I really don’t know how many times I can say, “I freaking love this comic” before it becomes repetitive.
I’ve started to scan ahead along “the shelf” just to see how long I have to wait until I get to read another Justice League International trade. If I wasn’t so anal about seeing this thing through and reading every trade on “the shelf” in order, I’d say screw it and just read all the JLI trades for now.
Yes, it’s that good.
This comic is basically a situational comedy in comic-form. It’s so witty, so perfectly executed, that it could easily be adapted for the silver screen as either an animated or live-action show. I don’t say that lightly, nor do I think it’s something that can be said about most comics I’ve been reading. JLI is just so well-written that it’s almost a disservice not to put it on-screen.
The same shenanigans and antics from the previous JLI trades are present here, with continued character development peppered with snarky humor. One particular aspect of this trade that I loved was the introduction of the character Lord Manga, who is supposed to be a bad guy but ends up being one of the most likable characters in the trade:
I love self-aware comics. Manga’s comment about sounding like “a contrived plot summary” literally made me laugh out loud, because as I was reading L-Ron’s synopsis all I was thinking was, “Yep, time for the requisite plot summary”. I love when comics don’t take themselves too seriously, and add in little asides to poke fun at their own storytelling tropes. We all know they do it; it’s nice for them to acknowledge it (and even make fun of it) every one and a while.
Usually I post one or two of my favorite moments from a comic when I’m writing up my posts. If I tried to do that here, I’d end up posting the entire trade. There wasn’t a single story in this collection that I didn’t enjoy, and not a single issue that didn’t have me smiling and laughing repeatedly. There were just too many amazing moments.
Some of my favorites:
-J’onn J’onzz’s affinity for oreos being referenced repeatedly (I’m so glad his oreo fanaticism is a thing now)
-Booster Gold and Blue Beetle continuing to act like frat boys
-Batman being…well, Batman.
-G’Nort being a lovable, though almost completely incompetent,idiot
Speaking of G’Nort, it seems there can only ever be one lovable, innocent goofball in the JLI, since as soon as he appears on the scene, Guy Gardner is struck in the head and reverts back to his original, douchy self:
Yeah, so maybe I didn’t exactly love this moment, but only because douchy Guy Gardner is so much more insufferable than stupidly-nice Guy Gardner. I had a feeling he would switch back eventually, but I’m really going to miss sweet little “trailing after Batman” puppy-dog Guy.
Maybe someone will lock him in a room with Big Barda and she can knock a little niceness back into him.
SPEAKING OF BIG BARDA.
Have I mentioned I freaking love her???
She’s featured pretty prominently in this trade, while Black Canary is noticeably (and inexplicably) absent. After Barda’s husband Scott, aka Mr. Miracle, is kidnapped, she goes on a rampage, demanding that the JLI go on a rescue mission, traipsing all across the universe to find him.
Now I have no problem with Black Canary, but if they want to stick her in the back seat and make Barda a full JLI member instead, I’d be totally okay with that. 80’s Canary is all about feminism and equal rights, which is great, but that’s the only distinguishable characteristic she’s given. It leaves her seeming pretty one-dimensional, and doesn’t make me want to read all that much about her.
Seriously, If I have to see her exclaim, “And women!” after someone says, “Ok men,” one more time, I might have to throw the book across the room.
Somehow, Big Barda doesn’t end up falling into this flat, stereotypical portrayal. Don’t get me wrong, she’s shown as strong and more than capable, creating a great “women can be tough too” vibe. The only difference is that she doesn’t drone on and on about it. Barda’s too busy getting shit done to have time to talk about equality. She just goes out and does what needs to be done, gender roles be damned.
Somehow, in a time when writers seemed to have major difficulty crafting a strong yet caring female superhero, they characterized Barda perfectly. She’s a leader through and through, and while her actions may impact battles on a larger scale, her primary concern is her quest to find and save the man she loves. No one questions why a woman is going off trying to save her husband, nor do I doubt for a second that, had the JLI refused to help, Barda would have gone off on her own and done anything in her power to save Scott. She is the perfect blend of classic “caring wife” and modern-day warrior.
Barda is without a doubt the most well-written female character from the 80’s, and the fact that she hasn’t been made an official JLI member yet is a travesty. It really seems like it’s only a matter of time, and if it doesn’t happen in the next trade, I’ll be extremely surprised.
As you can probably guess, I really like Barda. I have no problem saying it: I want to be Big Barda when I grow up. The trouble is trying to make that happen. Anyone know how I can get transported to Apokolips so I can go through the required rigorous training? Do you think Uber could get me there??
In summation, this comic is amazing. Big Barda is amazing. If you read and liked this comic, you’re amazing.
Now excuse me, I need to go and try to find Apokolips on Google Maps.