Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Justice League of America #251 - June 1986

sgDespero returns to exact his revenge on the Justice League!

The Story: "Hunters and Prey" by Gerry Conway, Luke McDonnell, and Bill Wray. We see the all-new Despero making his way with only one thing on his mind...revenge.

Meanwhile, the new JLAers are being put through their paces by Batman (Ha! and they thought Aquaman was a hard-ass!).

As he tries to teach Vibe to concentrate and hone his powers, Vibe gets fed up and walks off, throwing insults as he leaves. You gotta say this--Vibe has guts. No brains, but guts.

In another part of the Secret Sanctuary, Martian Manhunter works on the murder case he stumbled upon (back in JLA #248), and Gypsy tags along when Manhunter leaves to follow up on the trail.

In Manhattan, we see what grim events have taken over Zatanna since getting knocked out:
sg's here she meets Adam, a slick, nice-looking man who the rest of the group talk about as if a god.

Adam takes a blood sample from Zee, with the goal of injecting into himself, so he has enough power to "fulfill his dream." Uh-oh...

While Manhunter and Gypsy make progress in the investigation, and Steel goes on a date with a woman named Robin, Vixen and Batman spend some private time together:
...I love the moody art on this page, and how cool Bats looks, panel four in particular.

Back with Despero, we see him reach the burned out hull of the JLA satellite, only to find it, well, burned out and empty. He turns his attention toward Earth...that's where they must be.

To be continued!

Roll Call: Batman, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy

Notable Moments: Elongated Man (and Sue) makes no appearance in this issue, the first time since JLA Detroit started where not all of the members made at least a cameo appearance.

I think this issue reveals--retroactively--the idea that Gerry Conway mentioned in our interview, in that he originally intended to Aquaman stay around a lot longer. He and Vixen formed an interesting friendship, which she immediately then transfers to Batman.


Scurvy said...

I loved the way the 'new' Despero looked. He was a pretty goofy looking fella before you have to admit. Now here he comes all amped up and psychotic. Something tells he he doesn't have chess on his mind.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I never even thought about how Batman was shoehorned into Aquaman's place, but it seems real obvious now. The only difference is the romantic part was upped a notch since Batman didn't have a wife to worry about (even an estranged one).

My only problem with this issue was Luke McDonnell, while a capable, moody penciler, couldn't draw attractive women well. Vixen always looked like a lumpy guy in drag to me under him. Of course, drawing attractive, but realistic females is a feat in-and-of-itself in comics.


Anonymous said...

I agree about McDonnell's art. If DC had still been doing horror books at the time, he would have fit in well. It just didn't look good in JLA. Gypsy was another character who suffered under his work. Chuck Patton made her look 'cute, but different',like a free spirit wearing and doing what she wants, while McDonnell seemed to draw her like she'd just fled a burning building in a thrift-store nightgown! A few issues later, when we see Cindy's/Gypsy's family, check out their facial expressions...hard to tell what 'look' McDonnell was going for.

The Batman-Gypsy 'romance that wasn't' could have been interesting, if it could have been allowed to carry over beyond JLA.

Hatter J said...

Another in agreement about McDonnell's art, but I do have to admit that his Batman was pretty darn cool.

Randy said...

I liked McDonnell's art. It fit the direction the book took post-Detroit. And his Batman and Despero look great to me.

But to each his own. His art would vastly improve on Suicide Squad. Any idea what happened to him? I haven't heard his name mentioned in a long time.

By the way, this four-parter is my favorite story from the 'Detroit' era.

John Trumbull said...

Randy, Luke McDonnell contributed a page or two to Brad Meltzer's first issue of the JLA & did a part of one of the covers (Both flashbacks to the Detroit era). So he's still around. I think Comic Book Artist interviewed him recently for a Suicide Squad retrospective.

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