Justice League America #28 (July, 1989)
“A Date with Density!”
Plot – Keith Giffen
Script – J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils – Ty Templeton & Mike McKone
Inks – Joe Rubenstein
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Assistant Editor – Kevin Dooley
Editor – Andrew Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75
I never would’a guessed it. To think that as I sit here before my laptop and the world… that Guy Gardner might just be one of my favorite superheroes. When did that happen?
I think that deserves a night out on the town Gardner-style. Let’s paint the town red with Guy and Ice as they take in a… ahem… show.
We open on Fire, who is still in bed due to the Gene Bomb/Virus spoo from the Invasion event tweaking her powers something fierce. Tired of laying around, she suits up and exchanges some odd conversation with Oberon, she tells him she wants to find Guy Gardner… to thank him for helping her earlier. She then kinda makes it seem like she’s coming on to our man Obe’ a little bit. I really enjoy his double-take here.
We shift scenes to Guy Gardner who is… get this… demolishing a building with a ring-construct jackhammer. He’s just… caving in an entire building in the middle of a city street! Who does that? I mean, sure it’s a building for baddies… but still, who does that?
With his job done, Guy heads back to the JLI Embassy to do some “heavy reading” in the form of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. He arrives home, gives Oberon some guff about being short… then plops down in front of the television set with a Bud to see how the media describes his demo-job. Just another day in the life of our man, Guy.
Ice enters the room, and since Guy’s in such a good mood, he offers to take her out that night. After some hemming and hawing, with threats of Guy showing her the “real” him… she actually agrees. I mean, how bad could it be… right?
This news is not welcome to Bea… who goes all “mom” on Ice. She basically forbids Tora from seeing him… but it’s no use. Ice is convinced that “nice Guy” from earlier in this volume was something of a cry for help. Ya see, early on in the series, in issue we haven’t yet discussed here… Guy gets konked on the head, and becomes an absolute sweetheart… like, it’s terrifying. It’s not until a time where Lobo shows up for a fight and Guy gets konked again that he returns to his normal self.
Fire and Oberon watch as Guy and Tora leave the Embassy. Bea is pretty hot (haw!) at the situation. Oberon says he digs her passion… and she, I dunno… kinda comes on to him again… and we get another Oberon double-take. On the street Guy insists they walk to their destination… because, ya know, the subway is like a toilet… and he doesn’t want Ice to get, ahem, “thigh cheese”.
We shift scenes to a darkened office. A man named Irwin is talking to his “boss”. The Boss is a retired super villain… with a fear of superheroes (especially Green Lanterns), that is, if his therapist is to be believed. Herophobic is what they call it… which is good enough for me. We pan out to find that the office is on the second floor of… what appears to be (because it is) a Triple-X Theater… just as a pair of Leaguers stroll on up.
Guy heads to the ticket booth and buys two… Ice doesn’t quite know what to make of the situation. I mean, it’s pretty obvious… but, at the same time… could Guy be this, I dunno… “Guy-ish”? Yeah… he totally can… and yeah, he totally did just bring Tora to a skin flick.
|Love the balloon placement here!|
Next we follow the ticket booth attendant as he runs upstairs to tell the Boss that he just sold a ticket to a dreaded Green Lantern. He figures the ticket guy’s gotta be mistaken… as if Green Lantern would take his date to a skin flick? Clearly, you don’t know our Guy.
Outside there’s a loud crash… it would appear that Tora has realized what we already knew. She and Guy get into an impassioned shouting match, which is interrupted by…
Black Hand?! Yup, our herophobic “Boss” is Black Hand… who makes a rousing speech, and threatens them with a strange rounded gun… of sorts. This does not go well for ol’ Willie.
Ice thinks Guy was a bit hasty in thrashing that poor deluded man. He’s clearly ill, and was threatening them with “a toy” after all. Black Hand gets back up and again, aims his odd gun at the pair. Now, this is great… both Guy and Ice have had enough of Hand’s crap… and so, Ice tells him to just “shoot his silly old gun and get this over with”. Amazing.
… and so, he does! It doesn’t go well for ol’ Willie.
Guy and Tora walk away and continue their bickering. Not having his disrespect, Hand runs back into the nudie-theater and procures a real gun before giving chase. The city streets are packed with folks who all think Black Hand’s costume just ain’t working… but he hasn’t the time to stop and argue the finer points of black latex. He catches up to the couple… takes aim… and fires! This too, doesn’t go well…
Now you’ve done it… you messed up Guy Gardner’s picture perfect bowl haircut. Guy pops into his Lantern duds, and just beats the holy hell out of poor Black Hand. He’s beating him so bad he doesn’t even realize that Hand’s been trying to surrender the whole time.
We rejoin the
happy couple later that night at the Embassy. Fire lays into Guy for being a jackass, but it runs right off his back. He figures he’s got this one in the bag. Tora’s just gotta love him after a night like this! I mean, why else would she be in a bath scrubbing any stink of Guy off of her, right?
We close out our issue with Fire getting a very special guest… Big Barda. She is there to help her with her new powers… but, will this job be to “big” a job for Barda? Well, that’s a discussion for another day.
Man… such a fun issue… from such a fun time. I don’t expect to see stories like this anymore.
Anytime we get to “accompany” a hero on a date, it’s always a lot of fun… the fact that we just went to a skin flick with Guy Gardner and the virtuous Ice (Maiden) makes it all the more. I remember the first time I read this lo those many years ago, and I just couldn’t believe Giffen and DeMatteis actually “went there”. I mean, we know Guy’s a sleazy fella… but to think that he thought it would be perfectly fine to take Ice out (on their first date) to a porno theater, is just amazingly funny. You couldn’t make this work with any character buy Guy. Despite its grossness… it’s almost, I dunno… charming in a way, how little self-awareness is shown.
Little self-awareness, by the way, that lasts the entire issue. I feel like we get a pretty good look into Guy’s character here… at least insofar as what he is willing to project. It gives the impression that he is engaging in some rather hardcore impression management. It’s almost as though he’s living “up to” the kinda “Guy” (har har) people think he is. It’s like, the dude’s gotta have at least somewhat of a clue, right?
As with most superhero date-nights… we’ve got ourselves a villain trying to spoil the fun. This time, of all baddies, we’ve got… Black Hand! Like, the dude behind the hyoooge DC event of 2009-2010, Blackest Night… and he’s a complete bumbling joke. I mean, I get that the post-2000 Willie Hand was more or less a completely different animal than his Silver-Age cliche-happy counterpart, but it’s still kind of jarring seeing him here. I can only compare it to seeing tape of a main-event professional wrestler from back when they were a “job guy”. The scene where Ice and Guy practically beg him to shoot them was amazing. So much fun.
In the background we’ve got some fallout from Invasion. Fire/Green Flame’s powers have been amped up quite a bit… I like that this was included, really helps the serial nature of the series… and helps with some organic sounding-board conversations to occur. I’d totally forgotten how, I dunno, flirtatious she was… even to Oberon! Nothing against him… but, those aren’t thoughts that need to be thought.
Overall… I think most DC Comics fans will have a ball with this issue. It’s not yet available as a single-issue via DC Digital… but it has been collected in Justice League International, Volume 4… which is available both in print and digital… and of course, there always be dem single issues you can dig for… well worth the hunt.
Like every time we discuss a JLI issue here at the humble blog, I definitely wanna suggest you check out the Justice League International: Bwah-ha-ha Podcast. It’ll probably be a little while before Shagg and Co. get to this issue, but that don’t mean ya can’t give’em a listen and read along anyway. It gets the Chris is on Infinite Earths seal of approval… which holds a monetary value of 1/255 of a cent USD.*
*Chris’ opinion actually holds no cash value