Thursday, August 7, 2008

Justice League of America #246 - Jan. 1986

sgThe JLA gets thrown out onto the street!

The Story: "Be It Ever So Humble..." by Gerry Conway, Luke McDonnell, and Bill Wray. Steel returns from his adventure in the future (last issue), only to see that his grandfather has kicked him and his fellow JLAers out of their Detroit HQ!

Steel doesn't want to hear about his grandfather having a legal right to do so--he's mad, so he does what he does best--smash stuff!

He smashes his way into the HQ, where he is met by his old friend Dale Gunn, who makes a half-hearted attempt to stop him.

As Steel searches for his grandfather, Dale is comforted by the rest of the League, and Martian Manhunter ponders the team's fate
Steel's grandfather, once Steel finds him, explains that he wants to give his grandson and the JLA a fresh start, one without the black mark of Commander Steel's actions hanging over them. Instead of another argument, it ends with a hug.

The JLA, homeless, decides to head for New York, where Vixen, in her civilian life as Mari McCabe, has an apartment. Zatanna and J'onn talk amongst themselves, and their thoughts turn dark:
The JLAers decide to resume their civilian identities in the Big Apple--Manhunter, as John Jones, becomes a private investigator, Steel tries his hand at being a personal trainer, and Vibe gets sticker-shock from the price of New York apartments.

Zatanna takes up residence at an old friend's home, and is a little worried to find her mysteriously gone...

Roll Call: Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy

Notable Moments: Things take an extraordinary dark turn with this issue--the JLA, homeless? Having to get jobs? Now that they don't have the ability to live and train together, the whole reason Aquaman formed the new League in the first place is gone.

There's a real melancholy to the stories from this period, the kind of feeling you get when you're working for an employer who keeps laying people off until there's only a small group of you working in a space that used to be bustling with life. You wonder, should I jump ship before its too late? You have to think people like Ralph and Zee looked at each other, wondering where the heck the JLA they called home for so long has gone.

Part of the feeling derives from Luke McDonnell's work--its very well done, but most of the scenes takes place at night, drenched in shadow, and it gives a sort of gloomy feeling to the proceedings.


Anonymous said...

JLA was never the same for me after this issue. The next few months are just...crap...compared to the previous year.
I don't know exactly what the circumstances were for such a quick departure by Alan I guess they actually did can his @$$ for screwing up the JLA. Which is a bit unfair, since the really bad issues came after all the 'Detroit' revamping had been undone.He doesn't seem to have done anything since then, and is apparently not online, so I guess we won't know his side of the story any time soon.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Once again, I blocked out an issue I owned, since I have this issue (or had it). I probably bought it thinking the REAL JLA HAD to come back soon, since the current lineup was getting the boot. Boy was I wrong.

Rather than take the fan reaction and turn things around, it seems like the PTB just wanted to wallow in their own "suckness". I know Conway said he wanted to bring back the old JLA but was told he couldn't. I have never understood marketing that says" Give them what they hate and hope they buy it anyway."

I agree McDonnell's art turned the rather depressing events even darker with his moody artwork. He was much better suited to Suicide Squad, which he started after this run FINALLY ended.


Glmmrtwn said...

Ironically, this was the first issue I received on my JLA subscription, so I was stuck with such a depressing comic for the next 12 months! And I totally agree with the comments about Luke McDonnell's work making things more depressing. I've enjoyed his work on other things & never really felt Bill Wray was the right inker for him.

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