Current Reviews


JLA #111

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005
By: Shawn Hill

ď36 Hours: The StormĒ

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Ron Garney (p), Dan Green (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot: The Crime Syndicate breaks cover in order to directly confront their doppelgangers, who are, sadly, not sure what hit Ďem. Meanwhile, some planets blow up somewhere because of something.

Whatís interesting: Busiek has joined that small group of writers who take seriously the job of following in Grant Morrisonís footsteps. Like Joss Whedon on X-men, Busiek actually understands some of Morrisonís appeal, and this story piles on the big concept Silver Age goofiness in charming, clever ways. He also continues to make welcome use of his own DC concepts.

I canít recall where Ultraman gets his powers, so I have no idea how he diverges from Superman. But ďanti-Kryptonite capsules inserted under [his] skin?Ē How awesome is that?! Itís all I need to know to take their fight seriously.

The dispatch with which the rest of the team is dealt is big, bad and dangerous. Super-Womanís ability to wring a confession out of Wonder Woman underlines the difference between sleaze and bravery, and Busiek knows the ins and outs of Lantern lore and the speed force as well. I love that the Power Company and the Titans show up, and thatís just shades of whatís to come, apparently, as Busiek reveals how well he understands his two opposing team in impending plot details.

The Crime Syndicate are top dogs in their world, and brook no further opposition as theyíve achieved their version of stability through murderous infighting. But the JLA still has friends to call on, which means next issue is going to be fun. Though it hurts to see them lick their wounds in defeat, our bruised and battered heroes are hardly down for the count.

Not as interesting: I love the scripted intensity this issue, as when Ultraman throws Superman into and THROUGH Cyborg Ö owch! And we finally get a sense of the Qwardian stuff converging with the A-plot, as that quarrelsome race nears Sol. However, the impact of some scenes is muted. Garney has his strengths (including a quite solid command of the Syndicate in all their perversity), but sci-fi isnít one of them. The big marauding space-thingy (some kind of Death Star I think, mixed with something like 1 Millionís Solaris) just isnít that impressive or grand. With Morrison-sized ideas, you need an artist like Quitely or even a weirdo like Kordey to capture other worlds with convincing creative precision.

These planet-destroying warlords come off as generic and, therefore, dull, with little true sense of the alien about them. Garney is much stronger with the iconic in-your-face fisticuffs, making one wish the alien stuff had been left out. And even there, thereís some sloppiness, as on the cover where some of the heroes fight their exact doppelgangers and others fight their recognizable alternates. Confusing.

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