08 August 2007

Justice League America #34 (DC, 1990)

Why do I love the post-LEGENDS Justice League? Simply because it was fun, dammit. There were some people who didn't like the snappy dialogue and the off-beat adventures that this incarnation of the League had. Those people are dead to me, dead. Giffen and DeMatteis were the Alan Sorkin of comics at the time. It was the only comic at the time, I think, that even had Batman crack wise deadpan-like once or twice. And the Booster Gold and Blue Bettle double team? Fergedabouit. Comedy gold, they were.

In JL #34, the Gold and the Blue decide to open a holiday resort called "CLUB JLI" complete with casino on the Pacific island of Kooey Kooey Kooey. The League was actually invited to establish an embassy on the island by the tribal chief so his small island can boast a powerful deterrent force of super-heroes. Smart man. The resort and casino idea was never part of the deal. That was all Booster and Beetle. Of course that idea was unauthorised and unknown by the rest of the League especially by their boss, Max Lord. This was the 1990 pre-Countdown to Infinite Crisis Max Lord. He's still somewhat of a good guy in this series.

Club JLI quickly becomes a success and attracting all sorts of people including Z-grade villains Major Disaster and Big Sir who arrive on the island incognito to try their luck at the blackjack table. Actually, it isn't luck. Major Disaster learns that Big Sir, a somewhat simple minded lunkhead (who once destroyed Barry Allen's face back in the early '80s), has the Rain Man like ability to count cards. And just like that scene in the movie, (which was where Giffen and DeMatteis probably copied...erm, took inspiration from), Major Disaster and Big Sir are soon raking it in.

Big Sir's so good at counting cards, he broke the bank much to Beetle's displeasure:

Losing all that money was bad enough. What made it worse was that Beetle and Booster "borrowed" all the money for their capital from the Justice League's accounts. Now, not only are they bankrupt, the League is as well. Max Lord soon finds out and rushes over to Kooey Kooey Kooey with murder in his mind. Prophetic, I must say.

Meanwhile, Aquaman shows up all angry-like. He tells the newly bankrupt venture capitalists to evacuate the island because it's about to dislodge itself. Apparently, all the construction on the ground has awaken Kooey Kooey Kooey.

The damn island is actually alive! It's alive, it's awake and it's going walkabout. And it's taking the natives, tourists and shocked heroes along for the ride. The chief knows about the island being sentient. He just didn't tell anyone else. Didn't think it was a big deal. He's a card, eh?

Major Disaster and Big Sir are oblivious to all this at first seeing as how they have moved upwards financially. With the money, the Major wants to go forward with his plan to RULE THE WORLD!

I like that panel. It features cameos by three characters from Mike Barr's Maze Agency, a whodunit comic book that was very well written and beautifully drawn but hardly anyone read because it didn't feature any superheroes. I'll talk about that series one of these days. Why were they inserted in an issue of Justice League? Well, they shared the same penciller: Adam Hughes.

Anyway, back to the story...

Well, when your villain name is Major Disaster you shouldn't be surprised, really. He should have picked Tsunami Man or Agent Orange or something more bad ass. Agent Orange is not so bad ass but, c'mon, it is a bit better that frickin' Major Disaster if he knows his Wiki. So, he lost all the money and is back on skid row (no, not the band, wiseguy).

What about Blue Beetle, Booster and Aquaman? Their fates were resolved in the next issue but it's this issue that I consider a classic: the concept of a sentient island that goes swimming to another location once it's awake is just great. This is the kind of bizarre stuff I like to read in my super hero comics. Sure, punch ups between spandex clad guys and gals are nice and all but sometimes writers need to be creative and come up with silly stupid cool stuff like Kooey Kooey Kooey so that nerds like me will talk about it in their blogs in years to come.

Justice League America #34, January 1990. Good times. Gooood times.


papayakid said...

waah, super comic blog.

but i dont read comics. =)

Khairul H. said...

Nobody's perfect.