Thursday, September 15, 2005

Comics Recap

JLA #118
What you can't see on the solicitation image above is the word balloon they added for Zatanna, "tegrof," which of course reads "forget" and is a reference to the mess she's gotten everyone into that started with last year's Identity Crisis. The balloon is a nice addition to the cover though I hope it isn't symbolic of how readers will feel after Infinite Crisis plays through.

This issue is strange in that it doesn't really seem to forward the story much at all. There are only two real plot points that are addresed. It reads more like a JLA coloring book, with an uncommon number of full and douple page splashes (of nothing terribly spectacular), and a healthy peppering of full-figure panels. Johns and Heinburg seem a little light on story, altho if anything the art team of Chris Batista and Mark Farmer is going to make a killing selling these pages on the aftermarket. There is a full page splash of Aquaman, a double page splash of the entire JLA, another full page splash of Wonder Woman, Zatanna and Supergirl, and another full page splash of Despero controlling Batman, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter.

That all looks nice and pretty, but what actually happens this issue? The JLA vote on whether or not they should have Zatanna mindwipe the villains again, and Despero subdues the aforementioned Batman, Aquaman, and MM. Maybe it's just me but it seems like that accounts for maybe half a book. When I think of all the crazy shit Morrison used to throw into a JLA issue, or more recently the insane goings-on in Busiek's previous arc, "Syndicate Rules," this buildup to Infinite Crisis within the core JLA title is coming up a tad short. My opinion is that since each member of the JLA has their own book(s), if you have the opportunity to write them together you should pack as much as you god damn can into every issue. In fact I think it would be more difficult to cater 22 pages to such a cast, expanded as it is in these latest issues.

The weird thing about the storyline, and this is more of a good thing because of its oddity, is that the plot is focusing around how the villains have suddenly "remembered" all of the secret identities of the heroes and now pose a serious threat to the JLA. But this information, in current continuity, is information they couldn't have remembered at all. They are remembering things, I think, from pre-Crisis of Infinite Earths continuity. It's all very confusing to me and I've always considered myself to have a solid grasp on the DCU, at least in a global sense. There has yet to be a good rundown of what the hell is going on, maybe the Infinite Crisis book itself will summarize things.

One last note, this issue of JLA really takes for granted that you are reading every other IC tie-in book, there are at least a half dozen references to other titles. Wonder Woman's scene, for example, makes absolutely no sense out of context. It does mention she killed Max Lord, but if you didn't read the Wonder Woman issue (or the OMAC issue) for how and why she killed him, well, good luck.

Rann/Thanagar War #5
Damn this book still kicks my ass, I just have to repeat myself when talking about how much I like it. Like JLA, it has two significant plot points, but unlike JLA, they are sandwiched between a dozen others in large scale fashion. By the time the prison break goes awry and Hawkwoman is being clutched in an agonized Hawkman's arms, you feel that shit, baby. That is a page I would want to own, and I sure as hell am going to try. The book also ends with a double page spread followed by a splash, but when that double page spread is of a mindblowing, seemingly endless array of armed forces swarming down on that last holdout of Rannians, holy crap. To cut from that scene to a full page close-up of the focal enemy Onimar, well, that's how it's done!

Dave Gibbons will be writing the new upcoming Green Lantern Corps book, and after Rann/Thanagar all I can say is thank god. I have a dream of a GLC that is a glorious, cosmic mindfuck, and I just might get it.

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