Showing posts with label Justice League Detroit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Justice League Detroit. Show all posts

Thursday, 15 November 2012

When Did Steel Die?

Last year I did a series of posts looking back at the much maligned Detroit years of the Justice League of America, running from their formation to their less than heroic end and also including their few appearances since that series finished.

I guess with Vibe being in the news at the moment, there's some interest in the JL Detroit; coincidentally or not, Todd recently posted a question on the last storyline of the original League:
I have a question for you. As you said, at the end of issue #260 Commander Steel turns off Steel's life support and Steel dies. That would be confirmed by the flat line shown but i've read web sites (Inluding DC's) that states that Steel didn't actually die until Justice League of America #38 when Despero returns to earth and finds Steel's body in the chamber and rips it to pieces. Justice League #260 indicates that he died once the life support is shut of but Justice League #38 indicates that Steel didn't die until Despero took him out of the machine and ripped his body apart indicating that Steel was just comatose the whole time but still alive. What gives? Which is it?
I knew the issues Todd was referring to so figured I'd go back to them and see what they say.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Justice League Detroit Redux - DC Retroactive


And here we are, the last of these articles featuring the Justice League Detroit and we've come full circle.


DC RETROACTIVE: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA - THE 80's, written by Gerry Conway with art by Ron Randall.

The Detroit League featured in this issue of DC's Retroactive series of one-shots written for the first time since 1987 by the man who brought them together, Gerry Conway. This was a chance for Conway to craft a story as good as the Despero arc, pitting the League against a worthy foe once more and laying to rest the enmity that the Detroit League has garnered over the intervening years.

Sadly, it wasn't to be.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Justice League Detroit Redux - JLA Classified


Largely pilloried at the time of their original publication in the mid-80's, the Detroit League were given a much stronger outing in 2001 in JLA Incarnations #5 (as shown last week) and it wasn't too long before they cropped up again in the pages of JLA: Classified from 2006.


JLA: CLASSIFIED #22 - #25, written by Steve Englehart with art by Tom Derenick and Mark Farmer.

JLA: Classified was used to tell tales of the Justice League that weren't always set in the present so it was no surprise that the Detroit League showed up in its pages eventually. After John Ostrander's take on the team (again, see last week) Steve Englehart - writer of one of, if not the definitive Batman stories - should have done wonders with the team. Instead, it's a step backward as we join the League just after their defeat of Amazo and find J'onn J'onzz has brought them to Canada to go camping and Steel, for one, isn't happy:


"Second-stringers, third-stringers, and rookies" is how he describes the League. It's no wonder nobody likes them if they don't like themselves.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Justice League Detroit Redux - JLA Incarnations




JLA INCARNATIONS #5, written by John Ostrander with art by Val Semeiks, Kevin Conrad and Prentis Rollins.

As seen last week, the Justice League Detroit's original run came to an end with Justice League of America #261. By the end of that issue, Vibe and Steel were dead, Gypsy had reunited with her family and Vixen had resigned. While both women would continue adventuring over the years (Gypsy even re-joining the Justice League in the form of the Task Force) it would be fourteen years or so before the full Detroit League were seen again.

In JLA Incarnations, John Ostrander wrote single issue tales of the Leagues various line-ups and, in #5, he dealt with the Detroit League during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Justice League Detroit - The End Of The League


So here we are, at the end of my look back over the Justice League of America title from 1985 to 1987 and at the end of the Justice League Detroit era. This post is a bit picture heavy but I wanted to capture as much of it as I could.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #258 - 261, written by J.M. DeMatteis with art by Luke McDonnell, Bob Smith, Bill Wray, Steve Montano and Bob Lewis.

Before we plunge headlong into The End of The Justice League of America a little bit of background is needed to the events of these issues.

Last week's look at issues #255 - #257 ended with Firestorm asking the League for help against a bad guy called Brimstone. This huge fire demon was sent to Earth by Darkseid as part of his plan to discredit the very concept of heroes and was his first wave of attack, along with Glorious Godfrey and Dr Bedlam. All of this was part of that year's summer event called Legends which was a sort-of sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths but didn't have the same scope and, to be honest, suffered from a frankly saccharine ending. Not John Ostrander's finest moment by a long stretch, though the art by John Byrne and Karl Kesel is excellent.

Anyhow, the League agree to help Firestorm and with him and some help from a time-lost Cosmic Boy, they attack Brimstone and are almost instantly defeated.


By the end of Legends #2, President Ronald Reagan issues an order banning costumed heroes from appearing on the streets. It's after this that we pick up with Justice League of America #258 . . .

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Justice League Detroit - Adam


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why am I doing this? Why the hell not.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #255 - 257, written by Gerry Conway and J.M. DeMatteis with art by Luke McDonnell, Bill Wray and Bob Smith.

With Despero vanquished (as seen last week) and the Detroit League finally having pulled together to overcome such a powerful foe, you'd think the troubles of the much-derided team would be over.

I'm afraid not.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Justice League Detroit - Despero The Destroyer


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why am I doing this? Why the hell not.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #251 - #254, written by Gerry Conway with art by Luke McDonnell and Bill Wray.

Last week's run down of issues #246 to #250 ended with a couple of revelations - Batman rejoined the League and Despero was revealed as the new menace on his way for vengeance. Despite the cover of #251 showing Despero clutching the League in his hand, he actually takes a while to get to Earth so the story moves to concentrate more on the team members than any great threat.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Justice League Detroit - No Place Like Home


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why am I doing this? Why the hell not.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #246 - #250, written by Gerry Conway with art by Luke McDonnell and Bill Wray.

As we come out of the Crisis crossovers seen last week, it's been over a year since the new League was formed. The old guard had handed over to them, they'd started to come together against a powerful old League enemy and had managed to survive the Crisis. True, some readers were still vocal in their dislike but others were supportive.

It seems odd, then, that the first captions of #246 are these:


Conway seems to be admitting the Detroit League are not "the World's Greatest Heroes" and that those old guys might come back; his words could be taken as agreement with those who have been arguing that Vibe, Steel and the others are not worthy to be the JLA. Perhaps after a year of negativity, he's beginning to bow to pressure which might explain the next few issues.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Justice League Detroit - Crisis On Infinite Earths


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why am I doing this? Why the hell not.


INFINITY INC. #19, written by Roy Thomas with art by Todd McFarlane and Steve Montana;
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #244 - #245, written by Gerry Conway with art by Joe Staton, Mike Machlan and Luke McDonnell;
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #3, written by Dan Mishkin with art by Rick Hoberg and Mike Gustovich.

With the revelation in Justice League of America #243 that Steel's grandfather was the World War II hero Commander Steel (shown last week - you are reading these, right?) we pick up the story in the pages of Infinity Inc #19 where we find the Commander, with the aid of the mysterious Mekanique, has headed over to Earth-Two in order to recruit the Infinitors:


Commander Steel isn't exactly being honest, describing JL Detroit as "a bunch of super-powered young criminals" that he wants the Infinitors to defeat. Note the red sky in the background - the Crisis on Infinite Earths has begun making this one of the last times that Earth-Two would appear.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Justice League Detroit - Come Together


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why am I doing this? Why the hell not.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #241 - 243, written by Gerry Conway with art by George Tuska and Mike Machlan.

This is Slick Jake MacGregor:


He's a prospector in the Canadian Yukon and not a good one, either. A miserable sod who blames everyone in the town of St Jude for his failings, a drunk with a mean heart.

And he's not having a good day:


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Justice League Detroit - Passing The Torch


Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why? Why the hell not.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #237 - #239 written by Gerry Conway with art by Chuck Patton and Mike Machlan.

When Jason Todd took over from Dick Grayson as Robin, readers didn't much care for him and we all know how that ended up. Tim Drake, though, was embraced from the outset and the most oft-cited reason for that is that he had Dick Grayson's blessing.

With the introductory arc over (see last week) the new League was coming to terms with itself, the members beginning to gel as a team though there was still plenty of work to be done. However there was one thing that still hadn't been addressed: most of the old League were there when Aquaman disbanded it but where have Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash been?

#237 starts with Vixen and Aquaman discussing the fact that his wife Mera has recently left him, giving us an insight as to why he's been acting like such a jerk recently. But the whereabouts of his three former team members has also been weighing heavily on him. As luck would have it, his old friends turn up at the remains of the satellite headquarters pretty much on cue.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Justice League Detroit - Rebirth

Over the next few weeks on a Tuesday, I'll be working my way through the Justice League of America titles from 1985 to 1987, trying to work out if the Justice League Detroit era really was as bad as we think it was. Why? Why the hell not.



JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #233 - #236, Rebirth, Parts 1 to 4, written by Gerry Conway with art by Chuck Patton, Bill Anderson, Mike Machlan and Rick Magyar.

Picture the scene: you're Gerry Conway, you've just relaunched DC Comics' flagship team title in its recent annual and you need a storyline worthy of you're new team, something that will stretch them and prove that they are worthy of being known as the Justice League.

You start your first issue with a one page prologue, showing an ancient disaster, hinting that something or someone was behind the extermination of some of the first complex life forms ever to evolve on Earth billions of years ago. It's not a bad start - a foreshadowing of what's to come.

And then you have your first two-page spread, pages 2 and 3 of issue #233. What are you going to do, how will you introduce your new heroes, the new League?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Justice League Detroit - A New Chapter


The words above come from the end of the review of the first series of Justice League of America in The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, specifically referring to issues #233 to the final issue #261. That's the era from late 1984 to mid '87 that covered what became known as Justice League Detroit.

I've never hidden my fondness for the Detroit League and with the recent Retroactive posts I've done, coupled with the news about the DC relaunch and both a new Justice League and a Justice League International title, I found myself wondering about that much derided time in the League's history. Has my memory of the stories been clouded by nostalgia or were they a "disaster, creatively" speaking?

Basically, was Justice League Detroit really that bad?

Even though nobody has asked me to, over the next few weeks I'm going to go through the original run of the Detroit League to try and find out.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #61

Yet another double sized issue this week as I was away celebrating my wife's birthday last weekend. Had I been around, this is what I would have picked up:

  • The Brave And The Bold #29 - not a terrible story, but neither did it really do anything either. The Geek's jaded view of the present when compared to the 60's is naive to say the least: the 60's were all peace and love but the present's all gloom and isolation? Nonsense - both the past and the present are much too complicated to be summed up in six panels.
  • Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant #1 - I've long enjoyed the occasional 80-Page Giants as the anthology format allows for a good mix of stories, throwing out some gems along with others that are a little so-so. Unfortunately, this whole issue landed on the so-so side of the fence with nothing really standing out as anything special for me. That's also the risk you take with anthologies, I guess.
  • The Stand: Soul Survivors #2 - the survivors start coming together as they head for Mother Abigail's place. Excellent art as always but, by necessity, still a somewhat truncated story.
And what made me smile last week:
Black Lantern Turkey!

But on to this week's comics now:

  • Blackest Night #5 - man, those last couple of pages? I read those and just said "Holy crap,"
  • The Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead #6 - the fall finally came despite the boobytraps and defences the gunslingers put in place.
  • Green Lantern #48 - the All Lantern Corps finally gets together and romps straight into the pages of Blackest Night #5. Damn, I'm enjoying this series!
  • Justice League: Cry For Justice #5 - Warning! Events depicted on the cover of this comic do not represent the contents of the same! Ollie? You're really going to leave Roy bleeding on the floor just to run off and get the bad guy? Man, you should be looking after your boy first.
  • Justice League of America #39 - yay! Vibe's back! Steel's back! Justice League Detroit's back together! (Hey, I liked the Detroit-era League and I'm not afraid to say it)
  • Justice Society of America #33 - well, we knew the big split was coming so no surprise there, but the story itself was still satisfying.
  • Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #4 - is that an ED-209 the Scarab's fighting?!
  • Teen Titans #77 - you know, I almost feel sorry for Deathstroke with the amount of Black Lanterns he's got against him!
And what made me smile this week:

Heh - Agent Orange may be a psycho but he's funny with it.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #24

Hey, look at this, a Cocktail post on time for once . . . okay, it's about half a week after most people get their comics but I'm in the UK and I pick mine up on a Saturday so cut me some slack, huh?

Ah, The Boys #23 - if there's one title I look forward to each and every month, knowing I'm going to get one hell of a good read it's this one and, with no surprise, this month's delivers. Vought American, the company behind most of the successful American superheroes, is obviously gearing up for some huge confrontation; Wee Hughie and Annie continue their romance unaware of who each works for; Butcher still gets his kicks . . . manipulating . . . the Director; and a plan is put in place to find out information about the most profitable superteam out there, the G-Men.  Said plan involves someone from The Boys going undercover and while I mentioned Ambush Bug last week as giving me a laugh out loud moment, that didn't compare to the last page of The Boys #23. If you haven't read it, you need to, trust me!

I honestly thought I had missed an issue when I read Justice League Of America #25, I really did. I even went so far as to double check the stash of comics I still haven't bagged up and put away and sure enough, there was #24 - I had simply forgotten what had happened. That's not a good sign for what is DC's flagship team title. Still, it was a better read - the Anansi storyline speeds up and there are some nice touches and references to Animal Man's previous problems with reality aka Grant Morrison. Red Tornado quits the team after asking his long suffering girlfriend to marry him and at the end, the reality warping powers of Anansi appear to have created an alternate time-line complete with its own version of the League.

One issue I had missed last week was Tangent: Superman's Reign #7 so I picked that up this week. The change of regular artist was a little unsettling as Wes Craig's style seems a little more cartoonish at first - which isn't saying it's bad, just a little different. On Earth-9, Batman and the native heroes manage to break into Superman's fortress to find their friends captive while the magicians attempt to find Superman himself; both groups coming to the knowledge at the same time that both the Earth-9 Superman and his wife Power Girl are now back on our Earth. They wander around, shocked at the idea of homeless people and attempt to help but merely gather a crowd of hangers on, people who want something for nothing. Of course it's not long before our own Superman and Power Girl turn up to find out what's going on. The back up story, History Lesson, continues to be a potted history of the Tangent characters, this time focusing on the Flash while at the same time having the Earth-9 Jennie Hayden showing a lot of gratuitous cleavage.

Picked up Terror Titans #1, the first of three new mini-series this week, and which follows on from recent events over in Teen Titans. Within the first couple of pages, a third string character bites the dust, cut in half by an axe, before his compatriots are made to fight in an arena for the Clock King. Ravager, late of the Teen Titans herself, has joined Clock King to train the Terror Titans and isn't impressed by the team that she almost singlehandedly dealt with recently. Dreadbolt, field leader of the Terrors, is given a mission by Clock King - to kill Dreadbolt's own father, the villain Bolt while Ravager takes to the arena and battles another third stringer, Fever. It's all good, dirty fun hanging round with the bad guys and girls who aren't afraid to kill people and there's a couple of surprises in there.

Being a big fan of Alan Moore, I had to pick up Top Ten: Season Two #1 even if the man himself isn't connected to it. Written by Zander Cannon, though, who has worked with Moore on these characters before, as well as being illustrated by Gene Ha who co-created the original series with Moore, it's no surprise that it's in good hands. Like the original, it begins slowly, offering up several different threads and stories for the characters to deal with, both criminal (like having twelve dead girls appear in the fountain outside the police station), personal (Lieutenant Peregrine's husband going through an identity crisis) and procedural (the new Commissioner being something of a stickler and insisting on the entire Top 10 members wearing standard police uniforms. That the series is only running for four issues surprises me - there's a lot here that would seem to imply a longer run, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

With Trinity #18, the maxi-series appears to have shifted up a gear, changing from one big fight to something more of a mystery. Krona's out from his prison and free to roam the stars while the release of whatever energy by the bad guys in last week's issue has shifted this world into something else. Heroes are all members of the Justice Society International and Lois Lane's a bitch on TV who is determined to bring the Atom in for questioning over the death of Sue Dibny. I'm something of a sucker for alternate worlds - hell, that's one of the reasons I read DC and not Marvel! - and while this issue is a little bit of a scene setter, it still works.

The last title I picked up was the last of the new mini-series that started this week: Vixen: Return Of The Lion #1 and I have to say I'm glad it's only running to five issues. I picked it up as Vixen's long been a character I've liked - hell, I was one of the three people who enjoyed the Justice League Detroit - but I have to say this held no surprises whatsoever. With the discovery that the death of Vixen's mother wasn't solved years ago, she packs up her bag and heads back to her home village . . . which is being threatened by me who work for the man behind her mother's death . . . whom she humiliates and defeats in battle . . . prompting an appearance by the bad guy . . . whom she attacks but is surprised to discover is stronger than her. Early in the issue, Superman tells her "You can never go home again. It's a cliche because it's true." and that seems to sum up this issue - it's strictly by the numbers. If this was an ongoing, I'd be looking to drop it; as it is, I'll stick it out for the run.

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