For the first few years of its existence, the late 1980s “international” incarnation of the Justice League was the M*A*S*H or Mary Tyler Moore Show of sitcom-superheroics. The engaging mix of silliness and straightfaced superheroics proved difficutly to sustain, however, and began to decline into the Three’s Company territory during the tail end of the Giffen/DeMatteis run, which generated such laughtrack-ready debacles as the General Glory arc.
Things did not improve after the writing team decided to move on to other projects. DC sought to retain what had been a successful and critically acclaimed comedic formula even as it attempted to restore a more traditional approach to the franchise, resulting in a scattershot and paradoxical mess that limped along under the force of its residual fan momentum.
The history of the Justice League has always been a tale of brief moments of brillance flashing through long stretches of awfulness. Yet while missteps like Justice League Detroit or the Tenth Circle have a certain degree of campy charm in hindsight, the period between Giffen and DeMatteis’s departure and Grant Morrison’s relunch of the League was a entirely forgettable exercise in creative wheel-spinning featuring nigh incomprehensible plots, uninspired art, and the JLA’s unasked for answer to ALF…
…the sassy blue pterodactly otherwise known as The Yazz. (Not to be confused with the BoSox legend, the former leader of the Plastic Population, or the oral contraceptive preferred by windfall-hungry trial lawyers.)
No, really. The Yazz.
Look, I’m not making this up. I’d tell you to check for yourself, but friends don’t let friends read Chromium Age Justice League stories.
You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that a sassy, wisecracking alien dinosaur was an associate member of the team for twenty-odd issues, acting as their resident Arnold Drummond (“Whatchutalkingabout, Nuklon?”) while taunting the other Leaguers about his/her/its actual gender (which would have been potentially groundbreaking if handled with a little more sensitivity and subtlety than one normally associates with a rejected Small Wonder gag.)
As both a cautionary tale about applying sitcom logic to superhero comics and a harrowing reminder of the depths a beloved franchise can sink to, The Yazz has earned his/her/itself the honor of being this week’s Nobody’s Favorite.