Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Extreme Justice

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment when "extreme" took on a life of its own in the 90's. Most would assume that it probably began with a snowboarder or a rebellious musician doing something outrageous. Personally, I think the word "extreme" became a buzz word the second Dan Cortese put on his bandanna for the first time. Reading the wiki article that link leads you to may be surprising for some. Yes, MTV used to have a sports show... Regardless of what started the usage of "extreme" (or its bastard cousin x-treme), it only makes sense that DC Comics would apply it to one of their books. I give you Extreme Justice.

What's interesting about this book, is that it features half of the Justice League International roster, except more extreme than normal. How extreme? How about Captain Atom has long hair! I know right, he's a military man. Guys in the military are supposed to have short hair. What an extreme disregard for the norm. You'll also find that Blue Beetle is flipping around like he's Spider-Man in this book. They also made his goggles bigger, which I'm assume is also an effort to mimic Spider-Man. Either way, it's out of control and in your face!

Booster Gold gets a new, dare I say extreme, costume in this issue as well. Tights were beyond out of style during the 90's. If you didn't have a costume with a bunch of extra bulky crap all over it (especially pouches), then you were a total loser. Booster receives an amazing costume upgrade(?) in this issue when Blue Beetle presents him with his new battle armor suit. It's bulky, looks like guns could pop out of it from anywhere, has a cool visor, and leaves a hole up top for Booster's flowing blonde locks to flow freely. It's so extreme, it's like getting an injection of Mountain Dew straight into your veins while snowboarding down K2.

This extreme team does not only consist of JLI members though. There are two members on the team that I had never seen before. There's Amazing Man who has the ability to absorb stuff. This seems redundant since Captain Atom can already do that. There was probably so much extreme energy that needed absorbing, they needed two absorbing guys to handle it. He's also the only minority on the team, so that makes me think they put him on the team so it wasn't only white guys. I doubt there wasn't a lot of extreme thought put into what his powers would be, just that they had a black guy on the team. Which is insulting, almost as insulting as how excessive his shoulder pads are. They probably called him Amazing Man because it was amazing he could fit through doors with those things on. The other new face is a female telepath called Maxima (extreme to the max??). It's another flat character that I'm sure was created because they didn't have a female hero on the team. Her costume is a delightful mix of thongs, bandanas, and shoulder pads. It's an extreme concoction that will leave you in a skydiving, bmx riding coma that you will never recover from.

It's not all fun and games though. Firestorm is also on the team, and he has an extreme problem. Firestorm is a wild party animal and is an alcoholic. I'm serious about this, he gets drunk in this issue. This made me think though, what a terrifying super hero to get drunk. If you thought a drunk driver was dangerous, try a guy that can make anything out of thin air coming at you while plastered. I'll take my chances with the drunk guy in the car, at least he's not going to turn all of the air in my lungs into mercury or my eyeballs into ice cream. He can do that! It's giving me a panic attack just thinking about it. The only good thing about Firestorm is that he's such an idiot. If a person with any type of intelligence had his powers, they would have taken over the world already. Thankfully, he's too busy downing beers and trying to figure out the chemical formula for nachos... EXTREME!

What a delightful trip back to the 90's this book was. Some people really hate that era, but that's when I grew up with comics. It's fun to go back and see how much things have changed, or haven't, since then. I'm also glad I was able to work in a reference to Dan Cortese in this post. He's listed on UNC's famous alumni page alongside John Edwards and Andy Griffith! Go Tar Heels!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go see if I can find any Rock N' Jock episodes online. Keep it extreme everyone!

-Action Chad

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