"The Super-Buddies in That Moron Looks Just Like Me!"
A long title for a book that works on economy and rapid pacing...
Writers: Keith Giffin, J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Kevin Maguire(p), Joseph Rubinstein(i), David Baron(c)
Once again, JLA Classified is surprisingly more moving than books that are meant to tug at your heart strings. You feel for these characters because Keith Giffin and J.M. DeMatteis with the ultimate expressioner Kevin Maguire has given them so much depth and dimension that they live and breathe. Thus, you know exactly how Bea feels when under the guns of an old friend. This isn't funny. It's actual honest to goodness drama.
Though dramatic JLA Classified is not devoid of humor. Far from it. This is the most humorous issue of the arc since the Super-Buddies were sent to hell and their team mates came looking for them. Giffin/DeMatteis and Maguire find humor in humanity and the upending of dramatic cliches. Thus, when a character gets amnesia, they do not dwell on the trauma. They dwell on the comedy potential and the surprise in how the character becomes far more effective a leader. Likewise the potential horror of the Super-Buddies' situation is defused by the absolutely stunning looks of shock and surprise on the characters' faces and the comedic perversion. The lisping character will I suspect be remembered as equally well as the canine Green Lantern G'nort.
The promise of the cover is actually met, and though I've been reading comic books for quite some time, I still didn't see this twist coming. While Giffin/DeMatteis and Maguire mine the hilarity for all its worth, they still provide very satisfying moments of super-hero action. This is the most impressive Power Girl has acted in decades. It's fitting that this team be the ones to restore Kara--earth-two cousin to Superman--back to her glory since they were the first to tamper with perfection. They have atoned well.
Joseph Rubinstein's role in this resurgence of quality should not be overlooked. His inks embody Kevin Maguire's pencils with texture--as in Mary Marvel's luxurious hair and the fabric of Blue Beetle's costume--and depth; evinced in the city backdrop. Colorist David Baron creates red light district atmosphere in certain scenes and ignites Fire with the best advances in coloring techniques. Rob Lappan, the letterer, punches the words meant to be accented and shrinks the font to add to the feeling of understatement and the emotion of shock.
JLA Classified once again proves to be superior to the disassembly of the JLA, but that's not really saying much is it? Let's just say if you're looking for a meaningful super-hero book that doesn't take itself too seriously, look no further.
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