Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Writers Block: Winick and Jurgens JLIs: Who is Rocket Red?

How different is Judd Winicks' version of the JLI to Dan Jurgens new series? They have similar story beats but differ in presentation. Naturally they can't connect directly since Flashpoint changed the history of the characters involved in Jurgens' version. They were never teammates before because there never was a Justice League International. I will try to be brief with connections from the original Giffin/DeMatteis run when it comes up but with JLI it's bound to get a mention or two. But first let's start with a character that doesn't have as much history as the rest: The new Rocket Red, Gavril Ivanovich.

Introduced in the fourth issue of JLGL Gavril was once the leader of the Rocket Red brigade who was disgusted by the western influences in his country. Having declared himself a true Communist he attacked food chains and such (although he made sure no one was present to be hurt in his attacks.) Gavril is a hypocrite that doesn't seem to realize he is one. He blogs information about himself and joins a team that works with the United States (most of the members being from that country) because he's a huge fan. Indeed he's very excited to meet the group and prove himself worthy of them. 

Like Booster Gold originally had problems with sayings from this century Gavril always gets them wrong or has trouble phrasing things in english. Or as Booster put it, "His english stinks. And he's kind of showy." Which coming from Booster really says something about his fighting style. Gavril believes running away from a battle is the way of the coward. Even when injured he's determined to get back to work to do his part for the greater good. He's funny, even if it's unintentional, but rather brilliant with machines. 

In Jurgens JLI there are notable changes to the character. His speech isn't as rough as it was in JLGL, it's still flawed but not as much. He can pronounce "w" instead of saying things like "ve vill help." Both play with him for laughs although Winick used his accent and speech while Jurgens seems to use his conflict with Chinese teammate General August in Iron which seems, to me, a little more forced. While he had conflict with Captain Atom taking issue with his trash talking about the U.S.A. Gavril put aside his difference while he seems more annoyed with the remarks GAII makes.

No mention is given to Gavrils' political status which seems strange as General August in Iron is from a country that shares those views. Something that's underlined in JLGL when he stalls for time at Checkmate to ask why they don't recognize Communist ideas before it's pointed out that China has a office there. In JLI Gavril seems surprised when Booster says the two countries will be close allies in the future. As if the idea that he could become friends with them was too strange of a concept to think about.

The fanboy glee is present when he says he's happy to be part of the team but his respect for the others isn't quite as high. Likely because this is the first time many of them (if not all of them) are even on a Justice League and haven't quite earned it yet. There does seem to be some familiarity between him and a couple of his teammates. While the beginnings of a romance he shared with Bea isn't touched upon she does defend him to Godiva when his abilities are questioned. His conversation with Booster brings up the fact Booster is from the future something Gavril doesn't really question. He does gripe more when Booster isn't acting the way he thinks a leader should. But more on that when I get to Boosters' portrayal. 


  1. Actually...I think I like Winicks version of Gavril a little bit more than I am of Jurgens. And you have no idea how much it PAINS me to admit that.

    Original Gavril was played a bit for laughs, but he was still an appealing character. I am not enamoured of the constant sniping between Jurgens Gavril and August General in Iron. Still, I do like Jurgens stuff for the most part, and it is still only the second issue, so he can grow on me.

  2. I know I am in the minority, but I like the Gavril and AGII interactions. There hasn't been too much of it, and I truly think Jurgens is going someplace fun for it.

    I must say most of what I have read with the reboot I have enjoyed and through 2 I have really enjoyed JLI.

  3. Sally: I completely understand although I do see what Jurgens is trying to do. The changes in Gavril do make sense with the timeline changes. He has no reason to trust Booster where in JLGL he's one of Gavrils' heroes because he was in JLI. Jurgens does seem to have a plan for Gavril and GAII so I'm not too annoyed with it.

    Jimmy: I sort of like it, bits of it. I don't like the "China is better than Russia, no Russia is better than China" exchanges. I did like Gavril using GAII as a cushion when he fell. I trust Jurgens so it's not a major concern. Same, I enjoyed most of the books, only two bored me. JLI is one of my favorites.

  4. On a completely different note, I made a trip to Metropolis, Illinois on my travels today. Very fun if you enjoy Superman. Got my picture with a 15 foot bronze statue of Supes.

  5. Sounds like fun, I think that's the place that always has people dressed up as Superman every year?

  6. Yeah I think so. They had a big picture of it from a couple of years ago. If you ever find yourself in Western Ky or South Illinois I recommend it. Not much to do, but it is a fun little stop, and when you are traveling for work, its a fun diversion from that.