Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: Duncan Rouleau (p), Aaron Sowd (i)
As the various members of the JLA each come to the realization that they were not responsible for the tragic events that played out in the first chapter of this arc, we see it becomes a race to discover what really happened before these people can really die. To this end the JLA comes into conflict with a group of villains calling itself the Axis of Evil.
Far too much of this book is centered around the various JLA members making the realization that they have been tricked into thinking they had killed hundreds of people, while at the same time far too little time is spent detailing why the villains of this piece had carried out this ruse. Now I realize it's important for the book to show us how our heroes come to realize they are not guilty, but given the villains are largely new characters who have never been seen before this arc began, I feel far more attention should've been directed their way. As it stands what we're left with is an arc that is driven by a single idea, and not by the villains. Yes it's interesting to see the JLA placed into a situation where they believe they are responsible to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, but since the book established early on that they had been tricked into this belief, far more attention needed to be handed over to examining the how & why of this plan, as well as a better look behind the curtain at the people responsible. I mean I'd be hard pressed to tell you the names of this issue's villains, let alone what they are capable of.
As for the art, Duncan Rouleau does have his moments, as the wildly distorted shot of the Flash that opens the issue is a wonderful visual teaser to pull the readers into the story. The scene where the Flash is fighting the villains all by his lonesome is also quite impressive, as is the panel where Superman makes his arrival.
I won't hide the fact that I've been less than impressed with this book as of late, with this latest arc being a perfect example of what I feel is the main problem with this book. The problems that the JLA face are too dependent on the message that Joe Kelly is looking to express, while forgetting the simple rules of entertainment. Now I'm not saying the JLA has to be a book that should be devoid of plots that require one to wear one's thinking cap, but I do have a problem with the book when the book utterly fails to deliver any real moments that one could point to as a JLA moment. This book is more a collection of small bite sized samplings than the full course meal it needs to be, and the simple fact that most of the ideas only seem to be half realized doesn't really help matters. I can't deny that I love the new lineup though, and there are some fun little moments, such as the ever-intriguing romantic embrace that plays out on the final page.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!