Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Formerly Known As the Justice League Paperback – April 1, 2004
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
In 2003 J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Griffen, and Kevin Maguire hooked up again to revive their goofy comedy schtick, a brand which made them household names for comic book fans in the late '80s and the '90s. Their baby back then, of course, was the reinvented Justice League (check out Justice League International: Volume 1), and in FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE Giffen and DeMatteis reunite the JLI ex-members. Things have changed, though, since the JLI disbanded. There's a new Justice League and it wants no part of these hapless goofballs. But Maxwell Lord, former JLI financier, decides to form a new team, what he calls the common man's superheroes. Accordingly Lord sets up shop in a nondescript strip mall in Queens and also places ads on television featuring his new team... the easily accessible *drumroll* Super Buddies!
But it takes some work to recruit his superheroes (because who wants to be in a low rent crimefighting group?). Lord's first get is the robot L-Ron, whom Lord finds toiling away at a fast food drive-thru window. Ralph (Elongated Man) and Sue Dibny are plain sick of boring barbecues and movie nights, and so they're quickly on board. But more coaxing on Max and L-Ron's part is required to convince the other ex-Justice Leaguers to sign on. Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) has a heart condition. Booster Gold is living it up as a gigolo. Beatriz (Fire) is raking in the dollars with her own semi-smutty website. Captain Atom's stuck in a rut and, thanks to his personal dialogue coach, he's also spouting superhero cliches. Captain Marvel wants no part of the Super Buddies, but his sister Mary is intrigued enough to take up his spot. Oberon, however, hangs up on L-Ron 27 times.
If you've read the old JLI issues then you know that Giffen and DeMatteis prefer to focus more on screwball banter and antics than on conventional superhero stuff. The superpowered brawls tended to be more incidental and in service of the zany storylines. Here, the gallery of superbads vary from erudite street thugs who resent the Super Buddies moving into their 'hood, to Roulette (the Don King of DC Comics) who abducts the Super Buddies and pits them against each other in gladiator contests, and the overdramatic cosmic barterer Manga Khan who just wants his old sidekick robot back (that would be L-Ron). Some good fight scenes here, but, again, these acts of supervillainy are mere frames for what Giffen and DeMatteis does best: skewing the cape & cowl genre and composing convoluted Marx Brothers-type dialogue.
As always, there's an element of featherbrained soap opera shenanigans. Blue Beetle feels that he has matured and now considers himself above indulging in juvenile hijinks with Booster. Booster, understandably, is cheesed off about Ted's attitude. This, naturally, offers up plenty of chances for "discussions" between Beetle and Booster, one of which almost triggers a cataclysmic alien attack. Then there's the worldly Fire's dismissive reaction to Mary Marvel, who does share Captain Marvel's naive milk & cookies demeanor. Fire mockingly refers to Mary as Pollyanna, to which Mary retorts: "Oh, that's my favorite movie! Wasn't Hayley Mills adorable?"
Meanwhile, the real Justice League drops in for a visit, kind of like the disapproving aunt, fully expecting the Super-Buddies to drop the ball with the Manga Khan crisis. And Maxwell Lord doesn't appreciate this:
- Maxwell Lord: "I want you to give me one good reason why the Justice League should be sticking their supercilious noses in our business?"
- Batman: "Beetle and Booster."
- Maxwell Lord: "Those are two reasons! I asked for one!"
I don't even really have to mention Kevin Maguire's awesome artwork, right? The master of drawing facial expressions is still masterful at drawing facial expressions (and drawing everything else besides)! He excels at the talky talk sequences, but Kevin can also handle himself with the action pieces. In particular, his illustrations of a berserk and fully unleashed Mary Marvel happen to be spectacular stuff.
Nowadays it's good to compartmentalize, when you're reading FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE and its 2005 sequel Justice League: I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League (published in JLA CLASSIFIED #4-9). These two story arcs, lighthearted as they may be and considered canonical, still take on this very bittersweet tone when juxtaposed with the shocking events in Identity Crisis (DC Comics), which came the year after FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE. If you're a fan of this cast of characters, it's particularly hard not to feel glum when you see Ralph and Sue being that happy-go-lucky couple or whenever Ted Kord interacts with that manipulative fink Maxwell Lord. But, if you can compartmentalize, if you can put aside what eventually happens to these characters, then let Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire take you back to a time when fun and silliness ruled the day, when Blue and Gold were still the superhero version of Abbott & Costello, and every dumb schmoe seemed to have gotten that annoying "Bwa-ha-ha" laugh down. Good times.
I'd seen many of these Keith Giffen comics on the comic shelves when they originally came out including `Justice League International' and `Justice League: A New Beginning' but they looked silly with second tier heroes and quite frankly I wasn't buying comics at the time. What I learned after reading Formerly Known As... was that it doesn't matter who's in the comic. In the end good writing is what matter most.
Most of the book is dialogue consisting of clever banter and exchanges of insults particularly between the two stars of the show Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. The writers also have a lot of fun with Maxwell Lord and the robot L-Ron and besides his appearance as the head of Checkmate this is my only experience with Mr. Lord and it's quite a dramatic difference. I'm not usually a fan of this much dialog but Giffen makes it so fun it never felt tedious.
The writing here isn't nearly as slapstick as the venerable Ambush Bug but it remains funny. Legitimately humorous dialogue is just about the hardest thing to pull off in comics and I have to give credit to the team of Giffen and DeMatteis for years of great material that contrasts with the too often heavy tone of other DC Comics. If I would change just one thing I actually would have had Keith do the art because he's as talented at penciling as he is at writing.
I have always been a Shazam fan, perhaps moreso than Superman. Here is this great powerful warrior who is really a little kid. Compare that to a grown man with a good job and the adoration of millions.
Plus Captain Marvel can so kick Supes but...
Anyway, I bought this because I saw Mary Marvel on it.
If you are at all a Shazam fan, this will truly amuse you. Mary Marvel is the most powerful goody goody on the planet and this superteam is exactly what happens to pretty goody goody girls at frat parties...
The humor is laugh out loud funny. If you have read Final Crisis or the neverending 52/Countdown/quest to take all your money recent DC lines, you may really enjoy this storyline.
Also if you enjoyed the Identity Crisis storyline, you will feel a much greater affinity for Elongated Man's wife as she plays a major role in this series and is fully fleshed out as well. I found Ralph Dibney to always be an annoying Jimmy Olsen with superpowers copy, and after reading this and Identity Crisis, you actually feel for Dibney.
Sue Dibney up until this funny comic series is just sort of there and really is more in the way. Here, she is part of the humor and becomes a real character in her own right.
Also anything with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle is good, and this storyline is really great.
I fun romp that should not be taken too seriously.
I will admit it was difficult to read at times because of what DC has done to several of the characters, i.e. Sue, Beetle and Max, but it was still a fun read.
If you were a fan of the 80's JL, then I can recommend you pick this book up. You might also want to check out the Trade Paperback of Justice League International, which contains the first 6 or 7 issues of the original series.