JLI Podcast #60 – BREAKDOWNS conclusion: Justice League America #60

The final issue of the original Giffen/DeMatteis run of the Justice League! Professional comic book, television, and movie writer Joe Casey (Adventures of Superman, Uncanny X-Men, Cable, Wildcats, GI Joe, Gødland, Officer Downe, and one of the creators of the animated series Ben 10) joins The Irredeemable Shag. As BREAKDOWNS concludes, we discuss Justice League America #60, bid a fond farewell to this era, and celebrate Keith Giffen's career! Finally, we wrap up with YOUR listener feedback!

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24 responses to “JLI Podcast #60 – BREAKDOWNS conclusion: Justice League America #60

  1. After forgetting to post my commentary last month – it’s in a draft format I never hit “Post Comment” on. I’d thought I’d better get on to this episode asap.

    It was great to have Joe Casey on the show again, he’s one of my favourite writers! His views particularly about how this felt it was an end of a era as Image was about to hit but on in retrospect certainly rang true to me. Even JLA that follows this run is a LOT more gritty.

    As to the issue itself I was blown away by the Chris Spouse cover and part of me wishes it was used instead of Kevin Maguire…. Ice’s hair alone looks so much better. However as amazing as this discovery was – I had no idea of Chris Spouse’s version – what has blown me away after all these years. STILL DC have colour corrected Ted’s Glove to Blue instead of Green. I double checked and DC infinite still has that wrong! So whoever decides to sort out colour for Chris’s Cover…. can you tidy up the final cover as well? Ta!

    As for Maguire finding the time to do the cover – is that perhaps because he used effectively One image with a small change of a child 12 times to fill 2 pages? It’s a great joke don’t get me wrong… but a good time saver. What I do remember is that only a year or so later we’d end up with Mindy and Buttons on Animaniacs which has the whole child asking questions with “What you doing” And “why” and at the time it appeared I instantly thought of this sequence in JLA #60.

    The rest of the issue was also pitch perfect for finishing the run and also setting up which I and many others expected to be a major rebuilding effort. And while JL Spectacular was great and the line up that follows was interesting – honestly I had much higher hopes after this ending and what we got was…. I dunno a disappointment especially JLE… oh how I wish I had just kept up JLA instead of all JL books… (Well I did like Extreme but I don’t know why).

    But to see the original band back together was wonderful. I would have loved a few cameos however, not sure what state Dr Fate, Black Canary, Captain Marvel were all in by now but having some of them in a cameo shot would have been nice. Even Big Barda and Mr Miracle could have been on a phone call. I know there’s a lot of other cast to fit in, but other than Cap Atom most of the JLE original line up is still here – well except Wonder Woman who looking back would have been HILAROUS had she shown up for her “first” meeting to find out the league was shut down. I know Booster joined in issue 4 but in a, Captain America was a founding member of the avengers way, Booster too should have appeared. Don’t get me wrong what we got was lovely, but honestly now we can see looking back how big a deal this run was… I would have loved a few more moments in this last issue.

    And now we are counting down not to the end of breakdowns but to the end of the Podcast. It’s been a fantastic 18 months or so for me following the Podcast and with only 8 or 9 episodes to go, I realise we’ll never get the Keith Giffen interview I was hoping for…. unless…. have we considered a seance? I’m sure Keith would be up for that… 🙂

    I can’t wait for the JSA podcast to follow but in the meantime I will savour our final hours on this podcast (hopefully with 3 issues covered next month it will be back above the 1.5 hour mark we dropped to with only one issue to cover).

    Kudos to Joe Casey and Shag for making this episode a joyous experience and not a wake for a fantastic run.

    1. I understand that editorial and what not, but I really missed at least a cameo from Scott, Miracle or not. And yeah, this issue screamed for him and at least an acknowledgement of Booster…

    2. While I wish it would work, I’m afraid Keith would say “Look, I’m dead. The only perk is not having to answer your questions anymore. Beat it!”

  2. First of all, well done Shagg! I know there is further paraphernalia to come, but you set to cover this whole run and you did it! We are so used, not just in the podcastphere, but in comics in general, to things not ending, not being completed or at least not by the same creative team that having your massive, 8-year project completed and only getting better and better over time is HUGE. Take a bow. Have a cookie. It might be a Choqo.
    This was a great episode of a great comic that probably only works in context, but yeah, that’s what epilogues are for. I’m on two minds between loving that this is a regular 22-page comic and missing some extra pages to spotlight more Beetle, some more Ice and at least some sort of mention of Scott and Booster. Not decided yet. Agreed on most of the points Joe and you made and I did get emotional several times over, not just the last page.

    PS: loved the Giffen talk at the beginning, and as the guy who made the 5-years later podcast I cannot thank you enought for the “lengthy off-topic”. *wink wink*

  3. I wonder if Catherine Cobert made it onto Young Justice because of her connection to Captain Atom? Greg Weisman was the creator of that show and one of the writers on Cap’s JLE-adjacent solo book.

  4. Great show great guest .
    Only one quote comes to mind
    Often imitated but never duplicated – quote
    Captain Lou Albano
    Manger, pro wrestler, actor .

    Have you ever seen the movies
    Wise guys
    Or bodyslam ?
    Lou Albano is in both movies he also play Mario In the super Mario brothers super show .

  5. Wonder full comic have to I think blue beetle got best ending . That rat busters sounds interesting. Also did finally see the blue beetle movie ? And has Booster or guy ever bin in any video games ?

  6. Impressive podcast most impressive. Trying not to sing we are the road crew by Motor head right now . The cover is cool. But, sorry I must disagree. Maguires cover looks better to me. Though I thought Bettle and Fire were holding hands for a second. Ware her jacket draped over his arm. The expression on J’ohn and Guy’s faces look perfect for them. Fires and Ted’s faces as well. The Sprouse’s art is great as is the body language. As is how well he planed out the page.

    With the flags and all. His GG looks all sad. Ice looks like me for crying out loud. Pour girl. Though sorry to say Ice in Maguires drawing not working either. Back to Sprouse’s Ted has the male verson of RBF. Fire is just smiling. Like she’s Super Girl or something. No the hey guys I’m happy to be here. Look to her is a no. Fire is not a Karen like the smallsville book did to her. Or magic pix girl like she looks here. Oy. Guy looks good in both. J’ohn works.

    Though he has the male model expression on his face. Like he’s being played by Zoo lander for this cover. Still the art is great. And he has Fire’s belt right. This is probably me just me fan ing out. The art is great and I can tell who ever one is. It’s just I like Maguires better. Max having to deal with what magic boy did with his body makes sense. And I third the idea of Magic boy being the reason that Max went evil for a bit.

    And we can get real good Max back. Moving on. I like Kathy’s outfit. Though geez he was just trying to help. I get she’s mad, but not his fault. I’m more annoyed she blew up at GG. Then impressed by the push. Pretty sure he’s letting her push him and taken aback by the action. I get why she’s mad, but yeah she owes him an apology. Next J’ohn and Max have a great seen together. Ah pour Blue Jay. Kind of wish they brought Silver back and gave her stuff to do.

    Ah EM and Sue. She looks great with the ponytail. If she stood next to Kathy in this look you could tell them apart. Also the banter is on point. Couples talk like this. Though the sad moment is Oy. Having read Identity Crisis first. This hits harder. But, they’re both back now. I think. I haven’t read a new comic in years.

    Next well most of the art I like. Rex looks good as does Wally.:.: and then there is Rocket Red… He Oy. Well he looks like the Guy from Deliverance. I’m sorry. Just no. This is a great art team, but what the. Though his thoughts on family are great. Must be why Wally is now a family man.

    Next, Ted and the kid lol. Ah Guy, well he loves Ice he just has no idea how to act around her. They get there I. The end. Yep she died, but in BOP she came back. And the mention of Guy helped her remember who she was so she didn’t destroy Russia in a Snow Storm. One of Gale’s better stories in BOP.

    That and she brought the Huntress into the book. And made her and Cat Man a beloved couple as shocking as that is. Next one .

    J’ohns exit works. Sadly JLA kind of flounders till Morrison’s run in the book after this issue. I think the can driver like Mark Grunwald. Probably not. Sadly no 6.50 joke with a cab in a DC comic. Ah Crimson Fox , Kathy and Sue talking about how they couldn’t afford to back the JLA makes sense. Though glad to hear Fox will help.

    Though the return of Max clean shaven and in a suit with O back with him also in a suit is a cool send off. Though a lime green tie with a grey suit Oy. The pain in my eyes. The grey suit and light purple dress shirt looks good but that tie. No. O looks good. Save the green hanker Chief on his shirt looks fine. But Max and the lime green tie. Unless you’re in a punk rock band never ware a line green tie. The Cosby sweater looks bad to y’all but you let the green tie go? Why? They’re both a crime against the eyes. Moving on. Was cool Hearing Shagg and Joe Casey talk about this issue. Can’t wait to see his take on the Zod comic.

    I’m hoping Vogue shows up in the Image comic he’s going to be doing. Anyway can’t wait to hear the next JLA comic.

  7. Great discusson fellas! Joe was a great guest (of course) with some wonderful insight on Keith Giffen. I don’t think I fully appreciated Giffen until all the posthoumous accolades kept pouring in, especially from fellow creators. He may be mainstream comics’ second greatest idea man this side of Jack Kirby. He’s certainly top 5.

    Having dropped out JLA/JLE shortly after the General Glory introduction, I did pick up this last issue. Much like a TV series that you follow for a while but dip out of, I had to see the finale. Not going to lie, at the time, I preferred the direction change with JLA under Jurgens at the time. I still think it’s a great run. But so was this one, and time has proven it to be more infleuntial and memorable.

    And how crazy is it that they didn’t relaunch JLA/JLE with new number one issues? Can you imagine comics companies showing that restraint now?

    You’ve done an excellent job celebrating these series over the years Shag. Take a bow…even though I know you’ve got 8-9 months of episodes left!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. This podcast’s run is an amazing accomplishment Shag, and Joe Casey was the perfect guest to end the main series with. Getting to hear a little more Keith Giffen appreciation from someone with firsthand knowledge was amazing.

    This issue of JLA had everything I loved about the Giffen-DeMatteis league, which I felt was encapsulated in that wonderful Sue/Ralph page. Getting to see them joke around with each other, and then have a quiet, human moment between husband and wife really was pitch perfect. It made me wish J.M. DeMatteis statyed on to script the JLE a little longer, so he could have more time with the “adult” league and explore the relationships and family dynamics present in that book. And maybe he would have nixed the whole diet soda fiasco.

    But this issue doesnt stop with Sue and Ralph. It gives us everything we love about J’onn, Beetle, Dmitri and Rex. Hell, it even gets Wally right. I seriously could have read 200 pages of just this kind of stuff. Shoot it right into my veins.

    I’m also glad they didn’t shoehorn in any big names or past members to cameo in this issue. Focusing on this cast of characters, who I feel were the heart of this series, and I think were also the memebers of the league that appear the most often.

    Getting time with these people at the end was more meaningful to me than having a Captain Marvel, Dr. Fate, or Batman pop in for a few panels. Because this book wasnt made on the backs of the more recognized DC IP. It was a cranky dwarf and a shady businessman. An opportunistic time traveler and a hilarious inventor. A former model turned spy and an ice princess. A hot-headed jerk. And a compassionate alien who liked oreos.

    Even the cover shows that off, with almost a smugness and a smirk, as if to say, “yeah, that’s right. This is the Justice League of B list superheroes that we made into a huge success, wanna make something of it?”

    It isn’t often when something gets to end on its own terms. Usually in comics, you’d pick up the next issue, find a new creative team at the reigns, and that was that. I’m glad Giffen and DeMatteis got to finish this. And while there were some bumps along the way, and it wasn’t always pretty, this book reached some amazing high points, and I really believe they stuck the landing.

  9. Wow, congratulations on reaching this milestone!

    Like you, I prefer to think of this era of JL ended here. Giffen and DeMatteis ended it on such a hopeful and triumphant note, it’s a shame to contemplate much of what came afterwards.

    Something to point out: the only characters to make it through the entire run all the way from JL #1 to JLA #60 are J’onn, Guy, and Beetle. It makes sense, I feel like of anyone, those are the 3 Giffen & DeMatteis truly defined and left their mark on.

    It’s sad to read this knowing this is Dimitri’s last appearance as a regular character anywhere. He’ll pop back up as a guest star a couple times, but for the most part he gets dropped from the DCU. I like to pretend he is in retirement with his wife and kids and OMAC Project never happened. 🙂 He was such a warm, brave, funny character.

    It’s fitting the final page is a splash of Max and Oberon, given their role as the movers and shakers in JLI #7 that got the team UN sponsorship.

    The cover is great, though I had no idea Chris Sprouse also did a version! I like the Maguire version better because Beetle and General Glory are smiling!

    I will echo what others said, it’s a shame that for this Swan Song we didn’t get Booster, Miracle, or Barda appearances, not to mention G’nort. All of them were major parts of this book, especially Booster and Miracle, for a long time! Booster is practically synonymous with the JLI.

    I kept collecting after this. I liked some of what came after. Jurgens made Beetle and Booster effective again and remembered their skills and powers, which was welcome. I love JLI but I never liked how different in that regard Beetle and Booster were from how they were portrayed in their solo books. But other than that, the magic was never quite there again. But that’s okay. Different strokes and all that, and I can always go back and read JLI to relive it, one of my favorite comic book runs of all time.

    Mr Carey is right, a team of characters not being used anywhere else—and not major IP—is a writers dream bc they can do whatever they want and explore and develop the cast in ways they never could otherwise. Tbh many of my favorite team books are like this. Fabian Nicieza’s New Warriors, Peter David’s X-factor, even the West Coast Avengers and the Harras/Epting Avengers. I’d rather read those books any day vs the 9,875th Justice League that stars Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I like them but never so played out at this point.

  10. After having been around my nieces, nephews, and friends kids while they were little I feel Ted’s pain in this issue being peppered with questions from Dimitri’s kids. In fact, one very little boy pointed at my belly once and announced I was fat, lol. If he could only see my expanded girth now! 🙂

  11. Oh boy! Joe Casey was a delight! Great catch for a guest host, Shagg! His memories of Keith elevated this episode even more. Fantastic job to you both!

    And as always, lots of comments I agree with already posted, so let me stick to bullets which I hope aren’t overly covered already:
    * My close second on Bwah-hah-hah moment is the end of the Guy/Kara argument, and as Catherine walks away, she points a finger gun to her head and thinks “BANG! Click. BANG! Click. BANG! Click.” She doesn’t shoot once. She shoots repeatedly. Just hilarious!
    * Ice gets no dialog. Again. No agency for her. No chance to express how she feels herself. Just crying in one panel for Guy to comment on and ignore. Sadly appropo for the final issue.
    * You’re all tired of me saying Dmitri is the heart of this League. This issue is another example why. Love it.
    * Delighted to see J’onn’s “Farewell” in the font from his Martian Manhunter miniseries. They’ve used it elsewhere in this series, but it makes that page so poignant.
    * I didn’t need more cameos this issue. The ones that could be done happened earlier in Breakdowns, so we’re good. I preferred that the main characters gave their final bow here.

    Now the question is: do I reread the series now, or after the podcast finishes? Hmmm.
    Thanks, Shagg!

  12. Congratulations, Shag! While I know there are many more episodes to come, finishing the series proper is a HUGE accomplishment! Thanks for hundreds of hours of entertainment about a series we all love.

  13. Dude you solved a mystery in my mind, I always wondered why a comedy series ends with such a depressing ending. I imagined this was Giffen and Dematteis putting the toys back in the box after playing with them. Now knowing that they didn’t write the epilogue it also explains why it wasn’t published in Brazil during the original publication in the 90s, edition 60 is the last and then skips to justice league spetacular. PS: When was that Blue Jay photo taken? I can’t imagine the heroes leaving Endor destroyed by radiation with a photo as a souvenir, but I also can’t imagine them stopping to take a photo while they were deactivating nuclear missiles

  14. I don’t have much to add, other than thank you. I’ve been here for the whole ride, I didn’t want it to end, but like all good things, it must. Another great episode, another great guest (although that host….). I’ll be here until you finish the other coverage, but thanks for bringing us all the way through one of the best runs of comics ever.

  15. I guess I’ve put this off long enough. I was saving the episode for my Christmas driving, and then the Dalys won out on the last leg of that. So I listened in installments at normal speed, because I didn’t want to miss anything with Casey. Plus, you guys talk a lot about Keith Giffen, and that death has hit me harder than any in my time reading comics (which is more or less just “in my time,” but necessarily stresses “from within this field and art form specifically.) As a for instance, derekwc came to Texas to see George Pérez because he was worried about his declining health, and that ended up being years prior to his passing. We were well prepared for a huge loss. I hadn’t heard much about Giffen in the past year or so, certainly not that his wife was gone, but was aware that he of all people had started a podcast. I guess that in itself should have been a sign, but no, I was just unwinding in a hotel room in Cambodia with some comics news and there it was to blindside me. There have been a lot of creators that occupied my time or blew my mind, but whose influence and interest have been muted or faded with time. There’s only a couple of guys that are fully bedrock– who feel encoded into my DNA. Jim Starlin got there earlier on, with his tragedies and cosmic scale and his deep disdain for institutions and authority. Giffen I barely grazed for years. A Dr. Fate back-up in a randomly purchased Flash. A Legion spread in the DC Sampler. House ads for The Omega Men. One of the only early Blue Devil issues that I’ve never read was his fill-in. No substantial exposure until, of all things, Son of Ambush Bug #2, in the spring of 1986, a whole other epoch since I’d begun reading comics. This was Giffen in diaspora, the second tanking of his career, this time through an uncontrollable assimilation of José Muñoz’s art style that proved commercial suicide. He’d gone from maybe DC’s second hottest artist after Pérez, whose style Giffen had mingled with his default Kirbyism, to the new George Tuska. He was suddenly the last minute fill-in guy on any given under-performing title, and yes, inked at times by Vinnie Colletta. I ate it all up like a pig at the trough. Give me your Nightmask, your Justice— sure, I will try your Video Jack. I respect Muñoz, and the influence is obvious, but he was just applying a heavy noir caricature to crime stories. What’s fascinating to me if the juxtaposition of that opaque, almost impressionistic approach to super-heroes in a nine panel grid with Monty Python surrealistic non-sequiturs. Somehow, the grimy, sweaty, ’70s urban blight has to incorporate Cabbage Patch Dolls and Thriller supporting characters? That exaggerated, stylized “realism” undermined or even smashed in the face with the maddening incongruity of Tex Avery Loony Tunes is where the brilliance lives. Parody that cut “grim & gritty” at the jugular and laughed as it slowly bled out in a heavily littered alley. That bleakness clearly spoke to Giffen’s soul, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but mock the instinct to wallow in it. Starlin often employs humor, but it’s a parallel track. Some funny to go lighten up the sad. With Giffen, it was all mingled. It was Lupe Vélez. You knew he loved it and took it seriously, but even as he’d kill his darlings, they’d first step on a piece of chewed gum on the sidewalk, and it’s just so inconsiderate, y’know? Giffen had long fallow periods– in fact mostly starting at the end of JLI and continuing for much of the ’90s. As with Starlin, I still loyally bought most of it, disappointed as I typically was. Except Giffen had a whole third act in the aughts, where he even managed to out-Starlin with Annihilation. If only any of those Infinity things were half as compelling and forward thinking– well, Pérez might have finished the first one, for starters. Starlin had a huge influence on my beliefs and sensibilities, but I don’t think he’s really surprised me since around the time Giffen came into my life. Giffen could always surprise me, and I had no doubt that he was still vital, and maybe had a fourth act yet. I simply wasn’t ready to be done with Giffen, and I’m still not. No one could make comic books comic books like Giffen could. I guess if nothing else, he made it out just in time to avoid having to sit through people lionizing him. That would have been agony, I’m sure.

  16. 1) Isn’t it weird that the first page splash is a cheesecake shot of some random chick we’re only seeing for a second time in a couple years and never again? At the time I thought I’d missed her introduction previously, which is technically true, but also I hadn’t actually missed anything, really. She’s just one of the girls Ted Mosby takes to Lily’s birthday parties that later can’t be identified in the picture.

    2) While I’m on this, name a super-hero who was given a new costume as part of joining Justice League International. Now name a super-heroine. Why is it that it was okay to suppress the individuality of the female characters, or alter their personalities so much for a team book? The upcoming arrival of Maxima brought this to mind, but it was certainly no less true of Power Girl, Fire, and Ice. Even when new heroines were created for the book, like Crimson Fox and Maya, it was clear that they were never expected to have a life beyond the team.

    3) Another instance of my accepting the party line uncritically, regarding Martian Manhunter being the constant Justice League member, Post-Crisis. Except here he is quitting for seemingly a year, and will technically be running minors development League rather than the “real” team for another three years. J’Onn J’Onzz was the quittingest member, leaving first and staying away longest. I’m still kinda mad at myself for supporting and promoting that propaganda, especially since it also meant the Manhunter had no true identity outside his League membership (and a revolving door of people taking over and diluting the “Manhunter” trademark.

    4) “Goodbye” is among my favorite single JLI or Martian Manhunter pages, and it leads directly to… getting possessed by Rott/Bloodwynd and then immediately returning to being the “beetle-browed Martian Martinet” to the JLTF? This is one of those intersections where the Alien Atlas could have done something besides being the Havok of X-Factor, and just circled right back the way he came. They put all their eggs in the “American Secrets” basket, I guess. Might have been nice to allow the JLI some kind of spin-off legacy besides the lame duck quarterly. But just taking a glance at DC’s talent pool in that period, Pat Broderick was almost done with the Ragman mini-series with Giffen, who could have continued writing the Sleuth from Outer Space with either DeMatteis or Fleming. Joe Quesada was midway through The Ray, but I think the Batman offer would have held sway. Less appealing, but Michael Jan Friedman & Luke McDonnell had wrapped Outlaws. Steve Pugh was still doing fill-ins. Tom Joyner could’a been a’ight. William Messner-Loebs and Mark Waid were still toiling in obscurity on !mpact titles. What could have been? Oh say, weren’t you and Rob supposed to do something with !mpact at some point, Shag? Maybe in the gap between JLI and JSA?

    5) Justice League Spectacular #1 shipped in February, and the only outlet I recall making any real mention of it was Comics Values Monthly? Admittedly, that was my preferred price guide, and I did in fact pick up the April ’92 cover feature, but still! DC had to know they had a dud on their hands. In the way of buzz, it was closer to Armageddon: Inferno and Batman unmasking to Vicki Vale than it was to “Panic in the Sky,” “Titans Hunt” or Batman’s guest appearances in Deathstroke the Terminator. And Marvel was completely eating DC’s lunch that same month with the debut of Carnage, Sam Keith’s Wolverine in MCP #100, JRJR’s Punisher War Zone, and the continuing monthly work from Keown, Silvestri, Larsen, Portacio, Liefeld, and especially Lee*. DC clearly knew they couldn’t make a Silver Age style JLI competitive for summer dollars, but then, why bother with it in the off-season? Where was the next Helfer securing the next Maguire to lead the League to a bold feature? I’ll tell you where– anyplace but in the sights of a backbiting proto-Comicsgate DC editorial pool that were trying to tear down the JLI every step of the way. That’s why we continued to be stuck with Gerry Jones with the added turgor of favorite son of conservative comics Dan Jurgens. He certainly won’t do anything outside our comfort zone (or anywhere near a joy spot.)

    6) Seeing Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin draw General Glory confirms his lousy design. The one JLI character I’d gladly hand to Zack Snyder to get shot in the face without positive identification, Jimmy Olsen-style.

    7) I’m sure glad the final issue of the five year run was spent cementing the redemption arc of Max Lord, so that no one would ever turn him into a one-dimensional sociopath for shock value at the hands of crappy 21st Century scripters. See also: Amanda Waller. Actually though, the body of run wasn’t even cold before that guy who wrote the coda was making him the new Lord Havok. Gee, I’ve written “Havok” a lot more in these comments than anyone could have predicted. Also, for I must, it does make clear the relative importance to the soul of the team between Max and J’Onn. Ultimately, Max loses his way without J’Onn. Regardless of my wishes, the post-JLI stories illustrate that. Superman treats Max as a hindrance and corrupting influence. At times he’s an enemy, whether compromised or simply polluted by ideology. At best, he gathers together the Super Buddies on his own, not an actual Justice League.

    8) Back on my Manhunter shhhh-tuff, they really didn’t know what to do with John Jones. He made a handful of appearances, and I do mean with a handful of appearances. Like how he looked like Ed Lauter in Justice League Annual #2. I needed them to tell me that was J’Onn J’Onzz in disguise, but then, JLI wasn’t the book for alter egos. A contemporary mini or ongoing series would have been very helpful in that department. Or like how Saul Erdel was his emergency contact, but he basically got wiped out of existence by the Zero Hour timeline. Forward inquiries to the Blood Gem, I guess.

    9) Despite having heard every episode of this podcast and it having come up last episode, I still had to go check up on when exactly Blue Jay came into the (lesser, European) League. Wasp with a y-chromosome is hardly a sales pitch. I will say though that I like his color scheme, and his page got sold so hard that I have to stop and remember “oh yeah, it’s Blue Jay tho’.” Why didn’t The Mist kill him again? How often can you say “They should have killed X instead of Crimson Fox”?

    10) We should totally, totally come up with an alternative Justice League line-up/approach that could have spun out of the Spectacular in the comments.

    11) Besides needing with my whole heart for Maguire to come back for the finale, I really enjoyed that the issue had no adversary or action and focused solely on vignettes with the members of the team. That’s right in the pocket for JLI. My first issue was “Moving Day,” and this was pretty much that, but more heart and less funny (though there is funny.)

    12) I don’t know if CEO pay for Revson Corporation high priced stank could have been enough to financially support the League (there’s a lot more money in military contracts,) but it would have been very progressive to form an alliance with Claire Montgomery, Karen Starr, and Carol Ferris (see?) to underwrite the global guardians (lowercase “g,” and perhaps Carol would prefer no references to “guardians.”)

    13) I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I love Oberon outside the New Gods. He’s so great interacting with the JLI and Max. I wanted him as a supporting player when I first started thinking about a Martian Manhunter ongoing in the JLA period. Se glad they brought him back to get kicked in the teeth by Dan Jurgens for months on end.

    14) I’ve always adored the cover concept for #60. I’m so glad they didn’t do the 60th homage to #1 instead. In fact, because to my knowledge no one has ever swiped it, I think I’m warmer towards it now. I will admit that I’d want them to do an “inspired by” if they ever tried to do a Global Guardians ongoing. All those flying flags look so neat, and I do wonder about why Maguire recreated it with different flags. I figure the Union Jack has to be a pain, but I feel a bit cheated that all those different stars and maple leafs got cut. Maguire made the colorist do all the work there. On the other hand, Sprouse gave Glory, Ice, and Beetle the exact same expression, with J’Onn not far off. Glad Maguire’s mastery shook that up, though Glory and Ted have almost the same smiles.

    15) A appreciated DeMatteis afterscript. It helped provide closure, and ended the run on a sweet note.

    16) I blame Maguire’s cover for convincing me to pre-order Justice League Europe #36 (the third anniversary spectacular!) I do not come to you with any contrarian hot takes on this turd. I mean, you lost me at Wozniak, and why again didn’t they keep him for the new approach? I mean, Darick Robertson was tapped to replace Bagley on New Warriors, while Wozniak on to… um… a Man of Steel Annual four months later? Fill-ins on The Protectors and Deathlok the following year? A bunch of Star Trek Annuals? Yeah, maybe he just sucks. How about that one panel where Beetle’s potbelly turned out to be months of gas bloat relieved by one giant orange fart at poor Fire and Ice (Bea– wait– DON’T!!!) The way Ted skillfully spread his cheeks wide and really clinched down with his fists showcased that he was ready to get back into bland super-hero action. That duck hunter effectively buried the team, as intended.

    17) Okay, about that hot take… Shag’s full of it. Comedy is hard. If you can do comedy, you can do it somewhere that it is better appreciated and financially rewarded than comics. People who write comic books are rarely funny on the page, and comics that are not genre based rarely sell. Ask Evan Dorkin. He’s got a lot of awards, but the steady work came from Cartoon Network. Marrying super-heroes and comedy that pleases the audience is even harder. Peter David was equally lauded and reviled in his heyday, around this same time, and they tapped him for a dour if punny Aquaman reboot instead. The worm turned. General audiences lost interest in J.L.A. after Adam Hughes left, meaning the run overstayed its welcome by nearly two years. Breakdowns was exhausting. The approach was based in responding to the grim likes of Moore and Miller, neither of whom were writing mainstream comics anymore. The zeitgeist was chromium colored– scowling and bloodlessly violent with speed lines and cross-hatching. It was things and blades. The JLI was not meant for this world, or wanted in it. We were there. Don’t deny it. You may have at the time, but you had to know that to your left and right were spikes and chains. Joe Casey himself contributed to it when he entered the field, and I’m buying his nostalgic reflection of it in Dutch. The audience did not want JLI in 1992, in fact broadly hated that sort of thing, and it was the nostalgia for it after all that ’90s metal had begin to rust that restored its esteem. Otherwise, we’d be listening to a Strikeback podcast right about now.

    * Admittedly not so much Cage #1 without the promised acetate cover. That one acted as a dust cover for comic shelves.

    1. I would totally talk about Strikeback on a podcast! JLI led me down the Maguire (and to lesser extent Hughes) rabbit hole and that series is beautiful to look at. I don’t really remember the story……

  17. Wow. Here we are at the end of Breakdowns. It’s been a wild and crazy wild and I just want to congratulate you, Shag, on covering all these issues and consistently putting out an entertaining show. I’ve been behind in listening and haven’t been able to comment lately but I definitely wanted to make sure I got some thoughts down on this episode. I also haven’t had easy access to all my JLI comics during this podcast series, but I made SURE to pull out #60 knowing this episode was coming up.

    This was a great swan song for the series (and I did read the JLE Breakdowns Postscript, part 16 of 15 and…… ugh). The story in itself did feel a little discombobulated as it felt more like the creative team wanted to give everyone one last beat than a cohesive story. While it does all tie to together with the theme of loss and new beginnings, it still felt like much of the team members were separate from the other members, telling us why they are quitting. It’s not bad, and I enjoyed it, but it felt just a little rushed to me (which is crazy since this is part 15 of 15).

    The letters page with the missive from DeMatteis is beautiful and that’s when it REALLY struck me that this version of the Justice League is done.

    Lastly, this issue is clearly the worst since they didn’t put a Canada flag on the front cover. Issue #7 represent!

    While I know there are more episodes coming up, I just want to reiterate what a great job you’ve done covering this series, Shag. This has been amazing coverage of a beloved series and to see you put so much love and joy into it really shows.

    Looking forward to the next episode! Keep up the great work!

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