Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My Action Reaction!

My "Why I Hate the Mutant Gene" post will have to wait until tomorrow, because tonight I just want to tell you about the greatest issue of Justice League I've read since 2001. No, not JLA Classified (though it was fun seeing what I guess is now the "Watchtower" League back in action.)

Nope, it was in Action Comics #842, which I'm declaring my new HANDS DOWN pick as best comic of the week! (Take that, All Star Superman!)

I mean, first look at that LINE-UP: Superman (of course), Nightwing (who comes across as brave, smart, experienced, funny, and the tightness of his ass is a plot point), Aquaman (the new one), Mr. Terrific (who's more than earned his place on the team), Firestorm (again, the new one, who learns that when his powers go down, his hair goes out), as well as the roguish woman of mystery Live Wire, newly introduced veteran solider The Veteran, Busiek's ego pick Skyrocket, and a character so obscure I have no idea who he is but his adventures sound damn exciting, Blue Jay.* That's a great mix of personalities, powers, icons and old favorites and new faces, enough variety to remind the reader that the DCU is big big place.

Secondly, there's the plot: ALIENS ARE STEALING OUR STUFF! Simple, direct, worldwide, panic inducing, black and white morality. Superhero gold.

Third, there's the pace, which is FAST! If your biggest complaint about Justice League of America #1 was that no one hit anyone, have I got the book for you. Superman fights a giant, almost every superhero in the world is captured, Nightwing and Firestorm fly to the rescue, and Live Wire makes an explosive escape from their plastic wrap like prison. And that's THE FIRST HALF!

Fourth, there's the dialogue. Nightwing's years of crawling through ducts and dating an alien come into play, the new Aquaman goes all fanboy, Blue Jay wants some respect, dammit. And in any other issue, Superman's final words before he leaps off the balcony, about his faith in his new, untested team, would have been the line of the week...

if there wasn't that line about how many Kryptonians there are on Earth.


It's great!

*Seriously, can someone help me out? Who IS Blue Jay?


Brandon Bragg said...

Wow. What a great issue. I usually don't do reviews, but I just had to post about this story as well.

You're totally right about it being the best Justice League story in a while.

I loved the bit about Blue Jay only being able to shrink just enough to make himself utterly useless.

Bully said...

Oooh, I passed that one up, and now I regret it. Second swing 'round Midtown Comics tomorrow and I'll buy it. Sounds right up my alley.

Blue Jay was a hanger-on of the JLE/JLI (what has come to be known as the "Bwah-ha-ha Era") along with Wandjina and Silver Sorceress. (I believe they originated some time before that and were played more seriously then, but the Bully JLA knowledhge doesn't extend that far back).

These three characters were parodies or pastiches of Marvel's Avengers characters (much like the Squadron Supreme was in the Marvel Universe a pastiche of the JLA): Blue Jay was Yellowjacket, Wandjina was Thor, Silver Sorceress was the Scarlet Witch.

Blue Jay was played mostly for laughs (although there was a very intense JLE annual, I think...where they visited his devastated world), including being rejected by the Legion of Super-Heroes. If he's being written as a hero instead of a loser again, I definitely must pick up Action this week.

Thus endeth the Blue Jay lesson.

Steven said...

Ooh ooh ooh. Forgot the best part!

Cover, bottom right corner, name and town of area man giving his reaction to the missing heroes.

Tom Bondurant said...

"It'll be a cold day in hell before I recognize Missouri!"

Blue Jay first appeared in Justice League of America #87, back around 1971 or so, alongside Wandjina (Thor), the Silver Sorceress (guess), and Jack B. Quick (Quicksilver). I have the issue but can't remember the story.

Giffen and DeMatteis brought them back into continuity in Justice League #2 (1987), after the devastation of their homeworld of Angor. They fought the League for an issue or two before Wandjina sacrificed himself to shut down a runaway Soviet reactor. It was later revealed that the Queen Bee, having taken over the Middle Eastern nation of Bialya, had rescued the radiation-deformed (and mentally addled)Wandjina and was using him as her enforcer.

Still later, when the Justifiers' old enemies (analogues of Dr. Doom, Dormammu, Dr. Octopus, Sabretooth, and Magneto) invaded Earth in JL Europe #15 (1990), Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress stuck around with the team. Silver Sorceress died in 1992 at the end of "Breakdowns," the last hurrah of the Giffen Administration, and Blue Jay faded away after that ... until now!

Bully said...

Bought it. This is a fun comic. You get a shoutout when I do my week's reviews for bringin' it to my attention...thanks!

Steven said...

HEY, DC Publicity! Look at that!

My review just sold one more copy of your book! I have influence!

Think how many more I can sell if you send me preview copies!