Justice League Europe #1 (1989)

Justice League Europe #1 (April, 1989)
“How ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?”
Plot & Breakdowns – Keith Giffen
Script – J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils – Bart Sears
Inks – Pablo Marcos
Letters – Bob Lappan
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Assistant Editor – Kevin Dooley
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75

Had so much fun checking out the first book with a “crowded elevator” shot for a cover… figure why not try another?

We open with Captain Atom settling in at his new Parisian digs.  He is expressing his lack of confidence, in both himself and his new team.  He makes the mistake of “thinking out loud” within earshot of the JLE’s new Embassy Chief, Catherine Cobert… who gets in a few jabs about his “famous American neurosis”.  The pair watch as the League’s tech support team sets up the works, and Atom is seemingly relieved to learn that he’s gonna get his own office.

Shortly, the fellow teammates (and tenants) start filing in… starting with the Dibneys… The Elongated Man and his wife Sue.  They share some cute banter… every line of which makes me hate Identity Crisis even more… and the meet Ms. Cobert.  Ralph is quite taken with their Chief, and assures Sue that he will clean up the puddle of drool he’s left.

Next up, Power Girl and the Flash… well, they arrive at the same time… but they’re not together… much to Wally’s chagrin.  Power Girl seems happy to finally be meeting the Flash… but then, after some fresh talk, realizes this ain’t Barry Allen.

We shift scenes to the airport where Rocket Red and Animal Man have arrived.  Buddy is ticked off that the League nearly destroyed his house putting in a teleportation tube, and then made him fly in anyway… asamattafact, Buddy just overall doesn’t appear too pleased to be here.  Dmitri is in full-on Yakov Smirnoff mode here, and is really coming across as an affable and fun character.  The two share a cab to the Embassy.

Speaking of the Embassy… we next rejoin Captain Atom in his brand-spankin’ new office.  Catherine enters and informs him that it’s time for him to “address the troops”, as it were.  It would appear that public speaking is akin to Kryptonite to ol’ Nate.  In the conference room… the League confers.  Metamorpho has arrived, though (much to Wally’s disappointment) Wonder Woman has not.

Captain Atom blathers on for a bit… repeating himself, and for the most part, really making himself appear to be the right choice for chairman.  That, as Dmitri would say, is my attempt at “famous American sarcasm”.  He really is a mess.  Thankfully, Max Lord appears on the video screen to give the gang a proper “rah rah”.

That night, Atom gets the bad news that Buddy Baker’s luggage was fried in a teleportation tube mishap.  While figuring out how to break the news, he is interrupted by Ms. Cobert… they have a situation.  In League parlance, it’s a Code: Dead Guy.

It is at this point that Wonder Woman arrives… just as the gang is gathered around a bled out dead guy in their front room.  A dead guy whose last word was “braces”.  The team feels as though this is something they should… ya know, investigate.  Captain Atom, however, feels this is a matter best left to Paris’s finest.  While the League squabbles, a shadowy man watches from the sidewalk outside… he thinks to himself that it’s time to escalate to “Phase Two”… and then vows that this new League will not even make it off the ground.

With the dead guy situation sorted… well, at least for the interim, Captain Atom shares some really bad news… Animal Man’s luggage done got fried.  Animal Man, who doesn’t even really wanna be here in the first place, is ya know… displeased.  Before the two can get properly in each others’ faces… a brick flies through the window.  Outside, dozens of Parisians are assembled in a mob… fists are in the air, and they’re using the “Nazi” world… to describe the League!  Well, that’s not cool.

Before long, the Paris folk have broken down the door of the Embassy, and before ya know it… a riot is on!  The League is able to hold their own, but they are completely outnumbered… and they don’t wanna actually kill anybody.  Of note, Metamorpho goes all “shape of a sheet” and covers part of the mob… it’s really kinda gross.  Diana is able to lasso up a bunch with what looks like tubing or pipes… she mentions that she cannot find her actual lasso… which, I dunno… might be something from her own series.

Suddenly the unruly mob starts to slow down.  It’s as though they were being mind-controlled (duh)… and now the control has been lifted.

Later, the Policia arrive and we meet the bemulleted Inspector Camus.  He tells Captain Atom that he’s gotten more headaches in the one day they’ve been in business than he’d had over the past ten years.  Atom pleads that none of this was their fault… and this is when we learn that the dead guy from earlier was a Nazi!  Ruh roh… Ralph goes all “I toldja so”, which Atom, ya know… doesn’t appreciate.

Our issue concludes with Atom calling into the New York Embassy and really ripping into poor Oberon.  He wants answers for this dead Nazi… and dammit, he doesn’t wanna lose anymore luggage.  After “hanging up”, he turns to the Justice League Europe and vows to find out who has been screwing with them.

Okay… this was good.  Weaker, if we compare it to the “main” League book, but still quite good.  This is a series that I think I mis-valued when I took up the task of collecting the entire JLI run all dem years back.  This series was an absolute mainstay in the quarter bins… and let’s not get it twisted, the main title is no stranger to the “cheap-o bins”, but this one… dang, you can’t miss these in there… including this inaugural issue!  I always saw this book as an “also ran”… which is unfair… but, ya know it just is what it is…

What we have here is another dysfunctional team in the fine JLI fashion.  Part sitcom, a bit of soap… and some superheroics as garnish.  All well told… characters were compelling, and all felt completely human.  I know for me this is where I first met some of these characters… I didn’t have much/any sort of experience with Ralph or Sue, or Power Girl, or even Metamorpho.  This was a great way for me to dip my toe into some unfamiliar DC waters.

My only real complaint here… it’s gotta be the art.  I’m not sure I can really find the right words to really give my feelings… it’s just that all of the characters come across a little too… “meaty”?  Like the faces just look pouchy and meaty.  Not sure that makes any sense… and, as I’d mentioned the last time we discussed this title way back when… I feel like the women are drawn to look a bit too masculine… striking square jawlines and whatnot.  Action scenes and choreography are great… it’s just dem faces I don’t dig so much.

Overall… worth snagging for sure, though I would definitely suggest reading the issues of the main title that lead up to the European launch… some great fun in those issues as well.  Like I mentioned when I discussed Justice League #1 a few days back… ya gotta check out the Justice League International: Bwah-Ha-Ha Podcast over at the Fire and Water Network.  It’ll probably be awhile before they cover this issue, but you are welcome to… and encouraged to, read along with Shagg and company ’til they do.

This bugger is available digitally, and has been collected in Justice League International, Volume 5… also available digitally, if that sort of thing doesn’t make your teeth itch.  Remember, all links are non-affiliate, because I am just some dude.  Definitely worth your time.

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