Wednesday, October 03, 2007
JLA 13: Unlimited License
Along with fixing the problems of the previous writer, Dwayne McDuffie has begun his run on Justice League of America by moving it squarely in the direction of Justice League Unlimited, the animated series he used to write for.
Thank GOD. More power to him.
The Justice League is an amazing concept. But its first 9 years? Crap. I know; I own the Archive Volumes that cover those years. Remember the Super-Duper? I do.
Then the Silver Age JLA ended at the hands of the Joker, who struck at the weakness at its core, the detested Snapper Carr.
The next 14 years were also painfully bad, just in a different, Bronze-y way. I bought lots of those stories when they were first published. Remember Starbreaker? Remember when Young Gerry Conway had Two-Face become the mediary for a trio of statues of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson that had been animated by the alien Dronndarians? I do.
Then there were the Justice League Detroit and Justice League International. They had their dubious virtues (Vibe and the Martian Manhunter, respectively), but we all knew they were impostor groups. Morrison's JLA had the players, but plot-wise it was muddled gibberish (it was the usual Morrison: all concept, with haphazard execution). Then we spent the next few years watching the JLA be eroded from within to suit the demands of universal crossover, only to be followed the Meltzer run, which was a decompressed Avengers novella written on Superfriends stationery.
In short, the Justice League has pretty much ALWAYS been bad, and gotten away with it because the Justice Leaguers themselves are so popular. Basically, the only time the Justice League has ever been a good story was on Justice League Unlimited, where some people had the crazy idea that DC's best characters deserved good stories. It was literally the best thing to happen to the Justice League in 30 years, and helped point the way toward a new, revived DCU.
So if McDuffie wants to bring it closer to the only bright spot in Justice League history over the last thirty years, I say more power to him, and, frankly, any who says otherwise might just be an idiot.
A Partial List of JLUifications in JLA No. 13 (Can you spot any others?)
1. Replacing Hal Jordan with John Stewart.
Fine on its face: GLs are pretty darned interchangeable. John's a better team player than Hal, anyway.
2. Make a connection between John Stewart and Hawkgirl.
Hey, it did wonders fleshing them out as characters on TV, and face it, they could both use it right now. The Hawkgirl/Hawkman thing is tedious and goes nowhere, our collective barf buckets are still unemptied from the horrid Red Arrow/Hawkgirl thing. I give my personal blessing to John and Kendra.
3. Clobbering Geo-Force out of the picture and off panel.
Really, shouldn't that alone inspire you with confidence in McDuffie, even if you've never seen a JLU episode? For the record, an enormous number of DC heroes, many of them quite obscure, were shown to be part of the JLU; Geo-Force wasn't one of them.
4. Assembling an Injustice League under Lex Luthor.
For all those people bitching, "It's been done before"-- yeah, ya think? Heroes fight villains. Groups of heroes fight groups of villains. That's kind of how that works. If you have a problem with that, maybe you should be reading Blankets instead.
5. Actual fight scenes.
Not just a big splash page that's a picture of whole bunch of heroes & villains in mid-fight. You can get away with that in a "timeless" medium like comics, but on tv you need to see a sequence of events. So I mean a battle like you used to see on JLU (and in the tradition of the original JLA stories), where one person attacks using his power, and then another one counterattacks with his powers, and there's a clear winner. More on that tomorrow. MUCH MUCH more on that tomorrow...