This is during the post-Crisis, pre-Infinite Crisis era when Black Canary had taken Wonder Woman's place on the team's founding roster, by the way. Thank God that miscarriage of justice has been rectified, huh? Kidding. I actually don't give a rat's ass! Psyche! Although I did like the notion of the League being started entirely by second-stringers, and Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman (a.k.a. the Cool Table) only bothering to join after the team had garnered some name recognition. It was a little more like real life. Ah, well.
The team rounds up the renegade costumes in one of Green Lantern's force bubbles, although if you ask me a couple of drycleaning bags would have worked just as well. And thankfully, the League members all have duplicate costumes to wear. Except for Aquaman. "This was the best I could manage," he sheepishly explains. He'll use the same excuse during his One Big Metal Shoulderpad phase. Although if you ask me, he looks better in just the trunks! (And I'm apparently not the only one thinking that; check out Barry's line of sight in that panel.) And I'm having a little trouble believing that Black Canary has duplicate wigs just laying around her house. Who is she, Eva Gabor?
As it turns out, the aliens are benevolent (but of course, since this is a Grant Morrison story, and I'm sure if he could have shoehorned in the American Military-Industrial Complex as the actual villain I'm sure he would have) and at the end everyone learns a nice lesson about not jumping to conclusions, and the League would never have another battle based on a misunderstanding ever, ever again. (What?! Why are you looking at me like that?) But the main thing I learned is that some of those costumes are more interesting than the heroes wearing them! Here's my personal tally:
- Martian Manhunter: wildly uneven characterization ranging from boring standard superhero to boring J.M. DeMatteis hippie pacifist to boring Kelsey Grammar rip-off in the Bwah-Ha-Ha League to boring angst-ridden nearly-omnipotent Mopee stand-in in the Ostrander series to his currently boring 10-years-too-late badass personality. His costume: regulation superhero trunks 'n' boots, plus a red X-shaped harness, a cape with a high stiff collar, and a belt buckle shaped like a delicious French pastry. Advantage: costume.
- Black Canary: flower-sellin' gal with a butch brunette haircut who whores it up with a sexpot costume and her loudmouth Commie boyfriend. But she does know karate and she drives a chopper. Her costume: bustier with built-in panties, fishnets, high-heeled boots, teeny toreador jacket, velvet choker, and a gorgeous blonde wig (or two, apparently). Advantage: this is a tough one, but I'm going to have to give it to the costume, mainly because it's never blown Green Arrow.
- The Barry Allen Flash: are you kidding me? Advantage: costume. That said, I wish it had died with Barry. And no, changing up the lightning-belt doesn't count.
- Green Lantern: Jerky commitment-phobe racist murderer with a thing for teenage girls. His costume: for a while, it was the standard in super-garb. Classic lines, especially once the green part extended over the shoulders. Plus the chest logo is graphically clean and easy to comprehend. Advantage: in an upset, Green Lantern. I mean, sure, he's a terrible human being. But you must admit that he is interesting!
- Aquaman: again, a victim of inconsistent characterization but the prevailing one seems to be "standoffish monarch" which is way too Sub-Mariner for my tastes. His costume: shirt handcrafted from the skins of a thousand goldfish, trunkless green tights with built-in calf-fins, matching green gloves, and a logo-themed belt buckle. Advantage: aw, how can I say "no" to those broad shoulders? The costume, of course! I've based my entire design career around its neckline! How could I let it down now, in its time of need?
Your turn! Are there any other heroes out there with costumes that are more engaging than they are? Or vice-versa? Tell me about them!