Monday, September 3, 2012

Back Issue Review: JLA Classified #10-15 (2005)

Now THIS is the Justice League! Confident, friendly, and super-powerful, this is what drew me to the DCU in the first place.

I’m sure I skipped this because of Warren Ellis’ habit of mean-spirited protagonists. I bet I didn’t want to see the JLA done that way. BUT, I must have forgotten how well Ellis can do straight-up super heroics too. There are some small hints of the too-cool-for-school heroes in the first two chapters of this arc, but after that? It’s the Justice League kicking butt and expressing cool confidence in their work.

The plot follows a story that drives people mad through an ancient creation that is meant to bring the devil into the world. Martian Manhunter’s people had stories of it, and the JLA is very concerned when it starts killing folks on Earth. Sure enough, the devil arrives, and he does have an issue or two where he knocks the JLA around pretty good. But you know it couldn’t last. Every single person on the team overcomes their personal obstacles. Either through intelligence (most of the League) or just good-hearted stubbornness (Kyle Rayner). (As an aside, stories like THIS are how Kyle Rayner became my favorite GL.)

The League is the big seven plus Oracle, and man, did I love Oracle in this role. She and Martian Manhunter have great roles as the coordinators of the league. It’s clear that Ellis has some affection for the character too; she’s pretty important. I’m not sure that Ellis loves Wally West or Kyle Rayner as much, but they get some cool stuff even with less page time.

The art by Butch Guice is a lot of fun too. Guice never seems comfortable with Kyle Rayner, though. He’s got some kind of armor that he wears through the whole arc. I’m not sure if that was a costuming choice or there is a story reason, but it was a bit off from Kyle’s regular look. Martian Manhunter looks a bit spookier than some artists draw him, but he looks cool in any case. Of course, Batman looks the best. That dark, tactical costume works really nicely with Guice’s style. The coloring sells the alien pages, too. They have a nice, Underworld Unleashed-style glow.


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