Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Justice League of America #258 - Jan. 1987

sgThe final case of the Justice League of America!

The Story: "Saving Face!" by J.M. DeMatteis, Luke McDonnell, and Bob Smith. We open on the monstrous face of Professor Ivo, as he is undergoing psychotherapy.

He is telling his therapist about how the Justice League ruined his life, by turning him into a monster!

The therapist tells Ivo he knows that's not true, that it was he who attacked the League--

Ivo cuts him off, and then turns him off. We see that the therapist is nothing more than a robot, built by Ivo to have someone to talk to.

Back at the Secret Sanctuary, the JLA is dealing with their failure to help Firestorm defeat the villain Brimstone (in Legends #1). As usual, Vibe makes a bad situation worse
This quickly degenerates into name-calling, and then even a fight breaks out between Elongated Man and Vibe!

Manhunter breaks it up, but says that, following the President's order that all super-heroes withdraw from public life, he is disbanding the Justice League.

Gypsy tries to argue, but Vixen says J'onn is right. Elongated Man agrees, saying they've all got personal lives to deal with. He apologizes to Vibe, but Vibe blows him off.

There's not much left to say:
After Manhunter leaves the room, the rest of the heroes decide to head back to Vixen's apartment to talk. They invite Vibe, but he turns against them, sulking.

Meanwhile, we see that Ivo has built dozens of androids, and sends one of them out to find its "intended victim."

Later, we see Vibe aimlessly wandering his hometown streets. He runs into a little boy who worships Superman. Vibe is angry the kid doesn't know about his own people's superhero--him--but then dejectedly walks off.

He then runs into Ivo's android, who immediately attacks him!

With the kid watching, Vibe uses his powers to fight him off, telling himself he won't be defeated, won't let the kid down.

He hits the android over and over again with his powers, until it falls over and stops moving. The kid is thrilled, and runs off, desperate to tell his friends and family about their homegrown superhero, Vibe.

Vibe then decides to call the League about this, and realizes he was wrong to dismiss his teammates. But then:
Vibe is dead.

The android's mission completed, it walks off, leaving a member of the Justice League lying dead on the street like so much garbage:
To be continued!

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

Notable Moments: This story--both this issue and eventually the entire four parts--blew my mind. I couldn't believe what I was reading--not only were they killing off a member of the JLA, but they were doing it in such a nasty way. Vibe learns the error of his ways just before he is strangled to death. Ouch.

The new-ish JLA logo used since the second JLA Annual is replaced by the old school, mid-60s one.


russell said...

I'm not sure, but I would say this is the best Vibe had ever been used. Kind of like Chemical King just before HE had to die, Vibe really shows us what he's got here...just before the end.

Butch R said...

These were the only parts of JLD that I went back and bought. I disliked Vibe from the start and to be honest, didn't feel the least bit bad for his death at the time. Though I'll agree with Russell and say that his last few moments of his life showed him for the hero he was. And when you think about it, wouldn't we all like to read that about ourselves?

Sorry Vibe, you might have been a jerk but you died a hero.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I hate to say I was happy to see Vibe die in this issue. He was the shining example of all that was wrong with JLD, and I felt, at the time, he deserved what he got. I really had it in for these guys.

In hindsight, it does seem particularly nasty (to use Rob's own wordss) the way that a new writer came in and instantly killed the previous writer's creations. Nothing against DeMatteis, who was obviously doing his job, and would soon usher in a new (and improved) age of the JL, but it does seem rather abrupt now.


John Trumbull said...

This issue really is a standout. Like most readers, I'd always found Vibe an annoying jerk before, but this issue actually made me sympathize with him before he died. It gave Vibe the big thing he'd been missing up until that point -- humility. Kudos to J.M. Dematteis for a superior job of writing.

Man, time is running short -- I'd better get to work on my favorite issue essays!

John Trumbull said...

By the way, Rob, I'm suprised you didn't do a summary of the JLD's appearance in Legends. At the very least, their intorduction in that John Byrne double page spread is a standout.

rob! said...

i don't have those issues of Legends, and to be honest now that we're rocking towards our finale, i didn't want to pause along the way.

especially for JLA Detroit...

John Trumbull said...

I do have those issues of Legends, and I'd be happy to send you some scans if you want them, Rob.

Anonymous said...

Chu killed Vibe, man! That's wack!

I can remember when many readers wanted Gypsy killed off, yet only wanted the other members written out. This series kind of tweaked everybody, killing off the 'tough guys', while allowing Gypsy to survive (though she would never be the same, really) and letting Vixen go off into retirement/limbo(I guess DC figured that with Gerry Conway gone, no writer would ever use her).
I was disappointed Vibe was killed off, to be honest. Especially since De Matteies made his brother a villian just to ill him off in the 'new' JLA a couple of years later. Despite his 'breakdancing' connections, he turned out to be an interesting character, and he deserved better.

Scurvy said...

I remember this like it was yesterday. The one that I was really disapointed by tho was Steel. I always felt he had the most potential to be a powerhouse, and never really got to show it. O well...

Also, ever notice the 'mask' of Ivo and Vibe's face don't really look that dissimilar? Co-winky-dink? Maybe Vibe was a Ivo robot all along.... :)

Anonymous said...

Or Luke McDonnell was..and his 'artistic ability circuits' got crossed?;-)

dekkoparsnip said...

Vibe's brother Reverb wasn't a villain, at least as far as I know... He was a member of the Conglomerate, but they were just corporate tool heroes. He pops up now and then--as far as I know he's not dead.

Not that I've fantasized writing fanfic about him or anything.

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