Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Ron Garney (p), Dan Green (i)
The Qwardians are ravaging Anti-Matter Earth with their living weapon-ship, the Void Hound. The Crime Syndicate of America reluctantly asks the Justice League for their help. They get one shot at shutting down the mind of the Void Hound. Fortunately, they have help from one of the new lifeforms created by the Construct. The Qwardians are defeated, but Anti-Earth isn’t exactly saved. And unknown to the JLA, another threat quietly grows in strength.
Sometimes I thought this story lasted a little too long. It did run 8 issues! But to Busiek’s credit, every issue was entertaining. Everything he introduced paid off in the end. It seems like Busiek took this opportunity to do everything he could with the JLA. We’ve had the return of the CSA, the introduction of the new Power Ring, the first current-continuity battle between the two teams, the reinvention of the Weaponeers of Qward, a transdimensional war requiring every member of the JLA, JSA, and the Elite, the implication that the nature of the DC Universe has forever been changed, and a follow-up to the excellent JLA/Avengers crossover. Looking back, Busiek didn’t waste his time with anything not relevant to the story.
I can’t help thinking the CSA were the stars of this story. A lot of time was spent showing how they operate. The “favor bank” they use to maintain order redefines their world. People on their Earth aren’t just “evil”; they’re selfish to the extreme. The Crime Syndicate’s cruelty, greed, and lust all stem from their inability to think of others. The story began with them being bored. Now they get to conquer the world all over again. It’s their happy ending!
Ron Garney’s work has usually been hit-or-miss with me. It usually depends on the inker. He draws action scenes and quiet moments with equal ability. But there are times when his work looks rushed. Some parts seem a little sketchy and vague. I’d rank his work here one notch below his work on Stormwatch. Dan Green’s inks usually make up for these shortcomings. But I can’t help feeling some characters exhibit a “plastic” quality. Their flesh looks too smooth and shiny. That’s partly the result of where Garney puts a pencil line, partly where Green adds an ink, and partly how David Brown colors the work. The overall quality of their art is satisfactory. There are some strong moments, (The JLA’s appearance on page 7 reminds me of Mike Mignola). Besides, I read comics for the story more than the art.
Biggest problem I have with the overall story is how Batman sends the Qwardian battleship to the Anti-Earth. That makes him indirectly responsible for the millions who died in the Qwardians’ attack. Then again, it was either fighting a losing battle over his Earth, or a battle they could win on another Earth. I still think the League lets him off too easy.
I wasn’t reading JLA regularly before this story started, and I don’t expect to again. Not even the upcoming Infinite Crisis-related story interests me. (Didn’t think much of that story anyway.) I really bought these issues for the CSA; they’re some of my favorite villains. So, for building a massive story one solid issue at a time, for illustrating it in a (usually) fine manner, and for examining the nature of the Anti-Matter universe, I give this entire story arc .
If you haven’t been reading it, pick up the inevitable TPB.
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