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JLA #121

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2005
By: Michael Bailey



"Call to Arms"

Writer: Bob Harras
Artists: Tom Derenick (p), Dan Green (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: The enemy from the JLA's past continues planning his revenge and trying to quiet the voices in his head. At the former Secret Sanctuary, Green Arrow, Black Canary, John Stewart, Dawn and Aquaman still try to hold the concept of a super-hero team together. Green Arrow tries to recruit Nightwing, but Dick Grayson will have nothing to do with them. Meanwhile, Black Canary tries to form a bond with Dawn.

Commentary: Despite a rather leisurely rate, this story is moving along well. All of the various sub-plots are still running along separately, but now things are starting to slowly draw together. This is how a good, six issue storyline should go. Harras shows a good feel for how to pace a story to mix the character and the plot together without having one overpower the other.

There were a lot of great moments in this issue. I enjoyed Aquaman and the others' reaction to Batman's comments with Green Arrow being the only one who voices any concern. This is almost his function within the Justice League. Ever since Denny O'Neil first started writing the team about two decades ago, Green Arrow has been not so much the voice of reason but the one who will question what the League is doing. Harras continues with this characterization and does it well. I especially liked the scenes with him and Black Canary concerning Ollie's relationship with Dawn.

Of all the characters that could have been carried over from Justice League Elite, Dawn was a great choice for this series. Harras carries on how Kelly handled the character but throws in his own spin as well. I also liked how he dealt with Nightwing. I continue to be impressed with Harras' handling of the DC characters. While this may not be the exact Nightwing that is running around the pages of his own title, it is still close enough that I know that Harras isn't dealing with a characterization that is several years old. I have no idea what Green Arrow, John and Aquaman were thinking in trying to recruit him. From a story point it made for a neat little scene, so I understand it on that level, but you would still think that they would have known better.

Derenick and Green's art really picked up in this issue. Everyone looked great, and the way they composed the pages were exciting but still managed to carry what the character were feeling. There were a lot of different locations and each one had their own look and distinctive feel. I really like how they are handling Green Arrow and as much as I enjoyed the hooded Mike Grell costume, nothing beats the Neal Adams design. It may seem simple and maybe to some outdated, but it looks great, and I personally feel it holds up well.

In The End: I really wish the arcs that have been running through JLA would have been as good as this one. Between "World Without a Justice League" and "Crisis of Conscience," I am really glad to be reading this title again. Harras has shown a great deal of talent with how he uses the characters and his ability to pace a story. It is all starting to come together and hopefully the rest of this arc will continue along in that fashion.



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