Thursday, January 26, 2006

100 Days of Justice League Day 7: JL #6

Justice League #6
Story: Massacre in Gray
Plot & Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciller: Kevin Maguire
Inker: Al Gordon
Letterer: Bob Lappan
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Editor: Andy Helfer

I think I’m starting to notice a trend. It seems like the more action one of these Justice League issues has, the less time I need to spend talking about what happened. Most of this issue is devoted to battle and not so much to plot development. There are a few points to consider though.

All of the wacky buildings in Stone Ridge, Vermont? They’re the original buildings that have been transformed by the “gray dreams” of those people whom the Gray Man and his “gray-selves” have robbed of their dream-essence. That doesn't really make much sense to me, but whatever. He’s incapacitated Captain Marvel and Doctor Fate and has them floating there in the local bijou while he rants and taunts them. What do Justice League villains like so much about the “floaty” thing? “Mwahaha! I’ve captured my enemies, so now I’m going to suspend them in mid-air and gloat!”

Meanwhile, the rest of the team is making their way into town, so the Gray Man sends a mind-controlled Captain Marvel to attack them.

The Martian Manhunter, being the next strongest, engages him. The rest of the team is tipped to the Gray Man’s whereabouts by the Creeper and they go into the theater where he ends up dispatching them with his other selves. All along though, Doctor Fate’s been sandbagging. Turns out he was trying to rehabilitate the Gray Man. When he faces facts and realizes the Gray Man is a lost cause, he makes the theater -- superheroes, villain and all -- disappear! The Manhunter with an unconscious Marvel heads back to League HQ.

There’s also a scene with Hal Jordan registering his disapproval with Maxwell Lord and his involvement with the League, particularly with regards to Guy Gardner and his place on the team roster. Get a load of that sweater. He’s the Green Yuppie!

So that’s pretty much it. It may not seem like much, but lemme tellya. DeMatteis did some brilliant work this issue. There’s some dialogue that crackles. I guess you could read the comic yourself, but what the hell. I’ll save you lazy bastards the trouble of digging through those long boxes.

The Batman…jokes?

Booster Gold: If we keep standing around out here in the open, he’s gonna be finding us pretty soon.

Batman: Good idea, Booster. We’ll stay right where we are and let him come to us.

Booster Gold: But I wasn’t suggesting—

Batman: I like the way you think. Keep up the good work.

Booster Gold: Was he kidding or what?

Black Canary: Well, I seem to remember him making a joke once. It was…let me see…four, no, five years ago. He’s about due for another…and that might’ve been it.

The Creeper obfuscates…

Batman: You showed up here before we did, Creeper, and I want to know why.

Creeper: Why?

Batman: Why.

Creeper: Why what?

Batman: Why did you show up here?

Creeper: Show up where?

Batman: You’re not going to tell me, are you?

Creeper: Tell you what?

Batman: Never mind.

Booster Gold and the Black Canary airborne…

Booster Gold: Uh, Canary, I’m not really up on everyone’s powers. You can fly, can’t you?

Black Canary: No.

Booster Gold: No?

Black Canary: No!!

Booster Gold: Oh.

The team regroups…

Blue Beetle: Everybody okay?

Booster Gold: My nerves are shot, but otherwise…


Blue Beetle: It’s a basic rule of the trade that levity lightens a serious situation!

Black Canary: Is that why you wear that costume?

This Batman, This Nursemaid!

Mister Miracle: What about Marvel?

Batman: J’onn can handle it.

Booster Gold: You hope.

Batman: J’onn J’onzz has been at this game even longer than I have, Booster! He’s the only member of this team I don’t feel I have to nursemaid!”

Blue Beetle: Gee, whiz. That sure makes the rest of us feel good.

Batman: Spare us the jokes, Beetle.

Blue Beetle: I wasn’t joking.

The Martian Manhunter belts Captain Marvel…

Martian Manhunter: Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel (whose head is imbedded in a brick wall): Uh-huh.

Martian Manhunter: Is it really you?

Captain Marvel (weakly): Uh-huh.

Martian Manhunter: I’m sorry. I was dazed. I didn’t notice the shift in minds at first. Did I hurt you?

Captain Marvel (fading into unconsciousness): Uh-huhhhh...

The Creeper appears on the theater marquee…

Creeper: Yoo-hooo!! Fellas! Over heeeeeeeere!!

Black Canary: What the hell are you doing up there?

Creeper: The “Watusi.”

Black Canary: Stay right there. I’m coming up to break your legs.

And those are some good examples of why this run was so great. I laughed out loud at all of those.

Next issue: Justice League International #7 -- Justice League International!

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Blogger Jason said...

Thank you so much for doing this. JL is one of the finest comic runs I've ever owned, and you're reminding me why.

1/26/2006 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

Thanks, Jason. You're very kind to say that.

1/27/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger RocketeerZ said...

Good stuff. This run on JL was without my favorite of all time. The first 24 or so issues of the Giffen/DeMattis run was the absolute most fun I ever had reading comics. I'm enjoying your insights into the issues and would like to see you do some more commenting. Plus like you did with this particular issue, I think it would be great for you to end each review with what you thiought were the besat lines from the issue.

Keep up the good work. Between this and your Comic Urban Legends column I'll keep coming back each day. Thanks for something good to read.

1/27/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Omar Karindu said...

One point you'd made earlier always strikes me when I reread this issue: the way in which the comedic tone makes the occasional violations of that tone all the more effective in this run.

We've all seen Lovecraftian horror done in comics (and often not well), but something about the total violation of expectations in the implacable Gray Man doubles and the bizarre architecture of the transformed town really does seem all the more unsettling against the backdrop of gags and so forth.

And damn if the lips on the viewscreen last issue weren't just...disturbing,

1/27/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey the main screen's messed up. Has there been a JL 7 yet? Really enjoying this. Reading them right with you. See. I'm not a 'lazy bastard'. HA!

2/06/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous J'onn J'onzz said...

Ha. 100 Days of JL! More like 100 months at the rate this is going.

2/09/2006 05:25:00 PM  

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