Somehow my child has ended up with a copy of Justice League Adventure: Friends and Foes. It’s a 2003 digest size softcover collection of comics based on the Cartoon Network JLA series (I guess..it’s got some cartoon network affiliation.) Anyway, my son likes it, so I’ve read it a couple times, and stored up a fair bit of bile.

Here are some questions for the creators (of whom there seem to be an inordinate number.)

1. Why are you so obsessed with continuity? This is a book for kids right? Why do you keep throwing in plotlines that make only minimal sense if you haven’t been following the DCU for the past ten to fifteen years? One story centers around the Green Lantern Corps being mind-controlled by Braniac, without making anything but the most passing effort to explain what the Corps is, or who Braniac is, or why we should give a rat’s ass. Another is built around the Martian Manhunter’s backstory, but it’s just kind of assumed everyone knows all about the Martian Manhunter’s backstory already, because, hey, you’re eight, why wouldn’t you have already memorized the derivative tragedies of a thousand Superman knock-offs?

2. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the super-heroes be heroic? The writers seem to have a weakness for having our hero team stand around like douchebags while some hapless semi-civilian martyrs him/herself for the good of the universe. I think there are five stories, and this happens twice; once a tween super-hero loses all her powers to *save the universe*! and once a brain-washed Martian baddy gets religion and sacrifices himself to *save the universe*! That’s a pretty lousy record, is all I’m saying. If you were a super-hero team and you had to martyr a vaguely innocent bystander on 40% of your adventures, you might want to find a different line of work, no?

3. What the fuck is up with the erotic subtext? Not one, but two stories here have this squicky erotic mind-control element. In one, a semi-nude Poison Ivy forces a magic potion on a compliant and semi-nude Aquaman; in the other the Psycho Pirate causes a bunch of erotic hijinks, including an old white geezer who gets it on with a hot minority chick and some Batman on Wonder Woman action. Again I ask; is this what the under-8s are clamoring for? Really and truly?

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Geezer on girl action, because that’s what the kiddies want. Jason Hall’s the writer and Rick Burchett’s the illustrator.

As I’ve mentioned before, Marvel really seems to have figured out how to do entertaining, cleverly-written, all-ages titles. DC…well, at least on the evidence offered here, not so much.

Update: A couple of folks, including Heidi at the Beat have pointed out the contradiction in my saying my son liked the comic and the rest of my post. I should have explained better, no doubt. Short clarification; he likes everything with super-heroes, but on that scale he wasn’t really all that into this. Longer explanation in comments, if you care to scroll down.

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