JLI Podcast #52 – Justice League America #52 & Justice League Europe #28

Joe Tonello joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League America #52! It's the fight of the century as Guy Gardner and Blue Beetle step into the boxing ring to settle their problems! Then Mike Deines stops by to discuss Justice League Europe #28! It's the final showdown with Starro the Conqueror as he controls Martian Manhunter and all of London! Finally, we wrap up with YOUR listener feedback!

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99 responses to “JLI Podcast #52 – Justice League America #52 & Justice League Europe #28

  1. I’m only halfway through this podcast, but I’m so excited about JLA 52 that I’m pausing halfway through to record my thoughts!
    This was the first issue of JLA I ever bought, and only the second comic series I started picking up (after Green Lantern a couple of months earlier). With the exception of Guy Gardner (and possibly Batman), I’d never seen any of these characters before this comic. Every issue is somebody’s first, right? Well – the incredible characterisation & story-telling in this single issue did so much to inform my subsequent comic reading for the next twenty years; I bought Green Lantern and Justice League through thick & thin (and – boy – were there some lows as well as highs), went on to pick up Martian Manhunter, everything with Blue Beetle and Booster Gold in it, Flash and on and on.
    Perhaps it’s the rosy vision of nostalgia talking here, but to me, this isn’t an odd or awkward issue. This is Giffen & DeMatteis at the height of their creative powers – the increasingly serious drama of the main plot as Guy loses his rag with Ted, and the fallout of his anger amongst the rest of the team (all of which quickly gets lost in the much bigger events to come), with the counterpoint humour of Kilowog filling in his alien registration form. (The gag of Kilowog questioning the tick-box skin colour question of “Chartreuse?” has lived completely rent-free in my head lo, these last thirty plus years!).
    I very much appreciate that the lead-in to the huge Breakdowns storyline comes without any warning – I suspect that these days, this issue would have the livin’ heck marketed out of it as “Countdown to Prelude to Breakdowns: the Zero Issue”! Instead we get an unexpected and powerful final page – even as a first time reader of this book, I knew that this ending meant ominous things were in store.
    Specific comments:
    Cover – One of the few covers where I think the letterer should get equal credit! The yellow colour really made it pop on the stands.
    Art – I rather like the depiction of the heroes in this book – the word I’d use is “beefy” – there’s a tendency to make superheroes look impossibly “cut”, but here, Guy and Ted have a chunkier, but still muscular build – more like a rugby player than a swimmer or track athlete. I quite like that there can be those differences in the team. And Batman looks GREAT in this book, in particular where he’s swinging into the Embassy.
    Guy & Ice – No spoilers, but there’s a really beautifuly tender moment coming up in the “Armageddon 2001” themed JLA annual between Guy & Ice. I’m sure you’ll be covering that book, but I recommend that you see the Annual as woven into the continuity of the early part of Breakdowns. I don’t think Guy’s anger management issues are explored particularly throughly here, but that page depicting his remorse for his behaviour is masterful.
    Fat Ted – I agree that this issue doesn’t feel like fat-shaming. In more modern times it could be a powerful story about some people’s battle with mental health issues and use of food as a relief. It could also be used as a springboard to talk about male anxiety about their appearance – perhaps not such an issue in 1991 as it is in the internet/social media age. As a man with what might kindly be described as a “middle aged physique”, I think I could feel rather inferior if I was hanging out with superheroes the whole time!
    This is the start of an amazing climax to this era of JLA/JLE, and I can’t wait to hear Breakdowns explored on the podcast!

    1. JLE thoughts
      1) Do you think that the start of that Watchmen TV series with baby squid periodically raining from the sky was inspired by this JLE cover? Seems fishy to me…
      2) Is Starro the only DC villain that has to be vanquished by using real-world vulnerabilities (as documented in “Those Amazing Marine Organisms”)? If memory serves, it’s Snapper Carr who identifies quicklime as a potential weapon in the original Starro story – something Beetle quickly dismisses here, and here the team utilises extreme cold. Apparently with Starro, there’s no mysterious starfish totem, no power-sapping Kryptonite (Starro-nite?) equivalent. Starro is pure starfish through and through!
      3) This mix ‘n’ match JLE/JLA lineup isn’t a bad lead in to the Breakdowns crossover, but given that we’re about to get a 15 issue long exchange of team members, it seems like an odd choice. In fact, this three parter does feel a bit like a JLQ story… could it have been repurposed into one of the main books?

  2. Thank you so much for having me on! It was an absolute blast and well worth the wait! I hope I can come back soon on any show here on the network! It was just so much fun!

  3. See if i’d been reading at this point I would have hated it. “The jerk on the team” should handled more carefully than this Hawkeye and Wolverine are both jerks who fight with teammates but they A Never reallY hurt them. Do things no one else does. Guy is a pain in the a@@ who what 3598 people do BETTER than he does.

  4. Hey guys, great episode once again!
    I’m glad you pointed out the weaker points of the JLA issue, you were so pumped before starting that I was afraid it was just my take that this was not …stellar, but you agreed on most of my misgivings (art, bottle episode feel, all over the place plotting). I have to admit that that I have no love (or at least did not have) for Breakdowns and this is pretty much not just the prologue, but feels very similar in tone as well. Let’s see, I keep reading and listening.
    Re: Ted’s weight jokes and storyline: Chris Lewis mentions male anxiety, and I have to add, non-super super hero body anxiety: these people have to be “olympic athlete” shape for their whole careers, with Bats being the benchmark. That has to be A LOT, and not something that someone with powers or a magic ring have to worry about.

    I love this arc in JLE, even if it does feel JLA has to save the day once again (again, it’s an “almost Breakdowns” issue). I think this is a pretty unique Starro story, in that it’s kind of smaller scale: no giant starfish, personal decisions and not punches involved, and brains over brawn. And Sears goes on a REALLY HIGH note.

  5. Another great episode with great pair of guest .
    I have to ask how many shows or comics have a boxing episode cause I remember one in the tv series wings , and an episode of Pokémon also involving boxing .
    What shows can you name that have boxing

    Hey shag have read dare devil noir ?
    Also you might want to check out the made for tv movie the trial of the Incredible Hulk
    As daredevil is the guest star .
    Also the fantastic four episode a blind man will lead them .

  6. JLI:

    I’m sure that the whole Kilowog thing is about government bureaucracy in general, but it reminded me of the old cards you used to have to fill in before entering the US. One of the questions was literally Are you a Communist (another asked if you were a Nazi)! Probably just me but just those style of multiple choice questions with questions no one (sensible) would answer yes just has those vibes.

    More seriously, Guy, to me, hit’s all the notes of being a victim of Toxic Masculinity, whilst Ted (and Booster) are potentially a more balanced take on masculinity. Obviously, it wasn’t what they were saying back in the day, but I think it’s interesting to look at the two through a more modern lens.

    1. JLE:

      Shag I’m very disappointed in you that you manage to catch the right pronunciation of Zed and fell for the simple pitfall of fish sticks, obviously being in the London Embassy they’d be the much superior Fish Fingers!

      Apparently, the last few pages are set a few days after the rest of the comic, I remember this as within a few panels two characters mention how calm Kara has been since the Starro incident. I’ve not even read ahead and knowing what’s going to happen makes me personally… mildly irked.

      Though if the Starro invasion was just a few days before JLI #52 it kind of makes sense why the government is a little tetchy on aliens living on Earth, though no government has ever moved that fast on something!

      1. I too picked up on the Fish Sticks thing. Everyone knows they are called Fish Fingers! And if they don’t know they should. I mean what is the point of “Sticks” … actually now I think about that…. Anyway yes if they are in London and have purchased food locally it should be Fish Fingers in the freezer. However for an Embassy it does seem a rather small freezer to feed so many. And since we are on the subject of ice cream I’d be surprised if we had round tubs of ice cream for sale in the UK in the early 90s. Normally we bought them in rectangular tubs back then or in cardboard boxes that you sliced up. So that freezer seems … what’s that .. it would likely have been a chest freezer ? Are we allowed to make jokes about Kara’s window here? Anyway that whole scene was full of inaccuracies and it really distracted from the book totally ruined the story to have such poorly researched ….. Why are you handing me my coat?….. Ah I’ll see myself out.

        1. To give this travesty some credit I do remember that those round tubs of Häagen-Dazs were starting to show up in the 90s, and I can see Kara popping back home for a few tubs for a night in with Stinky!

          1. Well I guess they could be bringing Ice Cream from the US to store in a freezer using a teleporter. It’s not utterly crazy, for instance my wife knows a nutter who smuggles back to Scotland cans (well cardboard tubes) of frozen concentrated orange juice from Florida in his hold luggage. With freezer blocks and triple insulated protection.

  7. Just read all three current issues of star girl lost children. And what a great story . Can’t wait for issue four . I know this justice league podcast but I had to put my thoughts. And shag if the fire water network dose have a power . Use it and tell the world you want a red bee and lady bug series and I want to see more of the other side kicks as well I want to Robbie the robot dog and quiz kid in a brave and the bold team up .
    All right every one who’s your favorite side kick in Star girl lost children and what other comics would you like to see with them ?
    Also does this mean Kamandi might have a kid side kick now also since Rip hunter has one ?


    The “Bwah-Ha-Ha” era of Justice League started out as mostly serious and gradually got more comedic over the next three years, with the Kooey Kooey Kooey issue(s) being the most “Bwah-Ha-Ha” of all. Then Justice League gradually became more serious, with Breakdowns being as much more dramatic than comedic. By the time the next era of Justice League arrived, it was actually lighter in tone than the closing issues of the “Bwah-Ha-Ha” era.

  9. Thanks for another lovely episode and how nice to have two more members of the gang make their debut. I love to hear people’s beginnings with the JLI stories. Joe and Mike did a great job (but don’t have either back until I get another go!).

    I liked both these issues, with JLA#52 especially good – Guy losing it with Ted was so powerful and so sad.

    While some of the Trevor Von Eeden faces were indeed weird, overall I liked the art. Choices such as Ted shot from behind as he squatted were clever. The only character who looked totally off was indeed General Glory, who seemed to be based on Li’l Abner. No way would a World War Two throwback have that shaggy mop, he’d have a short back and sides.

    As for the JLE issue, that was a nice wrap up to a fun story – you really can’t go wrong with Starro. And yes, the work Bart Sears put into the cover was astonishing.

    The >GASP< moment for me this episode was when Mike mentioned that his family took him camping for ‘only three weeks’? Three weeks! That’s child cruelty, surely?

    I watch British TV but dunno what ‘nertz’ means

    Never mind, ‘some guy sitting at home with 50 copies of The Web crying’, I was crying, having just bought one copy – gosh, that was one awful !mpact comic, the ‘art’!

    1. Totally agree on the General Glory haircut…no way would a guy of his generation have shaggy hair like that. I remember thinking that when the issue first came out!

    2. Thanks for the kind words, Martin! And, yes, 3 weeks was a long time, but it was what my dad wanted to do. It got a little better when the family got a truck camper, then a motorhome, but I remember lots of eating a lot of hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire!

  10. I wonder if Guy’s rage was fueled by Beetle’s prank seven issues ago? Guy didn’t mention it, but it wasn’t that long ago and this was yet another humiliation at the hands of Ted Kord…

  11. This was the first JLI/JLA issue I’d bought in years—I guess that boxing cover worked on me—and it hooked me enough that I stuck with it and have nothing but positive memories of Breakdowns. (From what I gather, my memory might be faulty, but what else is new.)

    That JLE cover is so damn good. Starro is such a visibly striking character, and I’m still annoyed it wasn’t the villain in the Justice League movie. (At least we got the Suicide Squad, but still.)

    So when does this podcast end? After Breakdowns? So we won’t get Shagg’s blow-by-blow recap of the Death of Superman prologue in which Doomsday plows through the League members?

    And also, one punch.

      1. Yes and no. We are covering the Giffen/DeMatteis era. So after Breakdowns we jump forward decades to Formerly Known as the Justice League, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League. THEN we are done.

  12. Another great episode and nice to hear new voices as well.

    Kudos to Joe for holding out for this issue it was an interesting discussion and his points about Guy’s personality and head trauma being partly responsible for his actions does make sense.

    That being said it felt a bit out of character that Guy would cheat to beat Ted, even when the red mist descends he’d want to show Ted up and beat him fair and square. The darkness certainly creeps in from here on out with Breakdowns and while I think folks remember this issue as funny – I always remembered it as anything but. Sure there’s some zingers in there, but what Guy becomes more than before when he would try and take people down face to face now makes Guy not just a bully but an evil jerk. He might well stick around for a long while yet, but this version of Guy is absolutely the worst version of Guy – and to me when I read it was clear warning this book is about to change. Perhaps because we had so much fun last issue it hit harder.

    Of course we all know Ted is something of a punching bag in the book, not to mention the coma’s he’s been in or will be in. In some respects it makes him even more of my favourite character because despite doing so much good, a lot of bad stuff happens to him (not including Infinite Crisis) and that seems true to life sadly.

    Changing the subject a bit to Joe’s work with hospitals etc That is incredible and important work which is often undervalued by folks outside the community of geekdom we live in. But I hope he knows we all support him and his team!

    As to Mike, I don’t care what the exchange rate is between Canadian and US Dollars he brought REAL value to the episode and proves to me once again Canadians are very funny….
    What I do have issue with is the critic of how JLE dealt with Starro in the end – personally I thought it was genius and a perfect way to up end the cliché Superhero Slugfests we might have expected. Overall the scientific solution to Starro gave me a 60’s or Maybe a Flash Facts style vibe, where out thinking the villain was often the case. We don’t need massive endings every battle do we?

    Again as has discussed it did take the JL:A to save the JLE’s butts, but I always thought Ice should have been on JLE by this time anyway and perhaps had the plan for Breakdowns not been needed the actions of Guy in JL:A would have given the writers an opportunity to move Ice over to Europe as a way to give her distance. But that’s a what if that never needs to happen.

    Over all it was a great episode with great insights and a good number of laughs. I won’t say too much more in case I’m accused of being a fawning fanboy ….

    1. It would’ve made sense to move Ice to JLE, her being from Norway and all. I would’ve liked to have seen Fleur-de-lis, Olympian, Belphegor, or Godiva show up, plus a new Jack o’ Lantern

  13. Shag is right yet again!

    John Cuse said it last episode In the feedback. And Shag went mentioned earlier in the episode that the way to get your letter printed was to grab the editor’s attention.

    I figured telling Shag he’s is a slam dunk! So, did it work? Did it?

    (Another great ep and great cohosts)

  14. Another great episode!

    So Starro got put on ice and then next to the ice cream. Fun!

    But isn’t Starro from space, and can travel through it unassisted? And as another Kahn stated, “It is very cold in space”

    I miss the letter columns, and speaking of Canadians, and letter columns, anyone remember T.M. Maple?

    Looking forward to the next episode!

  15. JLA 52: I remember this one being off-putting back in the day. I think the art was a huge comedown after the awesome Adam Hughes (and JLA art will be pretty shaky all through breakdowns). And I never liked it when Guy would get away with stuff like he does in this story. The other example is when he cruelly beats an unarmed and surrendering Black Hand in JLA #28. I like Guy as belligerent, cocky, a jerk, a blowhard, an egomaniac. But depicting him behaving in cruel or criminal ways like this really takes me out of the story and leaves me wondering why they keep him around. And his assault on Ted is quickly forgotten and they end up working together again for a long time and it’s not mentioned.

    JLE #28: for me, this Starro storyline is the last hurrah for this version of the JLE. Armageddon 2001 will see Captain Atom off the team and the book is subsumed in the Breakdowns crossover and then there’s the reboot with Hal Jordan and Aquaman on the team and Dmitri gone. That reboot era has a few things going for it, like Dr Light joining and getting the most panel time by far she will ever have, but it won’t be the same ever again. 🙁

    I’m sad that Breakdowns is upon us because the end is nigh for this beloved podcast, though I’m curious what Shagg and his guests will make of this crossover. I don’t remember it too fondly, but I will keep an open mind. 🙂

  16. You guys were wondering who Ted’s assistant/love interest in the Len Wein Blue Beetle series was…her name was Melody and I think the last time she appeared was the last issue of that series where it seems like her and Ted’s dad are going to be running Kord Inc. I think she’s due for a comeback just like Trixie from the Booster series did in the recent Blue and Gold miniseries!

    1. Thank you! That was still bugging me and digging out my BB Showcase is a real pain! It’s literally behind a wall of Wally’s Waid run and Fable Compendiums, so thank you for putting that to rest.

  17. First, both guests were terrific. Thanks Joe and Mike!
    Now for my whining. You can talk and talk but you can not convince me that Guy Gardner is, or ever was, a hero. He may be sympathetic at the end here, but so was The Mole Man. Still a villain. Like Guy, only thinking of himself. Heedless destruction of property and callous disregard for anyone else.
    Over the course of these two books, the characters have been sort of been on a parallel world. Characterizations and supporting players developed in their own series are disregarded for the sake of the joke count. Why is Batman there? Just for the joke. Why is Kilowog there? Just for the joke. It’s even worse in JLE. Issue after issue has seen had the JLE treated by the creative team as The Inferior Five. The writers do not know who these characters are or what they can do. Power Girl has exhibited NO powers in this book in months. Captain Atom, who can do almost anything a writer needs him to do, has consistently been a terrible leader. Shag was pointing out that the JLA has to come to the rescue AGAIN. To fight seastars. These are regular earth echinoderms? Not aliens? Meta-freaking-morpho is right there! He can make ANY element! Maybe a combination of elements? He’s unaffected by these mini-Starros. Rocket Red can do…what? Well, he’s been around for several years and nobody is quite sure. But he has a bunch of mechanical things, right? Maybe he can quickly construct a compressor that is powered by Captain Atom that Metamorpho can fill with Nitrogen. Compress that into a liquid, and spray it on the Starros. Now we don’t need Ice to save the day. Of course, she’s had nothing to do in JLA, because she’s only there for the joke. I don’t mind a mix of humor and super-heroics. I’m just frustrated that all these great characters are not being used to their potential. At least there are some funny bits here. The issue I did with Shag wasn’t funny and the heroes were useless!

    1. You’re welcome!

      Apropos of nothing, Mole Man had a fun turn in the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl a couple of years ago that REALLY made him a sympathetic character. Still not likable, but sympathetic.

  18. Impressive podcast. Most impressive. I liked this comic as a college student. I think I read this in the back issue bins. When I was going to college. Which was right before the justice league was sent from obscurity. Since this is right before Morrison took over the comic. The wizard issue where he talked about wanting it while he was running the invincibles was not even on the shelf yet. Still at the Acadiana booking comic shop. They had an extensive amount of back issues. Since the owner Ms. Teresa realized very quickly that books were not her best sellers but at the time comic books where. So there was a section of books but a huge portion of the store was comics. And a cable or so with gaming stuff. And everyone so he could find an audiobook. Something to do with Star Trek or Star Wars. Or some other thing that somebody did want anymore that they sold back to her for store credit. And any rate to be honest I enjoyed the story at the time, but it wasn’t mind blowing because the secret origin of the people and had come out at the same time. And it kind of tells the same story but better.

    Since the bully the Penguin is doing with the team through heck he wins the fight in an something terrible happens to his pets. He does getting good shape. And this disaster facing off to become a villain he does reply gets revenge on this villain later. I can’t remember if Batman get there in time to save the other crook or not. So while this was a good issue. Beetle saying he had bullies that act like guy. Wasn’t as effective as. And as much as I hate to admit it. I was still in the young person mindset. Where you should always be ready for a fight. And beetle should’ve been prepared for that attack. This the correct of course it’s a boxing match. She been ready for it probably. But it is pretty pathetic on guys part to attack him in such a way. Granted guy does mention he was bullied as well. So maybe this is a defense mechanism on his part. Though he needed to control it for this situation.

    And as much as I hate to say it fire is justified in how he acts towards Guy. It does take a lot of work on Bea Smith’s part to fix the character of Guy. Along with some stuff that was done later. Still this was how his time at the time. I am glad they were able to get beetle back into fighting shape. And this is a relatable storyline to give him. At one time I was out of shape and got back into shape. So I can understand it. But, again this one doesn’t get the message across as well as that secret origin story did. Maybe they just had too many plates to spin at the time. As for breakdowns, I have no idea. In truth I never got around to reading it. I had moved around that time is probably in high school again I picked this up to the back issue. And I hadn’t seen the justice league for a while. I saw the earlier issues. But, I ended up moving and had a choice pick up Superman for justice league and well there are several Superman titles that I wanted. I saw the issue where Max got shot and read that on the rack. I may have got it I may have got an issue of Jaguar instead. I too was collecting the impact comics at the time. I think I remember way do writing the shield issues.

    Which is kind of fun since he later became a well-known writer when he took over Capt. America. And had almost save the book unfortunately the Industrial Revolution bit was already set in motion. We’re gently got the fantastic four and Ironman. Where Rob Layfield got the avengers and Capt. America. As well as others. And he came back to the books of Magic just wasn’t fairly tested before everything. My favorite compact books were Jaguar and the black hood. For whatever reason those are the ones that spoke to me. I read an issue or two of the fly but couldn’t get into it. The web would appear here and there I just didn’t care. Weirdly I didn’t remember picking up a few issues of blue ribbon comics in the 80s that had these Archie superheroes. I remember picking up the fly from that line, but again I just didn’t get into him. Though this time I was into Jaguar mainly for the writing. And black hood because for whatever reason I could enjoy that character. Until he started switching to the main character was. I like the comment well enough. And had raved an issue that was this giant sized Archie comic in their old name that I also picked up when I was in college. Or it may have been high school. That had issue where the comet died and his brother the hangman started fighting crime. Had a bunch of other issues in it.

    Including a story with the shield in it. They were called Archie at the time, and this was in the back issue bins. Probably in a reader condition because it was expensive but it was not too expensive. At some other character like some boxer with a messed up face. Who is traveling around writing wrongs. I had picked this up later because of these impact comics. But, for this line it was just those two. All right so back to blue beetle and guy fighting. At the time I didn’t really think of the only thing that I had just lost a lot of weight. And of course the aforementioned secret origin issue. I’m not offended by the way bill is treated in this since it’s rather similar to how Thor was treated in the avengers movie. So apparently there still doing that. Though Thor was treated a bit better getting to win his particular encounter. I know the old one the boxing match. That guy standing over him at the end is still little oy. As a guy fan I may have felt differently at the time . And luckily no one else treats Ted like this in the comic. The bad treatment does remind me of how some people a few trains people to the point where they will use the dead name used the wrong pronounS. I’ve even had one person read my email name I wrote into a podcast. Nothing from your network of course. Since I had to send the email. But they insisted on repeatedly reading the dead name since I hadn’t had it changed yet in my emails. Using both to just further annoy me.

    And I can tell them all day long pronounS or she her or crazy old lady. In a villain this point in using the dead ones. Or they them pronouns. Nothing wrong with they, then pronouns or he, him pronounce they are just not mine. Or the beach over the head with its great science book. Even though the W.H.O. Has said that we exist. They will still beat us over the head with the eighth grade science. I’m hoping one day they go tonight great so they can learn new science. But, having my science award from high school in biology. And making gays in biology in college. I so love hearing them “educate me” about science. Okay back to the comic. I wouldn’t really say Ted that in this just now has a dad bod. The art was finding this book. Not to my liking but it is what it is. When you go with what it had before any change to this it is kind of a bit of a downgrade. But, taking it in stride it’s fine. I can definitely agree with fire now seeing how guy reacted. Still, he realized he then messed up soon enough. He may need to seek counseling for his emotional outbursts. That might be the problem.

    So Max is shot. It is kind of sad. Though it happens with him later your kind of mEH. There’ve been a few resets since he led checkmate. So who knows he might be back to normal. Onto the next comic. The cover is great. It is kind of sad the way this team is ineffective unless someone else’s controlling them. I can understand rocket red going out for blood. He is a soldier. Kind of like how Thor will just go to win in the avengers movies. It’s in neither one of their styles to try and talk it out. Someone attacks they defend. Fits who they are. If I swing around her that I would be shocked. As for beetle and guy working together. Sometimes you just work with people where they like them or not. They’re just being professional. Also if this is right after the boxing issue. Beetle gone a heck of a Slim fast diet. Since he went from dad bod. To sixpack in a matter of minutes. Or he just got out of shape that fast and when this hits. It would’ve been better had it been one of the actual team to do it. Still ices powers make the most sense. Though it is a member of the team Kilowog , that figures out how to stop them. So it’s something. Then the Staro ends up saying everything up so that Kilowog’s plan can work. They’re giving con*laughter hiding in the refrigerator is kind of funny. Though LR rate it would make more sense to have him in a more secure location. But, it is what it is. Can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  19. You know, I released an episode on Christmas Day covering a Batman and the Outsiders Christmas issue. This least you could have done is release the boxing issue on Boxing Day. Sheesh. Anyway, on to my comments, which probably repeat things said on the show or above, because I’m not that smart.

    JLA #52. As someone who gained a “pizza belly” in college, and struggles to minimize it to this day, I really identified with Ted’s look and plight, and I love that his paunch doesn’t stop Ted from being able to fight. He’s still awesome. And I have to give props to Chris Lewis as first commenter, who mentioned both Ted and “the Watchmen TV show”, which made me realize that Nite Owl was *also* depicted as pudgy in the original Watchmen series. Are they turning Ted into Dan? That’d be an insane meta loopback!
    Overall, the artwork is far from my favorite for this series. But I still found lots to love, including Fire especially when she bursts into Guys’ room to bawl him out, L-Ron being delightful and hitting his own head to start the round, and Max’s face when you-know-what happened on the next to last page. So not flawless, but you know, it’s not issues 14 and 15. Brrr.
    And yes, Wanda in this issue has to be the same woman from Max’s solo story in #41, just with different hair color. Honestly, the red hair made her look too much like Mary Jane in Spider-Man comics from this era, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why her hair is now black. Another call back to #41 is the name of Max’s driver, Rudolpho, but actually Max used his power so the driver would let him be called Rudolpho, and in this issue, Max *jokes* about that with Wanda! Um Max, have you really learned about boundaries?

    JLE #28. Lots of running and fighting, because Captain Atom doesn’t know what to do. It’s funny, I can explain why I accept this, but don’t expect anyone to really agree. In Cap’s own comic, he didn’t really get a lot of experience fighting supervillains. He did just as many “staged” fights and purely military operations, so I could see he’s still learning about the metahuman world. Also, he’s only had 4 publication years of experience, unlike the decades for J’onn or Batman. Finally, from the very beginning of JLE, Cap admits he struggles dealing with civilians. He’s socially awkward, doesn’t know how to relate, says the wrong thing, is kind of lost in his own world… wait, is Cap an army nerd?
    The artwork is of course fantastic! Bart knocks it out of the park, and the Starritos on people’s faces continues to be creepy every single time, because he makes them look so squirmy. Love it!
    Yup, JLA members save the day. Course I love Ice, so I’ll allow it.

    Shagg, am I supposed to be taking notes of questions to me? Hey, I listen to this show while driving, not a good time for note-taking. Tell you what, next time just include the questions on the episode’s page. Cool beans?

    Wonderful guests for the wonderful discussion as always!

    1. AIR FORCE nerd, Tim! Man, that’s almost like calling Katana Korean. (Okay, not really remotely, but I was going for the Outsiders joke.)

  20. I noticed that there has been no time in this Starro story for Kilowog to bomb out and take in dinner and a Cats show (and oh, yeah, spend the night in jail) with the a’postrophe p’als. For sure this month’s boxing issue cannot be shoehorned in between panels of the Starro fight either, again because: Kilowog. So I was glad to see that a little time-jump was included between pages 19 and 20 of JLE this month to allow for these JLA stories to take place. Captain Atom references “Not a temper tantrum for days,” handily allowing for stuff to happen in the interim.

    Oh, is it nearly time for the Breakdance crossover already? Tubular! I’ve never read it, but really, why WOULDN’T this era of the League end with a mega-story where Martian Manhunter does lots of lockin’ and poppin’? Ralph of course would do the worm. And so on. Rad, I’m up for 15 issues just of that. Wanna make something of it, B-Boy?

  21. Lots of commenters made great points here, so I will limit the repetition to the important stuff, like, “Joe and Mike were terrific and should return.” Also, the brain is extraordinarily complex, and brain damage affects people in very different ways, but spontaneous, misdirected rage and impulse control problems? Those are two symptoms that occur pretty frequently, I think. Guy should not be heroing and risking another impact (and certainly not boxing). He should be getting neurological and psychological help, and more than one kind of therapy. What happened to Ted is horrible and wrong, but so is what’s happening to Guy. Please tell us all if I’m wrong, Dr. Lewis!

    Captain Atom is a fighter pilot and a company grade (I.e., relatively junior) commissioned officer. Pilots spend most of the first several years of their career learning to fly the aircraft well, and in the case of a combat aircraft, employ it as a weapons system. There is probably less opportunity for leadership experience in the first few years as a single-seat fighter pilot than in any other commissioned officer career field in any service, according to pilots I’ve known. So, he’s been taught about leadership and maybe practiced it a little in his commissioning source, but if he were to continue in his flying career and follow a traditional path, almost all of his leadership time would still be ahead of him. His troubles in the role are not unrealistic.

    1. I forgot to mention, I was happy when they healed Guy’s brain with comic book magic later. He was still a tough guy, and a much more likeable one, and reading his stories didn’t feel like watching an abuse cycle play out.

    2. I agree with this Captain fellow. Joe and Mike were terrific and you should definitely have them on again. Especially that Mike fellow. I like the cut of his jib! I would certainly thank the Captain, if I were Mike. Which I’m not……

  22. What another great episode! Well done to Shag and Joe. That other guest was a hack! Boooooooo!!! Kidding aside, it was such a fun blast to be on the show. Thanks, Shag! Now on to the issues……

    JLA – While this issue may not have been the strongest, it had some great gags. To me, L-Ron hitting himself on the head to signify the start of a boxing round cracks me up every time. And with all this boxing, there was more than one punch in this issue! One punch! One punch! One punch! I’m a stinker……

    JLE – Where do I know that voice from?!? It sounds much tighter, one might say well edited, than what I’m used to.

    I’m looking forward to the start of Breakdowns and Armageddon (said no one ever). Well done, everyone! Keep up the great work!

  23. Great show, Shag. Joe, and Mike! General Glory on the roster always felt like when G.I. Joe added Sargent Slaughter to the team. He just didn’t fit there beyond a gag. Even with his big shaggy head of Ramsey Bolton hair. I was a bit disappointed by Trevor Von Eden’s art. Not only because he drew a supposedly out-of-shape Beetle totally jacked except a perfectly rounded belly, but the lack of furniture drawn meant I couldn’t count the couch and chair doilies.

    Now the JLE issue was much more fun. I usually get tired of the “heroes get mind controlled and attack other heroes” trope. But when you do it with a starfish, I’m in! Just a lot of good old fashioned punching and refrigerator art. I have three kids so every time I open the fridge door for some milk, I have to do it slowly or the rush of wind causes a million dinosaur drawings and school projects to flap around the kitchen!

    Breakdowns is about to start, which means we’re close to the end. I guess when this is all over, Shag will finally have time to launch the Kickers Inc. podcast. So there’s that to look forward to.

    1. You had me at doilies counting, and you kept me with the careful opening of the fridge door!

      Can’t wait for the Kickers Inc and NFL Superpro Podcast

    1. @Shag, G’day from the Australian embassy… or strewth… is that consulate? Although I’ve followed the network for ages, another listener here been flat out like a lizard drinking the last few months and caught up with this episode. Great show and the creator interviews are ace! They’re bloody brilliant. Good onya mate!

      (*May or may not be laying on the Aussie slang a bit thick!)

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