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Justice League Adventures #19

Posted: Friday, May 9, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"What's In A Hero?"

Writer: Michael Bernard
Artists: John Delaney(p), Rick Burchett(i), John Kalisz(c)
Publisher: DC

Michael Bernard covers old material--that it's not the super-powers that make a person a hero. While his story falls short of achieving the amount of power carried by the similar theme provided by the climax of Dan Slott's "All-Star" in a previous issue, he doesn't send the message over the top.

Perhaps, the reason why the old adage seems a little fresher than it should is due to the seriousness of this Justice League in their pursuit to make the world a better place. The John Stewart Green Lantern keeps his grins. By comparison, Batman is positively flippant.

Of course, had Mr. Bernard not been able to capture the cast's voices so well, the central elements would have been delivered inert, but in every word he sounds like Phil LeMarr who voices the Green Guardian. I like also his lack of ego when lives are at risk. This is how a hero should act. He's quite willing to let one of his teammates hunt down the villain while he helps the firefighters keep a building, crippled by the antagonist, standing.

"What Makes a Hero?" rides the momentum of September Eleventh imagery. The book does not exploit the tragedy. Rather it celebrates the willingness to help others in a time of need. Seeing so many people from different walks of life give aid in any way they can, especially in a comic book that promotes such heroism, does not seem to be out of the ordinary. The best of humanity was seen after the Towers fell, and the message no longer seems very corny.

Mr. Bernard's story gets another boost from artist John Delaney. What struck me the most about Mr. Delaney's artwork is his careful depiction of the aftermath from a battle between hero and villain. Brickwork crumbles from the forces of the blast and the Green Lantern's impact. Debris falls as Lantern focuses his ring, and the battle scars marring the edifices evoke memories of the worst day in America's life.

"What Makes a Hero?" as it should be is optimistic in tone. This is not a world where madmen would be allowed to slam a pair of planes into skyscrapers. This is a world protected by the Justice League, and because of their presence and inspiration, their world is a safer place.



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