"Hell... Hell... The Gangs All Here!"
Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Kevin Maguire (p), Joe Rubinstein (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As the members of the Super-Buddies find themselves trapped in the lowest depths of Hell for all eternity, Fire is able to use her cell-phone to call home and let Maxwell Lord and the others know their situation. Guy Gardner and Power Girl then embark on a rescue mission, and needless to say given Guy's presence, this rescue is fraught with potential disaster. As the others find themselves pressed into menial and demeaning labour by the demons of Hell, they make a shocking, but very cool discovery.
Comments: Since the DC editorial staff looks to be to taking a hatchet to one of its more engaging eras, it's a little difficult to pretend not to notice how far removed the events of this miniseries are from the events that are being established in the DCU proper. However, I find it's far easier to simply look upon this arc as taking place in an alternate timeline, and that while the rest of the DCU wanders back into the grim and gritty 1990s, this arc continues on its path completely oblivious to the fuss and bother that the next door neighbours are making. In fact I'd be perfectly happy if this creative team was given an All-Star title, where they were allowed to play with any and every DC character they felt like, completely removed from any links to continuity. As it stands, this series is full of the moments that can't help but leave one utterly devastated that the DCU proper has decided to take out its anger on these poor characters. How can one not love the way this issue's Brady Bunch style plot simply serves as a means of placing our characters in an amusing situation, as what other title would have its cast end up in the fiery pits of hell because one of its members was messing about with a magical statue? This issue also benefits from the simple fact that Guy Gardner is called upon to save the day, and the pairing of Power Girl & Guy is ingenious. Plus, Guy's in fine form as he manages to remind everyone he comes into contact with why they should hate his guts. There's also a number of hilarious running gags like the cell-phone call from Hell, or the reaction that the cast has to the Demon's rhyming dialogue. However, the moment of this issue that leaves me the happiest fanboy on the planet is the last page, as one of my all-time favourite DCU characters looks to be making a comeback.
Simply put Kevin Maguire has really shown how invaluable he is to the Blue and Gold JLA with his work on these miniseries. Truth be told, before these miniseries came along, I had given the lion's share of the credit over to the writing. However, the art is largely responsible for the biggest laughs in this issue, as how can one not love the expression on Power Girl's face when Guy enters the scene, or the sheer visual hilarity of the eight panels where Blue Beetle questions Booster about how they managed to end up in the lowest level of Hell? I also loved the series of panels where Mary Marvel tries to power up, and Guy's expression when he makes it clear that he's done being knocked around by Power Girl as it does a lovely job of capturing the sheer cockiness and bravado that's made me a lifelong fan of the character. The last panel of the issue was also a very cute visual, as the entire creative team of the title put in an appearance alongside a cooler than heck surprise. The cover image was also a lot of fun, as it's a lovely Blue Beetle and Booster Gold moment, and the demon customers made for a lovely backdrop.
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