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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RandoMonday: New Titans #72

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

 

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RandoMonday: Titans #45 (1999)

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

Not much is very interesting about this issue of Titans. Damage (never a favorite of mine) and Jesse Quick (who was until Titans screwed her up) team up to solve what starts out as a ghost story, but turns into a fight psychic manifestations story. The side story shows that Dick is being a dick when it comes to Jesse, and not much of a friend to Garth, which contributes to my dislike of the story. This series started out so very strong with me, but petered out in the end. What is of note about this issue (and the next) is that Barry Kitson did the plot and breakdowns. I had no idea at that time who Barry Kitson was really. I remember loving his art on L.E.G.I.O.N. (but not paying attention to who was doing the art), and then a few years later on Legion of Super-Heroes and Empire with Mark Waid. A quick search of my comic stash reveals that Kitson cowrote six issues of L.E.G.I.O.N. ’90 and this two-part tale in Titans.

Unfortunately, the best thing in this issue is the ad for Firefly: