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by guest columnist Bruce Bachand

JLA #36

JLA #36    This is it. Morrison's final saga on his run with JLA. It is a five-part tale that will basically shatter what Morrison has established over the past three years with the Justice League of America.

We need to give this guy credit where it's deserved. He took over the writing duties for this staple DC superhero franchise, started it with an issue #1, gave it the name JLA, and *voila* we have the best-selling title that JLA is to this day. Now mind you, I liked some stories that Jurgens did on the Justice League of America but I thought the team seriously lacked the glory that it formerly nailed in the early 80's and then again in the late 80's. Thank-you Grant Morrison for reviving this team and bringing the "big seven" back on board. I am firmly optimistic that Mark Waid will bring fire and enthusiasm to the title when he takes over.

*****MAJOR SPOILER ALERT*****

Issue #36. "World War III". So begins the end. We see Metron, Wonder Woman, and Big Barda (any woman that loves "big" in front of her name definitely has guts in my book) arrive at a decimated Wonderworld, home to the greatest super champions the universe knows… er, former home, that is. Everyone is dead. Almost everyone.

Meanwhile, Mr. Miracle is giving the other JLA'ers a briefing at the Watchtower about Urgund, Old Gods, Spacetime, and someone\thing named Mageddon (sounding suspiciously like the Armageddon from the Book of Revelations of the Christian scriptures). Everyone is told that the "doomsday machine" has been released. While everyone then changes their underwear (just kiddin'), Superman instructs Oracle to call in every Leaguer, past or present. Period.

The rest of the issue sees the re-introduction of Aztek into the DC limelight, the reformation of the Injustice Gang (featuring Lex Luthor, Prometheus, the Queen Bee, and the Shaggy Man/General Eiling), Plastic Man and Azrael doing Watchtower housekeeping (minus the Pledge), the discovery of a Martian mothership, and a major kick-arse assault (YET AGAIN!) on the Watchtower. You want action, you got action! And plenty of set-ups for the other four issues, too.

I really like this issue! It has great dialogue, tidbits of information here and there that set us up for future confrontaions, fantastic character interaction (the scene between Aquaman and Orion is hilarious!), and the greatest team of heroes in the world about to have their corporate butts booted like never before. That is, unless they all just die in the next four issues.

We are also going to see many guest stars in the next few months. That's very cool. Here are a couple of less flattering observations: the beginning of this issue just assumes that you know why Wonder Woman, Metron, and Big Barda are all at Wonderworld (oh, what a lame name). That was a kinda strange way to begin an issue. Plus we have Batman mention "Know Man" but that is all that is said of the guy. Oracle is taken out by (presumably) Prometheus… though, again it isn't really certain. The issue has a couple of rough transitions here and there. But the story and action hold your attention nonetheless.

Porter's art? Well, I admit that the guy has obvious talent and all…but to be honest, I think he is tired. Some of his people stuff just look plain stiff or boxy. He does a pretty decent job (there are many titles out there that would benefit if they had Porter on them) but I am looking forward to the team from THE AUTHORITY that will be coming over with Waid to do JLA in about four months from now (and YES, I realize I am the thousandth person to say this in the past two months!).

Get this issue. It is solid entertainment from a man who knows his stuff. It isn't likely to be the best issue in the "World War III" tale but it isn't a poor read by any means. Read it for yourself and see what you think. I guarantee it will take you by surprise. And, man, am I sad that the Watchtower appears to be completely in the past as a result of being obliterated!

9 out of 10 stars.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
All scanned artwork is ™ DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Bruce Bachand.

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