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.