Justice League International #20: If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Apokolips!

THE CREATIVE TEAM: Keith Giffen (Plot & Breakdowns), J.M. DeMatteis (Script), Ty Templeton (Pencils), Joe Rubenstein (Inks), Gene D’Angelo (Colors), Andy Helfer (Editor)

JUSTICE LEAGUE ROLL CALL: In Space: J’onn Jonzz the Martian Manhunter, Big Barda, Rocket Red (Dmitri) , Green Lantern (G’nort). On Earth: Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Fire (Beatriz DaCosta, formerly Green Flame), Ice (Tora Olafsdotter, formerly Ice Maiden), Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Booster Gold, Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Blink & you’ll miss him: Captain Atom. Still not appearing in this comic did he go on hiatus to appear in a movie or what: Mister Miracle (Scott Free).

GUEST STARS: Lord Manga Khan, L-Ron, Granny Goodness, Lobo.

THE STORY: After many issues of only getting a page or two to develop their subplot, Big Barda’s team finally get almost a whole issue to themselves. Having arrived on the space opera hellhole that is Apokolips, they kit Dmitri out in a brand new, advanced technology version of a Rocket Red mecha suit (convenient) and run around trying to find Barda’s husband.

Meanwhile, Lord Manga tries to open negotiations to trade Mister Miracle for boom tube tech with the Apokolips government, but in the absence of space tyrant Darkseid, he has to deal with Granny Goodness (surely a prototype for Futurama’s Mom) and Dr Virmin Vundabar who is a space nazi scientist I guess? Anyway, they kidnap him and Scott because that’s a thing they do.

Barda and her space friends team up with the local resistance to try to Scott from Granny Goodness’ orphanage. They inadvertently help Manga escape Granny’s clutches.

Back on the homestead, Guy Gardner and Lobo are locked in an intense arm wrestling match, while Blue Beetle calls out Hawkman for being a dick, constantly comparing this Justice League to the classic team. They are interrupted by Barda, who boom tubes home and grabs them all to help her in her quest.

THE CHARACTERS: As ever when Manga Khan is around, he gets the most lines. Almost like the creators of this title really adore him or something. Barda also gets lots to do, back on her old stomping ground and happily doing a whole bunch of stomping. More than anything, though, this is Granny Goodness’ issue: she’s a great scene-chewing villain and she loves the spotlight.

I think the best character development though is with Beetle — his exchange with Hawkman is really great and makes him feel thoroughly like the Ted Kord I am attached to. Loyalty is big with him!

THE COMEDY: Plenty of fun dialogue and slapstick considering this is such a big action issue. I like how much of the humour revolves around Barda being genuinely terrifying.

THE ART: Ty Templeton has done a pretty good job of slotting into Maguire’s book — I had to check to make sure this was where he started, so it wasn’t super obvious. Having said that, I could have done without the fact that the only exchange between women in this comic is a conversation between Fire and Hawkwoman’s butts, because he’d rather show them from behind than present their faces.

Also, Fire and Hawkwoman’s butts are talking about Hawkman’s Republicanism, so they don’t even pass the Bechdel Test.

On the other hand, his Granny Goodness is fierce and amazing. So it’s only the young women who get turned into sexy lamps?

THE KITCHEN SINK: Finally the team are reunited! It feels like forever. In fact, it’s been so long that it isn’t even the same team any more. SPACE FIGHT TIME!

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)
Justice League International 15 (July 1988)
Justice League International 16 (August 1988)
Justice League International 17 (September 1988)
Justice League International 18 (October 1988)
Justice League International 19 (November 1988)