So if I understand the news correctly, Dwayne McDuffie has been fired from JLA and this is his last issue. So it seems that we won't be seeing the conclusion of the Starbreaker story. I'm kind of torn on that, since this hasn't been that great of a story. Sure, certain parts have been decent enough (the Shadow Cabinet fight, last issue's Shadow Thief re-match) but some of this story has been meandering and random. That Starbreaker flashback issues remains one of the worst comics I've ever read. I'm really hoping Len Wein was having a bad day, cause I'd like to pick up his upcoming JLA issues, but I'm only giving him one issue.
Anyways, on to this particular issue. McDuffie picks up with Dr. Light overcoming her fear of darkness. She rationalizes the fear away that she's actually inside a shadow dimension/field, rather than in actual darkness, so she can still function. I love that kind of comic logic! The rest of the team quickly rallies and sets off on Starbreaker's trail, and along the way they pick up Hardware. Hardware was one of the cooler Milestone heroes, so I liked seeing him dusted off in more detail here. He clarifies his non-member status with the Shadow Cabinet (Icon is not a member either, as I remember). He comes off suitably tough here, I kind of liked how he repeatedly mentions how he could defeat the Justice League, but John Stewart and the other Leaguers just don't go for the bait. Hardware also refers to Vixen as "the future Mrs. Hardware" which cracked me up in another great character bit. The team eventually teleports (thanks to Firestorm's gal Gehenna) to the Shadow Cabinet HQ, where they find the team down for the count. They cliffhanger shows SC leader Dharma seemingly dead and Icon wearing down fighting Starbreaker. It's too bad this is McDuffie's last issue. I think Hardware would have been a good addition to the league. The lineup of Black Canary, John Stewart, Zatanna, Vixen, Dr. Light, Firestorm, Hardware, and maybe one more character like Hawkman or Hawkgirl could have been pretty dang strong.
At this point, I have no idea who will be featured in the league for the next few months. The rumor is that Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison will be taking over the title, and I hope it is true. JLA needs a A-level writer who can create stories free of editorial influence. McDuffie deserved better than this, I'll be keeping an eye out to see where he ends up next.
Rags would have been a nice collaborator and I wish he could have been drawing this book for longer. Imagine the possibilities if the art had matched McDuffie's story for the past few years? This book makes a good rating based on the stuff with Hardware. Starbreaker as a villain just doesn't interest me.