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Friday, February 01, 2008

Justice League Task Force #1 - June 1993

By the the time I had graduated from the Joe Kubert School in 1992, I was at my lowest ebb for interest in comics. Not only was it just having eaten, breathed, and slept them for three years, but(to me) comics--mainstream superhero comics, at least--were going through one of their worst periods ever. The whole overmuscled, grim n' gritty thing was in full swing, and for the most part it all just left me bored.

Of course, that meant I missed a lot of things, and this book, Justice League Task Force, was one of them. Up until last year or so, I had never even known it existed.

I remember, post Justice League International, than the JLA/JLI/JL brand was extremely hot; and was spawing spin-off books, but I was shocked when I saw that this book featured Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Elongated Man, and Martian Manhunter--wow, it's nearly a classic JLA line-up!

So I picked up the first issue, written by former AquaScribe David Michelinie, and drawn by Sal Velluto and Jeff Albrecht. The story is called "The Tyranny Gun!"

A government agent named Hannibal Martin is given an assignment to create a special task force to head into a foreign country and protect its leader who is threatened with a coup. Because of political ramifications, sending the entire Justice League in would be too dangerous, so Martin is told to find another way.

Martin talks to Manhunter, meanwhile several JLIers(Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Power Girl, Dr.Light, Crimson Fox, and the Elonngated Man) are in London fighting some giant monster. They quickly dispatch the creature, and then Martin and Manhunter show up and tell them of the mission. They had hoped to include Batman, but he doesn't answer calls, so they get the next best thing:
Can't anybody ever just use the door?

Anyway, this leads to an odd sequence, where Aquaman doesn't really want Nightwing along, because he's not a member of the Justice League. "Gee, thanks Arthur", Dick must be thinking.

But Martin overrules them and says Nightwing is in, and that the mission he's about to give them is "the good guys must lose." What the?!? To be continued!

Other than Aquaman being a jerk at the end, I enjoyed the story, and it was way cool to see so many of the classic JLAers all together again. The art left me cold(Manhunter's muscles on the cover frighten me), but I might go pick up some more issues to see where the book went, and how long Aquaman stuck around!


Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Aquaman only stayed around for this one story arc. The series became kind of DC's version of the X-Men, with Jonn as Prof X and the Ray, Gypsy, and...Despero...? as members in training.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it turned into JLAcadamey pretty quickly, but it was initially just what it was called: a rotating task force of former Leagures (and some non-leaugers) with J'onn as the only constant.

I remember that sequence with Arthur and Dick, and I remember thining "When did Arthur become such a jerk?" Everyone gives Nightwing crap. But he's led the Titans successfully (for the most part) for 40 years. Arthur disbanded the JLA and then left two seconds later cuz his wife told him to come home.


Luke said...

I picked the first three issues up on the cheap a while back, and I thought it was pretty decent for a muscle-bound 90s comic. Not the greatest thing ever, but certainly worth the couple of bucks I spent on it. And Arthur is very much a jerk in it!

Anonymous said...

You know, this is sort of a shame, 'cause this book has tons of potential to be interesting.

Diabolu Frank said...

Like so many concepts over the years, someone at DC and/or someone at Marvel had a great idea, only to see a race to put out their version of the notion before their rival. DC got JL Mission Impossible. Marvel got Secret Defenders. No matter who wins, we lose.

Velluto's art was not strong in those early issues (nor was the round robin writing) but either he or his inkers improved greatly by the series' second year. Things were really getting good once Priest took over the writing, only to see the art chores cycled out to a series of very capable if ultimately lesser hands (Ramon Bernardo's John Buscema impression/Roger Robinson/etc.) In fact, Velluto took over from Ed Barreto as the "official" Martian Manhunter artist on licensing for a short period, though Eduardo eventually reclaimed the role.

Siskoid said...

When a series has success, all of a sudden the publishers glut the market with books starring the same character or team, talent gets stretched thin, quality drops and readers get bored.

So this came in the wake of Justice League America's success. We also had Justice League Europe, Justice League Quarterly, and eech Extreme Justice.