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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Classified #8

JLA: Classified #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 15, 2005

Cover date: August 2005

Writter: Keith Griffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Penciller: Kevin Maguire
Inker: Joe Rubinstein

"I Can't Believe it's Not The Justice League" - Part 5: That Moron Looks Just Like Me!

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

After leaving Hell (or what the Super Buddies thought was Hell) Mary wastes no time in turning into Mary Marvel and taking to the skies. Her flight is short lived as a giant, furry foot knocks her to the ground. Power Girl helps Ted to his feet only to discover that Ted Kord has developed amnesia and cannot remember anything, even the fact that he is the Blue Beetle. Mary runs to them and tells them about the big, hairy creature who is tearing up the city. The group is soon joined by Elongated Man, Booster Gold and Guy Gardner, who uses his ring to shield himself from the debris.

The group is shocked to discover that the creature is the former canine Green Lantern known as G'Nort. The group begins to argue about the creature when Mary asks what they are going to do about it. When Guy asks if she has a plan all she can offer is getting a really big bag of puppy chow. Ted tries to bring the group together and after finding out who the three strongest members of the group are orders them to go and beat up the dog.

Guy flies at the giant G'Nort but is knocked down by a woman in black leather that looks like Mary Marvel. The woman introduces herself as Mistress Mary before tossing Guy over a building. Mary Marvel attacks Mistress Mary, but receives the same treatment. Power Girl finally punches Mistress Mary and tosses her. Mistress Mary sails through the air and runs into the giant G'Nort and knocks the creature unconscious.

Power Girl regrets her actions after seeing the destruction the falling dog caused but has little time to think about it before a man dressed like Mistress Mary with a pronounced lisp grabs Power Girl by the back of the head. Power Girl pokes fun at his lisp before seeing the man. She is taken aback by how much the man looks like Captain Marvel. He tells her not to make fun of him because he pays Mistress Mary good money to do just that.

Meanwhile, Bea, Ralph, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold head back to their headquarters only to discover a strip club in its place called the Power Posse. At first they believe that Max made some changes in their absence but Ralph, twitching nose and all, believes there is a mystery afoot. He walks up to the ticket booth and finds Oberon behind the counter. Oberon tells him that he has to wait until Sue finishes her shift to see her. Ralph uses his powers to sneak under the door.

Bea and Booster argue over where they could be before Booster makes a crack about what happened with Tora. Bea loses it and attacks him. As they fight Oberon asks Ted if Bea is really Bea. Oberon is amused to see her and Bea asks if it is really Oberon. Booster tells her that if he had to guess it is probably a reasonable facsimile. Bea wonders what he means, but he doesn't fully answer and tells her he will know soon. Oberon lets them in and before they enter Bea apologizes to Booster. He accepts her apology, but she adds if he ticks her off again she will fry him like a chicken.

The group enters the bar and finds Ralph laid out on the floor with people who look like Max, Sue and Metamorpho standing over him. The man who looks like Max isn't surprised to see her. Ted tells them they are obviously in the wrong place and Sue and Max agree. Metamorpho asks if he should "dance" them around the room, but Max tells him that he doesn't want to miss the reunion, so he orders that Metamorpho stand down unless they do something stupid.

Max calls for a woman named Tiffany to come out. Tiffany calls back that he needs to cool his jets because she is in the can. Sue asks why Ted is dressed like a man named Teddy, which makes Ted regret that he darkened the colors on his suit. Max asks the Booster look alike behind the bar if the Mayor is on the phone. "Booster" replies that the Mayor can only manage one point five million for their services. Ted instructs "Booster" to inform the Mayor that the price is two million or he can kiss his precious city good-bye. Ted is appalled that Max charges the city for saving it and wonders whoever heard of foul mouthed, ultra-violent, selfish, mega-sleazy super-heroes. Max believes that they have a boy scout in their midst who wants to begrudge them a living.

Ted informs Bea that he thinks he knows what Booster had meant. Ted believes that somehow they have stumbled into a parallel universe and the people around them are their evil doubles. He thinks that they took a wrong turn on their way out of Hell and knew they should have asked for directions.

Max yells for Tiffany to come out. She finally does and both Ted and Bea are shocked to see a girl who looks like Tora standing in the doorway dressed in a see-through robe and heels. Max asks if "Booster" wants to do the honors and "Booster" punches Tiffany in the face. Bea loses it and attacks "Booster." The assault is short lived as Metamorpho slams her into the bar. Ted tries to reason with him but his appeal is short lived as Metamorpho knocks him out as well.

Bea wakes up to see Max, Metamorpho and Tiffany standing over her. Tiffany insists she did the job, but Max points out that it's pretty obvious that she didn't. He tells her to finish it. She asks him if he wants her to do it now and Max informs her that it is kill or be killed, the choice is hers. Bea calls her Tora before Tiffany kicks her in the face. She looks down at her hand, forms ice daggers with her fingers and raises her hand in the air.

Back in the real world Max and Sue argue over who is going to touch the artifact that sent the group to Hell. They finally decide that L-Ron would be the best choice. L-Ron tells them to not even think about it.

4Story - 4: How do you pull off a cliché within a comic book story without having the audience call you on it?

You point out, within the context of the story, that it is a cliché and make a joke of it, that's how.

Once again Giffen and DeMatteis take the story into an odd direction with the resulting hilarity and banter that usually follows. The concept of both Ted having amnesia and the group entering a parallel universe worked only because of how it was handled. I enjoyed the fact that they poked fun at Ted's heart condition as well, which may sound strange, but given the book at hand it makes sense. Giving a hero a heart condition so that they have to stop being a hero is kind of clichéd when you think about it, but that doesn't mean it can't work. Taking this logic to the next step and it makes sense that Ted would lose his memory as the group finds themselves on Earth-Sleaze.

Mistress Mary was a good bit, especially her encounter with Guy. I liked the fact that Power Girl was the one to take her out. Mary's brother was kind of unnerving, though. Given the sadomasochistic overtones of Mistress Mary's character you really have to wonder what he meant when he said that he pays Mary good money for her abuse.

Creepy. Really creepy in fact, but, again, given the creative team I wasn't surprised and in the end it was kind of funny.

I'm kind of curious what Giffen and DeMatteis were going for by Ted's comment regarding selfish super-heroes who are only out for themselves. When this series was announced there were rumors circulating that Giffen and DeMatteis were going to be putting the group against "Ultimate" versions of the characters in an effort to poke fun at the successful Marvel line. While I haven't read a whole lot of Marvel's Ultimate line I can say that, on the whole, the ULTIMATES, while a boring and slow paced book, didn't have truly evil or greedy heroes. Maybe they are just poking fun at the fact that the characters in the ULTIMATES are just rougher around the edges than their standard counterparts.

Whatever the case Giffen and DeMatteis have created some truly scummy characters. I was more than a little disturbed by the faux Booster punching Tiffany in the face. It went a long way to drive the point home that this was a rough group of characters and the shock value worked. It also made me want to see them taken down, which proves that if you want to get certain readers in the mood to see a fight between the good guys and the bad guys then make the bad guys a group of people that deserve to have the snot beat out of them.

As always an alternate reality creates a host of questions in my head that will probably never get answered. In this case I wonder what really happened to the evil double of Bea. Did Tiffany really kill her or did she let her go? What kind of wizard is Shazam in that reality that he would give his power to two obviously repugnant people? What was the deal with the giant G'Nort? It doesn't really matter if these questions are answered, but my mind wanders sometimes and I just get curious.

At any rate, this was a really fun issue, especially the ending with the real Max and Sue and I look forward to see how everything is going to turn out.

4Art - 4: This was a great issue art wise. Maguire and Rubinstein did a great job with the alternate version of the characters and put a lot of detail into the art. The highlights include:

Page one: A very majestic Mary Marvel piece. You can see how happy she is to be finally able to call on the Power of Shazam.

Page five: A really nice splash page. The giant G'Nort is just amusing.

Page six: I really felt for Mary on this page, especially on the last panel.

Page eight: I appreciated the detail they put into Mistress Mary. She looked just trashy enough to be funny.

Page eleven: Anyone as disturbed by Captain Bondage as I was?

Page eighteen: More trashy fun. I never thought I would see Tora dressed like that and I say that in a very non-perverted way. The good girl art was offset by the punch to the face, which was disturbing but well done.

Page twenty-one: God that girl looked evil. The whole composition of this page was great.

As usual I enjoy Maguire and Rubinstein's art. I'm going to be bummed out when this arc ends.

4Cover Art - 4: They say sex sells and if you want to get a buyer's attention it is certainly the way to go. I'd be disappointed if I didn't understand the irony of the situation. This was a funny cover and like the inside art I enjoyed the little touches they threw into Mary's outfit.

This cover gets a nine out of ten on the 2005 Edition of the Grab Me Meter.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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