The Age of Justice League International has been hailed by fans and critics alike, but DC can’t help but insult it, and it continues in Blue and Gold # 3.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Blue and Gold # 3!
In the late 1980s, DC reorganized the Justice League, opting for a lighter approach, which contrasted sharply with the “dark and gritty” trend that ran through the comics at the time. The race was critically acclaimed as it remains popular with fans to this day, but DC can’t stop hitting this era, and it continues in. Blue and Gold # 3, available now in print and digital versions.
The era of the “Justice League International,” as it is called, expanded the concept of the team, bringing it to a global level. League veterans such as Batman and the Martian Manhunter have mingled with newcomers such as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold – the protagonists of Blue and Gold. As this League battled its fair share of terrifying villains, the adventures featured a light tone, which went against industry trends at the time. The race proved popular with fans looking for something different in their superhero comics, and there was even a spin-off: Justice League Europe. The race ended in 1992, returning to more conventional Justice League adventures. In the years since, there has been a tendency to view this period of League history as inferior to other Justice League races, and DC reiterates this in Blue and Gold # 3, written by Dan Jurgens, with illustrations by Cully Hamner, colors by Chris Sotomayor and letters by Rob Leigh.
Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are starting a new business, offering their services to anyone willing to pay – but with a twist. Blue Beetle plans to use his company’s wealth to subsidize his new venture and that of Booster, but the funding fails, leaving Booster locked outside his own headquarters. As Booster begs his owner and the authorities to let him in, he mentions that he was part of the Justice League; the cop says he remembers Booster Gold from the “lower” days of the League.
Why is this era in Justice League history despised, at least in the DC Universe? Part of the reason is the lack of big names in the league at the time; other incarnations featured DC’s heaviest hitters, but outside of Batman and Martian Manhunter, this team lacked any big name names. The light and sometimes burlesque tone of the book might also contribute to this perception; The Justice League International era team has fought villains just as powerful as the team’s other incarnations, but the general public can’t look past the comedy and see the team as a jerk. Public perception in the DC Universe at this time in Justice League history is of a failed launch, despite the very real good the team did.
The Age of Justice League International is one of the most unique and underrated eras in League history, providing fans with iconic moments like Batman hitting Green Lantern. Its mix of comedy and big-hearted characterization made it a hit at the time, but when fans see the team referenced in the comics, it’s almost exclusively like a joke. Hopefully the next series Human target – which includes this version of Justice League – can actually celebrate the beloved race the way it deserves.
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