Revisiting the JLI: Part 8.5
April 28, 2010 Leave a comment
Using G’nort as a power supply, Martian Manhunter, Big Barda and Rocket Red attempt to follow Manga Khan’s ship, but lose it when it travels into warp drive (or hyperspace – no one’s really sure). Big Barda installs her power rod into the ship, allowing it to travel via Boom Tube, but the destination they pick is the wrong one…until Khan just happens to travel straight to them. Khan has learned that Mister Miracle is a New God and the son of the Highfather and is prepared to trade him to Darkseid in order to open a trade agreement with Apokolips. Seeing that the Justice League members have found him, Khan contracts Lobo to kill the four of them. The payment is a 10 year supply of space dolphin food, as the star-faring creatures are the only things that make Lobo happy.
Lobo finds their ship and attacks, destroying Rocket Red’s armor, but Barda opens a Boom Tube and transports him to the Justice League Embassy in New York. His entrance cracks Guy Gardner in the back of the head, restoring his original personality. Gardner attacks, but is eventually subdued by locking him into Booster Gold’s forcefield until he falls asleep. Lobo realizes that he’s got no way to get back to fulfill his contract, so he agrees to join the Justice League (who are holding a membership drive) and wait until his targets return to Earth. Also joining the League are Hawkman and Hawkwoman.
Barda realizes that Manga Khan is going to trade Miracle to Darkseid, so they set off for Apokolips as well, only to have their ship blown out of the atmosphere by Khan. The four leaguers successfully escape and meet up with the resistance force of Apokolips, who agree to get them into Granny Goodness’s orphanage and provide Rocket Red with a vastly improved suit of armor. Manga Khan makes his trade offer to Granny Goodness, but gets himself put under house arrest for his troubles. He returns to his natural energy state and tries to free Mister Miracle by himself, but cannot since he no longer has a physical form to carry him with.
Barda’s group is almost immediately detected and attacked by troopers, so she opens a Boom Tube to Earth and pulls most of the JLI (save Captain Atom) and Oberon onto Apokolips. Lobo immediately goes after his targets while Batman tries to make some order of the chaos that breaks out. Oberon, seeking cover, is knocked into a sewer and emerges in the chambers of Darkseid himself. Darkseid has Oberon’s clothes cleaned and pressed and offers him dinner, then listens to what has happened. He and Oberon travel to the battlefield and stops the fighting immediately. He frees Mister Miracle and promises that he is not interested in him, cancels Lobo’s contract complete with full payment and boots Manga Khan from his planet. The JLI returns home, utterly confused by how the battle ended, but pleased that they seemed to come out the victors.
This story wasn’t as big as the issue count would lead you to believe. It ran in the background of the Bialya story before taking the forefront and still switched back and forth with the ‘on Earth’ half of the team. In Part 7, I had said that Captain Atom had gone with this group, but I was mistaken. So mistaken, in fact, that Atom didn’t even make it to the fight on Apokolips. But that’s pretty much the norm for Atom, to the point where you even wonder what he’s doing in this book. Shortly he’s shuffled off to Justice League Europe and gets the spotlight. But that’s later.
This is the story dealing with Mister Miracle’s past, and that means diving into the whole mess with New Genesis, the New Gods and Apokolips…and I really don’t want to get into that here. The trip gives the spotlight to Big Barda in particular and even lets Lobo have a moment in the book. Lobo, if you can believe it, was one of DC’s most popular characters during the whole ‘anti-hero’ craze of the early 90′s. Here, though, he’s a more low-key figure played for comedy rather than the epic killer that he usually is. This can rank up there with ‘Slo-bo’ as parts of Lobo’s history that no one remembers. Of course, that would assume that anyone gives a crap about Lobo’s history, which is probably a stretch today.
Finally, we get a moment of spotlight on Oberon – Mister Miracle’s midget sidekick – who has been around since the first issue for no particular reason. He gets more time to shine in the Invasion crossover which will be in the next part. Oberon’s interaction with Darkseid was chided at the time (from indication from the letters page) as Darkseid seemed completely ridiculous reading a book and offering Oberon dinner. But why not? If you were reading this book for serious stories, then you were certainly disappointed with this one.
And then there’s Hawkman. When first recruited, they refer to Hawkman as ‘Carter’, indicating that he is Carter Hall, the Golden Age Hawkman. Except that they call Hawkwoman Shayera rather than Shiera, indicating the Silver Age Hawkwoman. They end up calling Hawkman Katar, making him the Thanagarian Hawkman who had yet to appear in the post-Crisis DCU. But then Hawkworld came along, changing Hawkman’s past, and retconning the Silver Age Hawkman’s adventures to be those of the Golden Age Hawkman…or something like that. But since that Hawkman was back with the JSA, who was this Hawkman? Well, it was explained to be a Thanagarian spy named Fel Andar who was pretending to be Carter Hall, Jr., the son of the original Hawkman. All of those mentions of ‘Katar’ and his old times with the League can be ignored. And you know what? Since he only lasts five issues and his old times with the League is all there is to him, you can ignore him completely. I’ll pipe up when he quits.
If you’re aching for more information about Hawkman’s continuity, I tried to explain it over on my other blog. You can find that article here.
Still liking Manga Khan and L-Ron, you say? They’ll be back. So too will G’nort, the imbecile dog Green Lantern, but that’s not anything to look forward to.