Current Reviews


JLA Classified #1

Posted: Friday, November 12, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell

"Island of the Mighty"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Ed McGuinness (p), Dexter Vines (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Gorilla Grodd is on yet another rampage against humanity, and the JLA are busy saving another universe. However, when the JLA aren't on hand to deal with a potential threat to their own planet the International Ultramarine Corps are on hand to deal with the situation. However, their efforts while impressive, prove to be unequal to the task of stopping Grodd, and as such Batman steps from the shadows to stop the rampaging Grodd.

The problem with Grant Morrison's writing is that he does need an editor to step in on occasion to remind him that in addition to offering up a boatload of innovative ideas for the readers to consider, the job of a writer is also to provide an entertaining story that can support these ideas. Now I guess the story of this issue is that Grodd is on a rampage, and with the JLA missing in action the job of stopping him falls to the International Ultramarine Corps. However, Grant Morrison has apparently decided that since the Corps are playing the role of cannon fodder there's no real need for him to introduce them to the readers. So what we get is a big action sequence where the readers have almost no emotional investment in the characters who are getting ripped apart by Grodd, but I guess we're not supposed to notice this because he's throwing out a number of clever, off the wall ideas. However, one of the reasons why I loved his work on "Doom Partol" and "Animal Man" is because no matter how weird the material got, he always took the time to offer up honest to goodness character development. However, this opening issue is simply Grant Morrison throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall, and when he's in this mode I can't say I'm as big a fan of the finished product. Still, I did have to smile at Batman's "UFO" line, and Grodd's villainous ranting was grade A material. The final page cliff-hanger moment also looks quite promising.

Ed McGuinness is not exactly the best match for Grant Morrison's rather chaotic script, as he's always struck me as an artist who needs the writer to clearly lay out the action, or he'll simply fall back into the habit of offering up pinup shots of the characters, and this issue pretty much reaffirms this belief, as the art does a very poor job of actually detailing what the powers of this cast of characters are. Now I will concede he does a fantastic job of making Grodd out to be a terrifying entity, as our first look at him is a great looking reveal shot, and our final shot of the character is equally impressive. I'll also give the art full marks for the sequence where Squire is knocked off her sky cycle as it's a fun cute meet moment. However, most of the issue is a simply a series of cool looking images that don't really make for a coherent story. Still, the final page manages to set up a solid final image to carry us into the next issue.

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