Current Reviews


JLA: Classified #17

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2006
By: Shawn Hill

“The Hypothetical Woman Part Two: Blood is Not Enough”

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Klaus Janson

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot: As Flash suffers from an infection of Starro, General Tuzik pits his foes and allies against each other, while the JLA just make everyone nervous with their secrecy.

Comments: Classified has been an interesting series. While the titular JLA book has been hobbled by fallout from recent Crises, this book has been blissfully free of such continuity and thus able to get on with telling stories of heroes fighting battles with evil.

The first story was an off-concept romp by Morrison that inadvertently led into Seven Soldiers. The second was a last great glimpse at the Giffen League, instantly anachronistic as it was coming out, and more valuable for that quality, as well as its singular mixture of slapstick and tragedy. Then Ellis pitted the JLA against a Lovecraftian foe, in a story that emphasized the heroes’ intelligence and experience.

And now we’ve got this mixture of realpolitik and The Authority, which is not only outdated but also strangely sympathetic to its antagonist in its murkily satirical tone. It’s hard to know what to make of it. The Authority stuff seems lifted from the JLU animation: while the League aren’t evil, they’re too powerful for world leaders to tolerate. While still better than the
current state of the parent title, Simone’s story is so far reading as a hodge-podge of disparate elements that don’t quite come together. The Starro virus seems to be similar to the nano-Sentinel infection suffered by Morrison’s New X-men. We are scared of deadly bugs, the more we know about them the worse it gets. It makes sense for Starro to have this sort of method of expansion, as its need to conquer is infinite.

The centerpiece of the issue is a well-choreographed battle between determined Diana and deranged Flash, and Simone makes this work by having Diana narrate her perceptions in first person. She doesn’t want to injure Flash, but she may have to for her own protection and his. Diana strategizes like an experienced warrior; though her surgical strike may have unleashed a worse horror. And that’s not the only impending doom, as the absent “Hypothetical Woman” is the underpinning of Tuzik’s plan. So far she too sounds like a riff on
another concept (the villain Jasmine from Joss Whedon’s Angel season 4?), but we won’t know till we see her. And goddesses, if such she is, are so often unpredictable and capricious.

Art-wise: No doubt, this is the element keeping the book on my buy list. Garcia-Lopez and Janson are the definition of storytelling consistency, and I’d never pass up a rare chance to see Garcia-Lopez draw Superman.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!