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Formerly Known as the Justice League #2

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2003
By: Shaun Manning



Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Kevin Maguire

Publisher: DC Comics

The Story:
The World’s Greatest Superheroes return! Sort of! Under the helm of enigmatic financier Maxwell Lord, ex-Justice Leaguers Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Elongated Man, and Captain Atom team with new recruit Mary Marvel to save suburbia. Moving into their new HQ, old friends reunite, old jealousies return, and old jokes are recycled! Friction between teammates erupts even as friction between spouses fizzles. Can the would-be JLA come together to defeat the combined onslaught of a hyperliterate street gang and the Concerned Citizens Board? All this, and an-oh-so-mysterious behind the scenes villain.

The Reaction:
On their own, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have written some of the most lamentable comic books in recent memory. Yet, together, they’re golden. All of the humor of JLI is back, enriched by its self-recognition. Nothing worthwhile has been done with these characters since “Breakdowns,” and the creative is more than willing to acknowledge this. The first issue politely greeted the Maxwell Lord Havok plotline and the hideous Captain Atom uniform and hurriedly shuffled into the corner with other unfashionable guests. Issue two sees another great “moving in” tale that JMD and Giffen are so keen on, in which nothing much happens but which are tremendous fun.

Running gags abound, as Sue Dibny and Fire debate the male physique (“I’m married to a four…”), street thugs recite Shakespeare, and L-Ron vents his spleen. Also, Mary Marvel is more interesting in Captain Marvel’s “white bread” role than the Cap’n himself was back in the day. Kevin Maguire’s mastery of facial expressions amplifies the verbal wit with excellent spit takes and indignant pouts. The mystery villain is no secret to fans of the original series, and his fearsome visage setting up in Middle America should pose some great fun.

The Verdict:
Who needs the Big Seven when you can have lechers from the future, conniving businessman cyborgs, and melodramatic space villains? While it would take more than six issues to capture the magic absurdity of the original JLI in its full magnitude, FKATJL is a satisfying taste for a community that has been without for far too long. And, heaping happiness upon fortune, a second mini is already planned. Support your local nonprofit superhero team! Looking at the exploits of the characters involved, they can really use your help.



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