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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 68

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 International vs. Starro, courtesy of Keith Giffen, Gerard Jones and Bart Sears…


At the end of Justice League Europe #25, a man shows up at the JLE’s door with a starfish stuck to his face. Apparently Starro has gotten stuck on the English countryside and he wants the Justice League’s help to leave Earth and get some peace in his life.

The League agrees to help (as apparently the villagers with the starfish on their faces have come to actually like Starro and feel bad for him).

Killowog designed the spaceship taking Starro to not be able to return, but before it even hits the atmosphere…

So begins a taut, psychological thriller by Keith Giffen and Gerry Jones, as the only three “immune” members of the JLE (Captain Atom, Rocket Red and Metamorpho, all of whom had protective shielding over their faces) find themselves pretty much the only non-possessed people in England (and soon, all of Europe).

They head to New York, where they gain assistance from the New York branch of the Justice League, as the leader of the JLA, Martian Manhunter, comes back to England with them to stop his old foe, Starro.

However, well, things don’t go so well…

Sears’ art particularly suits dynamic action stories like these.

In an especially strong character movement, Starro forces Atom and Rocket Red to give themselves in…

Very clever work by Giffen/Jones there.

And it all ends up in a clever ending in JLE #28, an ending I won’t spoil for you.

This was a really fun three-part tale filled with strong character work and a great use of guest stars (I suppose it helps when the guest stars are from the other book Giffen was plotting, Justice League America).

Hopefully some day this story can be reprinted!


Best Starro story ever? I’d say so.

You seem to be on a bit of a Justice League kick, Brian, not that I am complaining.

Derek Blackbird

March 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

This was a great story, one of the best of the JLA-JLE run. There was a great balance of suspense and action, and it deserves to be on the list. I loved the section with the four powerhouse characters in the sewers, and how easily J’onn is taken over. Starro’s absolute control and patient planning are great. They make perfect sense for the character.

I thought it was interesting that when Grant Morrison did his very different take on Starro years later, he also chose a homeless man for a major, albeit very different role in the story. I find it interesting when two writers make associations between story elements like that.

Speaking of which, I recently re-read the pre-Breakdowns JLE run, and I found one sub-plot very interesting in the same way. Remember when Identity Crisis came out and everyone made such noise about how great it was that the Calculator had been re-invented as an information broker to the super-villains? There was a sub-plot with a whole organization of information brokers in JLE! They were getting phone calls for information about super-heroes’ powers and identities.

Best Starro story ever, no doubt. And the resolution was, IMO, perfect (since we’re being spoiler free).

And Sears work on the entire JLE series was top notch. It’s a shame that “Breakdowns” hit right after this (an uneven end…but I’ve felt that part of that was because Giffen had to work around the Armageddon 2001 mess and War of the Gods), because I think this was the high point of JLE (more so than the Extremists story).

I love this story.

I don’t remember JLE being this good, and I’m wishing that DC would put out more Showcase volumes of things like this, really solid 80s-90s comics that are worth reading, but not worth paying an arm and a leg for (although to be fair, their trade pricing seems more reasonable than Marvel’s for older material).

Not that I mind the Justice League stuff lately, but is there a chance at focusing on some anthologies down the line? I’ve recently been reading FLIGHT and Best American Comics volumes and there’s some really great stuff in each that would likely warrant some more attention. Just something to think about down the line?

Any comic shop with back issue bins should be able to fill your JLI jones. Most of my JLI collection cost ten to fifty cents an issue.

another reason keith was so good with handling the jl and also he made Starro a villain that one should not take for granted. even if Starro is a space star fish. hope Dc if they ever do a trade of keith jl run they include that story .

Bill, if that was directed at me, then sadly, we have one comic shop in my town, well, within 500 km, and it has very poor back issue bins, none of which are discounted (some of which are jacked up in price to modern prices, for some ridiculous reason). It would actually be more convenient and cheaper to order the trades that DC DOES have via amazon and then hope that they reprint the rest later on.


March 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I can’t believe I actually enjoyed that Bart Sears art.

First time that’s ever happened!

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

“I can’t believe I actually enjoyed that Bart Sears art.”


The Bart Sears’ Captain Atom have never looked so cool.

I liked the way Bart Sears went with the body-builder look for Power Girl rather than cheese-cake. It fits her better IMO.

This was a good story as was The Extremists. I think JLE really shone in the more serious stories.

In Theodore Sturgeon’s 1953 novel The cosmic Rape (also known as To Marry Medusa) a spore comes to Earth and attempts to force all of humanity to join on collective consciousness. (Unfortunately for the spore – it succeeds. Once all of Earth is linked in a common hive mind, it quickly devises a way to kill the spore, yet still remain linked). The first person the spore infects, that goes about linking others, is a homeless person.

It’s a great short novel, and the coincidence with this JLE story and Grant Morrison’s take on Starro may be just that – coincidence.

A couple of weeks ago I saw issue #26 in the dollar bin of my local shop and thought the cover was cool but didn’t get it. Then I read this and went back looking for it and instead found 25, 27, and 28.. but no 26. After an hour’s search with my girlfriend patiently waiting I found 26 and just finished reading this! Not too shabby a read! Not too shabby a girlfriend either..

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