Having dedicated my life to the scholarly examination of the mixed genre art form known to the common dummy as “Comic Book,” I must say that I thought I had seen it all when it came to the Justice League of America: villains, failing time and again, to conquer the world, dying, coming back to life. trying and failing again. All the plot twists, the comings and goings of this hero or that. I had over the years found myself riven with exhilaration as I perused my complete, mint condition golden age collection, or plunged into despair as I suffered through the moribund Hannah Barbara-inflected 70s.
And yet, what could have prepared me for this? Four of the most virile masculine heroes of my youth, reduced to giggling Kpop Idols? Did I ever think I would see a montage of the Flash, trying on dozens of outfits in super speed, tossing them away in feminine despair as he moaned “I have nothing to wear?”
Did I imagine in my fevered dreams I would Green Arrow, angsty and neurotic, terrified that the boy he has a crush on might not like him?
Did I ponder the possibility that the day would come where Batman would agonize over the stress of fighting crime and its impact on his perfect, glowing skin?
Never onee. Not did I cogitate over the possibility that if these implausible scenarios should manifest themselves, that I might love it.
But I do. I don’t no just. I love KPOP JLA.
I am the purest of the purists, and at risk of raising the ire of my esteemed fellow aficionados, I will admit the latest issue of KPOP Justice League had me captivated as few comics have ever done.
The girls, who have already come to call themselves The J-Pack, must prepare for their first music video. If you are not familiar with the world of KPOP, and I wasn’t until this latest unforeseen development in our heroes’ lives forced me to do my research, such a video must include choreography. Lots of it, and so the boys spend hours training not only to dance, but to dance in those cruel devices of modern torture known as high-heels.
It is delightful to see them, struggling, totterting, stumbling and falling, all the while being berated by a cruel task-mistress. At one point, after spending 12 straight hours working on their dancing, Kaji says, “Again!” Exhausted, demoralized, with aching feet and calves, they drop to the floor. “No more,” Green Arrow begs. “No more!” Flash covers his face with his hands and cries. Batman and Superman hug each other. “You are weak!” Kaji shouts. “You are not Idol! You will never be Idol! You lack the courage!”
The girls look at each other. They have never been more demoralized, so close to the brink of giving up, accepting defeat. Superman summons all her will, forces herself to stand, positions herself in first position. “I am an Idol!” We see the same fearless determination to dance on Superman’s pretty face that we once saw when he sought to defeat Metallo in JLA 152.
Batman rises to her feet, and we see the same anger in Batman’s big, pretty eyes, that we have seen so many times when the Joker threatened harm the innocents of Gotham city. ‘I am an Idol!” He shouts, placing himself in first position. Green Arrow and Flash help each other stand, and they toss their hair defiantly. “I am an Idol!” They each shout!
Thus, we see that these are still the men we have come to admire, struggling now to overcome new obstacles and challenges! No, they don’t need to once again figure out how to stop Lex Luthor. They’ve done that. But they have to find the will to withstand the grueling training of a Kpop girlgroup, and this they have never done before!
More, they must learn to subjugate their masculine imperatives, as the must master the most feminine and alluring dance moves, moves meant to celebrate their femininity, to capture the gaze of men, and inspire their legions of female fans. It is this journey that serves as the spine of this issue, as the girls all make a journey from shame at their dancing, to embracing it, taking pride in it, and finding a new kind of power.
In the end, when Kaji informs them they have mastered the dances for their video, that they have proven themselves worthy to be called Idols, the girls hug, cry and celebrate their triumph, the bonds of their newly forming sisterhood growing stronger because they stuck together and never gave up.
Of course, there are other plot elements running through the issue. A rival girl group, The Cute Syndicate, tries to sabotage their shoot, and the girls must find a way to stop them. This allows Batman to show her skills as she helps track down the Cutes, and Green Arrow and Flash shine, standing together and saving each other during the vicious girl-fight that ensues when the two girl packs square off.
The girls also continue to discover who they are now as young women. Superman finds himself becoming a fashionista, Batman is all about leather, Green Arrow discovers she is obsessed with class and become the most prim and proper. And what of Flash? He’s the girl next door, the funny, fun one that keeps them all together.
For those who says this is but a gimmick, I say nay. White Men are over, and the future is female. So, too, must be the Justice League. My only question now has to do with the previously female members of the league. Where are Zantanna? Wonder Woman? And if they cross over to KPOP, will they be men?