Justice League America #27 (June, 1989)
Plot & Breakdowns – Keith Giffen
Script – J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils – Ty Templeton
Inks – Joe Rubenstein & Dick Giordano
Letters – Bob Lappan
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Assistant Editor – Kevin Dooley
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75
Another from the “interesting cover” collection. When I made it my mission to collect the entire Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League run all those many years ago, I must admit that I was a bit overwhelmed. It’s not unusual to find these in the buck-a-book bins, which is more than a fair price. The only problem is… those bucks add up real fast. What’s a guy to do when he’s just starting a collection? Well, you begin to judge books by their covers. This cover, featuring an homage to The Exorcist was one of those books that just demands your attention.
Let’s find out if the awesome cover is any indication of what’s inside…
Down at Belle-Reve Prison, Oberon is having a meeting with Amanda Waller. He claims to have a special need of her. In the previous issue, he (along with Max Lord) found himself the victim of a brutal attack by his League-mate, Blue Beetle. Waller agrees to take a look at the file he had brought.
At the Embassy, Batman is chatting with the house-arrested Ted Kord. Ted claims he has no understanding (or memory) of the earlier attacks. Batman advises Ted that he is being kept “penned up” for the safety of the others, as well as himself. It’s an unfamiliar room, which further disorients Beetle as well.
We join Martian Manhunter and Maxwell Lord outside of the room Ted is being held in. We learn that it’s actually Max’s quarters, sans furniture. J’onn posits that Beetle has been programmed, and states that his telepathy is far too dangerous an option to explore in such a situation.
Across town, Booster Gold and Ice are bellied up to a diner counter. Booster is upset that he is being kept separated from his buddy Beetle. Ice attempts to comfort him, and mentions that she too is being kept away from her best friend, Fire.
Back at the Embassy, Oberon and League-guest Amanda Waller enter Max Lord’s office. The Wall makes it clear that if she’s going to help out, it’s going to be by her rules. She’s gonna be calling all the shots. An eavesdropping Batman is none too pleased to see his old sorta-kinda foe, and informs her that he’s got his eyes on her. The Wall ain’t impressed, and more or less laughs in his face. I miss this Amanda Waller.
Over the skies of New York, Guy Gardner is trying to keep busy. Annoyed that he (like most of the League) has been temporarily kicked out of the Embassy until the Beetle situation works itself out… he decides to take out his frustrations on, of all people… a litterbug.
The Wall is working with Beetle. It’s been sussed out that he was programmed to react to the phrase “Bialya My Bialya” meaning that the most likely party behind all of this is Bialya’s own, Queen Bee.
No sooner does she utter the phrase than Beetle goes on the attack. The Wall gives as good as she gets in the tussle… and Beetle blacks out. She didn’t realize that Beetle was still primed and susceptible to the phrase. She pounds on the door and demands to be let out.
Waller and Max get into it again. Wall feels she wasn’t provided all the information she needed, though a quick mind-read from J’onn tells that she is really mad at herself for not covering all of her bases. Waller decides that she’ll give Beetle another shot, and this time she will attempt to employ hypnosis.
Meanwhile, Oberon checks in on the other house-arrested Justice Leaguer, Fire. After a bit of small talk, Bea reveals that she is scared of her powers, and her inability to control them. She fears that she will be a danger to her teammates.
Back with Beetle, Waller (unhappily flanked by Batman) begins utilizing hypnosis. We go into Ted’s mind, and relive a moment from the League’s semi-recent trip to Bialya. Booster and Beetle are in their hotel room… however, this time Ted realizes that at some point, they were gassed.
His next memory is moments later, the Queen Bee stands over him (she also mentions that Booster is there as well). She claims to have “plans” for the two of them. Just as he’s about to remember… Beetle begins to seize. His eyes roll to the back of his head, his mouth falls agape, and his nose begins to bleed.
Waller and Batman conclude that the Queen Bee included what they refer to as an “Azrael Block”, which serves as something of a fail safe to prevent attempts of deprogramming. Beetle is now comatose.
As the ambulance pulls away, Batman begrudgingly compliments Waller, which she seems thrown by. Batman claims there’s only one man who may be able to help now… Nabu
Another one of those issues that really makes me miss an era of DC Comics that I wasn’t even there for firsthand. The first few post-Crisis years truly are amazing to behold. The sorta-kinda uneasy alliance between the Justice League and Suicide Squad is one of the funnest parts.
This is one of those relatively “quiet” issues of Justice League America, and boy do I love these. It’s issues like this that make it so easy to care for these characters on a much higher and deeper level then the normal action-packed superhero fare. You get the feeling like you really know these characters.
This Amanda Waller… this Amanda Waller. She is one of those things I really dislike about the New-52. The new-look Wall… ehh, just so unnecessary. If only they were still writing these books without an eye toward Hollywood…
Definitely recommended, though, I’d suggest picking up the issues proceeding it as well. I can appreciate this one on its own, as I’ve read this run skatey-eight hundred times already… if it’s your first time, however… hell, just grab as many issues of this run you can.
You should get this issue on its own, however, if for no other reason than its amazing cover. Kevin Maguire provides one of the more striking and memorable covers of the era with his homage to The Exorcist. Back before we had “theme month variants”, they were able to make one of these actually mean something!