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JLA: Another Nail #1

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004
By: Ray Tate



Writer/Artist: Alan Davis
Artists: Mark Farmer(i), John Kalisz(c)
Publisher: DC

If Alan Davis can sustain the quality exhibited by the premiere issue of JLA: Another Nail he may just top the original. Inside, apart from eye boggling, jaw dropping highly influential artwork, Mr. Davis creates a story that ripples with originality a well as a sense of history.

Davis opens with a war between the gods that causes furrows in the brows of little blue men and a syncrony of emerald beams from the Green Lantern Corps. For those who grew up during the pre-Crisis, this is Nirvana.

I consider and will always consider Alan Scott to be Green Lantern. I have a profound hatred for Hal Jordan save for his Super-Friends appearances. To me, he has always been the hero most likely to slap a woman on the buttocks and tell her to go make the coffee. However, I have always liked the idea of the Green Lantern Corps, and Mr. Davis consolidates the grand beauty of the concept in the narration as he reacquaints readers with old friends: the exotic and powerful Katma Tui, the noble Tomar Re, the elfin Arisia, the bizarre Phy'll, the only Lantern to hail from the plant kingdom.

While the Lanterns patrol the space of innocent planets caught in the crossfire, Darkseid tortures Mister Miracle and Big Barda. The characterization of Darkseid in this adventure is unfettered. In the pre-Crisis, Darkseid held himself in check to preserve the truce established by the trade of infants Orion and Scott Free. Unfettered, Darkseid's raw evil and extreme cunning chills to the very bone.

Jack Kirby of course created all the New Gods, and Davis pays tribute to the artist by imitating his style when rendering Darkseid's Doomsday Weapon. The device is pure Kirby with giant bolts casting thick dark shadows and ziggarauts and sharp angled bar frames composing its structure.

Darkseid's evil results in unforeseen circumstances that rely on Mr. Miracle's characterization and a smart application of long-standing continuity. Many writers complain their "art" is hampered by continuity. They claim that continuity prevents good storytelling. Continuity does not hamper Alan Davis. His engrossing story thrives on it.

The entire episode we learn is actually recorded Lantern history explaining where the Lanterns were during the time of JLA: The Nail. Hal Jordan--who is portrayed tolerably here--however informs his friends on the JLA Satellite that these events may pertain to the immediate future.

Alan Davis' Justice League sounds like the genuine article with only Hawkgirl, devoid of her spouse Hawkman, bearing more likeness to her Cartoon Network counterpart. Definitely not a bad thing. Only Superman--for he was raised by the Amish not the Kents--sounds shockingly different from his source. This difference provides the League the opportunity to be happy and joke around, and it's a relief to see their interaction play out so naturally and without angst. We get enough of that.

Alan Davis' fans will not be disappointed with Another Nail. Fans of great artwork will be thrilled. Fans of super-hero stories will be thoroughly engorged with the poetry of the words, and the pre-Crisis generation especially will love this book.



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