Or – “Hmmmmmm…”

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I don’t think I’ve been in any way coy about my feelings for this series so far.  There have been some well-done issues of JLA since the relaunch (most of them under Dwayne McDuffie) but overall, I’ve been sorely disappointed in the quality of the book overall.  I’m not a fan of the pencillers they’ve been giving us, and a lot of good plots have really gone nowhere.  One of the longest back-burner arcs to date has been the story of Vixen’s powerset change, but it’s about to come to a rapid boil, and <insert hot joke here!>

JLA1.jpgPreviously on Justice League of America:  I honestly don’t know.  A bunch of things happened in Brad Meltzer’s arc, leaving Red Tornado without a body, Hawkgirl and Red Arrow (ugh) is an on-again off-again tryst of some sort, Vixen’s powers changed from duplicating animals to mimicking other superhumans, The Flash is back on board, Wonder Woman being Wonder Woman, Superman doing likewise, Black Canary being the leader, and (for the umpteenth time) Amazo is back on the attack.  Using a full range of powers (though cut off from the speed force by The Flash) Amazo has cut a swath through the League, including guest star Zatanna using his Grant Morrison style “powers of any JLAer who seems to be on the team” gimmick.  Vixen used her power-duplication to futz up his power-duplication, but the feedback knocked her out, and left Amazo ready to impale her with Red Arrow (ugh)’s red arrows.  Phallic symbols much, there, Roy?

Luckily for Vix, Zatanna isn’t going down that easily, even with her mouth magically removed by Amazo’s powers.  Showing her grit, her moxie, and her adorable little fishnet-covered voiceover boxes, Giovanni Zatara’s favorite daughter manages to save Vixen’s life through physical intercession, a rarity for her.  Of course, she immediately gets a smackinnaface, causing her to get a nosebleed.  Zee’s eyes widen in fear, as she realizes that, with a nose full of blood and no mouth, “I’m going to suffocate.”  Her gambit gives the rest of the tam time to attack, and the fighty-fighty commences with Red Arrow (ugh) and Hawkgirl hacking the heck out of ‘Mazo’s robot body, and Black Canary leaping in.  Grasping the android’s neck, Dinah whispers, “Want to hear a secret?” in his ear before giving him the full-power canary cry…

…AND BLOWING HIS HEAD CLEAN OFF!  Holy.  $#!+.  Of course, he regenerates it quickly, taking out Superman with red sun radiation in his laser vision, dropping Wonder Woman with a Green Lantern power blast, followed by Black Lightning to the temples.  Zatanna manages to writer a backwards spell in her own blood, restoring her mouth and evening the odds, and we continue with the fighty-fighty, the smashy-smashy, and the Batman has a planny-planny.  Bats tries to force Amazo through the teleport bay, but gets pimp-slapped like a Gotham playboy should facingan all-powerful android, as Zatanna brings in their ace in the hole: the disembodied essence of John Smith, aka the Red Tornado!  She blasts Amazo through the teleportal, and muses, “John believes [his] essence to be that of a compute rprogram.  I know better.  I came here to transfer his spirit.  Independent of any “program,” and certainly of any mechanism built to house it…  Something wonderful and utterly unuqie.  A power beyond even Amazo’s to copy.  His SOUL.”  Doesn’t this imply that, since he copied the rest of the League, they’re soulless?  I’m just saying…  Batman reveals that he and Steel teleported Amazo into the orbit of a red sun millions of miles away, and the League puts Red Tornado back in a body, then heads for California to interview Animal Man regarding Vixen’s powerset change.  A-Man reveals that he, too, has lost his powers, and barbeques some food for the League.  Firestorm finally points out the elephant in the room, asking why Animal Man, a giant vegetarian, is chowing down on fried chicken.  “Something’s screwing with more than our powers, Buddy,” notes Vixen ominously…

…to be continued!  This issue packs in a LOT of stuff all at once, but thankfully caps off the Amazo subplot (hopefully for frickin’ ever, since the character is utterly beyond boring.)  The main problems that I have with this issue aren’t with McDuffie’s high-octane high-speed script, but with characterization and art.  Allan Goldman drew this issue with the DNA of Ed Benes stuck to the end of his pencil, apparently, as this issue maintains the majority of Ed’s artistic tics, while downplaying the T&A and adding a very welcome element: backgrounds.  Still, the issue is mostly Zatanna’s show, with the Big Three getting their moments in the sun, Firestorm pointing out the obvious, and Steel getting a good line in near the end.  With a cast this big, though, it’s good to see ANY character development going on, as any LSH fan will tell you.  It’s an okay issue, but is it really necessary to have a 14 member Justice League?  Either way, Justice League of America #24 gets by mostly on charm and character bits, earning a slightly above so-so rating of 3 out of 5 stars.  I’m hoping that we finally get some sort of closure on Vixen’s powers soon, either accepting her new Super-Adaptoid powers or returning to the animal mimicry that brung her to the dance, but at least we’re past the senseless “Salvation Run” crossovers…

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Allen Jones
    August 31, 2008 at 11:09 pm — Reply

    I just hope its the end of Amazo stories for awhile. Almost two years and he’s been the focal point for a good bit of the storylines.

  2. ~wyntermute~
    September 1, 2008 at 9:46 am — Reply

    As soon as I read “A-Man reveals that he, too, has lost his powers, and barbeques some food for the League.” I had a icky feeling in my stomach. Does that make me a better detective than most of the JLA? (Not better than Batman, naturally…. sheesh!)

  3. Ricco
    September 1, 2008 at 10:08 am — Reply

    I can’t remember when, maybe 52, but didn’t a bunch of aliens resurrect Animal Man after a fatal run in with Lady Styx and boosted his powers to allow him to chanel alien animals? So what does this Anansi have to do with anything?

    P.S. – I say “this” Anansi since the myth have him as an Ashanti Hero/God, I sorta feel iffy about an African hero/God turning evil in an American comic.

  4. Brother129
    September 1, 2008 at 11:25 am — Reply

    I think that part of this is the convolution that Dwayne McDuffie inherited when he took over his title. Is he staying on or his James Robinson taking this book over?

  5. Julian
    September 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    Whoo! Zatanna!! <3<3<3<3<3

  6. kwaku
    September 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    I’m iffy on the Anansi thing too, being from that part of the world. However McDuffie had a hero named Anansi in Static Shock so I’m hoping it’s one of those “I’m testing you for the darkness yet to come” deals and he ends up actually helping Vixen.

  7. ykw
    September 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm — Reply

    @Brother129:

    Robinson is doing a spin-off book starring Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen, and featuring the likes of Congorilla, a civilian Ray Palmer (apparently channeling WCA-era Hank Pym!) and the Mikaal Tomas Starman.

    http://glspotlight.blogspot.com/2008/08/james-robinson-justice-league.html

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