[JSA Book Club] Week 8: Misfits & Mad Men [6/1 - 6/15]

Welcome JSA fans! This week we are back with more of the adventures of Infinity Inc, and what a mixed bag of adventures it is! Everything from another dose of Helix to genetically engineered shark men, Psycho Pirate, and even a meeting with a rival hero team.

But first…ROLL CALL!




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Infinity Inc (1984) #26-34

Discussion Questions:

1: We see here the new Wildcat, Yolanda Montez taking a bigger role. What do you think of Yolanda as a part of this series? Are you looking forward to her upcoming role in the new Stargirl series? Which other character are you looking forward to seeing the most?

2: With a good deal of the JSA now confirmed lost, how do you think it will affect the Infinitors? What changes might it make to their personal and professional lives in the short and long term?

3: Speaking of doing bad things with the best of intentions… What are your thoughts on Hank erasing Lyta’s memory of her old life before the crisis?

4: Helix has returned! Who is your favorite member? Do you think they are really evil or just a bunch of misfits that were never taught right from wrong?

5: Psycho Pirate loves to play puppet master and stir up trouble. What do you think would be a good strategy for dealing with his antics more effectively before they get out of hand?

6: In our last issue of the week the Infinitors meet another better-funded group of heroes called the Global Guardians. Have you ever felt the need to prove yourself worthy when others doubted you, or you felt a little out of your depth?

7: Hector has seemingly gone off the deep end. If you were Fury would you try to work things out or kick him to the curb? Should Norda have been more forthcoming with the others and especially Fury about what is actually happening?

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These issues look like they were part of that new format in the mid 80s with no advertising, sold directly through comic book stores only, I believe, and with glossy paper and better coloring , superior product, like one of the runs of Legion we’ve been reading from the same post-crisis time.

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I like seeing her taking a bigger role here and I’m really looking forward to seeing her in Stargirl. The character I’m looking forward to the most though is a toss up between Doctor Mid-Nite and Brainwave.

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I’m a big fan of Infinity, Inc. and always liked the Yolanda Montez version of Wildcat. At the time, I thought Wildcat was the best of the three post-Crisis new Infinitors (Hourman and Dr. Midnight being the others), and Roy Thomas utilized her well in the series. I was disappointed to learn she was later killed off in the Eclipso series, being nothing more than cannon fodder.

Wildcat’s connection to Helix always seemed a bit dodgy, with Carcharo being her alleged cousin, so I wonder if Roy originally planned a different origin for her. Based on the early Infinity, Inc. house ad below (1983), Yolanda was supposed to be called “La Garro” and wear a gold costume. Helix was probably not created until late 1984/early 1985 when Todd McFarlane was already on the book.


As for Helix, I always liked the team and looked forward to their own series, which was in the planning stages. I mentioned it in the thread linked below.


I wondered that as well. That connection seems a bit odd otherwise.

I do wonder what Yolanda’s origin would have been like as “La Garro”. I tend to wonder that a lot when there’s been a shift like what happened with COIE.

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It may have been done with the best of intentions but to be honest I’ve never cared for the erasing people’s memories or mindwipes. Its one thing when a Crisis event happens and a character is completely changed as a result and quite another when a character is actively mucking about with another’s memories. I may not like the first but there is something fundamentally wrong with the second to me

Oh, they are definitely misfits. I love all of them to be honest so it’s hard to pick a favorite among them.

That would be difficult to say. Psycho Pirate seems to have an ever changing array of talents. I suppose the best way to deal with him is to keep him from looking at you directly.

Most certainly. There have been lots times over the years that I have felt that way.

I would at least try to work things out first before kicking him to the curb. As for Norda je should have been more forthcoming.

  1. Honestly, the past few weeks have been a true introduction to Yolanda Montez for me. I, of course, remember reading her debut as the new Wildcat in Crisis on Infinite Earths. But, as with many new heroes that debut in major DC events, I lost track of her after that. The last few weeks, though, I read her first appearance as a rock journalist in Infinity Inc. #12 to gear up for her appearance in Stargirl. Then, of course, I joined this book club and read these adventures she has as the new Wildcat.

I really enjoyed her as a character and as a focus for many of these stories. Yolanda has a lot of defiance in her like when she refused to go quietly with Carcharo in issue #26 or how she refused to help Infinity Inc. track down Helix unless the voted her in as a member in issue #28. The latter example leads me to the second thing I enjoyed about Yolanda’s story arc: Her identity crisis. I think she felt she needed to be voted in as an Infinitor right away because they might reject her if they learned that she could be Carcharo’s cousin and a Helix mutant. Yolanda was so worried about that getting out and what the others might think of her if it did that it drove a lot of her actions. When she finally told Infinity Inc. in issue #29, it almost felt anti-climactic. They really didn’t care. I liked that. Sometimes the things we worry most about other people knowing about us really don’t matter. At least not to the people that matter.

I was looking forward to seeing Yolanda in Stargirl, and the episode didn’t disappoint. The Stargirl Yolanda was a little different than the one in Infinity Inc., but they definitely share a similar identity crisis and a search for acceptance. I look forward to seeing more of her.

  1. I think we’ve already started to see the effects of the JSA’s disappearance on the Infinitors. The Star Spangled Kid obviously dealt with the loss of his former teammates by creating this new Skyman identity for himself. It shows that he’s trying to let go of the past to move forward. For Obsidian and Jade, they’ve dealt with the loss of the father they never really knew by growing closer to his widow, Molly. After moving in with Molly, I think Todd and Jenni-Lynn will look to Molly for more insight on Alan and guidance. That may put a further strain on Jenni-Lynn’s relationship with Hank as she is likely to prioritize family more.

Yolanda will probably put a lot more pressure on herself to live up to Ted Grant’s memory as Wildcat. Hourman II, Rick Tyler, is never going to be able to settle his differences with his father, and that will probably eat at him and drive him to deal with it through his Miraclo addiction. With Nuklon, it’s hard to tell. Homeboy is pretty steady and generally puts others first, but… that may catch up to him. Beth Chapel is probably the most well-adjusted out of all of them. She may feel some pressure to live up to Dr. McNider, but I doubt that it will throw her off much.

Norda may have it the worst, though. It’s now up to him to settle the things that his godparents left unfinished. More on that and on Hector and Fury later, though…

  1. Ah… Hank… Two things that may let him off the hook a bit here. First, it looks like the timeline settling after the Crisis may have done the job for him anyway. By issue #29, it seems that no one can remember Earth-Two’s Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Hank himself doesn’t even remember what he caused Lyta to forget. That can’t be his doing. That must be the new timeline displacing reality. If that’s the case, then it would have happened anyway and Hank didn’t even need to do it.

Second, these are pretty unique circumstances. Generally, mind-wiping anyone for any reason is a really bade thing. However, Lyta’s parents didn’t just die, they were erased from the timeline like they never even existed. Her childhood, her history never even happened. Something like that… who knows if a normal grieving process even applies. I’m not sure how much therapy would be needed to even scratch the surface. So… yeah… Hank reached for an extreme solution, but it was a pretty extreme problem.

Still, neither of those points totally lets him off the hook. It’s still troubling that he reached for that solution in the first place. Again, mind-wiping is a big violation, and it could be easy for him to try it again under different circumstances that aren’t quite as extreme.

  1. And now for Helix… I honestly struggle with Helix. First, Kritter and Baby Boom are just bizarre. I usually really like bizarre, but they even crack my suspension of disbelief at times. They just feel out of place in the book. Also, Helix is diverse, but they’re the 80’s sort of diverse where diversity means playing up stereotypes. The costumes of Tao Jones and Arak trouble my 2020 left-wing sensibilities.

I think I found a good way to read them, though, that allows me to accept them. It came when I realized that they reminded me a lot of another superpowered group of racially diverse mutants who were immensely popular in the late 80’s. That was when I thought, well, maybe Helix are the X-Men warped through the lens of the DC Universe. Kind of like how there was a warped version of the Justice League in New X-Men #145 who were going to be these living sentinels who watched from a satellite and hunted down mutants. If that was the Justice League warped through the lens of the Marvel universe, then maybe Helix is a warped version of the X-Men. They are mutant misfits looking for a place in the world and cause mayhem because they can’t find it.

Mister Bones is hands down my favorite and the best character to come out of Helix. Though, I’ve always liked him better as the shadowy, sinister Director of the DEO. To that end, he had a great throw back moment in Action Comics #1009 if you get the chance to read it. Also, I only just realized that Mr. Bones wears The Black Terror’s costume…

Black Terror Mr Bones
Oh, Roy Thomas…

  1. Psycho Pirate is a tough one. He absorbs emotions and then controls them. Emotions are powerful. They drive us all in one form or another.

The easiest way to deal with him would be to throw something that feels no emotions at him like a robot or a drone or something along those lines. However, those things aren’t always handy like when Hank and Jenni-Lynn were ambushed in Jenni’s living room.

I would be a terrible person to send against Psycho Pirate. I am not emotionally stable and my feelings have a great deal of control over me. However, in my search to remedy this problem, I came across one piece of good advice from a book called The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris (and I can hardly believe I’m bringing it up in this context). In the book, Mr. Harris basically tells you to forget trying to control your emotions. It’s never going to happen because you will never stop feeling. Instead you need to ride your emotions and learn to harness them for your benefit (I’m paraphrasing here). To a certain degree, that advice has helped me ride some things out and use the thrill of riding it out to help me deal with it.

I picture using that strategy against Pycho Pirate like this: He brings up the anger in you. You feel like you want to attack your loved one. However, instead of acting on that emotion, you just allow yourself to feel it. You let the anger wash over you. You allow yourself to drift on that sea of rage until you come out the other side of it and realize: You aren’t angry at your loved one. You are angry at Psycho Pirate. Then you use that rage to knock him into next week!

It might work, anyway…

  1. I feel out of my depth and that I have to prove myself worthy every day. I believe they call it imposter syndrome now. I constantly doubt myself, my accomplishments, and who I am. The bright side is it drives me. The dark side is I never really feel comfortable in my own skin. I imagine Infinity Inc. were feeling similar when they met the Global Guardians. The good news is that imposter syndrome is just a lie that your brain is telling you. Infinity Inc. is a much better superhero team than the Global Guardians. Those fools will have to make way for Justice League Europe soon.

  2. Under normal circumstances, I would tell Lyta to dump Hector as soon as possible. At first, I kind of sided with Hector. Lyta was not helping after the first bungled mission against Carcharo. Then, Hector seemed like he wanted to start a fight every time Lyta spoke to him like he was looking for a reason. She tried to cheer him up after his parents disappeared and he stonewalled her. Those are signs that a relationship is hitting its expiration date. Then Hector left in the middle of the night and in issue #34 he’s cheating… If Lyta approached me and asked, “Moth, what should I do?” I’d say, “Dump him, Lyta. Dump him and forget him.” Even with a baby on the way. Heck, ESPECIALLY with a baby on the way. Whatever Hector is going through should be nowhere near an innocent life.

But… these are not normal circumstances. This is the world of comic books, so I imagine there’s more to this than meets the eye. With that in mind, I’d probably say, “You should go to him and help him, Lyta.”

When it comes to Norda, hindsight is 20/20. Again, under normal circumstances, when your buddy has been fighting his fiancé and then just packs up and leaves in the middle of the night then you’re probably right in thinking: He just needs some space. I imagine Norda was going through that kind of wishful thinking. Maybe Hector just needs some time to reassess his relationship and deal with the disappearance of his parents. Maybe this doesn’t have to do with that curse that may or may not doom us all. In hindsight, that was foolish. This is the world of comic books, so of course it’s the curse. I’m going to give Norda a break because he was probably just hoping it was all Hector’s personal stuff. Still… he probably should have mentioned the whole “James Rock is dead” thing to everyone else. That may haunt him…