JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… Justice League Annual #2 (1988)

Another "Meanwhile" episode, covering items outside of the monthly series!  The Irredeemable Shag welcomes guest host Jarrod Alberich, The Yard Sale Artist to discuss Justice League Annual #2 (1988)! The Joker and Colonel Rumaan Harjavti are after the JLI, and it's up to Mister Miracle and Big Barda's weenie roast to save the day?!?!

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19 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… Justice League Annual #2 (1988)

  1. I would go Teth-Adam (Black Adam) for the shirt. Black Adam’s design is black with a yellow lightning bolt whereas Kevin’s (Mage) is black shirt with white lightning.

    1. And a quote to tie both this comic and Mage together.
      “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” – Shakespeare’s Hamlet

  2. My favorite part was “Loving You”.

    I haven’t read this issue in a long time, but I think it was maybe THIS issue that I realized JLI had turned a corner into almost straight comedy, and it wasn’t coming back. Now, mind you, I didn’t mind that, and honestly I was occasionally wrong, and it did get serious from time to time. But for the most part, this was it.

    This was a fun issue. And Jarrod is right, Joker was at a crossroads here. Shag was also right that Joker had been a homicidal maniac (again) since the 70s, but I’d point toward Batman #251, “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” by O’Neil and Adams as the true beginning of the Joker’s return to his darker roots.

    I tend to like my Joker mercurial like this. It’s certainly the approach the BTAS guys took with the character. The perma-scary Joker who isn’t also funny is just a thug in my opinion. I have no use for him. I’m looking at you, Mr. Leatherface Joker.

    I didn’t care much for Joker in drag as I don’t subscribe to Frank Miller’s notion that Joker is gay and is in love with Batman in his own twisted way. I think Willingham must be playing off of that here. I tend to think of the Joker as asexual…which makes Harley Quinn even more tragic if you think about it.

    If memory serves I actually DID get both this and The Killing Joke at my LCS at the same time. Much like Ryan and I have been discussing on Knightcast (plug!), the Batman universe was practically a multiverse in and of itself at this point, with various iterations of the characters coexisting at the same time. No way that this Batman and Joker were the same ones seen in Killing Joke.

    Great show fellas. Jarrod is a hoot, and that comic sounds very intriguing!


    1. I totally agree, Chris – Joker needs to be truly funny to make the scary part even worse. Thanks for your kind words about me! And for the absence of kind words about Shag. Message received. Wink.

      I’m kidding, Shag! Loooooving you is easy cuz you’re beautiful…. (never leave a show whilst recording unless you want a Jarrod tune found on your audio track) 🙂

      Thanks for the listen and the kind words, Chris!

  3. Aus embassy blah blah. Thanks for the shout out Jarrod. I think you got ripped off from the full bwahaha experience. Shag owes you another episode.

  4. Such a huge contrast between the first and second annuals. #1 was recapturing the classic JLA adventure feel. But #2 was all JLI humor. And I’m so glad it is.

    I knew somebody else had to remember the Comico connection besides me. Good man, Ace!

    When it comes to the cheesecake and suggestive humor in the art, I believe there was lots of Willingham there. In the “you’ll know it when you see it” panel, I always thought Scott was looking past Barda at his mortal foe, the backyard grill, but yes, he’s completely facing her keister. But to see how far Bill has gone with “mature” stuff, just look for his comic “Ironwood”. NSFW! SERIOUSLY! NOT KIDDING EVEN A LITTLE! NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR CHILDREN! Yikes!

    I loved comparing J’onn’s disguise to Peter Boyle. He’s been bald for a long time, and he’s a pretty tall guy which fits when we see J’onn and Dmitri side by side. I think Dmitri gets little taller as the series goes on, but he’s never short, and J’onn just towers over him, so I’m calling that identify “John Boyle” from now on.

    But why does J’onn have a pipe in his first appearance in the issue? With smoke coming out, meaning a lit flame? Then later, asks the cabbie to douse the cigarette because of its flame? Really? Usually, I have a theory about this, but … uh… I’m blaming Willingham. I think the pipe was a detail he added on his own, not remembering J’onn’s weakness. So actually, Helfer shoulda caught that! Damn it, Andy!

    Oh hey! What do you mean “no costumes” in this issue? Batman’s right there! In costume! Ok ok, I know, he’s the rare exception, and in his own book during this time, it was approaching the point where Bruce Wayne was the “costume” and Batman was the “real” guy, so that’s forgiven. We can’t exactly have Bruce driving the Batmobile to the cookout. And without that, we wouldn’t have had that BWAH-HAH-HAH moment, which I heartily endorse. Nice choice.

    I also think I got this book and Killing Joke at the same time. My comics were coming mail order from Dave’s Comics (remember their ads?) since this was college and no LCS. At the time, I distinctly remember thinking “If Batman had grabbed Joker instead of driving off, Babs wouldn’t have been shot!” Geez, way too real for a funny book, lemme tell you!

    Lastly, continuity. That’s an interesting theory that Bea and Tora might have been hanging around before issue #14, but that should completely change lots of details from that issue. Oberon and J’onn don’t know them and are pretty dismissive of them in 14, but are accepting and outright friendly in Annual #2. That’s just the wrong order. And the Annual can’t take place *after* Scott returns, because ( … uh .. 30 year old spoilers .. ) Rumaan is dead by then and no more Mr Nice Guy! Again, damn it, Helfer!!!!!

    Great job, Jarrod. Loved hearing you on the show. Just a riot. And your co-host was ok.

  5. Jarrod’s instock trades recommendation story was the nicest ever.

    Not having feedback on an episode that totally fits into the issue to issue continuity is illogical, Captain. We’re listening to these things in order.

    I disagree that this period is when the Joker got scary. It’s when he got overexposed. And broken. Iraq making him an ambassador? Batman not ending his threat forever after the deaths of Sarah, maiming of Babs and kidnapping of the Commissioner? (And didn’t he also do something to some snotty kid?) He should have been retired for several years after this, but apparently the more murderous the baddie, the cooler he is. Kids!

  6. When I read this issue, I thought Tora’s shirt had PINK NOOSE emblazoned on it. This could be a good name for a punk band. Urban dictionary defines pink noose as a violent act of murder in which the victim gets sliced across the abdomen revealing their intestines, and is then strangled with his or her own entrails. This sounds pretty morbid for Tora, but I’m sure the Joker finds it hilarious! Speaking of Joker, I think he spares Rumaan at the end in exchange for being granted the diplomatic immunity he has in A Death in the Family, if we want to strain ourselves putting these two stories in the same continuity.

    This was a another great show, and I think you two had colorful chemistry! Those colors being blue and gold, of course!

    1. I was going by memory when I wrote my comment, and have since looked at the annual again and saw that it probably is PINK NOOG! on Tora’s shirt. I must have missed the panel with the G! I actually googled pink noog!, but I didn’t come up with anything this time.

  7. One of my earliest off-the-spinner-rack purchases! I loved it, and it didn’t really bother me much that we didn’t get any costumes in there. (The Batman page more than made up for it.)

    Nice shout out to John Beatty. Every bit helps.

  8. Good job, Jarrod, on putting up with Shag! All I know about this issue is what you’ve posted here, and the podcast, of course. I agree with Martin. The Joker was (and remains) over-exposed, and over-used. I have a lot of problems with the characterization of him in this story. First, the humor of murder. My sense of humor has changed over the decades. For instance, I don’t find the rape jokes in “Young Frankenstein,” and “Blazing Saddles” as funny as I once did. It’s the same with how the Joker dispatches his assistant in this story. It’s not funny, it’s brutal.
    The Joker seems to be just an excuse to get to the gag at the end. The Joker working for someone else? The Joker using conventional firearms? The Joker hiring personnel, and cars, and walkie-talkies, etc.? The Joker perusing high-end fashion mags and stealing haute couture to look good as he walks around in the daytime? It just seems off to me. The Joker must know where the embassy is! Joker gas in the ventilation system! Joker jams radio and TV frequencies! He’s trying to lure Batman! That’s what he does!
    I’ll let Shag try to figure out the continuity of the placement of this story. Maybe it goes between two panels in JLI 15.
    Willingham did a pretty good job, but Barda’s hips should be bigger. See any Kirby drawing of her. Or Lainie Kazan. She’s a classic hour-glass shape!

  9. Irish Embassy calling and in honour of the guest reviewer, the JLI have dug out a number of items for Jarrod to do his art on. Dmitri has donated the Rocket Red 7 armour, Booster has put up the Ace robot he defeated, Guy has a….toilet from the Russian embassy (“A fine example of Soviet plumbing” apparently!), Beetle has the Whisper drive from the tank that he tried to repo, and G’nort has a….fire hydrant??! (Best get that cleaned vigourously before painting on it, Jarrod!)

    An excellent annual and the Joker was a fine antagonist to the JLI (Although truthfully the JLI never noticed he was around until the final showdown). The Joker’s timeline works out pretty fine here – he escapes to Bialya, returns for the Killing Joke, escapes Arkham and (in my head canon) decides to use his brand new Middle Eastern contacts to set up the deals that were at the start of the Death in the Family storyline. Pity the JLI’s own timeline did not work out as well! Where is a Mister Miracle robot to help in these matters when you need one?

    There are of course a few big coincidences to help the storyline along – like how does a leader of a Middle eastern country manage to slip away to search in the ruins of a building in the middle of New York City? Rumaan must not really make it high in the radar of the US Intelligence Agencies in the DCU!

    Small aside – why is there a small puppet popping out behind the rocks on the second last panel on page 25? I remember this panel being shown somewhere (was it in the UK reprints of JLI?) and the editor commenting on same but I don’t remember if there was an answer of not – maybe Willingham liked puppets?

    Loved the episode and Jarrod and Shagg make a great tag team in podcast hosts. Looking forward to the next installment of the show.

  10. You and Jarrod have such great chemistry, Shagg, I think he should take over from the rest of us on a permanent basis.

    Sorry it screws up your show, but that’s how it’s gotta be.

  11. While watching the 1966 Batman series, the joke at my house is that the Joker’s crimes are never actually illegal.

    The *turn* for the Joker – I think – is 1987 with the conclusion of The Dark Knight Returns. After that, not only does the Joker become more murdery and Batman more grim, but from that point on, no DC hero is worth anything if he doesn’t get to beat up Superman.

    The shadow of the mini-series hangs heavy over everything DC through the rest of the 80s, just as we continue to sit in its shade (but I like it – Man of Steel and Batman v Superman – taken as a single movie – is one of the 5 best superhero movies ever.

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