This run was pretty bad. Writing issues 61 to 77 Jurgens did some really odd things. It’s not the plots in particular that are bad, it’s the characterization and the art. When read immediately after the glorious Keith Giffen run (issues 26 to 60) the plots look staid, boring and very run of the mill. The humour went. Jurgens writes dark serious stories and takes all the jokes, lightness and a lot of the warmth out of the characters.
For instance, from issue 63 Fire is suddenly saying ‘like’ in every other sentence. What the fuck? She’s always spoken well in the past, did not use slang and isn’t a vapid American valley girl. Sure she’s vain, and conceited and wants to me a model, but she never ever acted dumb. She’s an ex spy from Brazil, she’s got a good command of English. Ugh, the near constant use of ‘like’ was horrible.
Secondly, Blue Beetle suddenly starts imitating an insect. Check these panels out:
(click to enlarge)
(Both from issue 63)
Since when does Beetle crawl on all fours? I don’t know much about his origin, I assume he has a link to the scarab, but i’ve never seen him having any affinity for insects before.
Lastly, I can only assume Ted is doing some sort of crazy jive thriller dance here (bottom left panel):
Superman turns up in this run and becomes the unofficial/official leader of the group. The effect is somewhat ruined by Supes being so angry, rude and just downright short tempered. I am very much aware that Superman gets angry, I know he’s not always polite, but he is usually written as having patience and grace, and not as if he thinks he’s morally superior. This Kal appears to find a lot of anger in everything – he’s lost a lot of the humanity.
Maybe I was just tainted by my bad feelings on the previous issues, maybe he’s not so inhuman after all. He does display a massive amount of deliberate superdickery though. For example, he apparently believes he can dictate how women on earth should dress:
In all credit to Maxima though she doesn’t take too kindly to this and chooses a suit more to her tastes and more in line with previous outfits:
Good for her! Check out the length of that skirt and the extra cleavage :D (Issue 66)
Guy Gardner is given unfair treatment as he suddenly develops murderous impulses, threatening Ted with a yellow (he’s been kicked out of the corps by this point) drill at one point (also issue 66). Guy may be angry, he may be violent, he may like fighting but up until this point I wouldn’t have said he was murderous. Has something happened in another comic to make him this way? If there was it would have been helpful to have a recap box somewhere. [EDIT – Now I’ve got to issue 85 I see that it was some sort of clone of Guy. Whew.]
To be fair, I should point out that there are good things about this run. Blue Beetle’s investigative and curious nature is brought to the forefront – he invents new gadgets to track all members of the JLA and is trying to work out who Bloodwynd is. He’s working in his lab a lot and being far more of a scientist. I also like the Martian Manhunter as Bloodwynd sub plot, and the Pawns of the Weaponsmaster story – the first time Beetle really starts to use his brains in this volume of the JLA. The Destiny’s Hand arc was also good and it was nice to see what the Atom can do. And some of the covers were absolutely gorgeous, but I shall include those in a later post consisting entirely of notably art from this volume.
Overall though, the negative parts outweigh the positives for me. While the overall themes and ideas worked, the inclusion of some odd (and quite obviously odd) character quirks did ruin it for me. I expected better things from the current writer of Booster Gold, but evidently 20 years ago he still had a lot to learn.
*SEE! I have no problem with cleavage and sexiness so long as it’s done in context with the story and in line with characters’ personalities.