Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Justice League of America #241 (8/85)

Vixen: Goaded Aquaman into considering reconciliation with his estranged wife, despite his protesting her “asinine pop psychology.” Hung out with her fellow Leaguers as they cooked lunch. When Aquaman came up missing just as the team was alerted to the return of an old threat, she kept her knowledge of his likely whereabouts to herself.

Aquaman: Marriage to Mera established at seven years to this point. Aquaman was prideful, evasive, and passive-aggressive in Vixen’s presence, but equivocated in solitude. Arthur questioned the true motivation behind all his recent decisions, and owned up to his transferring his tumultuous emotional state onto the new team he brought into existence. Finally, he jumped off a pier in search of his lost love.

Steel: After dominating most of the previous issues with his presence, Steel backed off a bit here. Had a macho mini-brawl with Vibe over dating his sister; a conflict resolved with Vibe’s blessing the courtship. Beyond that, he coasted this issue.

Zatanna: Continued to be as much, and most likely more, of a non-entity on the team than Sue Dibney this outing. She paired-off on the mission with Steel, and spoke exactly one line of dialogue.

Vibe: Turned his powers against Steel until his old-school protectiveness was sated by Steel’s formally asking permission to date Paco’s sister. Vibe then debuted his new costume. This move advanced his people five years—up from the ten Vibe’s very existence set them back. Sure it was mostly black and red, but with studded belts, a plunging neckline, fingerless gloves, and chunky ankle boots. He might as well have thrown in a sombrero and fringe. He paired-off with Vixen on the mission.

Dale Gunn: Cooked up some Texas-style chili. Flew the L.O.S.T. to the mission site. Pulled a Bones McCoy with his “I’m just a glorified engineer doubling as a pilot... but...” riff. Got knocked out.

Gypsy: Helped Dale make the chili, but slipped and lost her grip on the bowl. Made pointed comments about Ralph and Sue’s sitcom couple marriage, then even less tactfully blew J’Onn J’Onzz off when he questioned her bitter stance. Thought Vibe’s new outfit was “cute,” prompting him to puff-up and rant. Threw Manhunter shade about it being Aquaman’s job to brief the team on missions, not his.

Elongated Man & Sue Dibney: Ralph used his incredible powers to save a bowl of chili and quoted Emily Post. Sue had eighteen times as much dialogue as Zatanna, as she kidded her husband and helped make peace between Vibe and Steel. Ralph paired-off with Gypsy on the mission.

Martian Manhunter: Wearing an apron around his waist as he diced onions for the chili, Manhunter noted “After three decades on your world, I thought I was beyond the possibility of new experiences. It would appear I was mistaken.” When Gypsy almost nullified his culinary effort, J’Onn actually exclaimed “--Gods of Mars--!” Meanwhile Amazo, the android “one-man Justice League,” escaped confinement at the Fortress of Solitude and absorbed the life force/personality of drunken lout Slick Jake MacGregor. The repurposed Amazo then slaughtered the town of St. Jude in the Canadian Yukon, population 200, as revenge for its treatment of MacGregor. This tragedy prompted the Manhunter to call the League together, both to address Amazo and their being short one leader. J’Onzz called the shots, but not without question, and rightly so. When evidence suggested Amazo could have headed off in any of three directions, he splintered the group to follow each lead, quartering their effectiveness. J’Onzz one-upped Gunn’s Bones with his own take off Phil Hartman’s Caveman Lawyer. “I ask myself...Dale Gunn. What would Aquaman have done, I wonder? On Mars, I was thrust into a position of command, but I too am a scientist by nature. Command does not come naturally to...me...?” Up from under the ground sprang Amazo, who swiftly used his super-breath to blow Dale and the Martian Manhunter up against consciousness-depriving rocks.

Introduced this issue: Justice League signal rings-- gold bands with a gigantic red light/gem that beeped team members and acted as a verbal communicator. Conway was still ignoring J’Onn’s mental powers, and the Legion of Super-Heroes thought we weren’t just cavemen, but tacky cavemen.

The Creators: Gerry Conway, still struggling to balance the mundance with the fantastic, forced poor George Tuska to spend 2 ½ pages on the chili skit. Thanks largely to the rich inks of Mike Machlan, the grizzled old veteran managed to make the rampant inanities of the issue reasonably appealing to the eye. At times, he even invoked Alex Toth and Bob Oksner instead of the usual “Don Heck of DC.”

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: “The Big Green Guy.”-Gypsy.
“Big Green”-Vibe.

Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: “Cute? You call me cute? Do people call the Batman cute? Do people call Superman... cute? With this suit, I’m making a statement. I’m saying, ‘you’d better give me your respect, or I’m gonna bust your head.’”

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