JLI Podcast #57 – BREAKDOWNS: Justice League America #57 & Justice League Europe #33

BREAKDOWNS continues! DC Dave joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League America #57! Maxwell Lord is back! But what does this mean for the League... and the Extremists?!?! Then Noah Tarnow stops by to discuss Justice League Europe #33! Despero destroys the JLA Embassy, then battles Lobo on the streets of Times Square! Finally, we wrap up with YOUR listener feedback!

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27 responses to “JLI Podcast #57 – BREAKDOWNS: Justice League America #57 & Justice League Europe #33

  1. I heard Dc Dave say left turn it at Albuquerque. If he’s coming for a visit fine but tell to bring donuts my brother is doing a bugs bunny movie marathon.
    Also shag have seen the blue beetle movie yet?
    By the time you read this on your show I should have video up on my speculation and thought on the booster gold movie and how I think it will link to the Blue beetle movie . On my channel Bucky749.

  2. So, listening to this episode’s feedback i realized that for the first time in YEARS I did not submit any feedback on the previous episode. So yeah, breakdowns, still not impressed.
    I have some notes on the art for these two issues: Wozniak is kind of better, and you mention, on Despero and Lobo… who are EXTREME characters. I mean, Lobo is pretty much the DC 90s. I hate the Max on the final page.
    And yeah, great cover, but guys… editorial, please. Speaking of the cover and the all black background, 24 indeed, another issue with an all-team party!

    Roberson on JLE, yeah, a complete different category. I want to second what Dave said about Booster’s costume, but also, one of the few artists that makes Lobo’s outfit leather-looking. It’s shiny and tough, like a biker’s would look.

  3. noah i’m so sorry your first Marvel was maxium carringe. I never loved the jokey tone wITH jli but what really p#ssed me off was I WAS PROMISED CREEPER there aint no creeper! and I HATE guy Gardener

  4. Just the mention of “Crisis on Earth Prime” brought back all those warm and fuzzy nostalgia feels. I read it when I was 12 and was my first crossover. it is SO true how that age is everybody’s golden age.

  5. – [ ] Impressive podcast most impressive . Cool cover on this issue. Does the whole close up bit. Was a great homage to the first issue. Sadly over the years to many kept trying to do this and not the action Sean’s that old covers had. And we get to many portrait covers. Still for this one it’s great.
    It’s just some People don’t get this has to have a reason for what they’re doing with the cover. This is done perfect for what it should be. And it fits the story. The back ground being black also fits. And glad it helped for making the bit on the pod catcher. The Lobo thing works and him hunting Desparo fits. Yep this was when Lobo was everywhere.

    Yess the return of Beef Eater. The greats super hero of them all. And the detective. Ah three butt shots in one splash page. Fire, Beattie and Blue Jay. Wares Blue Jay’s wings? See the folks fro
    That dimension most have a dimension shift ware there gear disappear when their at a butt shot angle. That’s what must have happened to Silver Sorcerers es cape. Dimension shifts to show butt shots. It’s the Giffin verse. All things hiding butt shots will be sent to said dimension till they turn ware you can’t see their butts.

    The art has improved. Thought has a few growing pains, but it is what it is. He’s getting there. The Beef Eater throwing himself into battle is cool. And fits his character. The Mac last posse is cool, but it seems a bit to nicey for the last panel reveal. I’d have made him more sinister on the last panel, but that’s just me.

    The fight cover on the JLE is cool. Ah more butt shots. Wait how does Desparo go to the bathroom if he’s butt doesn’t have a er… geez no wonder he’s so mad. No way for sexy time top or bottom, and now if he eats how does he get rid of the waste? Out his ears mouth? No moving on.

    I like the art in this book better but that’s just me. I just like this style better. Hmm though Lobo is a bit thin for how I see hi , still he’s cool. The him holding Guy back is more like an older brother keeping his young brother back. Since he doesn’t want to hurt him. As for disaster oopsibg that’s on J’ohn he should have known. It’s in his name. He should have known.

    Ah Rex taking out Despro with a trip is Awsome and it fits. The hero pose of them regrouping looks awesome. In shock that it’s a small panel and not a full page splash. Still it’s great. And impressive how they made that work. Cool to see Booster come to the rescue. Onto the Extremeests. Ah Max looking move evil fits.

    Though the angle of the foot won’t kill hose that way. Or even crush it. Also who’s going to fix the Extremeest robots if they break down? Max has no skills at that. So soon the villains will be sitting around like the tin man asking for oil cans. Oy. Any way can’t wait for the next podcast

  6. The one debate I’ll happily get into is about Noah’s contention that Morrison’s JLA was serious. I think people were happy to see the Core 7 back, as opposed to a bunch of second or even third stringers that had populated the League since JL Detroit, but serious? Morrison’s issues are hilarious in a “What if we did Silver Age stories today?” kind of way. The book practically winked at you.

  7. So Shag should appreciate this… I think “The Descent of Despero” was more or less my proper introduction to the villain. Yes, his original incarnation was in the only issue of Who’s Who that I ever bought new, and I saw him in the cameos leading up to this issue, but this was probably the first full story I read featuring the Kalanorian*. Recall that I skipped Justice League America #32-52, so my awareness of the Adam Hughes Despero arc came years later in Wizard Magazine. That gap is going to be a big reason for my disdain toward the Breakdowns arc, in fact. Ponytail detective guy? Introduced in a spin-off I didn’t really follow after I left. Beefeater? Looked appalling, and I had not seen an episode of Fawlty Towers at that point. Blue & white bird guy? Prematurely gray Zatanna? The brown chick with the nails. Who, who, who? The Extremists? Still haven’t bought that issue of Wizard. And why are they on a tropical island again. Is KooeyKooeyKooey some Jerky Boys catchphrase thing? And I probably couldn’t draw a whole comic as well as Wozniak in 1991, but I could do a mean Rob Liefeld lift for a pin-up that cold smoked him.

    I guess because of Bart Sears Justice League Europe became the art book, which is why Darick Robertson was good enough to draw his own covers? I still wasn’t entirely on board with his style (which didn’t really click for me until Transmetropolitan,) but it was sooo much better in direct comparison with J.L.A. That splash page with Despero cursing at clouds was used on my old Web TV page, where I did that per-millenial thing where I hand-darkened the blacks but left the colored portions flat newsprint in MS paint on my father’s computer over a weekend. What miserable times. As someone not in on the joke, Despero’s constant declarations of hateful intent while not even managing to seriously injure Beefeater and Chromium Age Inspector Clouseau while being a fuchsia Hulk were in no way endearing. The beginning of a multi-issue, zero consequence game of punchface that really soured me on the books and overarching narrative. Coming in with only a familiarity with the first couple years of the main title, this was less a “greatest hits” than a cash-in b-sides and rarities album.

    *I Googled “Kalanorian” for spelling, and the first hit was the SuperFriends Wiki, whose entry art is clearly sourced from the mock Mayfair Games card I made from Dick Dillin art 13 years ago for my blog.

  8. Finally listened to the end of the podcast. Long gone are the days I would blitz through 2 or more episodes a week, now thanks to finding all the other F&W Podcasts i have a waiting list to get through before JLI. I’m sure there hasn’t been much in the way of Time travel in JLI (Other than that Quarterly when we visit Angor – which by the way is obviously NOT an alternative earth) but I can’t figure out how this is DC Dave’s first appearance on the network but I’ve heard him twice already on it. I’ve also had the good fortune to meet him in person – (he had the misfortune on that front) so I knew he would be make a great fir… sec… third Impression on the network. But talking of regular F&W Show guests Noah was back and he was also equally excellent, we’ve really been lucky recently to have such a run of good guests to listen to (well mostly).

    As to the contents of the show itself the first surprise was that I too have those Justice League issues (in Digital format as I went almost all Digital a 12 yeas ago this month with New52) that were discussed in the In Stock Trades collection. However I have next to ZERO recollection of the book itself, I sort of recall Frost being on the team and Lobo hanging out with Batman – but I don’t recall them taking on the Extremists or indeed that they had come back after Countdown – at least I think it was Countdown to Final Crisis ? I do try and forget a lot about that book in the same way that the Death of the New Gods did. Anyway I looked them out on my account and actually that post Rebirth Team of JLoA was an odd team indeed, Lobo, Canary, Atom, Vixen, The Ray, Batman and Frost (previous Killer Frost). I’m not saying that the JL has to have all the big hitters to work – after all we are talking about the JLI Era where there was only Two big hitters in the JL:A Team for years (Martian Manhunter and Guy Gardiner) but somehow that JLoA Team just felt like names out of a hat with only Batman as a “heavy hitter”. I don’t think it had a long run but the first four issues were fun in a “we aren’t sure what is cannon and what is not right now so lets just try this until someone stops us” post rebirth era. I actually thought the New 52 JLI run was more fun… Anyway that’s a digression.

    So back to the comics at hand and yes I think this is the point that somehow Editorial had only bothered to ask the cover artists to read the last couple of pages of the issue as if they were the first pages – maybe it was a fax machine error and someone had loaded them the wrong way? Because this is yet ANOTHER example in this final run where we’ve had the cover be effectively the reveal / ending of the issue. Max Lord as a bad guy Who knew (and I know there is a theory that he was a bad guy and always a bad guy because of this Dream Slayer manipulation thing corrupting him) but it’s on the cover. Lobo Vs Despero but they don’t rumble till page 20…. The whole Eviction cover which spoiled the end of the JLE issue that was covered magnificently by someone who is too modest to mention by name. Even the Cap in Bialya cover of JLE 29 is something that happens at the very end of the issue.

    However the issues themselves now we are out of the doldrums of the middle 5 certainly seem more action packed and indeed as Shag pointed out are a greatest hits album for the run. I think the problem for me was by this stage I was almost tuning out to the run after the nonsense of the Doom Patrol filler etc. Again I’m convinced that this 15 (actually it’s 15.5) issue run to finish off the era could and should have been handled in a lot fewer issues and the dead weight dropped out. At least here it feels like this is the start of something more seismic in changes for the league these are BIG villains and JL Villains at that – I don’t recall the Extremists or Despero ever facing off against other teams or individuals – and the echo of Despero coming back at the end of another League Era feels right.

    As for the art… well I loved Robertson’s work here. And lets not discuss how I felt about the work in JLA… I do know Sears is back next issue in the saga which feels fitting. But it’s still odd to see such jarring styles between the two titles.

    I know I’ve been on balance critical of the whole Breakdowns era all 8 months of it at the time. But looking back I believe my memory is of all the middle sagging parts and how if not disjointed everything felt but that there was so much padding to get fit in until we got to the mad crash at the end with Despero and the Extremists and Lobo all coming together in a crescendo to finish the run. Not only was the padding at the time annoying it was poorly done particularly over in JLE on the plotting side of things. Thankfully the art in JLE more than made up for the issues I had with plot and dialogue and all the minor irritating mistakes.

    However…. As much as I can respect the work now, looking back sure it’s nice to see so many loose ends tied up and the various villains and heroes put back in the box for the next run – but it does feel that breakdowns actually worked too well to break down the JLI model. Sure we know what’s coming afterwards – and then after that and honestly while at the time I might have grouched about Breakdowns – the almighty mess which is to follow the Jurgens run (Mainly the post Zero Hour JL) probably should have told me to remember Breakdowns more fondly than I did.

    Anyway I’ve rambled enough now and probably should re-read this before posting – but its late and I don’t have the time to re edit.

    So in summary Well done to Dave and Noah and Shag for a great episode about one middling and one excellent issue of the end of Breakdowns. And don’t stress about Dave making his 1st Issue Special Origin issues elsewhere on the network and stealing your Thunder.. Talent rises to the top after all 🙂

  9. Hi Shagg and company. Here I am, bringing up the rear (no, that’s not a butt shot comment, goodness!) on the comment page as usual. With the great discussion on the show and this page, I’ll just add a couple of notes.

    I’ve been very critical of Wozniak’s artwork, and while this issue was better, it’s still not for me, and I’d put it at the lower end of the artists the JLI has had. Granted, that’s a tough group to be compared with, but that has to happen on the same book. Still I will give him props for the great smiles on the team members faces this issue, especially Beetle, Fire and Ice. Lots of joy there.

    But before it’s too late, I have not been vocal enough on Sprouse’s covers. They’ve been excellent throughout Breakdown, and JLA #57’s is no exception. Max looks great and sinister, and the Extremists look awesome. Well done. (Wait, “before it’s too late”? Sprouse isn’t going anywhere, is he?) Oh, I’ve said too much.

    Now the “most important nitpick not mentioned this month” has to be Major Disaster in JLE #33. He jumped into action wearing his 3-piece suit. Just like he wore to the party. But notice in this issue, the rest of the Injustice League changed into costume back at the cave. So only the one who went to the fight stayed in his nice suit? Oh, I could explain it, but everybody’s stopped reading by now.

    Which means you’ll miss me saying I can’t believe we’re closing in the grand finale! Just 3 months of Breakdowns to go! I’m so glad you have more content ready, Shagg. Till next time!

  10. Obviously, Manga Khan picked up Dinah’s Jazzacize costume on the cheap so had Despero lose a few pounds doing some old eighties exercise videos!

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of Beefeater it’s a bit like having a hero who’s Uncle Sam… no wait… a cowboy hero… well I just don’t like Beefeater okay! But I must admit he’s great when fighting Despero, and Pee Gee dealing with him obs, and not having read ahead any I was also worried they’d do the 90s thing and kill off a minor character to show how serious the villain of the story is!

  11. Breakdowns is certainly more bearable now we’re away from Bialya, and having the teams mingled makes for some fun moments. Despero certainly has presence but he’ll never be as scary as he was in Justice League America #38 when he killed Gypsy’s parents. That was intense.

    Okay, Shag, you may say, Bluejay and Silver Sorceress are a bit rubbish, and did nothing, but how awesome do they look as drawn by Bart Sears in Who’s Who?

    It’s funny, Chris Wozniak often receives praise for the way he draw heroes in regular costumes, but this JLA issue must have been drawn on an off-day… the way the overcoat hangs on Inspector Camus, John wearing a set of curtains, Max (I think that’s Max, he has Puppet Face) in the most ill-fitting jacket ever. Surely observing how material sits on the human body can’t be that tough for a professional artist?

    The art on the two books is night and day. As you said in the Gallery post, Shag, Bart Sears’ work on Booster is fantastic, and the rest of the book looks just as terrific. Mind, it’s a shame Claire ruled that the Conglomerate would just get in the League’s way…at this point they’ve been together months, at least, and they should have the modicum of competence needed to not get killed, and make a contribution. I like the Conglomerate and I want to see them in the thick of it – bringing them back fits with the Breakdowns = the JLI’s greatest hits theme.

    You mentioned in the comments that David Steel was in the (only on DC Earth) UK Embassy, but I believe he’s more specifically in the (only on DC Earth) Scottish Embassy along with Doug and Matt and me. It’s party central (OK, we’re actually pretty zen under Yogamaster Matt).

  12. This was a fun episode to listen to and I really enjoyed both guests, even though one of them decided to bad mouth the humor in the book, and the other got the show canceled. I just have a question for the both of them: how dare you!

    I thought the JLA issue was pretty good. A lot of setting up for what seems like a big climax of Despero, Lobo, The Extremists and the JL, which is really a standard, non-Giffen/DeMatteis JL comic book kind of thing to do.

    JLE is the real gem this month. The action is great, the art is great, and the way they weave the storylines together is exciting. This month definitely had one of the better straightforward comic book two issue swings during Breakdowns.

    I did find it funny how you & Dave pointed out all of the exclamation marks on the cover of JLA, and then, when they seemingly kill Mitch in JLE, his blood splatter is in the form of exclamation marks. Which…ew.

    As far as Despero goes, re-reading these issues today, through a 2023 lens, made his appearance this time around feel like a commentary on the repetitive nature of comic books (and movie sequels to some extent). I have no way of knowing if this was intentional by Giffen & DeMatteis, but the difference between Despero’s in JLA #37-40, where he was cold, calculated and almost poetic in his hatred and cruelty, and in these issues, where he is just a naked, pink, genitalia-challenged wrecking ball, is so stark that it must be on purpose.

    I could definitely see this as some subversive way to poke fun at how comic book villains always seem to come back, and almost always have some version of the same plan, and always end up facing off with the hero in a punch-up, and it almost never has any lasting consequences and it rarely recaptures the same level of excitement as the first time they did it.

    I would imagine, it’s also kind of boring for creators as well to constantly go back and walk the same path twice. The greats can always find something new to explore, but we’re hitting the 90s, and comics definitely slip on that kind of consistency this decade and everything starts to look the same.

    Again, this could all just be revisionist history on my part to read so much into a mostly-nude, massive, magenta, man-junk missing murder machine showing up in a comic book at the end of its run.

  13. Irish Embassy calling and yes, I missed the feedback on the last episode, but it wasn’t for the fact that I was in hospital and was taken control by a disembodied spirit, with mind control powers. Oh, no, no, nothing like that happened at all and even if it did, I would not use said powers to make mischief – no siree…….

    Oh Shag, can you say “One punch!” three times in a row there, and insert the required sound files as well?……(If this works, I’m off to Vegas!)

    Congrats to DC Dave for joining the “Invited by Shagg to do the podcast but is snagged by another Fire and Water host to do another podcast first!” club – we are an elect few!

    JLA 57 was the slight breather before the start of the big Lobo/Despero fight. It was interesting to see the League gather together to celebrate the return of Max and foreshadowing the surprise of his sudden return. Even the fact that Max/Dreamslayer was able to affect the likes of J’onn in one panel (where he tells Rex and Dmitri to stop talking about the Extremists) shows the power that Max/Dreamslayer has.

    It was an interesting discussion Shagg and Dave had about highlighting Captain Marvel (and indeed Black Canary) without necessarily putting them on the page. It got me thinking about any other members that was previously with the League but not turned up. One major big name star will turn up shortly but thinking of the rest, the likes of Mr. Miracle, Barda, Huntress, Dr. Fate, Orion, Lightray, Animal Man and Wonder Woman do not make an appearance in Breakdowns. Of those, you could argue that Mr. Miracle did turn up in the JLA Annual which had a bit of Breakdowns in it, Wonder Woman was not in it long enough to warrant her coming back in and Animal Man was probably under Vertigo lockdown at this stage. You could argue that G’nort didn’t make an appearance as well, but he did turn up immediately before Breakdowns took place and he was probably too silly to bring into this storyline.

    Back to JLA 57 and the reveal that Dreamslayer had taken over Max was a chilling cliff-hanger and showed that the stakes were being raised greatly for the JLI.

    JLE 37 was the first round of the Despero/Lobo fight with the strongest JLI team available to throw down with them. I really enjoyed this issue and the Darrick Robertson art is astounding in this. It was such a pity he was not on the Justice League book longer. As well as the fight, you had the continued build up of the Dreamslayer threat and the forthcoming arrival of Doctor Doom, er I mean Lord Havok.

    The discussion Noah and Shagg had on the Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay just being there and not having been developed much was interesting. As I was listening to the podcast, I was struck with the thought had we ever got actual names for them. Per Wikipedia, Silver Sorceress’s real name is Laura Cynthia Nielsen and Blue Jay is Jay Abrahms, but I have no recollection where those were first revealed – anyone have any ideas?

    Finally, the news came out yesterday of the sad passing of Keith Giffen. Keith, along with JM was the driving force behind this incarnation of the JLI but he was a creative genius who brought the fun in comics. His humour books, like JLI, Ambush Bug, Vext et al were amazingly funny. His plotting skills really helped 52 became the runaway hit that it was. His work on Legion of Super Heroes and the modern L.E.G.I.O.N and the creation of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, Lobo et al – he was a creative genius. I am not familiar of his Marvel work, but I did read the Defenders mini series that he did with deMatteis and Maguire and it was absolutely hilarious. I saw the last post he told his family to make to announce his death and it captures the humour of the man – Keith, may you rest in peace.

  14. I read the other day that That Guy’s JLE issues are now available on DC Infinite.

    DC-in-DC probably has a licensed Wonder Woman title through Myndi Meyer.

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