RandoMonday: Justice League of America #11

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Justice League of America (2006) #11 by Brad Meltzer, Gene Ha, Rob Leigh, Art Lyon, Adam Schlagman, and Eddie Berganza, with cover by Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald

This has always been one of my favorite issues of the Brad Meltzer written JLA. I first read this in the trade collection, and in large part because of this issue and that I loved the relaunch of this title so much, I went and bought all of the single issues. This is a gripping done-in-one story focusing on Red Arrow and Vixen. A building has collapsed and they are both trapped inside. A lot of the story is Roy Harper assessing the situation and convincing Vixen to use her powers to get them free. Vixen, unfortunately, comes across as the damsel in distress and is a disservice to the character, but it does also show that heroes sometimes have feet of clay. I just think they could have easily reversed the roles, especially because of Red Arrow’s past and his anxiety over orphaning his daughter, and the story would have been just as strong, though the ending would need to be tweaked.

Ha’s and Lyon’s art really worked well to convey the claustrophobic nature of the story. There’s a reference to smoke where they are trapped and the grainy way the colors are shown really accentuates that aspect. The pacing of this story is top notch. The first page is mostly black panels with jagged borders and dialog boxes with gray text to give us what happened before page one. As each panel progresses, we see more and more of Red Arrow on the right as they situation is revealed to us, and when you turn the page, there’s a two-page spread reveal. The next few pages build the tension as Red Arrow attempts to locate how close Vixen is to himself. Then there’s another reveal demonstrating just how bad things are for the characters.

The rest of the issue is mostly discovery: that Vixen’s powers have changed and is why she can’t call upon a burrowing animal to help them escape, and, in another full-page reveal, that they are trapped upside down in the rubble. The following page is again mostly black panels with text, but the dialog boxes start off upside down and turn as you read each panel, simulating the movement of the characters in total darkness. Of course, they finally escape, and the issue ends with them ascending in the water as the panels fade to black again, just as they issue started. The dialog of the people who spot them ends with, “Sure that’s them?” “Definitely them.” “The ones who saved us.” I like it when the heroic efforts of our costumed heroes are appreciated.

Finally, there’s a few Titans references Red Arrow throws out, further endearing me to this story, such as when Dick trained him to breath and focus in a crisis situation, just as Batman had trained Dick, and Red Arrow compares the trembling in Vixen’s voice to Gar (Changeling) when he lost Terra. I love when writers/artists throw in continuity stuff, thus building a larger narrative. It’s called the DCU for a reason! :)

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Podcast Episode 85: First Impressions – DC Comics

DC Comics has put out a lot of new stuff recently, so I talk about

  • Doctor Fate
  • Martian Manhunter
  • We Are Robin
  • Robin, Son of Batman
  • Justice League of America
  • The Omega Men
  • Earth 2: Society
  • Constantine, The Hellblazer

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, or visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (58:10)

 

RandoMonday: JLA: Year One tpb

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

JLA: Year One tpb by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, & Barry Kitson (storytellers), Michael Bair, Barry Kitson, Mark Propst, & John Stokes (i), Patrick Garrahy (c), Ken Lopez (l), & Barry Kitson (cover)

There was so much about the 1990s superhero comics that I missed out on, and this one of the better stories that I later found in trade. This collection of the 12-issue series retells the Justice League of America’s origin story, but goes way beyond the original Appelaxians invasion plot from Brave and the Bold #28; in fact, it follows them for what is ostensibly a year after that momentous gathering. Along the way, they have to foil another Appellaxian invasion, and deal with the press, themselves, and their supporting casts. There are a lot of great little character bits as well, such as Aquaman mumbling all of the time because sound travels further underwater, thus not requiring such volume when speaking. The only bad part about that was that it was repeated several times throughout the issues. Another great moment was when Green Lantern is told he isn’t the leader of the team, and that Flash is. Speaking of Flash, he and Black Canary (who is taking the post-Crisis place of Wonder Woman in this tale) start to develop feelings for one another and even kiss at one point.

I also enjoyed the mystery of who was financially backing the newly formed JLA (and it’s probably not your first guess), something that we find out in the very last pages (but I won’t spoil it for you). Then there’s the part involving J’Onn, where he has kept files on all of his teammates, as well as any other superhero he’s encountered. Of course, this doesn’t go over too well with the team. It was also something that was touched on in the “Tower of Babel” story from JLA a few years later. All good stuff, especially if you like adding dimensions to material that is decades old.

The art of the series is mostly very good, but some inkers don’t mesh well with Kitson’s art, I’m afraid. Regardless, I highly recommend reading this series, especially as a trade.

Day 14 (30 Day Comic Book Challenge)

Current (or most recent) comic-themed wallpaper.

I LOVE Alex Ross’ work and I love the Brad Meltzer run on Justice League of America (2006).

My Comics History: Aug. – Sept. 1979

Back again with a stroll through memory lane!

Battlestar Galactica #9 (Aug. 1979): I was HUGE into BSG back in the day. It was my favorite sci-fi thing after Star Trek, plus it was on every week. It was only natural for me to try the comic. I know I had at least two issues of this title, and this was one of them. I remember thinking that this particular comic was way off from what the show was about, and I didn’t buy any more issues after this one. This probably started my “no media tie-in comics” rule that I broke only when Buffy, Season 8 came out (oh, and Star Trek comics, but that doesn’t count).

Justice League of America #172 (Aug. 1979): This is the one where Mr. Terrific is murdered by his fellow JSAer, Flash (well, a possessed Jay Garrick at any rate). I had no idea what a big deal this was at the time (I had no idea who Mr. Terrific even was!). In fact, I think there was a recent JSA story having ties to this JLA issue–funny how all those old ideas keep popping back up. I love how the cover is a huge red herring in that Batman literally points at a swatch of red that doesn’t belong to the killer (psst, hey, Bats, look two people to your left!). So, was Batman the world’s worst detective that day?

Amazing Spider-Man #199 (Sept. 1979): I don’t remember a thing about this issue, but I do remember that cover. Oh, and what kind of lame villain wears a fishbowl?

Also out in August that I find interesting in some way:

  • Best of DC #2: The Batman issue. I had to wait a few years to get this digest. In fact, I remember having a dream where I found this comic on the shelf in a convenience store near my house–I was so happy! Then I woke up. :(
  • Flash #279: I remember this cover quite distinctly, and it’s only been in the last few days that I recall why: at Emerald City Comicon I bought a bunch of the DC digest books that came out about this same time period, and one of them was a Year’s Best. In that digest was a bunch of covers voted by DC staffers as the best for the year, and this issue of Flash was chosen as one of the best.
  • Man-Thing #1: I actually do not care for this character, but it seems to have a soft spot in many Marvelites’ hearts, plus it’s a number 1 issue.
  • Iron Man #128: The famous “Demon in a Bottle” story starts here. I have never read this story, but I wish I could have picked up those issues then.

And in September:

  • Green Lantern #123: I don’t recall this issue when it came out, but I did find it a couple years later. It’s one of those definitive covers for Green Lantern, I think.
  • Rom #1: The Space Knight! Again, I never got this issue, but I did eventually get an annual of this series that I kept for a long time.

Looking ahead a bit, it appears to be slim pickings, and I think I know why, but more on that next time!