primitive reader), but will definitely seek it out now. As for the issues at hand, I was really put off by Guy’s actions back when this book came out, and thought that it was the first time that Giffen/DeMatteis were pushing Guy’s personality too far in pursuit of a (pardon the expression) gag. I enjoyed a lot of the rest of the issue, and didn’t mind Mike McKone’s work as much as others seemed to. Speaking of art; I never really liked Bart Sears’ style. In fact, back in the day, I bought the JLE in spite of his art, not because of it. Looking back on the work now, I like it even less than I used to. I’m left wishing that Linda Medley had launched the book, as I am one of the (apparently) few who enjoyed her work on the League. However, I liked the story in this issue of JLE a lot more than the one going in the JLI. And now….I say good day!

  7. Okay, here’s the question: how old is Power Girl, at any given point in time? At this point, thousands of years, but I mean what effective age she is. It seems to vary a lot. I mean, pre-crisis, she’s probably very young, age appropriate to be flirting and canoodling with Firestorm. But in the JLE she always read to me as significantly older than the rest of the two teams, except maybe Captain Atom and Dimitri, like well past to thirty among these twenty somethings…

    1. It’s complicated! I believe it’s stated at some point that she’s about a decade older than Supergirl, so about 30ish, but as she’s the same person as the Earth-2 she probably much older.

      Like I said it complicate, what her being then not being Atlantian then Kryptonian, though it does mean that she’s the only one to survive almost to the present day. Though until we get another series we’ll never know for sure…

  8. I have my Brazilian edition of this story and I really don’t find it so problematic. that’s the thing about Guy he’s a morally wrong character and that’s why you like him, you don’t approve of his actions but being a fictional character you like to see what he does (this description also fits the punisher). Although in translation the building that Guy destroys is said to be a façade for drug trafficking and gigolos. Guy comments: I don’t think I should have kicked that bunch out of the building before it was demolished! This soft heart is my Achilles heel! (Should have won the bwahaha award in my opinion).
    My problem with this issue is that the characters go out on a date while Beetle is in critical condition at the hospital, great friends.
    About Justice league Europe 4 my favorite edition because we witnessed the first successful mission of the Justice League Europe and with the participation of Animal-man and there are still people who say that he didn’t do much in the league (of course he didn’t have much of a stake, but it’s not his fault there are no elephants in the sewer) . Anyway it’s great to see Buddy in the league where he can have a rest from the bizarre things that happen to him and even be a show that he’s a funny guy, who would you say?

  9. Great episode for some great issues! That said:

    I, too, was mystified how Ice ever voluntarily spent time alone with Guy Gardner again, after this, and am now kinda skeptical they will be able to bring these two together as a couple without Ice feeling out of character. The Black Hand IS so well done in this! I’ve really only read him in his Silver Age appearances (such an obvious lame joke of a character, even then) and this issue, but was aware he was all Big Baddy in Blackest Night and bc of all previous exposure to the character, just couldn’t take the concept seriously… I’ll get around to reading all that stuff one day, I’m sure, so we’ll see how well I can keep a straight face around him after that.

    As for our trip to Bialya, I enjoyed the issue rather a lot, right up until the Time Jump, after which I began speculating she’d Mind Whammied them all, and they THOUGHT they had purposefully and successfully held her over the proverbial barrel and extracted all these concessions, etc… but when she Shot The Dominator I thought “Wait, they were serious!? That’s How They Chose to Respond to a world leader who they have first-hand knowledge uses mind-control to corrupt heroes?!? The Powers of Diplomatic Immunity By Way Of Too Big To Fail!!” But by the end of the issue, and the promise of Sapphire Stagg, I was back on board.

    As for the misogyny displayed, for some reason, I had fewer problems with the JLA issue than the JLE one, which I’m pretty sure was because This Is Textbook Guy, but it feels like an exaggeratedly immature version of Wally, especially as I am, for the first time, reading the Post-Crisis Flash (just now a few issues into William Messner-Loebs run), and yeah, even him there is that immature version I’m not a fan of, but without the exaggerated feel that Wally in JLE has had so far. As for the ‘It’d be different if she was flirting back or laughing about it’ comment, I’ll simply say that often, many women feel like that’s the only response they CAN make, without suffering some form of further harassment or potential danger (even if just social feedback of “the bitch who can’t take a joke” labels). Power Girl had clearly left that stage of life behind, if she had ever had it.

  10. Impressive Pod cast most impressive. Huh this is not the date issue I remember. I remember the second one. Ware Guy takes Ice , ice skating. Er to watch an ice skating show. Ware the Blue and gold team up with Fire to mess with guy having a skater dress as Guy and make fun. So wrong, but that date is better. Still funny how they use Black Hand and how Geoff made him a major threat. Which was cool. But, it’s funny in this. Ice acts more like fire in this. To me she was more the smart aleck. And Ice was the nice smart, but naïve character. Did like her here and in Beau Smith’s run on Guy Gardner Warrior.

    And when she was brought back to life in BOP. And way Ah JLE. I should have bought more of these. Cool fight. I liked Jack O’ Lantern well enough. But, why didn’t Buddy use the powers of the mouse? keen sense of hearing, and rely especially on their sense of smell. If they can burrow they must be a bit strong. Saw one run fast once so a bit faster. Not in Flash range, but still. Yeaaah Shagg is right, This has gotten Creepy. Flash has taken this to far. Power Girl
    isn’t into the flirting time to stop. And yeah I can see Booster and Blue stopping if Fire asked them to.

    Though if she said she was into it. Booster would jump at the chance. Maybe not Betel. He may faint in a Mainly way. I kind of see Betel like Alistair from Dragon Age Origins. Glad they finished the Queen Bee Story line. Captain Atom makes a good leader. Yep him and Home Girl have a good Romantic Chemistry. Mostly cause Cap is drawn like Richard Gee. And we know why he’s in France…..He’s got no place else to go. 😀 Did I mention I have a U-Tube Page? That’s Liz Anne Oswalt. O..s…w…a…l…t. Huh Meta Morpho leaving? Glad he didn’t. Can’t wait to hear the next pod cast.

  11. Greetings from the Irish Embassy as we gather at this dark time to mourn the passing of Daniel Cormac, otherwise known as Jack O’Lantern. Survived by his faithful sidekick, Fergus of the Fir Dhearaga, Daniel had turned to the dark side in his later years, but we should still remember the bravery he shown, both as a hero of Ireland and as a valued member of the Global Guardians…

    Er, sorry Amubh Bug, what are you trying to say into my ear? I’m trying to eulogise Jack O’Lant……what’s this about Kevin Dooley and Justice League Quarterly? Jack is what?

    Er, never mind folks about Jack’s wake, let’s talk about the podcast instead!

    JLA 28 was a fun break from the Beetle saga, although I would agree that it does look like a filler that was repurposed. The Templeton pages at the end does look like they do not belong to the story (Why is Fire sitting down reading a magazine and where are the other Leaguers who were in the previous McKone page?) A minor quibble.

    I would agree with comments that Ice should have gone nowhere near Guy after that date. If I recall, Guy does come across better to Ice in future issues (I think around the time of the Despero storyline) so maybe that’s why she gave him a second chance – which of course leads to the infamous second date. The use of Black Hand is very good and this will get another call back later down the line in JLA. I wonder what happened to Black Hand since then? 😉

    JLE 4 was a solid end to the Queen Bee saga. As I intimated earlier, this may not be the last of Jack O’Lantern (although given the lack of a body shown, it was obvious that the writers were setting up an opening for Jack to return in some manner).

    One could argue that the ending was a bit strange – the JLE had evidence that Queen Bee was involved with the Dominators and all that happened was that both sides back away from each other. However, given that the Justice League is now operating like a nation state, one could argue that this was the diplomatic way to settle this, a détente if you will between the League and Bialya. Although then again, when the League pressured Queen Bee to sever the connection with the Dominator, did they mean for her to kill him? Interesting questions abound.

    Looking forward to the next episode and JLI Annual 3. As this annual had the Who’s Who pages will you be repeating the section you did with Rob on this, or go more in depth with your guest host? Interesting decisions to be made :)

    Anyway, great episode as always with insightful guests. Here’s to the next episode.

    1. Oh, and the Ambush Bug bit I did above is a homage to how the Doom Patrol Vol 5 reflected its upcoming cancellation (Shout out to Paul and Mike from Waiting for Doom!)

  12. Such good discussion of these issues!

    For JLA #28, a big point is how much I liked Ice in this story. She’s actually willing to give Guy the benefit of the doubt, because she’s a good person! She has great one-liners about Guy’s imagination and suit, blasts Guy with her powers showing she means business, “just let him shoot”, has compassion for the Black Hand. Without her, this would be just “Guy being awful”, but her portrayal makes the story shine. I’ve said before that Ice is one of my favorite JLI-ers, and this issue is a great example.

    Then JLE #4. I honestly hadn’t paid attention to Bart Sears drawing wrinkles on Queen Bee’s face before. Wow, what a difference that makes in her character! Thank you for pointing that out!

    You know, I really preferred Wally’s and Kara’s interaction in issue #3. He wasn’t so relentless, and it was more of a banter dialog. But Wally’s portrayal in #4 reminds me of Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) from WKRP In Cincinnati. He was constantly harassing Jennifer (Loni Anderson). One of the greatest moments was when Jennifer agreed to go out with Herb, and he basically fell apart. Like a dog chasing a car, he didn’t know what to do when he caught it. (forgive the analogy of a woman to a car) Wally always read like that back in the day. Is it excusable behavior? Of course not. But I suspect that if Kara ever became the aggressor, Giffen might’ve written Wally as chickening out.

    Ok, back to the funny! Animal Man was excellent! “It’s Pumpkin Man!” “I think you’re cute too.” Catching the lantern and being pulled by it. “That was great! I don’t know why Ralph…” “Go ahead. Make my day! … I dunno, I just always wanted to say that.” So much potential.

    And after having the Global Guardians put such a beating on the team the last 2 issues, I’m super-happy Jack got a decent smackdown. Oh, that panel where Wally decks him is glorious! Then Power Girl and Flash being all cocky and relaxed when confronting Queen Bee. So good!

    “Braces.” Nothing in these 4 issues explains it. If it was explained elsewhere, I never saw it. With Giffen’s loose plotting, my thought is he planted it as a hook for Ralph’s detective skills, but didn’t have a plan what to do with it and the story went in a different direction than he thought, so he dropped it. But oh, the time I’ve wasted trying to make sense of “braces!” Curses!!! (Hey that rhymes! Ish.)

    Loved hearing Scott in this one, and my compadre in Silvestri’s queue, Anj! Till next issue… oh, the annual? Oooooooooooh, yeeeeesssssss!

  13. Shag shared some of my thoughts on this JLI story, but I want to add a couple of things. I never cared for Guy Gardner, and this issue just enforces my feelings. He destroys private property, and cruelly abuses Ice. It made the humor really forced. Good call by Damien to tag this as a fill-in. It really is out of step with the preceding and following issues. I did like the idea of Black Hand seeking therapy and trying to “go straight.” He just didn’t talk like he had previously. As far I as I can recall, his “hook” was speaking in cliches.
    However, Giffen and DeMatteis never let previously established characters get in the way of their humor.
    For instance, Wally West. The Wally in JLE is nothing at all like the Wally written by Marv Wolfman in New Teen Titans, or Cary Bates in The Flash, or even Bob Haney! (Okay, any Bob Haney characterization bears little resemblance to any other author’s interpretation of said character.) Nevertheless, I wish that I could digitally manipulate the images and put Catherine Colbert in the scene with Power Girl and Wally Flash in the scene with Captain Atom. Is what Catherine doing not sexual harassment? Does she get a pass because she’s smoother at it than Wally is? Is there a gender double standard? Of course there was then, but none of the commenters here in 2019 have touched on Catherine’s actions.
    One more thing about Power Girl. Her personality seemed to be shorthanded rather quickly as “angry woman.” I recall that her attitude in her initial appearance in All-Star was to show irritation and frustration at inaction and anger at insults. When the JSA would hem and haw over what course of action to take, PG would get quickly unpleasant. She is a person of action! When Wildcat and the other older characters would tease her about her youth and inexperience, she would call them on it! A person like Helena Wayne would be more adept at not showing her feelings and responding verbally with a piercing remark. Power Girl wasn’t like that, and her “anger” was situational. Should we explore the hole or not? Yes! Let’s go! If Commissioner Wayne is gesticulating with his pipe, she’s going to tell him to stop waving that pipe in her face! If Firestorm accuses her of not making small talk, she’s going to curtly agree. Of course, that was when she had a background and an origin that made sense. Oh, well.

  14. Hi Shag, thanks for the show. I hadn’t read JLI originally, it didn’t look like the Justice League to me back then, but joining DC Universe makes it so easy to read and catch up. So I binged the issues and your episodes in the past couple of months and have now caught up. I’m enjoying the issues and love your passion for it. I realized that I’ve listened to more shows with Rob and not you and I’m glad to have now balanced that out a bit.

  15. JLA 28
    whys flame on a date?
    Black hand tries to surrender…
    No, seriously

    JLE4
    Jacks not in control
    Queen Bees JLE show down
    a shotgun clause deal

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