Friday, August 22, 2008

Justice League of America #260 - March 1987

sgProfessor Ivo's plan of revenge continues!

The Story: "Flesh!" by J.M. DeMatteis, Luke McDonnell, and Steve Montano. Ivo's android--the one that save Gypsy-- reverts to its original programming when confronted by an angry Martian Manhunter, and a battle ensues.

Manhunter tries to see inside the mind of the android, but is repulsed by all the contradictory impulses he finds there.

The battle continues, with neither side giving in, until Manhunter gets so mad he ends up ripping the android's arms off, and then punching its head off!

But he's not done--enraged over Vibe's death, he pounds the still-talking android head into little bits, smashing it into the ground:
Meanwhile, Vixen and Steel are at her apartment. Steel is infuriated he can't go hunt for Vibe's killer, but Vixen admonishes him to listen to Manhunter--the two of them need to lay low for a while.

Steel won't listen, so he suits up and heads out, daring Vixen to stop him. Guess which hero went on to a further career in the DCU?

While Ivo struggles with this sanity, Steel draws attention being out on the streets in his costume. He sees one of the police officers surrounding him is, in fact, one of Ivo's androids!

Meanwhile, Gypsy learns from Manhunter that Vibe is dead. She, too, wants revenge, but he tells her to stay with her family, and go back to the normal life she deserves. She tearfully agrees, and they part.

Back with Steel, we see him threatening the android cop. Not knowing the truth, the local citizenry start taunting Steel, demanding him to let the cop go.

Realizing this was a trap, he drags the cop off to a secluded spot--big mistake. Its here that the android lets loose on Steel, blasting away parts of his skin until a lot of Steel's internal robotic systems are showing through.

Steel staggers to the main drag, followed by the android. No longer caring about the illusion, he blasts Steel unmercifully, until he is almost dead
Manhunter arrives to see his friend in agony, and carries him off to his grandfather's headquarters, the original home to JLA Detroit.

Hank Heywood Senior says there's nothing he can do, and takes Steel off of life support. The machine beeps a few times, until it stops. Steel is dead.

Meanwhile, Professor Ivo sits in a padded room, muttering "I'm sorry."

To be concluded!

Roll Call: Martian Manhunter, Vixen, Steel, Gypsy

Notable Moments: Another nasty end to a JLA member--he should have listened to the Martian Manhunter.

JLA Mail Room editor Greg Weisman reveals that, yes, the next issue of JLA will be the last.



russell said...

I have to disagree that Steel had potential. He was a Captain America rip-off when Gerry Conway created him for the WWII comic, and he was a double-rip-off when his grandson here re-appeared. I did like what Roy Thomas did with the character over in All Star Squadron, but that's about it. I was not sorry to see this guy go.

Butch R said...

I was really sorry to see Steel go. For some reason (I can name a few but not important now), I really liked the kid. I really don't think he was given much of a chance. He was here in JLD and that was about it. Even Vibe got to come back for that "dead men rising" crossover that DC did years ago. I was really hoping that Steel would lay down some smack on Ivo but I guess that wasn't to be. Surely someone in the DCU that had more robotic experience could have done something more for Steel?

I'll let you guys in on something. I hadn't been purchasing JL for a while and only picked this up after reading about the deaths in some Legends crossover. I drove back over to my LCBS and picked up all 4 issues here. While to this day I can't warm up to McDonnell's art, I thought DeMatteis did a great storyline here. It was moving, caring and a good read.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I liked Steel, because to the 10-12 year old in me, he represented a good "utility" super hero. Nothing special, kind of generic, but he still had cool super hero traits, and a decent costume. Of all the JLD characters (even Vixen at the time) I liked him best. It did seem to be a cop-out that no one could repair him. Doc Magnus, anyone?


John Trumbull said...

Yeah, if it had been up to me, I wouldn't have killed off Steel either. Unlike Vibe and Gypsy, I think he had potential.

And yes, that means I would have killed off Gypsy. Never liked her. Bad costume, hard-to-understand powers, an uninteresting "mysterious" past -- what was to like?

Randy said...

Steel was my fave of the new characters introduced for the Detroit era. I also thought he had lots of potential and was sad when they killed him way back when.

Vibe? Didn't miss him at all.

Gypsy? I would've killed her too.

rob! said...

"And yes, that means I would have killed off Gypsy. Never liked her."

"Gypsy? I would've killed her too."

...woo, you guys are TOUGH!

John Trumbull said...

Oh, come on, Rob. Like you've never killed a 14-year old runaway? :)

I just think Gypsy doesn't have too much potential as a character. Obviously somebody at DC agrees, since they've done next to nothing with her in the last 20+ years.

Frank Lee Delano said...

Just to put it out there, seeing as I've got a blog devoted to the Detroit League:

100% behind the killing of Paco "Vibe" Ramone. That boy was a blight on the Justice League, Puerto Ricans-- pretty much the entire human race, really. His only dubious value is as a cautionary tale.

Speaking of which, I think Vibe was the only member that needed to be killed for the story to work. Steel should have been revived and restored at a later date, as evidenced by the existence of Citizen Steel. If you think about it, everything in Detroit was about Steel. Hank was the local hero making his debut. Dale Gunn, the Bunker, the L.O.S.T.-- all part of Steel's premise, and all solid basis for continuing stories.

I've really grown to love Gypsy over the years, especially as written by Priest in the Justice League Task Force. For once, Priest's love of sarcasm met a pre-existing hero already inclined toward it.

I've liked Vixen since I became aware of her existence, and thought Gina Torres did a great job with her on the JLU cartoon.

I read an Aquaman blog every day. I write a Martian Manhunter blog every day. No further elaboration required.

Frank Lee Delano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...

The death of Steel -- namely, the "HelpmeHelpmeHelpme" panel, which is so very sad, really-- is the moment which made me decide to actually go forward with my ideas and start a comic book blog. Hence my user icon and the header over at the Comic Book Bunker. Heck, even the name "Bunker" comes from Steel.

Steel (like his grandfather, who's wartime adventures I really enjoy) was a character who was never going to be a headliner. Never going to be Superman or Batman or even Martian Manhunter (hi, Frank). Instead, they were the midcarders, so to speak, the guys who did their duty with only a moderate amount of reader interest, but were always ready, willing characters, able to be plugged into a story or a team or a situation, a utility infielder of superheroics. These are the glue which hold the concept of the shared universe together, the Extras, if you will.

Steel went out a hero, another in the line of Haywoods with terrible luck. Some lines are just cursed. I was so very happy when the producers of Justice League decided to put him on the show, however beifly.

Steel remains one of my favorites, and it sucks to see him go, even knowing as I did that it was inevitable. I knew you'd get to this issue at some point, rob!, and yet, it still saddens me. Go fig.

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