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Justice League of America #18

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2008
By: Bryant Frattalone

Alan Burnett, Dwayne McDuffie
Ed Benes, Jon Boy Meyers
DC Comics
Plot: The Justice League defends the poor super-powered criminals from the big bad Government.

Commentary: What a load of crap. Justice League of America under Burnett and McDuffie, Benes and Meyers and Eddie Berganza has really made me indignant toward a comic book. That's hard to do. I usually don't take them that seriously. To me it is pure escapist entertainment, but I've been shelling out three dollars plus for crap for almost six months now. You know what? I'm tired of this crap.

From the top:
  • The Cover: The tension and battle on the cover in no way reflects the tedium of the skirmishes between the JLA and the Suicide Squad on the inside. I've decided Benes has a real problem with perspective and anatomy too. Just look at Bronze Tiger. He looks like the Hulk in a cat-suit for Pete's sake! Once again we get butt shot after butt shot of Wonder Woman and Black Canary.


  • The Credits
  • : Um, Iím tired of DC touting "Big Name" writers on their books and then giving them nothing great to do. McDuffie was heralded as the next great thing to happen to the JLA, and they relegate him to back-up story guy while Alan Burnett does the main story. It's cheesy editorial slight of hand. DC is sinking to shady marketing and editorial practices on their main books evidently because they just can't seem to tell a good story.

  • The Content: The Suicide Squad is DC's poor man's Thunderbolts and this whole Salvation Run/Sanctuary storyline is DC's poor man's Civil War. A lame bunch of villains seeks asylum from the Government with the JLA, and the JLA is hell-bent on defending these creeps and their rights to the extent that they'll battle government appointed officers and officials to do it!? In the heart of Washington DC no less?! If I was the President, I'd blow up the Hall of (In) Justice and run them out of town on a rail. Why are they willing to do this? The villains are murderers, rapists and terrorists extraordinaire! The reason: Well, the government might be mistreating these poor, misled and misunderstood criminals, and worse, they could be subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment. Oh heaven forbid! This is very offensive to me because I'm of the mind that criminals, especially murderers, rapists and terrorists don't have any rights because they've infringed on and taken away the rights of others. Their rights are forfeit. Even if you don't believe that, can you see the likes of Batman being overly concerned for the poor mistreated bad-guys? C'mon, he sinks his rogues gallery into Arkham Asylum! The sub-plot with Mari's powers (the only interesting thing McDuffie brought to the JLA table) is discarded this issue, but we get another spotlight on Hawkgirl and Red Arrow's "relationship." Here's a fact, DC: nobody cares about or wants this "romance."

    There is a severe lack of exposition in this installment, leaving it up to the art to tell the story which it does not do well at all. Bronze Tiger "knocks out" Red Tornado just by toucing a control panel? How? What did he do? How could it be that easy? Speaking of the Suicide Squad, how come Burnett doesn't give us a run down of who they are and what their powers are? Is DC that arrogant that they think readers actually pick up all of their books and automatically know who these C-listers are? There is brief tension with Batman trying to find out where the planet is that DC's villains are being held captive on. There is a mysterious mole Batman has in the Government, but, alas, the rest of the story is boring, so who cares? By this chapter's end the JLA knows where the prison planet is and prepares to make a "daring raid" on it. Ho-hum. Is anyone even reading Salvation Run? Not according to my local comic shop, and I'm sure not!

    The back up story is not a continuation of Vixen's power exploration. That is what I would like to have seen considering the cliff-hanger ending with Mari mimicking the power of Green Lantern Hal Jordan's ring was the only grabber in McDuffie's whole run. Alas, we get another spotlight story on poor, poor Red Tornado angst ridden over whether he should remain a ghost in a machine or rely on the biggest brains of the DCU to craft a new and improved android body for him. Sigh, how many times must we go down this road with Reddy? Red Tornado to me has the potential to be one of the greatest characters in the JLA or at DC, but he just seems to be one of those characters like Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter that DC just cannot get a solid handle on. Oh yeah, and there's some crap about needing Zatanna to transfer Reddy's soul into his new android body and the ill-conceived tie between Zatana and Bruce Wayne is alluded to this issue. DC obviously thinks Meltzer's Identity Crisis made Zatanna a wildly popular heroine and she needs to pop up all over the place now in new and contrived ways. Newsflash: another miscalculation by DiDio, et al.


  • The Coloring Book: Sorry, trying to amuse myself with alliteration here. I'm referring to the art. The art as a whole has degenerated as this series has gone on. Benes' art looks like little more that some high school kids sketchbook of his favorite comic book characters with little to no focus on backgrounds. Panel layouts are inconsistent, and the story-telling just does not flow well. Fight scenes are yawn inducing, little better than people just passing by each other and knocking each other over. There is no good explanation of powers at play or exhibition of true super-power. This is the Justice League of America! Not Wrestlemania folks! Well, I'm crapped out on this whole sordid mess. Maybe after Final Crisis we'll get a great Justice League again, but with DC's track record the year after Infinite Crisis, I'm not holding my breath.

Final Word: Just a bunch of crap.



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