JLI Podcast #33 – Justice League America #33 & Justice League Europe #9

Professional comic book writer David Gallaher (The Only Living Girl, High Moon, Convergence Green Lantern Corps, and much more) joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League America #33!  We discuss the epic brawl between Guy Gardner and Kilowog, plus the start of the Kooey-Kooey-Kooey/Club JLI saga! Then Nicholas Prom stops by to chat about Justice League Europe #9 in which Superman performs super-surgery while Power Girl's life hangs in the balance! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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35 responses to “JLI Podcast #33 – Justice League America #33 & Justice League Europe #9

  1. What a great couple of issues this month.
    JLA, this is the issue where the Hughes art becomes IT and no doubts were left as to his being a wonderful follow-up to Maguire and Templeton. And I love me some ‘Wog.
    Now JLE#9… one of my favorite, all-time stand-alone issues. Such a great story, so many great character bits.
    Sue is downright amazing, Supes observations about the league, Ralph and Wally. A special aside to the Metamorpho – Bats interaction, when Rex snaps out “Unstable! That’s hot coming from you!” I simply died.
    And I’ve always loved Power Girl and the fact that this whole story is about her even with her actually being there for a single page is great storytelling.
    Final note about the art: as much as I love Sears, I believe Nichols’ more subdued style fits the intimate nature of the story all the much better.

  2. The thing about Guy’s airplane prank is that the poor guy in the window seat could very well be William Shatner! Guy certainly comes off as the “Gremlin” that traumatize’s Shatner’s character in the Twilight Zone.
    The thing that really gets me though is that Guy is standing up to some pretty serious blows from Kilowog. I mean, his nose is getting bloodied he’s getting smashed through walls! This is not a gentle play fight between two kids who are just pretending! These guys are NOT holding back! The thing about that is that Kilowog is clearly more physically powerful than Batman. Batman took Guy down with one punch! Kilowog is smashing Guy left, right and sideways and Guy just keeps coming back for more!

    1. I thought of Twilight Zone there, too!

      I think the difference in Guy vs. Batman and Guy vs. Kilowog is that in the former fight (if you can call it that) Guy passes his power ring to Beetle and foolishly took on the Dark Knight barehanded. His ring is likely keeping him from being pulverized by Kilowog.

  3. I never picked up on the fact that in the JLE issue, artist and inker switched places for this issue! I learn something new with each podcast, even though I’ve read these at least a hundred times.

    You guys say Buddy isn’t referred to by his code name in the JLE issue, but Dmitri calls him Animal Man on page 15, panel 5.

    I just got done reading for the first time the whole run of Batman and the Outsiders and Adventures of the Outsiders on DC Universe. It’s shocking that after all they went through together, Metamorpho’s old teammates never looked him up after he returned from the dead. I think Halo was in a coma but you’d think Katana, Geo-Force, and Black Lightning would’ve had a joyful reunion with Rex. I read some of the Chuck Dixon run of Outsiders that came out much later, and Rex is back working with a version of the team that includes Katana. Did we ever see a reconciliation between these characters?

    I was always touched by the scene of Ralph and Wally bonding over sharing memories of Barry. I think you’re right, Shag, that this is a turning point for Wally. The validation he gets here from a peer of his mentor matures him somewhat and I don’t think he’s ever portrayed as skeevy again. A change in writing staff may have helped, too.

    I wasn’t a fan of the down-powering of Kara here. Other than Wonder Woman, DC didn’t have female heroes on Superman’s power level. J’onn is at Supes level but they didn’t downgrade his powers. She eventually crept up to her old power level anyway.

    It’s interesting the level of respect and fame Superman has to the residents of the post-Crisis DC Universe. In this altered continuity, the JSA, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Wally West, J’onn, Oliver, Dinah, the original Blue Beetle, Dick Grayson, etc. had been around fighting the good fight longer than Superman. It seems to be a case of the characters real-world recognition factor and longevity bleeding into the fictional world, and it doesn’t make much sense if you think about it.

    That issue of JLA is one of my favorites, as are the two after it. The Guy vs. Kilowog fight is great. I’d forgotten what a big character Kilowog became in JLI and how important his contributions were. The JLQ issue with him and Mitch Wacky is one of my favorites.

    1. Yeah, I’ve noticed that too and it drives me crazy. There are gaps in other runs but that JLI gap is the most egregious. It’s a shame because those are fun comics with wonderful Adam Hughes artwork. They’re missing the whole KooeyKooeyKooey storyline plus the issue where they do a recruitment drive (an issue near and dear to Shag’s heart, I believe–his first ever JLI comic!) and Orion & Lightray join at the end.

  4. Listening now, but in case David was unaware, I highly recommend World’s Finest #271, where Roy Thomas weaves a tapestry of ALL the origins of the Superman/Batman team, including the version from the Superman radio show, which he makes Earth-Two canon. It mentions obscure radio-only villain Zoltar, and also depicts the events of the Superman vs. Atom Man storyline in comic form! Cindy and I covered this way back on Super Mates episode #64: http://fireandwaterpodcast.com/podcast/super-mates-64-secret-origins-of-the-superman-batman-team/


  5. Fellow JLers,

    Firstly, let me begin by saying I normally feud with other David G.’s. It’s like when Immortals see each other, there’s a “buzz” that drives us toward confrontation. But this other, more accomplished David G was great!

    I remember the Kooey Kooey Kooey era being the time I kind of tapped out of comics, so these following months will be a revelation! I came back a few times to see what Hughes had cooking up, and stayed around in hopes there’d be more Huntress. Luckily, JLA was readily available at the supermarkets and convenience stores! Always an easy find.

    This also marks the final issue of JLE I bought off the stands. Beefeater just didn’t do it for me (the gin of the same name would amazing things to my live years later), so I dropped the title. JLE was NOT easy to track down. It seemed like the comic store and odd B. Dalton or Waldenbooks were the other places that stocked JLE. Maybe, like me, they were turned off by the reduction of Powergirl’s power set. I don’t remember why it bothered me so much as a kid, but I think I resented DC having to make Superman the only person to possess that powerlevel. Amending Kara’s powers to make her different than Supes, I could appreciate that, but to just reduce and remove powers – well, that’s lame as hell. And this was a few years after Black Canary more or less had her powers removed, something I also didn’t appreciate much.

    Looking forward to what comes next.

    1. It’s funny as I had the exact opposite experience: the Kooey Kooey Kooey era being the time I went full in on comics. Was it the humour that bothered you about it? Or was the lineup just not what you wanted at the time from the “premiere” DC superteam?

      1. Mike D,

        You know, i have no idea I what it was. I think maybe I just like I’d rather read some other stuff. I think I was leaning more in the X-books at this time. Also, it could be the shtick was wearing a little thin.

        Like Shag and his Katana Banana thing. It’s thinner than Shag’s hair!

        1. Fair enough. I can’t argue that the jokes are a bit of a one trick pony so I can see why it would wear thin.

          Wait, the Katana Banana stand is a shtick? Then who did I pay that giant licensee fee to?!

  6. Some nice insight into Guy from David there. I need to find those Convergence GL books and check them out! My first issue of Green Lantern was #116 where Guy gets zapped by Hal’s defective power battery. I got it in one of those Whitman 3-packs! I was a bit flummoxed by the red-haired GL. He wasn’t the guy on the Super Friends!

    That last page reveal of Aquaman…I felt like that was the coolest Aquaman had looked. EVER. And I always thought Aquaman was a much better character than he was often given credit for. But Hughes’ version…the pose, the costume detailing of the scales, the long hair, which was a new thing…he was BOSS. And as much as I enjoyed the book, I WAS that old school JLA fan who liked it when the old guard showed up and showed the morons how things were done…and I was only 14!

    Is it weird that I kind of like the art better in this issue of JLE? It’s cleaner and less…sinewy. The characters are still on model to Sears’ designs, but I feel it kind of works in with the overall feel of the book better in some ways. I still like aspects of Sears’ work, but sometime he puts so many lines on everyone’s face (especially the female characters), they look like they are pushing 105 years old.

    There’s no defending Batman here. He’s a straight-up dick. I get that MAYBE he was pushing Metapmorpho to see if he would react irrationally, but showing zero compassion for an old teammate shows we are clearly in the era of the unlikeable Batman, at least in his guest appearances. When writers outside of his main titles would write him, they would often take him to this extreme, and somehow, that became the standard by which all writers hung their cowls. UGH.

    Great show, and great guests!


  7. Congratulations on a tremendous episode, one great host, two great guests… this is what we want. OK, we get it every episode, but David and Nicholas were fab.

    Oh boy, David on Guy Gardner is fascinating, he is so right about what a bad deal Guy Gardner got in the Bronze Age. The arrival of Kari Limbo was when Hal, in falling for her manipulative ways, first acted like a heel. Heck, I bet she used her psychic powers to snare the big green galoot. I stopped the episode to reread David’s Guy Gardner Convergence micro series and it really is cracking stuff. It was smart of David to get the editorially mandated ‘fight with the hero of another world’ out of the way in a brief scene, leaving room for the stuff that interested him.

    Regarding the JLI issue, given that Dobie Gillis had a DC comic in the Silver Age, maybe Maynard G Krebs was in the DCU and Booster knew him?

    I could never figure out what Kilowog (what a terrible, terrible name, utterly unacceptable when it’s shortened) was meant to resemble. Warthog? Hippo? Pig Iron from the Zoo Crew?

    So far as JLE #9 goes, as well as the medical drama this is a great day in the life issue, with lots of character work and progression, totally my cup of cocoa. The Art Nichols/Bart Sears combo is great, I think I prefer this work to the Sears/Nichols look, it had the best of Bart but with fewer pouty lips and constipated expressions… for once, Power Girl look like a human woman rather than a bitter witch. Which makes it weird to hear that some of her organs are doubled – hey, maybe she’s a Time Lord!

    I liked that panel of Superman in black-and-white, showing us what Kara possibly sees as she wakes up. Subtle and attractive.

    Captain Atom being mad for calling in Superman is ridiculous, heck, in The Silver Age he was a certified doctor and Lois Lane was a volunteer nurse!

    I love that Superman likes to hear his ‘It’s a bird…’ introduction in French, and I laughed when someone called him ‘Man of iron’!

    The doctor is a total jerk, someone should have punched him right in the medical journal.

    I wonder what Rex was going to say to Peege about death before Batman skulked by, and yes, Bats was a real horror bag to Metamorpho. He was never the same after forming the Outsiders.

    I was glad to see Bill Loebs being fairer to Flash – how nice to have Wally with both the right personality and the right hair colour – but it’s a shame he makes Ralph an insensitive moron, this is not a man who could win Sue Dearbon.

    That last page is wonderful. Power Girl is at peace with herself. I didn’t see the result of the operation so much as an insulting power down as a reset, returning the Earth 2 native to the power level she was meant to have.

    Oh boy, that end rendition of the Love Boat theme song by you three at the end has put me off cruising for life… i am indeed picturing something floating back to you!

    1. Martin, I can’t shake your hand enough for the Pig Iron/Amazing Zoo Crew reference. That comic was definitely a love form the very start of my comic reading “career”. If I knew how to paste a Shia LeBoeuf clapping gif for you, I would do so now.

  8. Impressive pod cast. Most impressive. Wow cool seeing a fight with Guy and Kilawag. The Overalls works for him. Ah Battelle and Booster being them selves. The old schemes. The art work is pretty awesome. And Guy and Kilawag having a big fight was pretty cool. A buddy fight thing. LOL the Love boat. And the remake was in the 90s. Ya’lll singing the theme at the end was funny.

    Arisia…. not even sure what to think about her. Another in the top ten list of why Hal is creepy. Er nice dress. Though yeah her existence makes Guy the better Green Lantern. Cause unlike Hal. All of Guy’s girl friends are legeal. Also Hal once dated Guy’s girl friend… while Guy was in a comma. Why is Hal seen as the greatest Green Lantern? Moving on Ah Guy telling Killawag he was marring Ice. Which is funny. Though she does become the love of his life.

    Or at lest she was the last time I read a new comic. Ah Aqua Man. Seems like Rob Kelly should be the next guest on the show… so I’m guessing he won’t be on it. Moving right along. Was cool seeing Supes in the JLE and seeing Sears draw him and was pretty cool. And glad to see him help Kara. And Rex giving Bats crap. Geez he went all Bat Jerk already. He didn’t get this bad till the 90s as I remember.

    I can agree with Animal Man here. Still Rocket Red has a good point. He was a pretty cool character. Glad that Wally finally got treated right. And was cool to see Ralf and him getting along. William Messner-Loebs did a great job on this book. He was great on the Flash. His Maxx run. his WW run. Were all great. To bad he can’t right any more because of injury. Not sure why Rex feels like he needs to say he’s sorry to Bats. Glad Atom got cool with Supes at the end but, funny he got butt hurt till he found out Sue called Kal.

    And cool to see PG. Still was not happy with her being Atlantean. Glad Infinity Crisis fixed her back as Super Man’s as her cousin. But, at lest she got to stay in the comic. Ah Crimson Fox cool. Glad to hear she’ll be in the next issue.

  9. Well obviously everyone loves Power Girl why wouldn’t they? 😀

    Whilst I’m not a fan of the Atlantian retcon, and was anyone really? I’ve no problem with her be reduced in power a little, though I’m not sure why they chose to do it except maybe because she’s almost perpetually in one team or another.

    Excellent show as usual!

  10. Also, allow me to register my disappointment on Superman never being part of the League officially. I dont’ care he wasn’t a founding member – that’s fine – but c’mon, never being a full member for the majority of the league’s life at that point is nuts. So dumb.

  11. A couple of great guests as always! I did finally read David’s GL: Convergence and some of Only Living Boy just this year. Great stuff, indeed! And Nicholas … uh … hey, how ya doin’?

    Guy vs Kilowog. When I first read this issue, I was shocked when they gave each other a high five! Maybe you guys mentioned it, but up to now, every time these 2 appeared in the same issue, it would turn into a fight. And some pretty nasty fights too. So seeing Guy pick a fight with ‘Wog, no surprise. Having it turn on a dime into “good one, bro!”? My jaw dropped! Now, Giffen and DeMatteis did a great job explaining it, with the whole “all those letter you wrote me” deal, but the mind boggles! Guy can write? And would take the time to write Kilowog, an alien he usually dismissed as a commie? And cares enough about Kilowog’s situation to do so? And even lets ‘Wog use HIS RING for the heck of it? Is Kilowog Guy’s … friend for reals?? Don’t worry, I’m not for a second saying Guy is a “good person”. But this is one of those things done for laughs, and for the plot convenience of bringing ‘Wog in as a handyman, that somehow has some surprising layers! Just before Guy flies off to terrorize another passenger jet. Oh Guy.

    Wally and Ralph was my favorite part of JLE #9. Which is saying something in an issue with 3 great stories happening. But Dmitri said it all when he called this “Healing.” It was wonderfully done, and Bill M-L nails the dialog on it. Love love love!

    As for Metamorpho and the Outsiders, I lay the blame totally on Batman here. He could have explained “Halo’s in a coma, Katana’s caring for her fulltime, Looker lost her powers, and I haven’t heard from Geo-Force or Black Lightning since.” That’s like 2 word balloons. Done. Explained. But NO! “You might have brain damage.” Wow! That’s friendship! And I’m not sure if I think it fits with Batman’s character from his Outsiders days or not. I’ll think about it during my re-read. (And thank you for the shout-out for my podcast, my friend!)

    Great show as always! Till next time!

  12. Man I forgot how beautiful Adam Hughes’s art is in this. In addition the JLE edition bwahaha award should have been the brazilian version:
    French: – regardez! c’est un oiseau …!
    French: – c’est un Avion …!
    Superman: – Man, Wherever I go, I hear this!

  13. Anothrr excellent JLI podcast. Amazing work.

    A special Aquaman related guest next episode? It must be me as I’m renowned for my sensitivity with regards to poor, dead Aquababy. As I recall teenaged Damien appreciated the chest displayed on the next issues cover. Blue and Gold and HOT!

    I missed both these issues at the time due to the curse of the spinner rack and I didn’t manage to track down the JLA issue until last year. I think everyone above is right in saying that this is the point where Adam Hughes owned the book. Beautiful art and fantastic choreography. Aquaman is hot. Kilowog is a favourite of mine. Probably due to my entry to DC Comics being Millennium. Hell, I’m the guy who bought every issue of New Guardians.

    I still can’t believe how retrospectively disgusted I became when I found out that Arisia was an artificially aged kid. I must say it’s one of the bits of continuity I choose to disregard. I don’t own the comic where it happened so it never did. Arisia is 25 in this issue of JLA. This kind of denial can really help keep you sane.

    By the way, did you know that DC have never published a crossover series drawn by Rags Morales which is a shame considering how talented he is.

    This issue of JLE was a great personal lives episode. I remember really liking the Art Nichols pencils. I was never really a huge Sears fan and I preferred this. I didn’t really come around to Bart’s work until the Metamorpho issues he both pencils and inks.

    Messner-Loebs was a favourite of mine because I loved his Flash but I remember being disappointed by his JLE. He never seemed to fully mesh with Giffen. I don’t envy you having to deal with his replacement in a few episodes. I suspect the art vs artist discussion will rear it’s head. It’s one I struggle with.

    Thanks again for mentioning my podcast. It continues to be hard work but fun. I remain in awe of the Fire and Water Network as I’m struggling to produce one episode a month and you guys are so prolific. Astounding. I presume you’re all seriously sleep deprived.

  14. First off, I’m un-subscribing and want my Patreon money back after that Love Boat rendition……

    Okay, I re-subscribed and will donate again based on the fact that the KooeyKooeyKooey storyline is coming up. Joking aside, this was another great episode with two fantastic guests. As much as I enjoyed your discussion of the issues, I also really enjoyed hearing Shag talking to the guests about their comics origins at the start of each segment. Well done, everyone!

    I believe Chris Franklin mentioned above that, “I WAS that old school JLA fan who liked it when the old guard showed up and showed the morons how things were done…” and I think that’s why I love JLI. These guys WERE morons, but lovable morons trying to do the right thing. With all the other comics I was reading at the time showing superheros as these ideal characters that people should strive for, I found it refreshing to see superheros act like I would…. or worse! They’re only human, er.. Martian….. I mean from the future. You get the idea. And that is why I enjoyed this issue of JLA #33 so much as the start of the KooeyKooeyKooey storyline. Some of my most favourite issues of JLA are coming up and I can’t wait to hear your take on them.

    It’s always a joy to hear all of you talk about your love for this fun era of Justice League. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. – I took your suggestion and dipped my toe in Animal Man (Animal Man!!) by getting Animal Man by Grant Morrison, Vol.1 TP. How would suggest I consume these high brow books? In a smoking jacket by a roaring fire? Grow my hair Alan Moore style and pontificate about the subtle realization of existentialism while parsing out the dialogue? Or just look at the pretty pictures?

        1. I hadn’t heard that anecdote! This prompted a Google search and me clicking on a link called, “The Mighty Buttocks of Grant Morrison” from Bleeding Cool. It didn’t show his white suit, but him in a jean jacket and underwear, for some reason. This is definitely NOT a look I could pull off.

  15. I was a freshman in college when these issues came out, still buying and reading comics but not committing them to memory as easily as I had done in years before. That means it felt like I was reading these for the first time, which was fun.

    I had completely forgotten about Kilowog working with the JLA, which surprises me as he was an instant favorite in the Green Lantern Corps book. I was really annoyed with Guy picking a fight for no reason and really enjoyed the turn that they were just blowing off steam. And as you mentioned, the Adam Hughes art is great from the cover forward.

    As for JLE #9, I really appreciated the Ralph and Wally scenes. Great to have Bill Messner-Loebs onboard to help shepherd Wally to feel more like himself than the total scumbag he’s been in the book so far. I also agree that Batman treated Rex horribly and that was highly disappointing. Speaking of Rex and Bats, I second your recommendation for Tim Price’s new BATO podcast – really enjoyed the first episode!

    I enjoyed this episode too and look forward to next issue’s JLA nonsense and the episode that will cover it.

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