Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Justice League of America #259 (2/87)

Gypsy: Encouraged teen runaway prostitute Pamela Cross to return to her family home, only to find it empty. Gypsy kept Pam from bolting until her parents arrived, comforting her with a hug. Gypsy made way for the group hug, as Pam and her folks reunited, and Gypsy silently hit the road. "...Oh, and if it wasn't for Gypsy, I would've never come back so soon! ...My friend... My best friend. Wait a minute, I'll introduce you to-- her... I don't get it-- why'd she leave?"

"I'm going home," the once and future Cindy Reynolds thought to herself. She knew she needed to reconcile with her family, instead of using the Justice League as an excuse to avoid the issue. To steel her resolve, she ignored a League emergency signal, and hitched a ride with a mysterious stranger in a yellow VW Bug. "Something creepy about his voice. But he looks normal. Anyway, if he's really some drooling maniac looking for a helpless young thing to molest-- he's gonna be in for a big surprise."

Along the drive to New Paltz, NY, Gypsy opened up to the stranger about her troubles and decision. "Hey, uh, thanks for letting me ramble like this... So, um, what about you? You have a family." He had no mother; a cold, self-involved father... and was truly sorry that it was time for what he'd been programmed to do.

Professor Ivo's self-modeled robot blasted Gypsy through his car door. Injured, Gypsy tried to escape into the forest. "Please, Gypsy-- don't resist me! Surrender to me-- and I promise I'll make your death as quick and painless as possible!" Gypsy was again blasted off her feet. "Y'know, I don't know whether you're a man... or some kinda machine... or what-- but you just got me mad! GO TO HELL!" Gypsy's powers briefly affected the Ivo's sensor, until it adjusted for conflicting data. As she ran, Gypsy thought, "Gotta remember what J.J. always says: 'Where there's life, there's-- hope.'"

Struck by another blast, Gypsy lay at the Ivo's feet, who blasted a hole through the belly of the young girl. An Ivo death mask was placed over her lifeless face...

Professor Ivo: Watched Martian Manhunter through an undetected camera as the League discovered Vibe's body and the Professor's culpability. "Keep that name at the forefront of your consciousness, Manhunter. Let it haunt you... Let it hound you-- just as the Justice League has haunted and hounded me. One by one, Manhunter-- I will murder the members of this new League-- and, in so doing, hurt the original Justice League far more that a direct attack ever could. You will all know pain... It's a pity the Manhunter is so directly involved in this... He could prove to be a minor annoyance. Ah, but the rest of the original Leaguers who still have ties to the JLA won't get in the way... Which just leaves J'Onn J'Onzz... and those children... Children... Oh, and Gypsy... she... she's the youngest of them all. How can I--?"

Ivo was conflicted between his obsession with punishing the Justice League for a crime they didn't actually commit, and the monstrosity of killing an innocent girl. He discussed the issue with an Ivo robot that had served as his psychiatrist. "Vibe-- he was arrogant-- like the rest of those super-heroic scum! But Gypsy..."

Ivo instilled this confusion in his own "son," who he'd sent after Gypsy. As Professor Ivo watched Gypsy die from his monitor, he was at first elated, then collapsed in horror at what he had done. Once Professor Ivo stopped monitoring his robot, it told Gypsy his "father" no longer had to be fooled by the young heroine's illusion of her own demise. "I said before that I was very well made. That was something of an understatement. Although my father's mind is... unbalanced, his genius is unparalleled... Professor Ivo had doubts about murdering you. Great doubts-- that were born in me, as well." The Ivo drove Cindy home to a tearful reunion.

Vibe: Had his body gently kicked by a pedestrian trying to figure out what his deal was. Had the still steaming Ivo death mask peeled from his face. Had his body carried back to the Secret Sanctuary, where it was placed in a cryogenic chamber for preservation until it could be returned to Paco's family.

Vixen: Was irrational as she seethed at a witness at Vibe's murder scene. Briefly calmed, only to launch a snarling attack on two policemen who pulled up with guns drawn, convinced by G. Gordon Godfrey of the threat super-heroes posed. Back at the Secret Sanctuary, Vixen tried to shake Manhunter into a confession. "You keep saying that! Who is he? Who is Ivo? Answer me! If you know who killed Vibe..." Vixen though Manhunter had lost his mind when he reiterated that the League had been disbanded, and could not pursue Ivo.

Steel: Pulled Vixen off a bystander, explaining that G. Gordon Godfrey's lies were making people frightened enough without heroes turning on people. When police arrived to spout more of Godfrey's fear-mongering garbage, Steel smashed their squad car. On his knees, tearfully expressed disbelief Vibe was dead. Thought the body needed to be returned to the Ramone family, but distracted when Manhunter revealed who the murderer was. "Don't worry, J.J.-- we'll find Ivo! We'll make that animal pay for what he did to Vibe!" Angry when Manhunter denied him vengeance due to the U.S. ban on super-heroic activity. "Mister, I don't give a damn about the President's order!"

Martian Manhunter: Approached Vibe's body and the bystander looking over it cautiously. "There is no reason to be afraid. We are the Justice League. We won't hurt you." While Vixen and Steel dealt with the bystander, Manhunter knelt at the side of Vibe's body, determining that he was dead, and who was responsible. "Professor Ivo." Tried and failed to calm Steel through Vixen's example of overreaction. Carried Vibe's body back to the Secret Sanctuary. Manhunter told the current League about Ivo's history with the old, his creation of Amazo, his cursed pursuit of immortality, and his misplaced blame of the League for his plight. "It's so demented... that it's almost funny." With that, even Manhunter allowed himself to lash out as an inanimate object. However, he still would not allow the League to pursue the case. "With the national situation such as it is, we cannot do anything... I have always believed in the law... on Mars... and on Earth. We violated the law by appearing on the streets in costume tonight. We will not do so again. The Justice League of America has been disbanded-- and it will remain disbanded. Is... that... clear?" However, Manhunter himself flew off with Ivo on his mind and the Reynolds' home in his sights-- where he found the Ivo android looking on...

The Creators: J.M. DeMatteis blessedly did not kill off Gypsy, but wrung the threat and Vibe's passing for all the impact he could. Ivo's never been as interesting outside this story. Bill Wray returned to ink Luke McDonnell-- an improvement over other hands, but not as dramatic a difference as earlier in the run. McDonnell himself was all over the nine panel grid this issue, continuing a trend on his part.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "J.J." -Gypsy, Steel, Vixen
"J'onn." -Steel
"Manhunter." -Vixen, Ivo
"J'onn J'onzz." -Ivo

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who's Who Update '87 Vol.5: Vibe (12/87)

Sure, poor Vibe didn't get a Who's Who profile until the second series, but he also got a logo! Pretty good one, too! I can't honestly say I cared for Vibe, and I don't think his death was exactly a waste. In fact, I think he was a blight on all minority super-heroes, and an embarrassment to Latinos the world over. Still, he was a Detroit Leaguer, a very special honor/shame, and so rates a memorial post. Art by Luke McDonnell.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Justice League of America #258 (1/87)

Martian Manhunter: Following their defeat by Brimstone during "Legends," the team returned to their Secret Sanctuary to regroup. A fight broke out between Vibe and Elongated Man, which Manhunter broke up, and speaking of breaking up: "That will be enough... We've all been through quite an ordeal these past hours... and although I can't condone it, I understand why you two have reacted this way. But it doesn't make what I'm about to say any easier. Our League was once a much-needed and much-respected organization. I think we were well on the way to being that again. But, considering the President's recent statement ordering all so-called super-heroes to withdraw from public life-- I see no alternative. Until further notice, I am disbanding the Justice League... It's only temporary... till the President rescinds his order... I fully intend to keep in touch with all of you in the coming weeks. Just because we can't function as a team doesn't mean we can't function as friends. And in the end, it is your friendship that I've come to value most. Believe it or not, Vibe-- that includes you. For some months now, I've had the pleasure of watching you all grow... evolve... reach toward your full potential... You've made me very proud."

Elongated Man: Vibe began to openly disparage the team, sending Ralph into a rare fit of rage. "Vibe-- shut the hell up!!!" Elongated Man snared and punched Vibe, under protest from J'Onn J'Onzz. "Forget it, Manhunter! I've had it with this arrogant punk!" Vibe tried to fend off Ralph, but continued to be ridiculed until Martian Manhunter broke up the pair. After things cooled down, Manhunter announced the disbanding of the team, to some relief from Ralph. "Maybe it's time we all got our personal lives together." Ralph tried to apologize to Vibe, but was rebuffed. Ralph said goodbye, and left.

Sue Dibney: Not featured, but Ralph assured, "I, for one, owe my wife a vacation. A long one. Starting right now."

Gypsy: Protested the disbanding. "No! The League's too important to the world... to us!" Settled down by Vixen, then tried to console Vibe. "My friend Pam's waiting for us. Maybe the four of us could go out to eat or something."

Vixen: Took the news the easiest. Talked with Gypsy about reuniting with her parents. Tried to calm Steel and Vibe, to no avail.

Steel: Shattered the meeting room table. Stormed off.

Professor Ivo: Completely insane, Ivo blamed the Justice League for the physical deformity caused by his own immortality formula. Ivo had created an army of android duplicates with his former, human appearance. Bolstered by the rhetoric of the demagogue G. Gordon Godfrey, Ivo unleashed his automatons with murderous intent. "My dear old comrades, Batman and Superman and Aquaman and the rest, thought they could escape me by resigning from the League-- and leaving those untrained babies in their place." Ivo decided to kill the League's "children" with his own.

Vibe: "We blew it!! Firestorm came to us for help-- and what do we do... get our butts wiped all over the street!" Vibe verbally assailed his teammates, until Elongated Man delivered a beating. An invisible Manhunter separated them. "Hey-- Where'd you come from?"

Vibe wandered the South Bronx, reminded of home and his own failings. "Man, I coulda killed Elongated Man for sayin' what he said. 'Specially since it was true. I've been nothin' but a loud-mouthed, whining brat since I hooked up with the League." Vibe met a Latino boy on a stoop drawing Superman, whom he first criticized for not idolizing one of his own people ("Vibe, man!") then let alone. Vibe was attacked by one of Professor Ivo's robots, as the kid shouted, "Vibe? You mean-- you're a real super-hero?!" Vibe tried to send the kid away and fend off the robot, but wavered. "I can't stop a guy who ain't human! I can't! I'm not Batman... or the Martian Manhunter... I'm just Vibe! I'm just a joke!" Vibe rallied as he thought of the boy and others. "...What about JJ? ...I'll be damned if I'm gonna let him down! Maybe I wasn't ready for the League when they took me-- but I'm ready now!"

Vibe ripped into the robot, causing it to malfunction, and earning a devoted fan in the kid. As the boy departed, Vibe prepared to cart the android back to League headquarters. Suddenly, its hands detached from its body and choked Vibe to death. The automaton left a mask resembling Ivo's human face over Paco's as a calling card. "Father will be so proud."

The Creators: J.M. DeMatteis begins one of the greatest League epics of all time, and certainly the best Vibe story ever. The humble, somber figures of Luke McDonnell compliment the tale of a League revealed in its inadequacy.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "JJ" -Vibe

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "What's with this Superman thing everybody's got? I've seen the guy-- he ain't nothin' special."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who's Who Vol.XVIII: Professor Ivo (8/86)

In light of the horrors soon to be visited upon the Detroit League, I thought it best to offer a primer on Professor Ivo, their primary author. Click image to enlarge. Art by Irv Novick & Rodin Rodriguez.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An apology

You'd think that if I could manage to generate material for two daily blogs with rare failure, one more post a week for this blog wouldn't be a problem. Clearly, that is not so. It's true that this blog was always intended as a side project for my main obsession, the Idol-Head of Diabolu, and its coverage of the Martian Manhunter. Still, that's no excuse for not holding up an obligation that should be within my grasp. I never installed a counter here, and have no idea if anyone visits on a regularly basis, but as this was my idea, I'd just a soon not fail my own self. To that end, I'll try to make up for lost time with at least two posts a week over the next month or so, to gear up for the Justice League Detroit Blog's renewed focus on members not from the planet Mars. Coverage of "The End of the Justice League of America" will begin shortly, and Detroit-related posts will continue to appear here before the Idol-Head, when not exclusive to this page...