Showing 1 - 6 of 6 posts found matching keyword: justice league

Death and taxes? Not if you're a superhero: then it's just taxes.

Superman never accepts rewards for performing hundreds of thousands of good deeds each year. Not only is it ethically questionable to do so, he would no doubt have trouble with the United States government Internal Revenue Service if he did. Each of those "gifts" could be considered taxable income if they were given in exchange for services, such as saving a life or preventing property loss. Hopefully, mild-mannered newspaper reporters earn enough to keep the Man of Steel in fresh pairs of tights.

Oh, silly Booster! [insert laughtrack here]

Booster Gold, a hero who uses his identity for merchandising opportunities, was once arrested for income tax evasion. This was an especially tricky situation for Gold, for as a time-traveler, he had no birth certificate, Social Security Number, or even finger prints on record. He was only extricated from the situation because he had very recently saved the president's life and cashed in a few political favors to earn a tax identification number and honorary American citizenship. Remember, kiddies, it's always who you know, not what you know.

When the Justice League was sponsored (and bankrolled) by the United Nations in the 1980s, Batman, Captain Marvel, and Dr. Fate were forced to quit the team. Although each gave a different reason at the time, they all had very secret identities to maintain and would have had to reveal those identities to their handlers in order to receive the United Nations stipend. All of the remaining heroes on the team were more casual with their secret identities (generally they had less at stake) and were no doubt pleased to be receiving some pay, even at the cost of compromising their secret lives.

Makes you wonder if it's worth saving the world if you're going to have to save your receipts, doesn't it?

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I just read that the Justice League movie rumored to be in the works at Warner Brothers has a script and may pre-empt the sequel to Superman Returns. This totally falls into the good news/bad news category.

Good news: the Justice League of America on the big screen. I just messed my pants thinking about it. Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman... maybe even Aquaman. (Every team needs a water boy.) Together. Fight an armageddon-inducing foe that only the combined might of all can stop. Suu-weet.

Bad news: the Justice League of America on the big screen. Entertain yourselves: think about just how Hollywood is going to screw this up. Not "if," mind you, but "how." Black leather costumes? Bastard children? Hollywood "It Girl" love interests? Richard Pryor? Oh, it's set my head spinning.

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In the comic book Justice League Quarterly #9, six members of the Justice League are told they are infected with a virus that causes insanity in one in six people exposed to it. Blue Beetle, aka Ted Kord, the League's resident brain at the time, immediately tells the other 5 members (Booster Gold, Flash, Fire, Guy Gardner, and Ice) that one of the group is going insane. He presents it as an absolute certainty. And the others buy that. (Granted, this is probably the reason that these 6 Justice Leaguers were chosen for this story. Not known for their thinking caps, these 6.)

Apparently, the Justice League needs to get Ray Palmer back, because Ted Kord's understanding of probability is a little weak. A disease that maims one in six people is not a certainty to affect exactly one person in any sampling of six people. There is a chance that none of the six will nut up just as there is a chance that all of the six will go off their rocker. Sure, there is a better than average chance that at least one of the six will be affected, but it is hardly a certainty.

Um, Beetle, I don't know how to break it to you, but...

I suggest that this complete misunderstanding of probability is the fundamental reason that Beetle was killed a few years back. He probably assumed that since he had been shot at many times before and was never killed, he could not be killed by a bullet shot at him. Sorry, Ted. You're dead.

It is exactly this sort of careless premise and sloppy writing (by industry heavyweight Mark Waid no less) that causes many people to decide that superhero comic books are for children. Only a kid would fall for Beetle's assertion as an absolute, right? No adult would enjoy reading this sort of trash, would they? Let me tell you, I've worked in bookstores, and the answer to that question is "Yes, almost exclusively."

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I've been watching the Justice League Unlimited cartoons on DVD recently. They really are much better than I used to give them credit for. Their characterization of most characters, no matter how minor, is usually spot-on; ripping comic characters straight from comic books and reproducing them onscreen in vivid detail. Black Canary, Green Arrow, Wildcat... all excellent.

However, there are still several things about their re-imagining of the DC universe that I really don't like. Foremost, I still hate their portrayal of Superman. (He's just not, well, super. Rather than take the Super Friends approach and have Superman be a big idiot, they instead just make him old, weak, and fatigued. That's hardly the approach that the genre-defining character deserves. I think he's the one character that they really get wrong.)

Other nitpicking problems that I have with the show include the premise that their gigantic satellite is run by several hundred regular humans who are treated like nameless grunt employees. (Not only is this not super friendly, it's a logistical nightmare, especially regarding healthcare and insurance.) I regret that Martian Manhunter's role has been reduced to little more than a police shift sergeant. And I also don't care for their inclusion of several redundant, less-than-super heroes. (I mean, what the hell are Vigilante, a sharpshooter with pistols, and Shining Knight, a time lost Arthurian knight with a magic sword, doing on that satellite? What, exactly, do they bring to the team that Batman can't do with Batarangs or Hawkgirl can't do with her Nth metal mace?)

I think most of my complements and complaints can be summed up in one character in particular: the Question.

The character is perfect on the show. Usually while he's onscreen, he's a recreation of the best objectivist/zen aspects granted the character by Ditko & O'Neil, the two writers responsible for the modern character. The JLU breathes life into a philosophically complex, yet uniquely entertaining character. That is the Question!

Yet, the Question is not really a superhero. He is an idealistically philosophical crusader. While he seeks to rout crime, just like his Justice League counterparts, he does it as an exercise to reveal the truth about people, society, and the world-at-large. The Question has an absolute view of the world and the way it is, not the way it should be. Unlike his fellow heroes, he doesn't try to maintain the status quo, he seeks to trim the hypocrisy and corruption of the world and reveal the truth underneath. His radical philosophy (at least in relation to the other heroes in the Justice League) puts him at odds with his teammates and makes him a poor candidate for League membership.

So Justice League Unlimited gets the Question right, but by doing so demonstrates that a lot of its answers are wrong.

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Why wasn't Mr. T ever asked to join the Justice League? He's stronger than Superman, wittier than Aquaman, dresses better than Hawkman, and has more wealth around his neck than Batman has secured in the batcave. And he really, really cared about saving the children.

Mr. T and the Superfriends

Not to mention the fact that T had experience in the field of super-heroics. He had his own cartoon and his own group of super gymnasts who fought crime. (Come to think of it, everyone on children's TV of the late 70s/early 80s seemed to have their own crime solving group. It sure seems like TV is telling me that I should be part of a crime solving posse. Or I should be committing crimes for a crime solving posse to solve?)

Clearly the Super Friends could have used the diversity. They let Black Vulcan in just because he had the word "black" in his name. (Apparently, space monkeys didn't qualify as an ethnic minority in the eyes of Uncle Sam's anti-discrimination laws.) Seems to me that Mister T was much more qualified than Black Vulcan.

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Back from Ohio. The Top Thrill Dragster is all it's cracked up to be. Damn. If you get a chance, go for it; it's quite a rush. (Once you get past the recurring technical ''reasons'' and LONG lines, I mean.)

And the Matrix was excellent. I've said it before and I'll say it again: keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed. It was the best action film ever. (In fact, we decided that it's the best JLA film ever made.)

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To be continued...

 

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