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Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Resounding Triumph of the Human Spirit! Also, Hawkman Gets Asthma

Recent discussions of Batman punching out the Presidents--a prestige format special just crying out to be made--have reminded me of something that caught my eye while I was flipping through the new Justice League Showcase. The book closes out with a PSA-style epic called "The Case of the Disabled Justice League," wherein a villain called Brain Storm uses his remarkably phallic helmet, as you've probably already deduced from the title, to give the Justice League a bunch of disabilities.

Superman goes blind, the Flash's legs form into one stumplike appendage, Hawkman gets asthma, and Hal Jordan... Well, aside from a slight stutter, he's pretty much unaffected, which isn't half bad considering that Green Arrow's arms fall off.

In typical fashion, this happens right after the League swings by a hospital to visit some disabled kids, and after a page and a half of Superman wandering into trees or whatever, they're able to overcome adversity, inspire some unfortunate children, and we all presumably learn some sort of lesson. At least, that's the idea. Instead, we get this page, and I'm just left wondering why Franklin Roosevelt is so deleriously happy:

From left to right, we have: Our 32nd President, Helen Keller (whose favorite color was corduroy), Jean-Claude from Anita Blake, Senator John "Bluto" Blutarsky, and a man who is apparently being eaten by a Metroid.


Blogger LurkerWithout said...

The first kid is both blind AND super-cool. He in fact is Doc Midnite Jr...

1/21/2007 5:20 AM

Blogger LaRue said...

Yeah, well. I'm pretty sure FDR's drunk in that picture.

Brain Storm's helmet's awesome, though. Didn't it make him super-intelligent, and let him fire death-rays? A hat like that, you don't need to worry how dong-like it looks.

1/21/2007 6:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That right there is the difference between the Golden and the Silver Age.
Both the JSA and the JLA have done this kind of 'very special issue' complete with bit at the end about how we shouldn't be nasty to disabled people, with some pictures of famous people. But the Justice League made it about ten times more incomprehensible the second time around.

1/21/2007 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

*snooty voice* I believe the word you were looking for is "asthma".

1/21/2007 7:29 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

...not as people apart, but as people normal...

Not only is this fantastic syntax, I believe it also sums up the entire run of the X-Men

Who knew Beethoven was a mutant?

1/21/2007 8:51 AM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

Things that occur to me now that didn't when I was a kid and read this story in one of the Justice League super-tabloids:

a) if the silly hat was powerful enough to blind them, fuse their legs, take off their arms, etc. (and how could it blind Superman if it wasn't magic?), it should have been powerful enough to-- at the very least-- give all of them *all* the handicaps-- no? He would've gotten away just fine if he'd made them all blind and deaf quadrapeligics. Dummy.

2) That's shockingly modernly PC, when you consider just how much unattractive racial and sexual stereotyping still lived in DC's fuure at the time (or even in DC's present-- compare contemporaneously published Supergirl stories...)

3) what the hell does the UN have to do with it?

4) Someday Steven Hawking will create his time machine, which will let him travel back in time and not only appear in that montage but scoff at the other participants.

1/21/2007 9:56 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

Yes indeed...that is SOME hat. And ribbed!

And seriously, you DO have to have a brain to be affected presumably, which is why Hal Jordan wasn't too affected. If it had been John or Guy, it might have been another story. (yes, I said Guy...wanna makes something of it?)

1/21/2007 5:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the issue was over, how did Green Arrow put his arms back on?

1/21/2007 6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it reprinted in a Justice League super-tabloid? For some reason I remember it as a Super Friends one.

Also, the Ollie of today would have totally tried to play it off.

"I meant to do that! You can now call me ... Arm-Fall-Off Arrow!"

1/21/2007 6:10 PM

Blogger notintheface said...

What is it with Green Arrow and arms? He's armless here, he has one arm in DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and has a robot arm in DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN.

And don't I remember the ending being this being a big fustercluck where Brain Storm restored the "disabled" heroes but then turned them into an army of, like, 100 Brain Storms?

1/21/2007 8:40 PM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

I could just be suffering from EIGHT IS ENOUGH withdrawals, but does that FDR look a lot like Dick Van Patten?

1/21/2007 9:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he looks more like a doped up Howard Dean.

1/21/2007 11:00 PM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

You're right-- it was the Super-Friends tabloid (with a Wendy and Marvin framing sequence around snippets from lots of actual JLA comics).

And, yeah, there was definitely a bit in that story when Brainstorm turned the heroes into more Brainstorms, who could be identified by the distinctive ways they used their powers-- don't remember whether that came before or after the handicap bit.

1/22/2007 9:03 PM

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12/13/2008 1:31 AM


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