Thursday, December 27, 2007

Justice League Europe #1

I recieved an interesting non-GA gift from my brother, and thought I would share it with you, my lovely readers.

Justice League Europe is sort of an odd duck. It lasted quite a long time (68 issues, I believe) but very few people actually remember the team or any of its exploits. With a mixed bag of big-name heavy-hitters (Flash, Wonder Woman) long time, but little known Leaguers (Ralph Dibny), newer characters (Captain Atom, Rocket Red) and esablished but under-used heroes (Animal Man, Metaporpho, Power Girl) the team made for an interesting, if decidely unusual read.

The first issue revolves mostly around estabishing the team's base, including an hilarious incident where the League teleporters disintegrate Animal Man's luggage, including his one and only uniform! This type of humor runs throughout this issue, and the title in general. That's not entirely surprising, when you consider the comedians that fill out the team's roster (The Dibneys, Animal Man and Wally West, all on the same team!)

One of the major establishing points is Captain Atom's unease at being in command. One would think that an Air Force officer would be used to it, but I guess we've got to cut the guy some slack. I mean, he WAS just catapulted 20 years into his future, after all. Plus he's placed in charge of people who are used to following orders from Superman or Martian Manhunter, not exactly an easy act to follow.

I particularly liked the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold buddy-buddy relationship that Rocket Red and Animal Man share thourghout this first story. They work well together, swapping literary puns and grousing about their respective governments (including the obligatory "In USSR, blank blanks YOU!). Dmitri and Buddy seem like the kind of folks you'd love to go have a beer with sometime, and I appreciate that.

Of course, what would a superhero boook be without a drama and some mystery, and we get those in spades over the course of a few pages. First, a mysterious gentleman runs to the JLE for help, only to end up murdered in the lobby. To add to the problem, a crazed mob assaults the brand new embassy. With the French cops giving Captain Atom serious attitude and a picket line forming outside the embassy, the issues concludes with its final twist: The murder victim was a former Nazi. And quite understandably, the French are not thrilled with the idea that the League is harboring a Nazi.

And of course, on that note, the issue ends. I don't have the second issue, so I don't know how the story plays out. Maybe if I come across it in a discount bin I'll pick it up and let you guys know. :)


Anonymous said...

Great cover, and a good roster. I never read this series though.

Luke said...

I think I was the only one who hoped for the Rocket Red-Crimson Dynamo throw down during Marvel vs DC. Of course I never got it. (RR would take out the Dynamo, but Titanium Man would whup them both.)

Diabolu Frank said...

I liked quite a few JLEurope stories, seeing them as the more straightforward take on mainstream super-heroics under Giffen's watch. I think there's three main reasons this book isn't as fondly remembered as JLI:

1) It isn't seen as its own entity seperate from the American branch, so fans of that era treat it as the stepchild, and haters lump all the Giffen stuff together.

2) While I'm fond of his work-- usually,-- many people hate Bart Sears.

3) The team never gelled. I like Power Girl, but hey look and characterization during this period plain sucked. I've always tolerated Elongated Man and Metamorpho more than liked them, and I doubt I'm alone. Wally West fans probably wanted a more flattering portrayal, and the Wonder Woman bait-and-switch was pretty bogus.

As for my favorite member, Captain Atom, he was sort of a leftist loner in the military. It wasn't until Dan Vado came along in the mid-90's that Nate became an overbearing right-wing caricature, as a way to contrast Wonder Woman and maybe bring in some Liefeld fans.