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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Justice League of America #168 is Unusually Creepy

Being able to order pizza online is the greatest achievement of our society to date.

That's right, even after sleeping until 3:30 in the afternoon, I couldn't even muster up enough energy to talk to another human being on the phone, let alone actually leave the house. It's how I plan on spending my days off for the next three months until the weather patterns stop acting like I live on the planet Arrakis.

I also intend to walk without rhythm at every opportunity.

Anyway, despite the fact that I had the self-motivation of a common garden slug today, I did get one thing done. I read what might be the creepiest issue of Justice League ever made:

Click to Unholy Ritual-size it!

You might recognize that issue from its cameo appearance in Identity Crisis as the second part of the famous "Switcheroo" story by Gerry Conway wherin the Secret Society of Super-Villains switch bodies with the JLA. What's more, they're all lined up across from each other on the cover across from whoever they switch with.

Real quick, take a good long look at the lineup there and see if you can spot the problem.

I got this issue as a gift from Dr. Kunka a few weeks back when I had lunch with him. He has a habit of giving me duplicates from his own collection, and was responsible for giving me the second Warren Ellis comic I ever read. That said, he summed it up best in an email to me:

After re-reading them, I remembered, even as a naive ten year old, being disturbed by a couple of things. First of all, after the villains switch places with the heroes, the heroes are imprisoned, but the villains don't bother to take their weapons away, like the Wizard's supernatural artifacts, Star Sapphire's gem, etc.

This, of course, allows the heroes to defeat the villains in the end.

Also, and more disturbingly, The Floronic Man trades places with Wonder Woman. Even at 10, I found this too perverse, and I couldn't understand why he didn't just say to the other villains, "Look--you guys go pull off whatever big heist you've got planning. I'll be spending the next two weeks looking at myself naked."

That's right, Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man (known in this issue as Plant-Master) gets to live the dream of being inside Wonder Woman. And what's more, when the fighting finally commences, he's defeated by being tied up in Wonder Woman's own lasso ("Since she can't even break free of it, once bound by its golden loops!") by the Flash.

So yeah, a little weird. And that's not even getting into the part where Superman proves his identity later by saying that instead of putting the villains into an unbreakable diamond and sending them to orbit the solar system, like his doppelganger does, "it would have been easier just to send us directly through time!" Welcome to Pre-Crisis DC, folks.

Of course, the real treat for me in this issue wasn't the story, it was the ads. Between a fruit pie ad starring the Joker and a half-pager advising you to augment your comics reading with a stack of Slim Jims was an ad starring disgraced baseball hero and Cincinnatti's favorite son, Pete Rose.

Yep, ol' Charlie Hustle, who was playing for the Phillies at the time, is telling a bunch of kids that with a little Pete Rose Batting Practice, they could be just like him! He helps out the kids for a full nine panels, and not once does the phrase "beat the spread" appear.

Note to Major League Baseball: PUT HIM IN THE HALL OF FAME.

Either that, or the letter column, where Mike W. Barr says that the events of Justice League #160 seem "to have brought undercover Elongated Man fans out of the closet."

Sometimes it's too easy even for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You misspelled Arrakis.

7/25/2005 10:24 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

I had the audiobook!

7/26/2005 12:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris: I feel honored to make my first appearance in the ISB, and it only took a little bribery. Sorry to take a couple of days to respond, but I was on vacation.

By the way, I'm already making plans to go to Heroes Con after all the hubbub about it last weekend.

7/27/2005 2:51 PM

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