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A Year of Cool Comics – Day 65

by  in Comic News Comment

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at Justice League America vs. Despero, courtesy of Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis and Adam Hughes…

Enjoy!

It’s rare to see a story this good written basically as a response to incessant criticism, but that’s basically the background behind the great three-issue story arc of Justice League America #38-40, where the classic Justice League villain Despero comes back to Earth to gain his revenge on the League.

You see, at the time, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League run, while popular (and really quite excellent), got a lot of flack for being too much of a humor title.

So, naturally, they responded with an extremely dark action tale.

Amusingly enough, the story opens with an extended joke – a spoof of the magazine Spy…


But then it quickly cuts into the chilling return of Despero…


Whoever came up with the idea of the UN flag being a cape for Despero deserves applause – it’s a beautiful visual (by the way, I should quickly note that the legendary Joe Rubinstein inked Adam Hughes during this arc).

Despero is tracking down the members of the Justice League that he last fought (the team affectionately – and sometimes not so affectionately – known as “Justice League Detroit”), including Gypsy, who we had last seen reunited with her parents…




Pretty darn brutal, huh?

As Despero tracks Gypsy, he forces her out of hiding…


which leads to this great cliffhanger…


What follows is perhaps the most brutal superhero fight that ever appeared in the pages of Justice League International, and Adam Hughes really outdoes himself on the action.

Mister Miracle, at the time, was really a robot (we the reader knew that, but the Justice League did not), so this sacrifice was a bit of a wink to the readers, but it still affected the members of the cast…



Striking work, huh?

The battle ended in perhaps a less than awesome fashion (okay, definitely in less than awesome fashion, as J’onn introduces a power we didn’t know he had and uses it to stop Despero in pretty much the exact same fashion that Mongul is stopped in “For the Man Who Has Everything?”), but it leads to a brilliant funeral sequence for Mister Miracle (who everyone believes is dead, including Miracle’s wife), including a brilliant moment between Guy Gardner and Ice…


What a tremendous little arc this was. They really ought to get around to collecting it in a trade!