JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #4

Mike Harlow joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about three different stories in Justice League Quarterly #4!  First, the Injustice League rob from the rich & give to the poor (namely themselves)! Next, Ice becomes possessed by a demon while she & Guy are on a double date with Fire & Oberon! Finally, we explore the hijinks of Power Girl's cat! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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20 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #4

  1. Not really comenting on the episode or the content this time, but on your decision for this to be the last JLQ episode. Not only I see your aim to go straight into the Giffen-DeMatteis issues, but also, let face it: JLQ never lived up to the expectation of the first issue, and each subsequent one proved weaker and weaker to the point of not even been readable. I have copies of all of them, and from 3 onwards I never re read them again in 30 years.
    That said, realizing Jack and Petey were in #4 made me go back, un-bag and read. Great stories, and enjoyed the cat tales even more than the lead story.

    And thank you so much for the shout out to our new podcast!

  2. This is a mixed bag of a book and I feel like you guys definitely nailed every angle of the three parts in this issue.

    For the first story, the art is great, and fits perfectly into the JLI world. I love a bungling caper story, but there is something missing to the rhythm of this one, as Mike Harlow noted. The banter, pop culture references, running gags, etc. just weren’t as strong. This story kind of illustrated why this version of the JLI had to end when the creative team left. No one else could really capture that Giffen/DeMatteis magic blending heart, humor and action.

    I actually don’t love the second story as much as I’d like to, but it’s probably because, for me, the Guy and Ice relationship feels forced and not earned. But I do enjoy some of what’s going on here and JM finding a soft landing spot for some of the characters from his weird little Dr. Fate run is fun to see.

    I liked the discussion you both had about Guy and how, deep down, he does care about his teammates. Guy is a more complex character than given credit for, and his interactions with Oberon in this issue really kind of showcases Guy’s self-sabotage when it comes to relationships. He and Oberon probably could be friends, and really, Guy could have been a respected member of the league, but Guy thinks he knows how people feel about him, and how they all just see him as a big jerk, so he preemptively acts like a jerk to their faces, just so he’s less vulnerable when people are jerks to him for being a jerk. Its a real JLI jerk-off.


    I’m sorry.

    I must be listening to way too much oHOTmu or NOT.

  3. It was an interesting book . A great series of stories and a great guest host .
    I’m just wondering how many pets has super girl had in total ?
    Also I’m giving an exclusive here March of next year will be morphin March as we talk about the power rangers , Vr troopers and even some super sentai as well .
    And don’t April is western month on Bucky749.
    Also here’s some ideas for a few find joy episodes
    1. Find your joy Hardcase and choice .
    2. Find your joy genre comics.
    3. Find your joy fist anime series you ever saw revisited.
    Have a great month and stay safe .

      1. Yes I’d like more ultraverse . But I doubt that there is going to a show called ultraverse prime time . Where shag and guest talk about the history of a ultraverse character. The ultraverse network is long gone may it rest in peace .
        Random fact I once gave some who wasn’t a comic fan a issue of Hardcase #2 and it made her a instant fan of the ultraverse and especially hard case , later that week I told about kamen rider and she became a fan of that franchise as well she started with decade .

    1. Technically Supergirl had two Steaky and Comet, though Comet is a hot mess of continuity and is technically his own thing! Pee Gee has just the one, the eventually named Stinky, an obvious joke on Steaky!

  4. I guess I’ll be the one defending the first story, as I think it’s very funny in the style of JLI while not being identical. It’s more a slapstick farce than workplace comedy, and I still enjoy it. One subtle bit that still amuses me is when the Injustice League is in the bar going over their plans, and one of the random bar fly villains is just looking over the plans! No attempt to hide the scheme or shoo him away or him asking to join in! Just checking things out!

    The cat tales are pure fun. My favorite part is Stinky being horrified at himself in the mirror after his bath. That’s the cat’s meow!

    Ah, but JMD’s story is so good. Revisiting our friends from his Dr Fate series, Darick Robertson’s phenomenal artwork, Max’s drinking non-problem, and JM obviously loving the “you can say that again” gag. Two extra notes. When Fire and Ice are freshening up in the bathroom, and Ice mentions borrowing Fire’s black dress to wear with the crystal, she says “Maybe I’m not as innocent as you all think.” And oh no, have we found the root of Tom King’s Human Target series? I refuse to accept that this justifies King’s take on Ice, but I hate to say it does establish precedent. Argh!

    Finally, thinking about the cover of this issue, allow me to direct your attention to the cover of Animal Man #40 which comes out the following month.
    I cannot take credit for this observation, someone pointed it out years ago on Twitter, but pretty wild, right?

    A fine episode as always! Looking forward to JLMay, but I’m a little sorry that issue #30 featuring Dr Fate issue isn’t being covered here with its strong callback to JLI. But don’t get me wrong, I *also* want Shagg to cover Booster’s issue, so it’s not a loss at all. I’m just greedy. Stay Golden!

    1. Well Tim, I aim to please. While we are covering the Booster Brave and the Bold here, I will be covering the Doctor Fate/Green Lantern Brave and the Bold over on my ONCE UPON A GEEK PODCAST for JLMay!!

  5. Well that was a fun episode. I don’t recall reading this JLI-Q issue however, I think I’ve got it in my longboxes but like Shag they are in a closet (cupboard) which is almost impossible to reach as it is behind boxes and boxes of LEGO I am using for displays. Having a geeky wife has saved me from something like the 49 box limit rule, but also going digital (with the exception of certain limited series) since 2011 has probably helped the house’s foundations with 12 years worth of dead trees bits with ink on them not added to the collection. But like this weeks returning guest (3rd appearance means Mike gets a medal of some sort surely) I do miss having comics in my hand. Then again you can’t wipe a comic down if there a mild spill or spitting of a drink… so digital has its benefits.

    That I don’t recall reading this JLI-Q issue isn’t surprising however as I happened to see how JLI-Q lasted thanks to Mike’s Amazing world of Comics and I only recognise half of the covers after issue 3. So while I’ve probably got them, I might very well not have read them. Which is a shame as JLI-Q had a lot of key moments for the JLI this issue’s case in point. Honestly if it hadn’t been for Breakdowns already in full swing surely this second story, which has a major character development point in it for Guy and Ice, would have been in the main book or at least an Annual. That it appeared in an expensive quarterly which likely had a lower distribution number/print run – seems a bit of a cheat.

    I have at least looked up the issue on DC infinite so I’ve been able to enjoy the art in each section to go along with the excellent plot descriptions provided by the hosts this week.

    For the first story I too don’t get why it wasn’t top billing – but I have a theory. While Jason Pearson’s art doesn’t seemed as polished as his later work, it still looks great if even a little gritty with it. I’m not sure if this is before or after his Legion work, but certainly it looks great here and shows so much promise. Will Jacobs story might feel a bit silly – but it felt like a perfect IJL story.

    I wonder if this was a trial run for a spin off comedy book starting the IJL. I think it would have been perfect post Breakdowns book to have on the shelf as the JL shifted back to more dour and serious stories. I also ponder if Jacobs would have been a better fit than Jones for JLE, I know both of them worked together for a while later on when JLE got renamed to JLI, but the comedy seems much sharper in this story than anything that I suspect Jones delivered in his run on JLE. I’ve already discussed my issues with the dialogue in JLE before during and after breakdowns as you’ve covered in the feedback – so would this have been sharper and funnier with Jacobs so seemed to enjoy the wacky? I dunno.

    As for the main story of the book with the just gorgeous art work – Was it the length of 25 pages that meant this wasn’t in the main book? Was it the schedule that meant they couldn’t shoe horn it in before Breakdowns started? Whatever the reason was I don’t get it. Because what if we swapped this one out for the Boxing issue or indeed fit it and shifted breakdowns back a month? Robertson’s pencils certainly feel good enough here to be on the JL:A Book even if it is his first work. It’s a crying shame that what is a wonderful story got lost in the quarterly and to get second billing even if it’s because it’s a shorter story than the lead…. its crazy.

    I agree with Mike that this is the 3rd part of a Trilogy as well and should have been billed as much. Granted it’s not as bwah-ha-ha-ha funny as the first two “dates” but that might be a reflection of the maturity of guy coming through here. It certainly doesn’t need Beetle and Booster to make it funny – the sub plot of Max’s drinking is more than enough comedy while allowing the romance story play out.

    I say, romance as it covers all the well know romance staples – Boy meets girl, boy has brain damage, girl falls in love with brain damage, boy recovers, girl doesnt give up on the jerk, boy is a jerk, boy is a BIG jerk, Girl almost walks, Boy tries to get better, Girl turns into Giant naked (and well done Shag for not making much of a naked Ice) demon, Girl is saved by freaky dog/demon, boy confesses love for girl and then a few years later girl dumps boy meets man with a target on his back and well we’ll leave it there. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s romance comics could learn a few lessons from this tale.

    As to the final fill in Cat pages – these again were funny and should have been in the main books Or maybe one per quarterly – that we had 4 in a row seemed a bit condensed and it would be nicer to have the tales spread out a bit.

    Overall I’m tempted to get the issue out of the long box, but I’ll keep to the DC App in the meantime. It’s funny how this is the last of the meanwhile episodes and… dum dum…. it’s straight on to break …. dum-dum…. downs where I hope I’m going to dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum …. what is that noise? OH IT’S JL MAY do-do-do-do…

    First off that promo I’ve heard elsewhere is very very annoying – but since this will be my first ever JL May I’m looking forward to it. I might even go back to listen to older ones if I can find them.

    But after this it’s second star on the right and straight on to Breakdowns right? RIGHT? Their is no way you might extend the run and throw in JL 3000? Maybe JL 3001? Hunt down Keith Giffen for an interview? Kevin Maguire? Andy Helfer? Just saying I’m up for all of those … we are closer to year 10 on the podcast than we are to year 5 by the end of breakdowns so why not go for a nice round number ??? 🙂

    1. Holy Moley typo aplenty above. The big one is “For the first story I too don’t get why it wasn’t top billing” I meant “I too don’t get why it WAS top billing”

      I forgot, in my Frank like post, to mention Guy’s demeanor. He reminds me a bit of those bullies who get really ticked off if their victim is bullied by ANOTHER bully. These bullies are the ones who often come back later in life and think you are actually friends of a type and that they are sorry for the bullying but also don’t think it was that bad. I’m not saying Guy is a bully, well not all the time but he isn’t as hard as nails as he thinks he is. Of course things have changed and the Guy we got in his own title was very different within a few months of that book from the Guy in JLI. Was he acting a role he had created for himself and was trying to keep up appearances? Are we nuts for wondering about the internal motivations of a comic book character written by plenty of different writers over the years each with their own internal dialogues for Guy? Are we projecting our own experiences or wishes for a Guy in a comic book as if we were given the chance to write him? Is it crazy that some of these corporate owned characters we discuss as if they are almost real people? Are we overthinking it? Who cares! It’s fun and it keeps us off the streets and I for one enjoy these discussions!

  6. Symbol Pending ready of action! As it happens I was chewing gum at just that moment!

    I enjoyed all the stories, obviously the Stinky comics most of all, though I’m really not a fan of the characters in the stories (except as always Stinky). The way the injustice League characters just don’t work for me, I obviously hate fun, but I just find them annoying! And despite that, I find the story really fun and enjoyable!

    And I’ve mentioned before how I’m not a fan of Guy, and I think you hit on part of the reason. Because we so rarely see the JLA (or JLE) in action we rarely see that teamwork aspect of his character, so we see more of his jerkiness and that kinda hurts the character. Ice is, as always, ever charming, even as a rampaging 50ft demon woman!

    1. Oh and for the really important question as far as I can tell Pee Gee’s cat isn’t named Stinky until Power Girl (2009) #12! Which sadly appears to be his last appearance as of this current moment 🙁 .

      He’s also been called Guy and Wally (this issue) and Theodore (DC Retroactive: Justice League The ’90) , Kara had a thing about naming him after JLA members for a bit it seems!

  7. Impressive podcast most impressive. The first story was fine. Sorry I have no idea who the moonies were. I remember Wacko, TX but not the moonies. But the art was fine. The sec story was fun. Finely GuY and Ice express their love. Ah so cute. Yeah Ice looks good in this… not at Fire’s level, but still. The left overs from Dr. Fate were fine.

    Can see why the JLA forgot them. This is typed from my phone again. Anyway, glad Beau picked up their romance a bit in his run. Though he tried to give him another love later after Ice died… she got better. The pick up of her still carries for Guy when BOP brought Ice back in Gail’s run was cool. And red rockets were they’re sad not the JLA one. Any way. This was a fun one.

    Though having General freak out over the one drink was funny. Still was hoping he’d get more from his mentor ship of Guy. Ah yep I tried Russian and latter Spanish. Which is closer to English on a learning curve. Nope sorry don’t remember giving on seeing that look on any one’s face that I dated. I didn’t think I ever gave it… but who knows maybe I have and didn’t realize it.

    Don’t remember. The cat bit I remember. Yeah my dog does that right after I bathe her. Jynn has to got out side and get in much stuff to renew her oy smell as possible. Oy dog musk. Not that difficult to bath her, but no easy task to get her to the tub. The keep her in the chair with a towel till she dries. Then she’ll want to go out and re musk her self in the back yard. Oy. Ah that is how the cat got that name interesting. Can’t wait till the next podcast.

  8. Great episode, and again Mike was a great guest again! Mike mentioning that the Cracked Ice story could be called Date of Density part 3 made me think of an idea for you when you want to repackage your podcast down the line after you wrap up everything you want to cover. Just like they could collect the “Dates of Density” as a trade paperback, you could release them together as a podcast! The Armageddon 2001 JLA Annual could also be included since we get the Guy and Ice marriage in that (which is where they probably kissed before).

  9. Hi Shag,

    I’ve been absent for the last few episodes. I’ve had quite a tough few months and haven’t had as much time as usual for podcasts. This week I’ve had a week off work so I’ve listened to issue 51 on and I have a few comments. Most revolving around Breakdowns.

    First I think this issue is directly related to Breakdowns. I suspect that all the stories in this issue of JLQ were started before Breakdowns was conceived. We have all read interviews where Keith and JM have discussed how the plotting of JLI was ad hoc. Most of the time they clearly had no idea what they were going to do next. In a recent episode your guest mentioned the story that Giffen wanted to leave JLI and Helfer asked him to stay for one more year. From a business point of view you can see why Helfer would want this. Not only is Breakdowns the end of the Bwah-ha-ha run it’s also the end of Helfer’s time as a superhero line editor. After JLI he moves onto Piranha/Paradox Press for the next few years. He’s slowly dropping his books (Archie Goodwin has taken over Legends of the Dark Knight, Kevin Dooley is taking over Green Lantern, Brian Augustyn takes over JLQ while Breakdowns is on) and I can see why he wouldn’t want to bring in a new creative team for his last few issues. So he asks Giffen to finish the run and they concoct Breakdowns. I have no doubt that the Injustice League and Cracked Ice stories were designed to be the lead stories in different issues of JLQ and the Cat stories were meant to be one per issue but due to them all being contradicted by the continuity of Breakdowns they were all thrown into the one book.

    Secondly I do agree that the general reaction to Breakdowns is negative. It’s very hard to put my finger on why. Some of it might just be the era. At the time other books began to take up the attention of the readers and I think sometimes a consistent book can begin to look dull by comparison. I know for sure that by this point books like Sandman, Shade and Doom Patrol were more exciting to me. Even Keith and JM were producing books that were captivating me more elsewhere. The Quiet Darkness was getting going over in the 5YL Legion and JM had just started his run on Spectacular Spider-Man. For me I was also finding it difficult to keep up with the books. For some reason I started finding it harder to find the books at the newsagent. I had started to go to comic shops as well but we had a three month delay between comic shops and newsstands so sometimes by the time I realised I’d missed an issue it was already sold out in the comic shops. As it is I picked up JLE 29 last year and managed to pick up JLQ 4 this week. Good timing for the podcast but not necessarily for my fandom back in 1991. I wonder if another reason that Breakdowns is badly remembered is a general event fatigue. I know part of the reason that the pre-Vertigo series were my favourite DCs at the time was the feeling that there were too many events going on at once in the DC Universe. The fact that Breakdowns occurs at the same time as War of the Gods and Armageddon 2001 means it gets slightly lost in the noise.

    You know I’m going to have things to say about all the artists mentioned over the last few months’ worth of episodes so here goes….

    Adam Hughes – I missed my opportunity to mention how great his last issue was. Talk about going out on a high. I was completely convinced that in 1991 I had heard that Adam was taking a few months off to draw Chris Claremont’s Star Trek GN and then coming back. Maybe that was part of my problem with Breakdowns. I was waiting for the return that never came.

    Bart Sears – The Starro story was by far his greatest achievement on JLE. It felt like a story that was deliberately tailored to Bart’s strengths.

    Trevor Von Eeden – TVE is one of those artists who I really associate with Andy Helfer as an editor (along with Joe Staton and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez) and I remain surprised that he turns up for an issue of JLA. It really doesn’t work and I think it comes down to the fact that Von Eeden’s greatest strength is his layouts. Don’t forget Helfer got him to do layouts for newbie (and Date with Density artist) Russ Braun on LotDK. Giffen’s layouts hold him back and dilute the power of his art. This was often a problem when Giffen worked with veterans. Look at Curt Swan on the Aquaman mini or Pat Broderick on the Ragman series. Both lose something in the same way Von Eeden does I think because they are being less creative.

    Keith Giffen – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Keith was co-plotter and penciller on a couple of issues of Hex which might explain the odd choice of guest star.

    Chris Wozniak – When I first saw his work in The Spectre I loved it. It was powerful and bold with a lovely scratchiness particularly when he inked himself like on the Invasion issue. I enjoyed his work on Excalibur when he was inked by Al Milgrom but hated the issue inked by Joe Rubinstein. I feel like he is an artist who needed to be inked by someone bold and, perhaps, haphazard rather than someone who goes for smoothness or cleanliness like Rubinstein or Bruce Patterson. I always felt like he was being held down on his JLA issues and never really hit the heights he could have. I was definitely in the camp that was glad to see him quickly replaced by a returning Bart Sears.

    Bruce Patterson – Your guest mentioned he was probably trained by Terry Austin. In reality Bruce was one of the graduates of the art school that John Buscema briefly ran. The one that inspired the How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way book. The first class included Bruce, Larry Mahlstedt, Bob Downs and Bob Hall. I once read an interview with Terry Austin where he said that he first saw John Byrne’s artwork at Continuity Studios where Bruce Patterson was inking it for Charlton. As I’m sure you know a number of JLI people worked at Continuity in the 70s including Terry Austin, Joe Rubinstein, Dick Giordano, Marshall Rogers and Bruce Patterson.

    Darick Robertson – I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Modern Masters book about Kevin Maguire but when he is asked about the One Punch scene he refers to Darick Robertson telling him that it was a significant moment in the development of Darick’s art style. Kevin says that Darick said seeing Blue Beetle rubbing his eyes under his goggles helped solidify his idea of drawing super-heroes as real people interacting with their surroundings. This is such a key element of what makes Darick’s art on JLQ sing. They are real people interacting with the World around them. Little touches like the man who runs the crystal stall losing his spectacles, picking them up and then putting them back on add reality. My personal favourite is on page 8 when Petey (as a dog) puts his paw on Jack’s arm. It’s so real that it helps you swallow the unreality of a talking demon dog. Unfortunately I think I under appreciated Darick back in 1991. Part of it comes down to missing JLE 29 and JLQ 4 which were his strongest issues but I think it’s mainly down to a combination of the dialogue on JLE. There were definitely some issues appearing with Power Girl in particular which left a bad taste in my mouth and soured me on the whole JLE Breakdowns run. As I recall the attempt to parody Doom Patrol coming up really irritated me too. I also remember the inking and colours on the KooeyKooeyKooey issue being particularly ropey which I blamed on Darick because I was 17 and therefore an idiot.

    Jason Pearson – His work on the Injustice League story is amazing. It’s really no surprise that he was immediately given the 5YL Legion book.

    P Craig Russell – You mention how surprising it was to see Russell ink the cat strips but he was an established JLI inker (he inked part of JL Annual 1 and Invasion which was a Giffen/Helfer book) and was a greatly admired artist of animals (check out the Jungle Book adaptation in Marvel Fanfare). He was also a friend and frequent inker of Marshall Rogers.

    I mentioned that I only added JLQ 4 to my collection this week but I’ve been searching for it for a fair while ever since I discovered it featured a quartet of Cat stories by DeMatteis, Rogers and Russell. It’s great to finally get it and discover two other great stories in the book and to be given an excuse to catch up on the podcast. Thanks again Shag.

  10. Another fantastic sideways step in the JLI universe. These are some great stories that are fun to read and a nice change of pace from Breakdowns. While I both loved Cracked Ice and the Sunnie Caper (Soonie? Really, Shag? Sure it rhymes with Moon, but it’s not about rhyming. It’s the Sun and Moon!), I think my favourite story(s) was the cartoon strip, Cat Tales. I remember laughing out loud as a kid when I read these, and I’m still laughing now as a supposedly mature adult!

    Wait, you’re skipping issues 5 and 6 JLQ?!? How dare you, sir, not giving the proper respect to…. uhhhh….. ummm… what happens in issues 5 and 6 again? Wait, Kevin Dooley wrote stories for those issues?!? Oh geez, maybe I need to go back and read those books……

    I am glad to hear about the coverage of Formerly the Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League because I’m a big fan of the Marvel Family and loved that Mary Marvel made the team ( though I don’t like the corruption of Mary Marvel, so much). I can wax Mary Marvel’s car all day! (wait, that didn’t sound like I meant it to sound….). Oh man, I’m so excited by just typing this, that I need to dig out my issues and read them again.

    Also, to echo Doug Adamson, do you have plans to cover the Giffen/DeMatteis Juastice League 3000/3001 or even the DC Retroactive Justice League 1990’s Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire one shot?

    This was lots of fun and Mike Harlow was a great guest. I mean, his name is Mike! He’s GOT to be a great guest, with a name like that! Keep up the great work!

    1. I had completely forgotten / missed the DC Retroactive 1990s one Shot. I think that came out the same time as nu 52 ? I might have it digitally as I went digital in 2011 when my kids were born and the nu 52 started to save on space in the house. I am off now to see if it’s on DC Infinite App as it sounds like a must have!

      Thanks for pointing me to that Mike! For the record I don’t know if Mary Marvel ever had a car to wax, she seems like a scooter type more than a car. Billy seems like he’d have a racing bicycle and Freddie …. er yeah , hmmm, sorry what was the question again?


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