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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #288

Some villains pose massive threats to their heroic adversaries, constantly challenging them physically and intellectually. Sometimes, though, the bad guys suck at being bad guys. Within is a group of my favorite knuckleheaded baddies. (Archive.)

10/15/07

288. The Injustice League

Injustice 1.jpg

Now, when I say “the Injustice League,” your mind probably wanders to a line-up of classic baddies including Lex Luthor, the Joker, and others. Or maybe your mind wanders to the Golden Age Injustice Society, or perhaps the Injustice Gang, or even the Legion of Doom. All of them have the same basic idea behind them– they’re a gathering of the JLA’s archenemies.

When I hear “Injustice League,” though, I can only think of one thing, their best line-up ever, the team of bumbling oafs that didn’t battle so much as annoy the Justice League International during the “Bwahaha” era of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and friends. Major Disaster! Big Sir! Clock King! Cluemaster! Multi-Man! And last, and most certainly least, the Mighty Bruce! Apart, they are mediocre– together, they are incompetent!

Yes, they were stooges, but they were extremely likeable and had a lot of heart. From the Major’s frustrated attempts to make something of himself and his team to Multi-Man’s multiple personalities, most of them surly, to Big Sir’s indefatigable cheeriness and childlike view of the world, this was a team you actually gave a crap about, even after they messed up time and again.

This image by Robert Solanović is just damn adorable, and sums the team up excellently:

Injustice 4.gif

All of them had appeared as bad guys throughout a bunch of DC titles in the past, but Giffen and DeMatteis brought them together with a bit of a revamp– only this time, to make them all lamers. Every time they crossed paths with an iteration of the Justice League, they fouled up. In their first teaming-up, the JLI stumbled across them by accident. Later, they ended up in the same French class with the Justice League Europe; naturally, it ended in a major disaster. I loved how the Major’s life was the biggest disaster he ever caused, powers be damned. After this, Big Sir and the Major swindled Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and the rest of the JLI out of all their money during the KooeyKooeyKooey Casino debacle, in which Big Sir revealed he was an idiot savant at counting cards. They lost it all in the end, however.

After a while, the Injustice League came to understand that they were terrible villains, and figured that they should try out the hero game. They tried to join the Justice League International and ended up founding Justice League Antarctica, joined by G’Nort and the Scarlet Skier. It quickly ended in, you guessed it, disaster. Their base was attacked by man-eating penguins and all hell broke loose. It was, without a doubt, one of the best stories from the JLI era.

Injustice 2.jpgInjustice 3.jpgInjustice 5.jpg

They showed up a few more times after this, unsure of whether to be heroes or villains, having proven themselves to be bad at both. Most recently, the team (sans Bruce) was reunited in the first issue of the last Suicide Squad series, written by Keith Giffen. I remember being extremely excited to read this, even though I knew the inevitable was coming. It’d prove to be the team’s last hurrah, as everyone but the Major wound up dead by the end of the mission. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. Since then, I believe Cluemaster’s turned up alive, and we all know Multi-Man has some weird coming-back-from-the-dead power, so you never know… maybe the Injustice League will rise again. Although, wait, didn’t they kill off Major Disaster? I know he ended up joining the JLA under Joe Kelly, but… Eh, I can never keep these things straight.

I’ll miss these guys. It isn’t often that lame villains get to team up and steal the spotlight in their own bumbling adventures– the only other guys I can think of are the League of Losers over in the Spider-Man universe, and Mr. DeMatteis was responsible for that one, too– so it was good to see these lovely bad guys get the chance to suck in front of thousands of readers. The Injustice League became the best bad guys in the best Justice League run ever, and always appeared in good stories. Most villains never get that opportunity.

For more on these poozers, go here, or hit up the Wiki.

21 Comments

Major Disaster was one of the “Blurry Kills” of Infinite Crisis.

And yeah, the issue where they are in the same class as the Justice League and all the government spies?

One of the funniest comics ever!

I agree with Brian. JLE #6 is brilliant. Coincidentally, I’m wearing almost exactly the same Superman shirt right now that Bruce wears in that comic.

But yeah, all of their appearances under Giffen were fun. The first one, JLE #6, JLAnt, guarding Max’s hospital room during Breakdowns, the Suicide Squad ish – all of them gold. Great choice, Bill.

Among lame villain team-ups, there was also the “Misfits” arc in Shadow of the Bat #7-9, featuring a gang composed of Killer Moth (pre-moth mutation), Catman (pre-Simon revamp), and Calendar Man (pre-Lecterification by Jeph Loeb and Chuck Dixon). With the exception of Catman, none of them were ever as entertaining again, thanks to misguided writers trying to give them back their edge by making them homicidal loons.

I loved the Injustice League. Yet another example of the wonderfully brilliant concepts found all over the place during the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League run. My love for these losers was the one reason why Major Disaster’s tenure during Joe Kelly’s Justice League of Pet Characters run didn’t annoy me.

Man, now I really wish DC would reprint all of those old JLI/JLE issues.

I was just rereading the Cataclysm storyline from Batman and Cluemaster showed up there as the father of sme other no name costume. She was Robin’s friend or something.

stealthwise said:
“Man, now I really wish DC would reprint all of those old JLI/JLE issues.”

Apparently we’re about to get that wish as the new DC listings for the next Previews were posted today and among them was a listing for a collection (Hardcover no less!) of the first 7 issues of JLI. Considering how dismissive Didio has always been of the series, maybe somebody else at DC finally convinced him there was money to be had there. Whatever the reason, I’m excited to see them putting the issues back out in collected editions and hope we get more hardcovers/trades of the Giffen JLI stories.

Ooh. I think that “A New Beginning” trade has stayed in print, but I hope this means we’ll get the rest.

I made a list once of how I thought a TPB series for JLI/JLE should be put together. I should find that and post it somewhere.

If there’s any DC title that’s begging for an Absolute edition, it’s JLI.

I’m so glad that I’ve got every issue of JL/JLI/JLA except #’s 2,3, and 5. Anybody care to help a guy out? I’m also missing JLQ #4. But I’ve got the entire KG/JMDM run of JLE.

And I’m keeping them for my grandkids, so that one day they can see how good comics once were. Course, I’ve gotta have kids first…

JLIQ #4 is awesome! That was the last issue done by the original team (well, no Keith Giffen, but J.M. DeMatteis wrote a GREAT Ice/Guy story in that one).

Oh!

And, appropriately enough, it has a nice Injustice League story in it by Will Jacobs!

Wasn’t Clock King in 52?

[…] Original post by Comics Should Be Good! […]

“My love for these losers was the one reason why Major Disaster’s tenure during Joe Kelly’s Justice League of Pet Characters run didn’t annoy me.”

See, that’s why it DID annoy me. Although, honestly, if Kelly had deviated from previous versions of the character in a GOOD way, I wouldn’t have cared.

“Wasn’t Clock King in 52?”

You’re thinking of Dr. Time or Mr. Time, but whatever the case, it wasn’t Clock King. Similar costume and gimmick though. Coincidentially there’s a new Clock King coming up in Teen Titans #55. Personally I hope they go more Temple Fugate than William Tockman with the new guy.

Have a good day.
John Cage

I enjoyed the whole Giffen/DeMatteis period–and even the others who helped out–although some of the pencillers weren’t that great. But then when you have Kevin Maguire to compare to, it’s tough.

JLAnt was a masterpiece–G’nort & the Scarlet Skier both made my DC top ten in the recent poll.

If Didio is really against the ol’ JLI, it really should’ve disqualified him for the big job.

The thing I love the most about Giffen/DeMatteis era is that all the characters were real and human. It kinda broke my heart to see Maxwell Lord turned into a psychotic villain and Blue Beetle killed.
It’s like DC is for some reason uncomfortable with the idea of their heroes & villains being silly and fun.

[…] The series never let up with mad ideas and ridiculous monsters. The team’s archnemesis? Multi-Man, the madman who dies and comes back with a new superpower each time. Yeah, it’s the same guy who later joined the Injustice League during the JLI era. Back in the day, he was a total menace. […]

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