Wednesday, January 11, 2006

100 Days of Justice League Day 4: JL #4

Justice League #4
Story: “Winning Hand”
Plot: Keith Giffen
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils: Kevin Maguire
Inks: Al Gordon
Letters: Bob Lappan
Colors: Gene D’Angelo
Editor: Andy Helfer

The plot for this issue is pretty simple and doesn’t require a lot of recapping. The League want to know what’s up with Maxwell Lord and why he thinks he can recruit new members for them. Booster Gold, feeling that the League isn’t interested in letting him join, leaves in a hissy at the exact same time the Royal Flush Gang attacks League HQ. The ensuing fight ends up being his initiation to League membership. That’s pretty much it. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Like a good joke, though, it’s all in the delivery.

Right off the bat (heh!), we have the tension between Batman and Guy Gardner. I think we all like the tension. It’s fun and funny. But it occurred to me – why in tarnation would the League tolerate Guy’s assholery. He’s a loose cannon. None of them like him. He admitted himself at the end of Legends #6 that he’s not a “joiner.” And yet here he is, annoying everyone and serving as the butt of their jokes. The League probably shouldn’t have even let him in the door. It’s not like they’re all marooned on an island together. They can make him leave and make it difficult or impossible for him to return. Mister Miracle even says he can adjust their security system “to keep Green Lantern out. Permanently.” So, why is he a League member? I said it in the third sentence of this paragraph. Because it’s fun and funny. Sometimes, trying to analyze the motives in a comic of this nature is a little like trying to analyze the motives in an episode of Three’s Company. The motives are often secondary to the madcap hilarity. Don’t ask questions. Just enjoy the ride.

In addition to being our introduction to Booster Gold in this comic, it’s also our introduction to Maxwell Lord. We’ve seen Max in the previous issues, but he’s been the guy behind the curtain. We don’t really know much about him. In one sense, Booster and Max are opposites. While Booster is a little insecure in his new role as superhero, Max seems very confident in his own vision for the League. The League is uncomfortable with the notion that he has a vision for the League and perhaps rightfully so. He’s an “ends justify the means” type guy. For idealists like your typical superhero, this can seem like more of a compromise than many are willing to make. But Max seems to know where his own strengths lie and he plays to them. Booster on the other hand hasn’t had much of an opportunity yet to prove to himself what he’s capable of. So the Royal Flush Gang’s infiltration of the grounds outside League HQ couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

At first this struck me as a little convenient. Right when Booster’s leaving, feeling insecure about himself, a group of villains needing a good ass-kicking shows up? I’m getting to the point where if something seems convenient, I just assume is Max’s doing. We don’t find out if it is in this issue. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. It’s best just to ignore it and enjoy the fight. Remember – fun and funny. Keep saying it as we read through these. It’ll be our little mantra.

So, Booster really shines. Single-handedly, he takes out the King, Queen, Jack, and Ten while the League looks on like those gawkers at the Battle of Bull Run. When Ace rears his bald head, though, they all join the fray and take him out. We see a first here – Booster and Beetle working together. The rest of the team wears him down, but it’s these two guys, who we know are destined to become bosom buddies, close friends, and life-long pals, who deliver the “death blow.” In unison, they shout, “We did it!” and even Batman is impressed.

So, they let Booster join. But even as they’re welcoming him, Max introduces himself to the press as the League’s official press liaison. Batman is not happy about this.

Next issue: Justice League Annual #1 – “Germ Warfare”

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Blogger Greg said...

Don't we find out that it's Max who set up the Gang? I thought it was in this issue, but maybe later? Maybe I'm just misremembering things, as usual.

I think they wanted a Green Lantern, and Guy was the only one available. Plus, it's fun and funny.

1/11/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

I just assumed Max was behind the Gang somehow. But it's not revealed in this issue. Probably later.

I thought about the Green Lantern street cred thing. The Power Ring is a pretty mighty weapon, so I can see how that would have its appeal to a super team. On the other hand, is it worth it if its wielded by somebody you can't necessarily trust? I don't know. I don't think I care. Fun and funny. :)

1/11/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger LordBuff said...

I think it was revealed in issue 25 when Max is having flashbacks when he is stuck in the cave

1/12/2006 09:07:00 PM  
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