Justice League #5 (DC, 1987). The first half of a two part story. The baddie is called The Gray Man, some ancient mystic who has kidnapped Dr. Fate and unleashed his Gray Man clones all over a small town in Vermont and turning the populace into zombies. Or something like that. Frankly, no one cares about that issue's baddie of the month because whenever you show the cover of this comic, those who were fans will remember only one thing:
Guy Gardner gets bitch punched by Batman.
Hell, even the comic creators think that's a more important event than the main plot. Look at the cover. Any mention of the Gray Man? Nope. Any prone bodies of our heroes lying unconscious on the ground as the bad guy laughs triumphantly? Nada. Instead we get the Martian Manhunter and Captain Marvel trying to hold Guy Gardner back with the words "Batman vs Guy Gardner: SHOWDOWN" on the top of the cover. Yup, back in the 80s, you knew what you were getting with your comics just by looking at the cover. I miss those days. But this momentous event only took three pages of the entire comic. Three pages. And it's these three pages that people remember most in this issue. If that doesn't deserve a Great Moment in Comics History tag, I don't know what does.
Here's the setup:
Gardner thinks he should be the League's leader instead of Bats. Batman, being the gentleman that he is, suggests that the Green Lantern is acting like a mongrel. Oh, it's on, baby!
I like the look on the heroes faces there. Mr. Miracle is irritated. Booster Gold and Capt. Marvel are just shocked, shocked that someone not called Superman dares to point a finger at Batman. That takes balls. Or a high level of insanity. Either one.
Captain Marvel tries to butt in because he's....well, stupid. Batman agrees with me, so there.
Captain Marvel walks away sulking. That was something you don't see in comics before or since. Just another reason why the Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE was such a fan favourite. When everyone was writing dark, moody stories, Giffen and DeMatteis gave us Captain Marvel in a hissy fit.
Anyway, Guy opened a can of whup-ass.
And gets a big BONK of a punch from Batman:
That's all he wrote, Suzie! One punch and Guy Gardner's down for the count.
Batman is like, "So, anyway....let's start this meeting". Bad ass. And that's why this episode gets this blog's first ever "Great Moments in Comics History" award.
Resulting effects: Guy Gardner becomes a peace loving hippy. He doesn't turn back to normal (or abnormal, if you prefer) until issue 18 when Lobo crash lands on Guy's head.