JLI Podcast #40 – Justice League America #40 & Justice League Europe #16

Dr G, The Man of Nerdology, joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League America #40 in which Despero is defeated and the League grieves over the death of Mister Miracle. Then Lucien Desar stops by to discuss Justice League Europe #16 where the Extremists rampage across Moscow and come face-to-face with the JLE! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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25 responses to “JLI Podcast #40 – Justice League America #40 & Justice League Europe #16

  1. Quick heads-up… this episode was recorded and the edit completed a while ago. Therefore, the news broke after the editing was done about the Tom King HUMAN TARGET series featuring the JLI. For more info on that upcoming series, please check JLI PODCAST Twitter and Facebook posts.

  2. Ok, so I am weeping over THE COVER DESCRIPTION. This is going to be one of those issues/episodes…

    Before getting into the details, the one thing that strikes me about this issue, even 30 years later, is how it deals with the funeral and the associated grief straightfaced. I mean we KNOW Miracle is alive, the creators know it as well, but we treat it as if this is an actual death of a major character. The fact that there is not a single wink to the camera o between the lines or even a cutaway to actual Scott in space. This is brought home completely with the Barda moment. This is the widow reacting as the widow, super powered apokolitian or not, would react. Excellent stuff, the kind of thing we know DeMatteis can really do, but we don’t expect here.

    Regarding when the actual “dream” starts, yeah, I have to say right before the Beetle moment, which BTW is an actual jump scare if you were caught unaware on first read back then: Scott was killed, Ted may as well. It’s only when it gets more over the top the reader gets the a-ha moment about something being amiss.
    And the Supes/Bats interaction I put in the same category as the Booster/Gypsy: you don’t talk business at your close friends funerals. Full stop. I’m with Bruce and Ted on this.

    And of course, thinking of this issue means thinking about the Guy and Ice page. One of my top moments in all comics, all time.

    As for JLE… yeah, meh. It does feel a lot like padding/placeholder. Gorgeously drawn, though. A note on Randy Elliot: he becomes the go-to Sears inker in many projects, including the Eclipso: The Darkness Within book. I really like how he “tightens” Sears style. A great match.

      1. I can see that point of view. But for contrast, I look at how Batman and Mr Miracle were portrayed in issues 1-7 of this series. Batman treats him like an equal, asks for his expertise, and calls him “Scott” most of the time, especially in issue 7 when Miracle flies into “giant death ray of death” with a shouted “SCOTT!” So I’m fine with their implied friendship, but YMMV.

          1. There are certain heroes Batman always seemed more comfortable around, and it was usually folks he could relate to, like Ralph, because he’s a detective, Ollie because…well, he’s a Batman clone to begin with, Barry because he was a criminologist as well, and Scott, because he was an escape artist. Retcons be damned, in the original comics, he did seem to have a more of a connection with these people.

            Chris

          2. true but Brave and bold Batman was a lot friendly than 1987 slowly becoming Frank Miller Batman. in other words you guys are OBjectively dead right. My brain has a lot of trouble with “im Batman i DONT trust this fundementally decent person who I Know litterally better than his own parents do. You who I DO LIKE? The Escape artist trained on Apololips who calls himself a GOD!”
            of course you get around THAT by saying as master escape artist they have been friends for years! I can very VERY Easily undo my own argument.

  3. The interesting thing about the funeral is that Highfather himself is attending. No one sees him except the reader. Now among his many abilities, I’m reasonably sure that Highfather would be one of the very few New Gods characters to actually know the truth about Scott’s real predicament and ultimate fate… that said, could it be that he does know, and is only attending because he knows that the few New Gods that are there would notice him lurking nearby and more importantly…they would notice if he wasn’t there?

  4. I put this along with Superman in the best comic book deaths. The fact that the writers have done a mourning edition for a character who hasn’t even dead and that’s still touching is something amazing. Max’s reaction of preferring to end the team than leaving them in danger only makes me hate the OMAC project even more. About JLE, I swear: Dimitri is the character that has gone through the most evolution in the league and never been the protagonist in any edition.

  5. Impressive podcast. Most impressive. Kind of sad that a robot of Mr. Mirical gets a funnel, but Steel doesn’t. That’s a bit messed up. Ha! I knew that was how J’ohn would beat Desparo. hmm, people do prosses grief differently from person to person. So I’m guessing Barda and his Dad won’t be happy when they find out Scott is alive. Sad Booster did recruit Gypsy at the funeral, but glad she got a job. Hey she’s got bills to pay. Oy Bats is in full on Bat Jerk when talking to Supes. Still Guy and Ice are cute together in this. Far cry from the weird first date thing…oy. Max is cool in this. And this is him handling grief. Some one should show this to the guys with Check Mate comic… just saying. Orion joining the JLA is pretty cool.

    The cover of the JLE is pretty cool. Wally Cap Atom and PG look cool. Oy these villains are a bit messed up, but they fit their counterpart. Oy the pour Red Rocket Ah well. Sorry to see Rosa lose her sis , but glad she helped Blue Jay out. Er… not sure Cats idea would have worked on the Extremests. But, pour Blue Jay.

  6. Another great episode, everyone! Dr.G and Lucien were fantastic guests and I really enjoyed their insights into these issues. Shag, it was hard to hear you were getting choked up about the JLA issue. It seems like it really affected you. I think it comes down the amazing writing by DeMatteis and the awesome art by Hughes. They did such a great job of describing and showing the different stages of grief. When Maguire left the book, I was real snooty that no artist would be as good for the book but Hughes then proved me wrong with issues such as this one. That look of Ice with her head on Guy’s shoulder says so much!

    JLA – As great as this issue is, I don’t know why, but I never found it that terribly sad. And I cry at the drop of a hat! I cried after reading Crimson Avenger’s Who’s Who page! I probably shouldn’t have admitted that….. Anyways, I’m guessing I didn’t break me because I’ve never enjoyed anything to do with the New Gods, so having Mister Miracle “die” wasn’t that big of deal, to me anyways. But like mentioned above, it was still a great issue with fabulous art and fantastic writing!

    JLE – “Terminated….. with Extreme Prejudice” sounds like what the ’90’s tried to do to the comic industry.

    This was fun and I am looking forward to the next issues! Keep up the great work!

  7. Great podcast, covering two very memorable issues of JLA and JLE. JLA #40 hits especially hard for me nowadays, after losing my father in 2018 and my best friend from middle school last year. The emotions of the characters ring very true. As several others have noted, it’s incredible considering the readers know Scott isn’t really dead! Though I’m curious if there is anyone who didn’t get the Mister Miracle special and wasn’t following his solo series, and actually thought Scott was really killed? That’d be quite the heart wrenching experience! But it’s all very much a showcase for these characters, getting to show different sides of them and how much they care about each other. Ice is a good choice for team counselor and it’s a role I wish we’d seen her in more often.

    By the way…Oberon is Scott’s best friend and no one is wondering where he is for this funeral?

    Isn’t Gypsy a minor? Not only do they not address her funeral arrangements for her family, they also never explain her legal status. Does she have guardians? Does J’onn become her guardian? How can she (apparently) live independently and work for the Conglomerate (Not to mention, later, the Justice League Task Force–unless it’s impled she aged a bit)?

    My first issue of JLA was #38 and I was fairly new to DC, only had the vaguest understanding of who the New Gods were. So I legitimately thought Highfather was just a statue in the graveyard and have glossed over it ever since…only now when you pointed it out on the podcast, did I realize I’d been overlooking him! I also had no idea who Orion is, so when he shows up to pay his respects at the end, it was a complete mystery to me who he was, other than being Scott’s brother. But I was very intrigued!

    Another dimension to the Batman/Superman conversation could be Batman being frustrated at Superman for not joining the League, even though at this point Superman’s been asked at least twice (the initial formation in Legends and then the last membership drive). The most powerful superhero on Earth can’t commit to the League, yet shows up and urges them to beef up their strength. I can see that annoying Bats, especially since Bats has no powers yet at least commits part of his time to the team.

    Interesting meta-commentary on the power level of the JLA. When Captain Atom and Rocket Red left for the JLE, they weren’t replaced. Neither was Booster when he left. That’s a lot of power walking out the door (especially with Cap!) and you’d think they would’ve done a membership drive right then and there but they didn’t for some reason. At this point, the JLE is a powerhouse team compared to the JLA, with not only Cap and Rocket Red but also Flash, Power Girl, and Metamorpho. As a result, they were severely outgunned when Despero came to town. Though to be fair, I’m not sure how much good extra help would’ve done them. I would’ve liked to have seen JLE vs. Despero, though!

    Good call on spotting Jack Kirby as the priest…again, original reading of the issue, I didn’t know what The King looked like and did not notice that. This podcast is so educational!

    I know Russia is a big place, but where are the other Russian superheroes? When there was the incident in the prison with Nemesis and the Suicide Squad, you had Red Star and the People’s Heroes converging on the place, in addition to the Rocket Red Brigade. You’d think the other guys would at least warrant a mention and would be chasing after the Extremists after what they did to their capital city!

    I think Captain Atom made the right call not to use the teleporter. It seemed like only one was operational on the Russian end, so the team would’ve been forced to go one at a time. I suppose you could send Cap first since he’s invulnerable, but it’s never a good idea to send your forces through a potential chokepoint where they can be picked off one by one. As a military officer Cap probably thought about that and chose to take the jet instead where they could all show up and attack at once.

    Shagg, I too, am sad at the Rocket Red Brigade getting wiped out here. I always liked these guys and thought their armor looked very cool! They are literally “Red-Shirted” here (pun absolutely intended!), used as cannon fodder to showcase how ruthless and dangerous the bad guys are. I would’ve liked for them to have put up more of a fight, get some hits in, but oh well. To answer your question, the RR Brigade does get rebuilt. We see them in the post-Breakdowns era, though their armor has been redesigned to look like Dmitri’s Apokolips armor for some reason.

    I have to cry foul on one thing about this issue. The Extremists wipe out the RR Brigade, but for some reason they just knock the JLE out, then leave? I know they say “We just leave them alive so they can tell others about us” or something to that effect, but that always struck me as lame. Lame, and very convenient because our main characters are merely rendered unconscious while the other superheroes get massacred. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a rationale for that, like Metamorpho’s powers shielded them at the last moment, or something. I guess it’s just a trope of genre fiction.

    By the way…”Caravan of Courage Mama Represent!” I literally LOLed at that! :)

  8. As ever, wonderful show, excellent guests.

    The JLA cover is decent but I’m not convinced by the angel statue. Look at the positioning, the angle? It’s leaning right over from the headstone, so if it’s proportional the torso and head will loom awkwardly over the flat area, banging into people trying to lay flowers.

    The JLA issue was indeed a really brilliant superhero funeral, I enjoyed the character bits but wasn’t moved… like others, knowing that they were mourning a robot kept the tears at bay.

    I like Michael Kramer’s theory that Highfather is going along with the pretence that Scott is brown bread, but it’s ridiculous that no one realises that wasn’t Mr Miracle – Barda the wifey, J’onn with psychic powers, ice with her empathy, Batman with his detective skills…

    And thank you Liz Anne, I was also wondering about Steel. No one cares for the actual dead leaguer? Was he just shoved in a closet with Cindy’s parents and brother?

    Excellent observations on the five stages of grief, Shag, that passed me by.

    ///

    I was surprised by all the praise for the JLE cover, to my eyes it’s awful, lacking real focus. The situation is indistinct. The stupid-looking Dr Rom-Head, and the blurb continuing from the logo, the little box figures… it’s too much yet at the same time, not enough.

    Poor Rosa indeed. That scene gets my One Punch award.

    I’ve been to St Petersburg, I think I saw Rosa and her other seven sisters in a street choir. She was rather good.

    It’s only just hit me – the colours of your show logo are blue and gold… That can’t be accidental. Speaking of which, Blue and Gold #1 is out this week, will you be doing a special episode?

  9. I wonder if the JLE would have worked, better probably the wrong, if it ended with the “destruction” of the Earth and then give the funeral an issue of its very own? Though it seems that the issue packs enough of an emotional punch so we’re probably fine here.

    As a first time reader of the JLE issue I couldn’t help but feel like it’s a filler issue, so I’m glad I wasn’t the only one feeling way about the issue, as good as it is. Though I’m here for the soap-opera parts of the story so the whole disaster porn of the eXtremsis isn’t really my thing. As to the issue of Power Girl boobs, a gig I really didn’t sign up for, I think it’s that much-derided costume that makes them more prominent than her original costumes. Being more figure-hugging, plus the gold and white banding just seems to highlight them more than normal. The collar really isn’t helping either, when she comes crashing down on the villain the collar really makes it look like she needs more support built into that costume!

    A finally, I promise, I will never not love when (the future) Stinky appears in an issue. And whether it’s the same cat or not really seems to rely on that shut up eye. Later versions of the cat have two purrfectly fine eyes so it could be argued that they are different if this Stinky lost that eye in a catfight. But though no Tom can set foot on Purradise Island there still are many places where you can get a new cat eye!

    I apologize for nothing!

  10. Okay. Now, I need to see a JLA/Doctor Who crossover, where the JLA receives a mysterious shipment of angel statues. They place the statues all around their headquarters. The power goes out during a thunderstorm. Hilarity and horror ensue.

    Thanks for another amazing episode.

  11. Great episode as always, gentlemen. I think one reason this issue may seem like the “better funeral comic” over anything in The Death of Superman/Funeral for a Friend is that, off the top of my head, the funeral itself wasn’t a huge component of it. Everything leading up to and after it was, but the actual ceremony wasn’t, oddly. Maybe I’m wrong, and I could certainly check my back issues or the DC app, but I’ll just wait for someone to correct me.

    The scenes at the funeral still stand out. Bard punching Max (I think she punched him, she just pulled her punch), Ted punching Booster. That shot of Ice laying her head on Guy’s shoulder, with her hair falling off her left ear still sticks out to me. Just a very powerful visual. I seem to recall seeing somewhere Adam Hughes drew Marvel characters in attendance at Miracle’s funeral, but DC legal made them take that panel out. I can’t recall where I saw this, and I can’t find anything on it on the interwebs. Weird. But it reminds me of how later Bruce Timm and company had to redo the funeral of Dan Turpin (who looked like his creator Jack Kirby) for the STAS episode “Apokolips Now, Part 2” because they had originally inserted Marvel characters (although they were in the civilian guises there).

    This issue was so well done, despite knowing Scott was still alive, this was the standard for super hero funerals until Starman #80 came along. And THAT one…that made me cry like a baby.

    I feel like if this JLE issue were to be done now, half of the team would have actually been brutally killed off. Even though the Extremists are nasty and horrible, mainstream comics still wouldn’t cross that line into brutally killing off characters with potential, especially the main stars of a book. Give it a few years and Eclipso will take out a whole swath of long-standing DC characters in his ongoing series. And nowadays…hooboy. The Flash would probably survive (the only guy with his own title). The rest would be cannon-fodder to show how horrible and badass and EXTREME! the Extremists really are.

    Chris

  12. Oh boy, these issues! So many great comments of course, but here I go:

    Back in the day reading this comic fresh off the stands, when Booster quit the team, I was thinking “oh, he’ll be back.” And then JLA #40 comes along, and Ted decks him. This got me because it’s like “Blue and Gold” has died, too! This rift between the guys has consequences. So no mistake, this is a huge moment.

    When Max talks with J’onn in his office, Max says “The conversation I had with Batman made sense. We *need* to bolster our strength.” That’s what Superman talked to Batman about. So did Batman talk to Max before or after the scene with Superman? Did Bats think of it on his own, or quietly take Superman’s words to heart and reconsidered once he’d finished brooding? Or was he all “yes, this is a great idea, and it’s totally mine alone, so glad I thought of it with no one else’s help whatsoever.”

    Then in JLE #16, Flash is ready to fight on the first page, and he’s the only one barely conscious on the last page, struggling to keep going. I love the symmetry, plus it shows Wally was not “all talk” in my opinion.

    Why *did* the Extremists leave the JLE alive when they could have finished them? Without being spoilery, I’ll just say that revelations at the end of this story could explain it, but I’m saving them for later. MWAH-HAH-HAHAHAH!

    Was Rosa the one attracted to Kilowog, or was it her sister? Either way, I always liked these twin women, and this was a heart-wrenching scene with Rosa. Powerful stuff.

    Tracer doing a walking handstand makes him infinitely more interesting and disturbing than his Marvel analogue.

    I’m terrible at guessing who’s the basis for the other Extremists, but if it wasn’t already suggested, “big forehead” could be the Leader.

    Another fabulous episode, Shagg!

  13. I just got my JLI vol 2 Omnibus so I’m afraid I’m late to the party. I just read the Teasdale story, and I found one thing peculiar: why does everyone find it so hard to believe that vampires could exist? We’re talking about a team that has on its roster a shapeshifting telepathic Martian, an element man, a time traveler, a mystic that’s the combined form of two people, etc; and which routinely deals with alien invasions and mystical incursions. Nobody at all seems shocked to learn that this has all been a plan by the Grey Man to acquire the “dream essence” and “soulstuff” of humanity. But they all find vampires ridiculous? This makes no sense. In Action Comics Annual no. 1, which was published two years prior, Batman dealt with actual vampires and did not seem shocked by their existence at all. What gives?

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