Justice League International #15: G’nort & South (July 1988)

jli1015THE PACKAGING: Vol 3 of the JLI trade series

THE CREATIVE TEAM: Keith Giffen (Plot & Breakdowns), J.M. DeMatteis (Script), Steve Leialoha (Pencils), Al Gordon (Inks), Gene D’Angelo (Colors), Andy Helfer (Editor) featuring the New Gods created by Jack Kirby.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ROLL CALL: J’onn Jonzz, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Mister Miracle, Rocket Red (Dmitri), Green Flame & Ice Maiden with Oberon and Max as civilian “support.” Still technically Green Lantern (Guy Gardner) but he’s barely in this one.

GUEST STARS: Manga Khan, L-Ron, Big Barda, G’nort & a blink & you’ll miss it cameo from Batman.

THE STORY: Lord Manga and his Cluster are ready to invade the Earth and force everyone to shop or die — until G’nort arrives from the depths of space and attacks. Thanks to the Cluster’s loss of cloaking ability (well done, G’nort!), the JLI see what’s going on and attack the Cluster as well.

jli1015_06Blue Beetle and the other JLdudes are all pretty skeptical about Green Flame and Ice Maiden’s usefulness, but the former Global Guardians aquit themselves excellently in battle, and Beetle actually apologises for misjudging them.

The JLI put up such a good fight against the Cluster that L-Ron runs the statistics and works out that the risks of sticking around have become distinctly unprofitable. Lord Manga promptly calls a retreat, and the Cluster move out… though they accidentally take a rather valuable Earth asset with them: Mister Miracle.

Big Barda, furious at the JLI losing her husband, armours up to get him back.

THE CHARACTERS: Bea and Tora finally get to show what they can do, in the face of some pretty sexist assumptions. Their teamwork is excellent, and they manage to surprise everyone. It’s nice to see them earning their stripes and finally getting to play with the others.

Blue Beetle is the biggest jerk to the women, so it’s really nice to see him apologising at the end — and that Ice Maiden doesn’t tell him that his behaviour was okay, just that she’s glad he admitted he was wrong. Ice is often characterised as a super nice pushover, so it’s always a pleasure to see her being written with a backbone & a sharp edge. Bea, meanwhile, returns the disrespect she receives from Beetle by renaming him Butthead which is quite reasonable.

I love that Scott’s response to Green Flame & Ice Maiden doing so well is to muse on how much the team needs the extra muscle of his wife, which is true and awesome… even if it’s his own “abduction” that leads to Barda finally dropping this whole retirement idea and strapping on her big girl armour again.

Captain Atom continues to be pointless in this team, serving only for J’onn to have someone to talk to. In retrospect it’s kind of hilarious that this function will eventually be taken over by an adorable robot. Get your own team, Cap.

Oh and much like Fire & Ice, G’nort does excellently in battle despite everyone’s lack of expectations of him.

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THE COMEDY: Probably the funniest bit of the issue is at the end where we find out the reason Guy Gardner has been out of action is because he’s trying to convince Batman to come back… it is weird, though, that they’ve dragged the ‘kinda brain-damaged’ plot on for so long with Guy. Was the hyper macho version really so frustrating? Well, yes.

The issue isn’t really laugh out loud funny but I’m fine with that — the general comic tone is heavy on the sarcasm, less on the slapstick, which is much more to my taste than when they go full on sitcom.

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THE ART: Leialoha’s excellent space battle skills make for a really dynamic issue with lots of space ships, colour, explosions and glowy fight scenes. I also quite like how he draws Barda, Green Flame & Ice Maiden – completely different to Maguire, but with a lot of focus on their cheerful, snarky personalities and not so much on their boobs.

THE KITCHEN SINK: Three women in the Justice League!!! Big Barda ready for action! Finally my comic has arrived!

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PREVIOUSLY ON THE ONE TRUE JUSTICE LEAGUE:
Justice League The Story So Far
Justice League #1 (May 1987)
Justice League #2 (June 1987)
Justice League #3 (July 1987)
Justice League #4 (August 1987)
Justice League Annual #1 (1987)
Justice League #5 (September 1987)
Justice League #6 (October 1987)
Justice League International #7 (November 1987)
Justice League International #8 (December 1987)
Justice League International #9 (January 1988)
Justice League International #10 (February 1988)
Justice League International 11 (March 1988)
Justice League International 12 (April 1988)
Justice League International 13 & Suicide Squad 13 (May 1988)
Justice League International 14 (June 1988)