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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Justice League America #34 - Jan. 1990

sgComics Weekend Since talking about the Golden Age Aquaman's brief appearances in All-Star Squadron last weekend, I've been on a real Aquamanus Obscurus kick, so I found another set of issues that feature the Sea King in guest appearances.

By this point (1990) DC's JLA reboot, first called Justice League International and now called Justice League America was on its second peak, creatively--the loss of original artist Kevin Maguire was keenly felt, but now the book has discovered its second superstar in the making--Adam Hughes.

And as you can see from the cover, the, er, things Adam is most famous for drawing well were right there from the beginning. (I mean facial expressions--just look how perfectly disgusted Fire looks and how goofily self-satisfied Beetle and Booster look. Get your minds out of the gutter!)

Anyway, this issue's story, "Club JLI", is by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Hughes, and Art Nichols, and opens with the supervillain Major Disaster, now depressed and dejected, opening up a newspaper and seeing an ad for a vacation spot called...guess what.

Turns out the opening of this island getaway was a surprise to even Blue Beetle and Booster Gold's teammates, and JL benefactor Max Lord is furious with the boys, and heads out for the island. Major Disaster and his dimwitted supervillain pal, the Flash villain Big Sir, also decide to head there.

Meanwhile, the sleazy chief of the indigenous people of the island, flush with women and cash from allowing the Blue and the Gold to set up shop, is told his presence is requested for a meeting with "The Sea-God"
...I love Aquaman knowing the language of these people already.

Anyway, after Major Disaster and Big Sir break the casino's bank at cards (Sir can count cards, Rain Man-style), Beetle and Booster find themselves broke with not a lot of options. Of course, it only gets worse:
Turns out money--or lack thereof--is the least of their problems, when the island starts rumbling as if its being hit by an enormous earthquake!

But its not an earthquake, the island is actually...alive! Aquaman, Beetle, and Booster make sure no one is hurt, and I love how damn heroic Arthur looks here:
...Aquaman tells them that since the JLA transporter tubes have been destroyed, no one can get off the island quite yet--not even him, since the island is capable of a great many things, more of which are to come. To be continued!

Needless to say, this is a fun story, breezily told, and I love the old school/new school conflict built in to this story. Aquaman is so serious, Beetle and Booster so goofy, that they're bound to bring out the worst in each other.

Hughes' Aquaman is sharply rendered, sleek and dynamic, and displays enormous strength and solidity, even just by his posture. This is about as an obvious statement as I'm ever likely to make, but an Adam Hughes-drawn Aquaman series would be a wonder to behold.

1 comment:

Scurvy said...

I loved this series when it came out, and yes, A Hughes Aquaman would be the bees knees.