Zero Hour Strikes! Justice League Zeroes

Bass and Siskoid take aim at the Justice League's zero issues, including Justice League America, Justice League Task Force, and Extreme Justice! Will the franchise pivot towards success or keep diving head first into a vat of boiling failure? History's already been written, but what do our two Zeroes think?

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 27 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.27 Supplemental

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27 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Justice League Zeroes

  1. Come on, you can’t mention the Wonder Twins in Extreme Justice without showing your cohost a picture.

    I dropped JLA immediately but followed the others, Extreme sort of as a hate-read and sort of as a Firestorm fan. Task Force got good quickly when Priest took over and it became an extension of his Ray series, focusing on the Ray/Triumph friendship and giving us a funny Justice League book again. It wasn’t without issues, though. (The Mystek ‘arc’ was very frustrating. She was a character Priest was pitching as another series, and when DC passed he unceremoniously threw her out a literal airlock. )

  2. Anyone: “Monarch”
    Siskoid: “Why did you say that name?!?!?”

    Looks like Zero Hour has taken a greater toll on our intrepid host than we all knew! Siskoid’s reaction to the arrival of Monarch in JL Extreme carries with it an air of PTSD!

    Okay, fellas, glad you took a look at the JL family of books. I think DC was in a reactionary phase at this time, trying to hit all the fanbases simultaneously. For fans of the JLI era, they have Wonder Woman’s league. For fans of the X-Men family of books, there’s Task Force. Like Image, then there’s Extreme (even mirroring a name of an Image studio!).

    As the JL books ran on, well, they became a rough read. JLA featured a character called “Yaz” who never needs to mentioned again. A version of Ice comes along, so there’s that. JLE gets grittier and lamer. And JLTF starts wearing uniforms and becomes a school for young heroes (sound familiar) before more or less rendering itself moot by the final issue.

    Looking forward to the next batch. But really, am looking forward to when you hit Starman. BTW, what next after ZH ends? Maybe some Monarch therapy for Siskoid? Maybe a Hawman/Hawkworld show by Bass?

    1. Honestly, “Just stick with Starman, 2-4 issues a show” sounds like a better next project than Final Night or the old or newer Crisis.

  3. Man, in the history of the Justice League, this has to be the lowest ebb. Even Detroit had more going for it than these. I’m surprised that sales were still good enough to even warrant three titles. I think Siskoid nailed it when he mentioned these books just existed because DC wanted to publish 3 JL titles. I think one strong title would have sufficed, especially since the basic idea of each team was exactly the same.

    I dropped out of the Justice League titles shortly after Dan Jurgens left as writer on JLAmerica, and didn’t come back until JLA #1. When I saw the team line-up Post Zero Hour, even then I thought “Really, you recreate the universe, and THIS is your Justice League?

    Interesting to see if anyone picked up JLA for any amount of time. I know Task Force and even EXTREME Justice has it’s fans.


  4. I swear. A whole paragraph on why I think the Christopher Priest run of Steel is one of the best in the history of DC comics, and Siskoid pulls a dismissive line directed at The Ray ongoing. I’m only negative 97% of the time, but these false media narrative distortions.

    Dan Jurgens’ departure from Justice League America was abrupt, but I still struggle to fathom how Brian Augustyn came to ask Slave Labor Graphics publisher Dan Vado to write what was once the vanguard title of DC Comics into oblivion. It was kind of like that hot minute during the New 52 when all of the sudden half the editorial staff of mid ’90s Marvel were scripting DC titles. “What we really need around here are more architects of the Clone Saga,” said no one, so it was clearly cronyism or utter desperation. They also cycled through Mike Collins and Kevin West across eight issues before settling on the late Marc Campos, primarily employed before and after JL as an inker (which he was pretty good at, actually.) Campos’ issues were an immediate prelude the the “Judgment Day” crossover, designed to shake up the titles and attract readers, but there was a definite “failing upward” vibe from that office. Since Vado inherited Jurgens’ leftovers, and it was his book that got the flashy new artist, I guess it made something approaching sense that they would spearhead the new title launch. I do think it’s telling that they made a point of writing Bloodwynd out beforehand, despite a guy named after ultra-violent IBS seeming like a perfect fit for !!!EXTREME!!! justice.

    Since I had bought all of the Zero Month issues, and they were such an essential gateway to me, I even felt a nagging sensation of needing to pick up Booster Gold fourteen years later. I didn’t, having been burned by the original Booster Gold #2 and failing to receive the promised promotional button at the clearly non-participating Circle K store. However, I did extend grace to three months late Extreme Justice #0, despite having read enough of their prior run to know better. It was pretty much exactly as bad as I had expected it to be, so I never bought another issue new. They had this whole dumb thing where they pitted Wonder Woman and Captain Atom against each other during the crossover, playing her as the naive dove to his offensive hawk. Again, telling that Captain Atom was still harping on that, where his entire team was all but forgotten in Diana’s book. For my money, Campos’ art made for one of the ugliest books DC was publishing, which is why I kept that money in my pocket. Remember when money was pieces of paper that you carried around and handed out discriminately?

    The title was still running when I got into retailing, so I did toss through it each month. I really like the proto_JLA Howard Porter cover on #7 featuring Monarch. I think what happened there is that someone thought that they could do the same thing with Nathaniel Adam and whichever of the two was a quantum duplicate of the original as had been done with Cable and Stryfe a few years earlier. Never mind that no one outside of blender fetishists ever cared about Stryfe so much as the whole Liefeldian EXTREMEity of early X-Force. Steve Lightle’s cover to #8 remains one of my favorite Firestorm images.

    I got a kick out of Zan and Jayna getting introduced into mainstream continuity, and the title looked a lot more interesting when displaced Milestone writers Ivan Velez, Jr. and Robert L. Washington III briefly called it home. Poor choice of words, given the circumstances of Washington’s too short life after comics. Marvel had stolen so much talent from DC in that period, that getting Tom Morgan from them felt like a win, and I really enjoyed looking at his issues. Far better use of his talents than friggin’ Punisher 2099. I adore his cover to Extreme Justice #16, the unheralded near-interracial kiss between Amazing Man and Maxima. There isn’t enough romance in comics (or comics podcasts), and I saw a lot of potential in Amazing Man (a rare major powerhouse African-American hero.) I’ll try not to read too much into Maxima’s diminishing expectations from Superman to Captain Atom to Amazing Man, or how the book and the hero were unceremoniously killed off in rapid succession. But anyway, I’ve barely read any of these issues, just a lot of deep skimming and passing appreciation for what it seemed to get right.

  5. Say, didn’t Grant Morrison’s JLA also have a headquarters that was originally created and used by villains (from the first story arc)?

    1. No, that was Z’Onn Z’Orr, where Martian Manhunter took up residence for the first year of his solo series, before tossing it and his evil twin brother into the sun.

  6. I strongly advised Shag against speaking the name, and just giving the matter a Prince/Alan Moore “The Writer” treatment, but he went ahead and devoted a chunk of the front end of a JLI podcast to the Gerard Jones matter. It showed moral courage– maybe some lunkheadedness– and on the grounds of not getting shown up by the likes of Shag, I’ll go there too. Frankly, it contributed to several of my podcasts going up in smoke. I was editing a DC Bloodlines episode on one of his annuals when the news broke, and that episode was a hot mess of mortifying embarrassment that in a fit of masochism and poor judgement I finished and released. I think I got one or two more out before the taint made it too repellent to revisit. Likewise, he wrote one of the very best Martian Manhunter stories, the only one I feel could be argued in the company of a DKR or Year One. I still haven’t decided whether it was a benefit or a shame that I hadn’t recorded a podcast on it by that point. While there were a number of factors in The Idol-Head of Diabolu podcast’s extensive hiatus, I also couldn’t avoid a mental association that soured me on that show, too.

    When Gerard Jones took over writing JLE after the Spectacular, he was just another one of those featureless drones who executed the lame ass DC Comics that I avoided in 1992. I liked the Green Lantern Bloodlines annual, but the art was a big factor, and the lousy Lionheart JLI one dispelled any favor that one moment might have earned. I struggled with Ron Randall’s JLI run, to the degree that I could read it at all. Chuck Wojtkiewicz took over late in the series, #61. He got six issues in before the end, two of which I was exposed to during publication, both Judgment Day chapters. He had a weird, off-putting, cartoony design sense that I did not respond well to. It didn’t help that Jones kept having him introduce corny, gaudy, Not-Ready-For-Global-Guardians-Players. Regardless, they failed westward, to the New World.

    Aside from the commitment to Zero Month, I had decided that I was enough of a fresh fan of Wonder Woman and Hawkman that I would support their team book. By which I mean hate read. They launched with the continuation of the Power Girl immaculate insta-grow Atlantean magic baby with direct ties to Arion, a series I was so thoroughly disinterested in that I blotted reading a streak of Warlord back-up installments from my mind at a time when my comic book memories may as well have been engraved on stone tablets by GOD. I had yet to really experience any Infinitors outside that one DC Sampler I once talked about for four hours, and I guess Lyta and Hector in The Sandman. Like his tired fauxhawk, Nukon was a flat Mr. Nice Guy wannabe Colossus. I expected someone named Obsidian to be a badass, so when he was a clingy suicidal depressive with allusions to wrestling with sexual identity that were lost on me at the time, I was not kind or understanding toward his plight. Pepe Le Roux was a, how you say, “dingus?” Does that translate into French? Comprenez-vous le plotte puant? I’ve tried to respect Metamorpho, but never made it to like with Play-Doh Ben Grimm. All that stuff with Maxwell Lord becoming Kilg%re and his evil thug brother? What the hell was that, even? And then they dragged my beloved Blue Devil into this, completely mischaracterizing him as Simon Williams played by Daniel Baldwin. Like I said, hate read.

    But then a funny thing happened after the last crossover, Way of the Warrior. It got… better? Or I just found my groove with it. The gender identity politics started to come across, more from the new Ice Maiden seeking an entirely different relationship with Fire. Speaking of whom, while I’m not a “buxom babe” type, Wojtkiewicz had a talent for cheesecake that I ended up appreciating enough to reconsider my longtime aversion to Bea. The Power Girl and Crimson Fox nonsense finally resolved in a way that wasn’t entirely painful. “The Killer Elite” were a neat bunch of assassin types to fight. While I hated what Underworld Unleashed had done to Blue Devil, he was put on a redemption arc in J.L.A. Wonder Woman finally ditched the Salt-N-Peppa cast-offs and got back in her classic costume. By the end, I was actually an apologist, a little sad to see Justice League America go?

    The one time I got to go to SDCC, in the year 2000, I found myself at Chuck Wojtkiewicz’s table. I told him that his run was underappreciated, and how I’d grown to enjoy his work. He’d done some pages for a rejected New Gods proposal, and I had my eye on a Darkseid page. However, he wanted something like $300 when I had maybe $600 total cash with me and no credit card to my name, plus these were the glory days of eBay, when pages rarely sold for more that a c-note. He ultimately left comics to work in CGI. As I recall, he told me that it’s pronounced Voight-Kev-Itch, like if Jon and Bill had a name baby.

    I loved a few Gerard Jones comics, but he was still mostly a miss for me. Still, I bought The Comic Book Heroes: The First History of Modern Comic Books – From the Silver Age to the Present in 1996, and it became my bible. I loved Jones’ acerbic, dishy take on his personal journey from fan to pro to burnout. I have to credit a lot of my “voice” and perspective to Jones, which became even more clear when I got a copy of 1985’s The Comic Book Heroes: From the Silver Age to the Present, also at SDCC 2000. Jones had thoroughly rewritten the first version, so that between the greater contribution of Will Jacobs on first pass and their shared naivete having been corrected, I largely dismissed it as mere prototype. I still feel that Jones is possibly the single greatest historian in comics, both for his deep journalistic research for books like Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book and for the flair in which he wrote them. I have to wonder if his main competition, Sean Howe, focused on Marvel in part because Jones had already covered so much ground for DC.

    But then he turned out to be a pedophile, and rightly served time in prison for trading in kiddie porn. He’s a living argument for erasure. If I didn’t have enough reason to dislike Hal Jordan, he was Jones’ baby for five years. Of course, there was also that pioneering year-and-a-half of John Stewart’s Mosaic, but that interpretation has already been scrubbed from any relevant continuity across all media. Jones inhabited a sizeable chunk of DC real estate for quite a few years, and fans of that era have to tip toe around this disgusting pervert for… let’s be honest… probably another twenty years at most, before we’re so niche and thinned out that there won’t be audience enough to support rumination of 20th century comic books. There’s no closure here– just a wound to our collective psyche that will never fully heal. The crime itself is despicable, but the collateral is mighty damned messy as well. That said, I refuse to make him a boogeyman of whom no mention dare be made. We’ll just have to be sure to add the asterisk with our preferred curse upon his miserable soul when we do so. I get that it’s a sickness, maybe even an inclination that is wired into a brain the same way as other addictions. Regardless, the choice to indulge it– to trade in it like fucking baseball cards with fellow degenerates? I can’t type anymore on account of my fingernails digging into the palms of my clenched fists. Who needs to think about this shit? May we never hear of his activities again until the obligatory obituary. Get Howe on that DC book, FFS.

    1. Frank, you make some excellent points, in my opinion. I will share a few thoughts of my own. As a general rule, I disagree with erasure. Any public relations practice employed by both Egyptian pharoahs and Stalin is immediately suspect, and when we pretend people didn’t exist, we cannot learn from them. Jones committed reprehensible crimes, and he is paying for them now. To act like he did not do other things seems silly. History and the arts are replete with accomplished men who abused women, oppressed minorities, and even committed despicable acts against children. I think we should condemn those acts and, to the degree that we can, judge their work separately.

      Of course, one of my daughters just pointed that royalties complicate the issue for living artists, which I will grant.

      1. Well, I did feel a bit better about listening to Michael Jackson after he died… well, a few years after anyway… so if Jones could get on that…

      2. I am gonna address this here and not on the show itself for reasons that will become clear.

        First, in no way do I consider the writer of JLA “erased” by my not giving him credit on the show – it’s still on the cover image in the gallery post and we’re covering the books. “Cancel culture” and “erasure” are words created or re-purposed by propagandists so they can give themselves cause to whine about being criticized for heinous acts and words. The writer of JLA was no “erased” by my decision to not name him (any more than letterers, colorists, assistant-editors that I fail to mention unless it’s relevant to a talking point) – that’s not erasure. Real erasure is things like saying one or more LGBTQ+ identities are not “real”, or decades of whitewashing the world in Hollywood movies (“identity politics”, there’s another term created by propagandists to make it a matter of acceptable “policy” whether people have innate dignity and the right to self-affirmation).

        Comics pros have been accused and convicted of everything from murder to plagiarism, and when these people come up on a show, we can choose to ignore the wrong-doing or shame them for it. In this case, we’re talking about something that’s more than heinous, it’s actively disturbing. The writer loses all rights to my patronage (even if I enjoyed some of his work, Frank mentions a couple of highlights), and putting an “asterisk” on it, just forces me to make mention of his crimes, dropping a leaden weight into my rinky-dink show about funny books. How can I then follow up with jokes about Gossip Girl Wonder Woman or Firestorm’s bad hair day? My formula is glib, but it shows my distaste without having to go into it (because does anyone have to have a big conversation about how their opinion on this when it’s pretty much a given?). I felt like Shagg said it all on his show on behalf of the Network (we consulted), and since my show only has to cover a couple of the writer’s books (and terrible ones at that), there’s no reason to record an editorial about it on my end.

        Make no mistake, our podcasts are not public spaces. If I find something offensive, whether it’s spoken by a guest, or left in the comments, it is unlikely to make it into the finished episode (same for misinformation that fails a fact check before the show airs). As a producer, you have to juggle content and tone, and ZHS is meant as a nostalgic amusement. It really has two modes, depending on quality of the material covered: enthusiasm and comedic mockery. We can say “opinions are those of the speaker and do not reflect…”, but at the end of the day, my name is still on the byline. It’s not censorship, it’s editing.

        So even addressing this point in the comments section of our next episode would drop the leaden weight into the tail end of a show that’s meant to be laughing at Guy Gardner or whatever, so I leave it here with you, faithful commenters, instead.

        To bring it back to the point, Stalin

        1. Siskoid, I wasn’t accusing you of erasure. I discussed it because Frank brought it up, but I didn’t read his passing reference as an accusation, either. I don’t really have a problem with the way F&W has handled Jones’ work and his crimes. You’ve addressed it head on while doing what you can to keep the grim horror of it from ruining our fun. I understand that’s a difficult line to walk. So I mentioned Stalin as an example of somehow who really put a lot of effort into erasure, but I wasn’t calling anyone Stalinist. I did not mean to offend, and if I have done so inadvertently, I sincerely apologize. I very much appreciate what you (and Bass!) are doing here and on other podcasts. I want to be a friendly contributor, not an irritant or a downer. I’ll try to be more circumspect about my own glib musings in the future. Again, please forgive me.

          1. Yeah, no, this was definitely my fault. I’ve had spleen to spare in want for venting on this issue. As usual, I hijacked Siskoid’s comments for my own nefarious purposes. Not to speak for Captain Entropy, but I always figured he was referencing my comments alone, not the show. Actually, this is why I go out of my way these days to rarely directly reference the shows/hosts themselves anymore, even in congratulation. I don’t want my ruminations on a subject to get mixed up for my feelings about “the messengers,” or what have you. I can’t even safely compliment without the threat of backhand implications, so I just don’t. Getting back to the J-word, I didn’t even want Shag to bring it up the one time, much less address it on every related podcast. But I’m the Stalinist here (nobody ever brings up Stalin’s good points {forward-slash-facetious-end-bracket.})

          2. Stalin’s good points? He spoiled his kid so much that when he wound up in a German POW camp, he threw himself into an electric fence rather than do latrine duty.

  7. I’m guessing the condition of the Justice League books was prearranged by Grant Morrison. They slipped the editors some big bucks to run the books into the ground so their overhaul of the title would be a massive success. It’s similar to what slumlords do before a redevelopment.

    Love your work guys!

  8. Justice League Task Force was simply not a factor. I doubt that I knew who Professor Ivo was in 1994. I’d skipped the middle chapter of the Triumph introductory crossover. I’m not certain that I made the connection between L-Ron downloading his consciousness into Despero during “Breakdowns” and his sudden reappearance during “Judgment Day,” so his presence was an “umm, okay?” I only knew Gypsy from my spotty purchasing of prior issues, so I was more excited for the brief Bronze Tiger cameo. Their romantic connection had I believe been hinted at in the second “KnightQuest” tie-in, which I had passed on. Sparse and shallow exposure to The Ray, who wasn’t one of my character types regardless. Even Martian Manhunter was just someone I was only positively disposed toward in books I bought wherein his presence wasn’t a deciding factor. Mark Waid was the writer of that Flash run that I was on a second begrudging attempt to follow. Christopher Priest had written several Wonder Woman comics that I disliked so much as to remember his name for future avoidance, but as I quit with #0, his credit just reinforced an established policy.

    On his blog, Priest complained that his Task Force was never given any tasks, so they didn’t perform any. Basically, they were hemmed in by the demands of editorial, including a membership selection made before his hiring on the third issue. There wasn’t another crossover, no line-up changes were approved, no marque villains were lent. It’s been noted that the vibe was X-Men, down to the matching uniforms, but these weren’t the New Mutants. Most were only slightly younger than average heroes, with jobs, and in Ray’s case an ongoing solo. If anything, Priest treated The Ray as his primary concern, and Task Force was the associated/spin-off title.

    Diamond Distribution’s old baseline for sales was the monthly issue of Batman. Prior to Judgment Day, America was still the top JL title, ranked around 120 overall and 32% of Bat-sales. Task Force was second at 131/29%, International a distant third at 155/23%. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that America and Europe used to be much closer, or that JLTF had debuted at 65/39% with sales around 157,000. Sales were erratic, so that a “KnightQuest” tie-in could make it a top 50 title, where the others were out of the 100 (Europe missing from the 150.) Then a New Bloods spotlight issue would get down to Europe numbers. I’m sure that it was also difficult to book talent on a quasi-anthology usually drawn by commercial non-entity Sal Velluto. The new format offered stability alright, in the third place slot with Europe rankings, and numbers down across the industry. Extreme Justice #0 missed the top 50 by a lot and did half Batman’s numbers, while America was juust inside the 100 at 36%. Extreme then raced to join America, before plummeting to 140/28% by #2. With the contraction of the industry, America managed to settle within the top 100, and the other two with nearly interchangeable numbers within 125 rankings. For the final issues, Justice League America was 82/31%, Extreme Justice 115/23.3%, Justice League Task Force 118/23.1%. Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare debuted at 30/69%, and JLA #1 ranked 24th, 155% of Batman‘s sales, and would routinely better than double Batman going forward.

    I finally went back to JLTF after become a Martian Manhunter fan, so we’re talking ’99-00 of picking up what I could find here and there until I gathered the run. I still had an aversion to Priest when Marvel Knights Black Panther started, but by #12 he was one of my favorite writers, fueled by catching up with JLTF and Steel. Like Justice League International, I’d argue that it was a great series, but not a great Justice League, and I frankly favor JLTF over JLI. I bought JLI inconsistently, depending largely on Kevin Maguire’s art and the featured characters. I bought JLI #22-31, dropped it, loved two swell annuals, and returned for “Breakdowns” with #53. I never warmed to most of the JLI characters, the humor often missed without Maguire, and even Adam Hughes paled in comparison. JLTF lacked the heights of JLI, and I’m not a real fan of most of its characters either. That said, I found Priest’s writing stronger overall, the humor smarter and inherent in the script rather than dependent on the art. Since plots were an afterthought, the focus stayed on characterization, banter, and left field turns. I can enthusiastically read 25 straight issues of JLTF, where JLI would invariable have dud issues with unappealing art. After the Neal Adams-influenced Velluto left, he was replaced by the John Buscema-influenced Ramon Bernado, and even the fill-ins pleased me. The L-Ron stuff was weird, but not a bad detour, and I really dug the visuals on Despero throughout the run. To me, it’s clear that someone wanted to bite Erik Larsen back for Savage Dragon’s more than passing resemblance, so we got Big Guns Despero in camo pants. I still have the Total justice figure. I grew to genuinely like Gypsy, became a big fan of Vandal Savage, and Priest wrote some of the best (if challenging) J’Onn J’Onzz team stories. I even have an interest in Triumph, and will probably read The Ray… someday. Not a lot happens, but it’s quirky with attitude, and a favorite of mine.

  9. Hi Siskoid and Bass

    I listen to your podcasts regularly, but work commitments and the like hasn’t given me the time to comment as I wish I could. However, given your coverage of the JL titles, I had to comment here.

    Some of the matters that you queried during the podcast e.g. why Captain Atom wanted to keep an eye on Wonder Woman’s team, why the Overmaster’s ship was being used, etc – all fell out of Judgement Day, the crossover that occurred exactly before Zero Hour and the fall out. Captain Atom and Wonder Woman butted heads throughout the series, and at the end led to the schism that saw the team split apart (and so led to the rag tag team that was in place when Triumph made his appearance in the Zero Hour tie-ins.

    JLA post Zero Hour was a bit of a mess to be honest. There was some good pieces here and there but the characterisation of Wonder Woman was too Pollyanna for such an iconic character. The Fire storyline where she made a play on Nuklon because she wanted to settle down led to the introduction of a new Ice Maiden and some other stuff. We got the resolutions to the Metamorpho/Crimson Fox and Power Girl’s baby storylines that were just poor and confusing, and MAxwell Lord was recreated as Lord Havok which was just silly. Finally, we had teh introduction of Yazz and the less said about that, the better.

    JLTF started out quite well in issue Zero. Again, this called back to the Judgement Day issues where J’onn saw the team was splitting apart in the aftermath of Ice’s death and wanted to try and set up a new team from the old. The initial storyline with Vandal savage looked promising but when Priest came along, the narrative started to jump all over the place. It got too tied up with the Ray continuity, which I was not collecting, so I always felt I was missing half of the story when reading.

    Extreme Justice started initially good but then got itself bogged down with silly stuff like the Predator/Star Sapphire baby (a leftover from the Green Lantern run), the whole mess with Monarch and bringing in the Wonder Twins. One thing I noted was that individual issues seem to end abruptly, like the writer was filling so much in the start that he could not pace himself to finish correctly. This was a shame, as this team was the one that had a lot of my favourite characters, and added in Firestorm which was nice to see.

    I read all of these series to their end and while I did not mind them at the time, reading them now is quite painful, being only the echoes of the Bwa-ha-ha era that came before.

    Thanks for a great podcast on the Zero Hour crossover and I look forward to hearing more episodes.

  10. Wow…wait to leave comments and miss out on a lot apparently.

    JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA was mostly “meh” when I read it back in 1998. I have very few memories of it and that’s a sign that it was either “okay” or just not worth remembering. The writer of the book being the writer of the book colors my perceptions of it, so revisting it is a no go for me. Neat line up, though.

    EXTREME JUSTICE had some interesting ideas and like JLA it had a neat cast. Late 1994 to Summer 1996 was a weird time for DC where they leaned hard into the tropes of the early nineties. I write early nineties because the nineties, like most decades, have more than one set of tropes that shape mainstream super-hero comics. The early nineties was where you got the big guns, gritty pouches, misogynitic portrayals of women, and ultra violence. This all hit me when I read UNDERWORLD UNLEASED and all of the tie-ins. There were so many books that aped the style and feel of the early image books and it all felt so forced. During the summer of 1996 DC came out of this Image filled haze and starting focusing more on the characters and the writers and the stories. There was still echoes of the earlier part of the decade but things were more colorful and more fun. Characters became part of small fiefdoms and even though there was a shared universe it wasn’t so connected that you needed to buy a bunch of books to keep up with everything. You could read Flash and Green Lantern and the Batman books and while they all were part of the JLA and the Flash and GL occasionally hung out, they were pretty much their own things.

    EXTREME JUSTICE dropped at the wrong time and had a terrible name and overblown art. If it had been published a few years later with a different feel but the same team it might have been better.

    JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE was a favorite of mine when I finally read it. Especially when Priest took over as writer. Like the other JUSTICE books it had a great cast and this was the book where I felt they were used properly. You kind of had to read THE RAY after Priest took over but it wasn’t 100% necessary.

    This was such a weird time for the League as a franchise. I agree with the idea that they were coasting on the success of three to four years before and it wasn’t until Morrison came on that the damage that AMERICA, EXTREME JUSTICE, and even TASK FORCE did to the idea of the Justice League. DC was targeting an audience that wasn’t there. The bubble had burst. The people that came in during the early Image era were bailing out of the hobby. All three titles were the wrong direction at the wrong time.

    It’s just disappointing.

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