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by Mark Gillins

Justice League America #37

I'd like to start off by thanking Alan for covering for me last month. He did a superb job and made me almost GLAD that I slacked off for a little while there.

JLA 37

This month I'm taking a look at yet another issue from the beloved Giffen era. Like most of Giffen's stories (at least the ones I've read), this one is more humorous than action-packed. The very title of the story, "Furballs!" should get you somewhat in the spirit of the upcoming tale. At first glance the cover gives a false sense of horror contained within (it depicts a very frightened Booster Gold and Fire), but taking a double-take reveals Blue Beetle having leaped into the arms of Ice in the background - restoring the sense of humor to the book.

The first few pages show the two jokers of the team, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (both obviously disgruntled), obediently washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen of the JLI embassy. Booster is complaining profusely and arguing with Beetle about their punishment (after embezzling Maxwell Lord's funds to create Club JLI a few issues before). After J'onn J'onnz gives Booster a swift lecture, which only makes him more angry, Booster screams about how sick he is of being mistreated and given no respect, and he storms out of the room.

Moving right along… a bum walks to the back of the embassy, and we read his thoughts as he cautiously walks towards one of the two garbage cans. Apparently he's no bum at all - he's building up some sort of conspiracy against the league. He's about to grab one of the cans, but after some strange noise erupts from it he grabs the other one, thinking the first might contain a "super-villain" or something. As the "bum" dumps the trash in the back of his car, he removes his false beard and dreams about winning his Pulitzer Prize - and immediately drives away.

Moments later, the first garbage can begins to wobble back and forth until it finally topples over, and that same sound is emitted. Guy Gardner emerges, expecting to find the bum, but only finds a fallen trash can. He grins as he realizes that the bum must still be frightened of his past threats and struts back inside.

Suddenly, caught in his prideful dreaming, Guy hears the noise that had been in the garbage earlier. He assumes it's all in his head and goes to relax as a mangled cat watches from the corner…

We have a short cut-scene where Booster meets a woman in a restaurant about some business proposal, and then we return to the embassy. Guy sits back and reads a "Serious Swimsuit" magazine, when he hears that noise again. He runs to the hallway and barely misses spotting a tail and two hind legs bolting up the stairs. As Guy returns to his leisure, we go upstairs to see our little intruder make his way into Fire's room. His noise grabs her attention, and the next thing we see is Beetle and Guy reacting to a very high-pitched scream!

They rush upstairs to find the sprinklers on, and a panicking Fire wearing only a towel outside her bedroom. Guy haughtily enters the room, against Fire's advice, to investigate, Beetle moans about how he had just waxed the floor, and Martian Manhunter begins contemplating early retirement. A sharp scream is heard from behind the door and J'onn, Fire, and Beetle peek in to see…

A cat latched onto the face of a struggling Guy Gardner!! The following conversation ensues:

Fire: "Shouldn't we do something?"

J'onn: "Guys is constantly reminding us that he's America's greatest super-hero. I'm sure he can handle something as simple as a cat."

Fire: "He doesn't seem to be handling it very well."

J'onn (with what LOOKS like a smirk!): "No, he doesn't - does he?"

Fire: "We can't just stand here."

J'onn: "I assure you, Fire - if I think that cat is in even the slightest danger - I'll intervene immediately."

This is the kind of humor I love about Giffen's work. The most hilarious realization that hit me when reading this book is that Guy Gardner is consistently the butt of all the jokes - something I quite enjoy seeing!

In the middle of all this, Mr. Miracle pops in out of nowhere, futilely attempting to introduce himself as J'onn screams at Beetle to turn off the "damn sprinklers", Guy gets rid of the cat, and Fire torches Guy - starting off the sprinklers again.

We skip to a few hours later as Beetle, J'onn, and Fire tell the story to Max Lord. After J'onn actually makes a corny joke, we hear Mr. Miracle yet again trying to introduce himself - this time to a returning Booster Gold. [Editor's note: In Mr. Miracle's own title, Scott Free (MM) is in outer space, with an imperfect android left behind as a decoy. Sadly, the JLA and his wife, Barda, never notice the difference.] Max mistakenly decides to play with Booster's head before releasing him from cleaning detail

Booster becomes infuriated and blows up when he's told to clean up the water damage caused by the sprinklers, and even after he's told they were only kidding he begins screaming his head off. He describes how tired he is of being the butt of all the jokes, beings sick of being on the team, and the last page shows him belting out the words, "I QUIT!"

Conclusion: Giffen does it again! He gives a bit of a serious situation while still making us laugh our heads off! One interesting aspect of this story is while Booster suddenly gets upset and non-humorous, J'onn does the absolute opposite and makes about four funnies, almost taking the place of Booster for this issue! Plus, we're given an ending that makes us bound to buy the next issue!

The art is yet again fantastic. Who needs computer illustrations and high-tech color separations when you've got the good stuff right here?

I give this one an 8 out of 10. I almost gave it a 9, but then I noticed the back cover: Fabio advertising for Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II (a Nintendo game). Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
All scanned artwork is ™ DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Mark Gillins.

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