Armagideon Time

I knew from the moment I decided to run Nobody’s Favorites as a weekly feature that the horrid offspring of DC’s “Bloodlines” crossover would eventually rear their misbegotten heads, but I was less certain how I wanted to handle that unfortunate moment of comics history.

Bloodlines was a line-wide crossover event which unfolded across the various annuals DC published in the summer of 1993. The plot (or facsimile thereof) centered around a group of goofy-looking alien shapeshifters who arrived on Earth to slake their thirst for human spinal fluid, but that was merely window dressing for the event’s true purpose — the introduction of two dozen plus “new blood” characters who had gained superhuman powers after coming into contact with the aliens.

It’s a difficult enough task to launch a single new superheroic property and make it stick with audiences. Launching twenty-seven in the space of few weeks is the very definition of hubris, especially when the roster included such winners as “Joe Public,” “Krag,” and “Terrorsmith.”

The only winner among this Chromium Age gallery of shame was Hitman, launched by Garth Ennis in The Demon Annual #2 and later spun out into his own modestly succesful series.  Despite DC’s poignant hopes, the other Bloodlines alums either tanked on the stands or — in most cases — simply faded from memory after the characters’ initial appearances. 

So rich are the various Bloodlines characters in Nobody’s Favorites potential that I have been at a loss about how to handle the presentation.  A single “quick hits” post covering the entire lot would lack nuance, yet a series of single installments would take half a year to complete and likely test my readers’ patience to the breaking point.  While I still haven’t come up with a workable solution for the problem, I have decided to dedicate this week’s column to spotlighting the absolute cruddiest representative of the Bloodlines crop…

…the steaming lump of turd known as JAMM.

Jamm made his debut in the pages of Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4, during the nadir of the title’s grim and gritty “Five Years Later” period.  Though the LSH was set within the distant world of the 30th Century, time travel and editorial mandates made it tragically possible for the futuristic superteam to participate in the Bloodlines debacle. More’s the pity.

 The man called Jamm was a righteous skater dude crusing for major babage in San Francisco when an encounter with one of the spinal fluid chugging aliens and the timelost Legion member Timber Wolf leads to an unexpected journey into THE FUTURE and some totally bitchin’ mind control powers.

While lesser men might have  suffered severe shock from such events, Jamm — being a halfassed avatar of perceived trends in contemporary youth culture as filtered through the limited understanding of some middle aged comics writers —  is more than extreme enough to compensate.  With the requisite set-up dealt with in a handful of pages, the lion’s share of the story centers around Jamm’s galaxy spanning quest for kicks — like using his mind-control powers to force Night Girl to strip for him…

…then using his mid control powers to get Shadow Lass to strip for him…

…and also trying to use his mind control powers to get Robot Marie Antoinette to strip for him! 

Legion of Super Heroes Annual #4: Putting the “gag” into “running gag.”

It’s not all date rape and painfully contrived slang in Jamm’s world.   No true dude with a ‘tude would be complete without some tasty tunes, and Jamm is no exception…

Someone call Awesome Hospital.  I think I’ve contracted a lethal dose of raditiude.

It takes a special kind of terribleness to qualify as the worst character to emerge from Bloodlines, but as bad as Gunfire and Cardinal Sin may have been, they were nowhere near the level of the Rain Man-by-way-of-Jeff Spicoli (“Man-o-manicotti” as “hip” slang? Seriously?) slice of instantly-dated pandering that earned Jamm the extreme honor of being this week’s Nobody’s Favorite.

13 Responses to “Nobody’s Favorites: Jelly don’t stink like that”

  1. Xanadude

    one word: Poochy

  2. Andres

    Almost made me stop reading Legion comics. That character was like a kick to the face.

  3. MrJM

    “A halfassed avatar of perceived trends in contemporary youth culture as filtered through the limited understanding of some middle [men]”

    At last I have an epitaph.

    — MrJM

  4. stavner

    If you need to kill off a Z-list hero in a hurry, here’s your man.

  5. Decker

    Fawful.

  6. Brian Smith

    The visual shorthand of him using his powers reminds me a lot of the Black Lantern logo, but the visual shorthand of “Girl being forced to remove clothes against her will” reminds me a lot of the decor at Over Our Heads, the novelty shop in the final seasons of “The Facts of Life.”

    I’m basically just rambling, is what I’m saying.

  7. Alan Bryan

    I think I ended up with one or two Bloodlines annuals and I couldn’t read them. It was years before I read the Demon#2 with Hitman’s Debut.
    (Hitman: Great Series!–He puked on Batman’s boots!) The issues I looked at of Bloodlines were horrid and the most awful ever. DC’s worst year ever.

  8. Diabolu Frank

    After giving up on Marvel Comics entirely in 1993 after many good years and several turdly ones, I decided to dive deep into the modern DC Universe to escape. As in, I bought every damned one of these annuals, and have at least one complete set of the trading cards. Most shamefully, I kinda liked a bunch of them, and even picked up the Blood Pack mini-series, several guest spots, and tried a few of the “ongoings.” Having given my credentials, I can verify that Jamm is not only the single worst Bloodlines character by a wide margin, but deservedly among the worst in comic book history.

  9. Chris Gumprich

    I always thought that Jamm was intentionally written as the worst possible character as a reaction to LSH being forced into the crossover.

    But that might be too charitable.

  10. Sallyp

    He’s not only the worst Bloodlines character, he MAY be the worst character EVER in the history of Comics!

    Eeyyeeeuuu.

  11. Bill D.

    The Marvel annuals that year did something similar – each introduced a brandy new would-be Sensational Character Find of 1993 (though after years of mutiple-annual storyarcs, these were all done-in-ones), and I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t even a Hitman among any of that crowd, though I guess some still turn up from time to time for the purposes of cannon fodder, Initiative members, and the like.

    The only one I really remember was the guy introduced in the Captain America annual, The Battling Bantam, who was basically a boxing rooster themed superhero, sort of the midpoint between The Red Rooster and the Gobbledygooker, I guess.

    My point here – and I do have one – is that our boy Jamm here manages to make The Battling Bantam seem like he actually was the sensational character find of 1993.

  12. Chris Pearce

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. It almost makes me want to track down a copy of this book.

  13. Johnathan

    Jamm was terrible, but Terrorsmith is my official only-appeared-twice favourite character. I just can’t resist a would-be villain who turns people into monsters *that he can’t control*. I would buy a Terrorsmith miniseries so hard…

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