So, here we are. I don’t know why I haven’t covered the Yazz before. Probably because no one really wants to remember the Yazz. Seriously, when I write these things, I do a Google Images search for at least three pictures and then usually follow up with a Wikipedia entry to give me some more information for stuff I haven’t read. There wasn’t much on the Yazz.
Probably for a good reason. Most of what I have here comes from memory.
It was a dark time for the Justice League, in that the team was between two major, memorable runs. The Keith Giffen era had ended and one of his successors was getting the main book. Grant Morrison’s run was in the future. This was the Gerard Jones run that came just after Zero Hour. The League had defeated a Galactus-type alien monster called the Overmaster. Overmaster’s thing was wiping out whole civilizations but keeping one individual alive from that civilization in his own personal collection.
After that defeat, the League moved into Overmaster’s ship and used it as a headquarters. Eventually, they found the captured aliens. One of them spoke English. That was the Yazz.
OK, what could the Yazz do? Well, the Yazz had a photographic memory, spoke English, and could maybe glide a little. The Yazz’s purpose was less member of the team and more like their tech support. The Yazz was the one who kept the Overmaster’s ship running smoothly.
Notice I didn’t use any pronouns? Well, this is where things get a little weird.
See, what little information I could find on the Yazz said the Yazz was the League’s technician for a period. I think Jones intended to use the Yazz for comic relief. Too bad the Yazz wasn’t particularly funny. The closest the Yazz came to a joke was basically refusing the tell the Flash what gender he/she/it was. That frustrated the Flash and…comedy?
Now, I’ll just point out here that Jones was doing something with the idea of labels all over his run. Icemaiden, when asked if she was gay or bi, said those words were labels and she wouldn’t answer that. Obsidian said he couldn’t be gay because he as a living shadow and not human enough to have an orientation. So, yeah, the Yazz was there to I guess make that point again, that gender is just a label or something.
Of course, the Yazz did have a gender. The Yazz just whispered it to another League with instructions not to tell the Flash…or the reader apparently.
Keep in mind this was material from the mid 90s. Today when we hear about people who are nonbinary or genderfluid, it isn’t so weird. Heck, I know someone who identifies that way and uses the third person plural pronoun to refer to themself. But the mid 90s? That just seemed more like obnoxious melodrama to me at the time. And Jones had a lot of obnoxious melodrama in his run. Was Jones just ahead of his time on stuff like this? I don’t know. He might have just thought he was being clever.
Plus, Jones is in jail right now for, well, really bad things I don’t want to go into. Look it up if you really want to know.
The Yazz left the book in Jones’ last issue. As far as I know, its only reappearance was in a single panel in JLA/Avengers when a time mess swapped the Hulk for the Yazz, a totally unfair thing. And then Kurt Busiek’s script gave it one line where it used its own name as a verb.
So, yeah. Sometimes these things are forgotten for good reasons. The Yazz was just a weak character.
Of course, with 2019 era ideas on gender fluidity, maybe someone could make something out of this thing.