Formerly Known as the Justice League

Can I just say how excited I am to be reading this comic? Now truth be told, it’s a little out of continuity with the comics I’ve already read, since I already read the sequel, I Can’t Believe it’s Not the Justice League Mistah J just didn’t own this.

Color me surprised when we emerged from a comics shop one day and he pulled this out of his bag. I was more than a little excited.

This trade collects the mini-series that preceded Can’t Believe… and explains how the Super Buddies came into being (ie: how Max Lord convinced everyone to join his little ragtag team of misfit superheroes.)

Much of the comic consists of Max doing just that, along with a few minor battles.  For me, the fights are never the main point of the story. The witty banter and humor is what makes this so utterly readable.

The story unites Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Captain Atom,Elastic Man, and Mary Marvel within the Super Buddies title, a group virtually nobody has any faith in.

Truth be told, you can’t really blame them.  This group is hardly well put together.  That’s not to say the group is entirely made up of weak links.  Almost all of the bright spots of action in the comic involve Mary Marvel flexing her muscles and showing just how tough she can be.

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I love sweet little Mary Marvel kicking butt. It’s one of my favorite things ever.

The comedy and cultural references abound in this trade, making me smile repeatedly.  I was especially happy to see a random I Love Lucy reference make its way onto the page.

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What I especially love about this trade, however, is the inclusion of the JLA.  So many of the JLA stories of the time are darker, more grim takes on our superheroes, with each facing life and death battles on a constant basis.  By dropping them into this more light-hearted comic, we get to see the characters written in a more comedic tone.

This is never more entertaining than when Batman is present.  After all, he is the exact opposite of everything this comic stands for.

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I love seeing our brooding dark knight cracking jokes, and it’s even more fun when they become more overt.

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I think Plastic Man speaks for us all. It’s really, really disturbing when Batman tries to be funny. It’s so completely out of character for him that I can’t help but wonder if Sassy Alfred decided to take the batsuit out for a spin, and that’s who we’re really seeing.

Don’t laugh, is it really any more absurd than the thought of Batman cracking lame jokes??

Levity is this comic’ strength, and it never forgets it.  Jokes abound page after page, with nary a moment of somber reflection.  Truth be told, the action doesn’t stand out all that much (what little there is of it) but I find that perfectly fine.  This isn’t really a comic about superheroes saving the world; it’s a comic about superheroes winding up in absurd situations in their spare time.  It’s bizarre and irreverent and it just works.  I’m honestly really sad that these were only mini-series and that they weren’t picked up as a continuous series.  There’s more than enough material here to power a comic for numerous issues, and there are always other heroes and villains to throw into the fray to keep it fresh.

Sadly, as far as I know I’ve read all that exists on the Super Buddies.  Although I wish there was more, I’m happy to take what I can get, and there is more than enough enjoyment in these trades to keep me satisfied.

To close, just a few things I absolutely loved about this trade (because I feel like making a list, damnit.)

-References to Hoppy Marvel, apparently a BUNNY member of the Marvel family. Um..I need to read more about that, RIGHT NOW.

-Ralph Dibney being way too upset when he finds out that, physically speaking, on a scale of 1-10, he’s a 4.

-L-Ron, who rivals Alfred for sassiest comic book character ever.

-The self-aware commentary, such as when Captain Atom insults his own writer and artist.

-Batman, as referenced above. Giffen & DeMatteis should write Batman all the time.

-A freaking reference to Marvel’s Iron Man (with no names listed so as  to avoid copyright infringement. They’re smart people, over at DC)

There are definitely more, but I keep getting distracted by thoughts of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Captain Marvel must make a killing with an annual Easter special… and if they don’t, they have the wrong writers.

I’ll gladly step in and write a comic about Hoppy saving Easter from Darkseid. Just putting that out there.

-Jess

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