Or – “Oooh!  Scary Stuff, Kids!  Blah!” 

JLA2.jpg

My daughter looked at this issue’s cover and asked me, “Who’s the red monster?”  I told her it was Starbreaker, and he was an alien vampire.  She asked,  “Who’s the princess?”  I informed her that the princess was Doctor Light, and she was a superhero.  She then asked, “Why is she dead?”  I informed her that he was biting her to drain her star-powers and that she only LOOKED dead.  My daughter looked for a minute, shrugged and said, “I still think she’s dead.  And I like Edward Cullen more.” 

We all do, baby…  We all do.

Previously, on Justice League of America:  So, bad things have happened in the ranks of JLA.  JLA1.jpgThe goddamn Batman has rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibule.  Superman has found that his home planet isn’t what he thought it was, and has been consumed with his work on New Krypton.  Wonder Woman has gotten engaged, and had her whole world ripped apart by a monster called Genocide.  The Flash has quit due to the return of his mentor and increased family responsibility.  Hawkgirl died, then didn’t die, and her boyfriend Red Arrow (ugh) has quit because she didn’t die with her long-lost reincarnated lover, Hawkman.  Black Lightning quit to run the Outsiders, and Hal Jordan formed his own new branch of the League with his best pal, a jailbait girl in a skirt, a red-headed lesbian, a gorilla, and a blue alien.  The remaining Leaguers (Doctor Light, Vixen, John Stewart, Firestorm, and Zatanna) were quite stunned to hear chairperson Black Canary dissolve the team last issue.  However, Earth’s Mightest Heroes weren’t quite stunned enough to actually believe her or anything.

Superman can’t believe it either, questioning why in the world Dinah would even try such a maneuver, and she explains it in her own fashion.  “[Hal and Ollie] don’t like the way I’m running things?  Let THEM take a crack at it.”  He reminds her that the Trinity voted for her so that she could cover things if they were gone, and she snarks, “So I’m okay to run things, if you’re not too busy?”  Superman offers to try and fix things with Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen, and she shrugs it off, saying the team is disbanded.  Superman smirks a bit, telling her that her team doesn’t seem to believe it, as he’s watching the five remaining members take a meeting about continuing.  Firestorm makes a few chairs, and the team starts thinking about new membersand the question of leadership.  Doctor Light makes the  completely correct assessment that the five of them comprise some of the League’s most powerful members, while Green Lantern Stewart refuses to take the position of chairperson.  They decide to worry about leaders later, and get to work.

While Doctor Light and Firestorm set off, Vixen confronts John Stewart about his refusal to take the mantle of chairman, and he tells her that the League is about protecting the weak, defending innocents, and that Black Canary is the leader that they need in the driver’s seat.  “And if there’s nobody in it, she’s more likely to come back.  And we need her.”  Vixen and GL bond, while the Doc and Firestorm visit the Shadow Thief in prison.  In a creepy Hannibal Lector moment, Thief spits up some of his shadow substance, which survives in his brightly lit cell just long enough to incapacitate Light.  He creates a sword, and reminds Firestorm that he killed the last man with that name, slashing open the hero’s stomach.  Firestorm doubles over, then rises.  “It’s time you got with the program.  I’M FIRESTORM NOW!”  A nuclear blast drives the shadowman into the wall, but he uses his powers to create a portal for Starbreaker to return to reality.  Starbreaker blasts Firestorm away, and proceeds to drain Doctor Light’s power.  Light-years away, the sun of the Vega system (the star from which her powers are drawn) actually starts to dim from the power drain.  Doctor Light confronts the Shadow Thief, falling into his dark vortex just as Firestorm arrives with the rest of the team.  Vixen realizes the truth first, explaining to Green Lantern.   “She just jumped into the Shadow Thief.  And she’s afraid of the dark!”

This issue is what I hoped Dwayne McDuffie would do for the League: give it a whole new start.  This version of the JLA has been drowning in “big events” and “crossover fever” and lacking greatly in character development and the things that actually make reading about the team funny.  The first twelve issues of this book skipped over the parts that would have made us CARE why fourteen people were working together in the first place, but we’re finally getting some background and interesting moments of personality conflict.  I love the fact that this League won’t admit that their boss said they’re fired, and especially love the fact that the team isn’t all white guys in their mid-20’s anymore.  Rags Morales’ art also made this one of the best looking issues of the whole run, giving us actual consistent backgrounds, and a realm of expression that the JLA hasn’t seen since Doug Mahnke left the old JLA series.  It’s a strong issue, and a great building point towards the future of the JLA.  I’m giving Justice League of America #32 3 out of 5 stars, and the realization that after almost 3 years, we’re finally getting somewhere.

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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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8 Comments

  1. ~wyntermute~
    April 24, 2009 at 11:59 pm — Reply

    “He reminds her that the Trinity voted for her so that she could cover things if they were gone, and she snarks, “So I’m okay to run things, if you’re not too busy?” ”

    *snap. snap. SNAP!* You go, girlfrien’~! But seriously though, that was effing AWESOME. Verbally bitchslapping Supes like allofasudden she’s got pointed ears and a cowl!!! Batdickness rating, anybody? I’m not qualified to grade this kind of awesome…

  2. ~wyntermute~
    April 25, 2009 at 12:04 am — Reply

    Oh, I also liked Dr. Light-to-Flash “Irritating. But not naive. I think I can work with you.” This is getting back to the kind of League I find enjoyable. Not quite the “bwah-hah-hah” League, but just-human-enough to think we might be bwah-hahing on occasion. :D

  3. Salieri
    April 25, 2009 at 1:11 am — Reply

    For the record, I’m going to state that I have always and will always despise Edward Cullen, or, as a friend of mine called him, “Real-Sex-Doll With Fangs”. I recently saw “Let The Right One In”, a Swedish-language Vampire film. It was freaking amazing – like Twilight, except written for intelligent people and without the constant sexism. If you like well-written Vampires, you should see itbefore Michael Bay finishes the remake.

  4. Salieri
    April 25, 2009 at 1:29 am — Reply

    Also, remember what I was saying about Arthur Light following ID Crisis? This current Dr. Light was a major part of that problem; any new developments to one would have confused people about the other, so they killed off the original.

    In any case, I wish they’d killed off this one. Her character started off as a “Token” asian character and she’s grown steadily duller and/or more annpying ever since, right up to this appearance. They oughta go with the rumours hanging around this story arc, and end up with her possessed by Arthur Light’s ghost. Or bring him back as a Black Lantern (the irony) and have him eat her brains. Or do something with sodomy, they’ve made it his schtick now.

  5. brainypirate
    April 25, 2009 at 10:45 am — Reply

    ~”especially love the fact that the team isn’t all white guys in their mid-20’s anymore”

    Amen! And about time!

  6. Kirby
    April 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    Maybe I should check the series out soon.

    Quick question: where is the “Scary Stuff kids, Blah!” from?

  7. April 25, 2009 at 9:00 pm — Reply

    Count Floyd’s Monster Chiller Horror Theatre.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Floyd

  8. Kirby
    April 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm — Reply

    Thank you very much.

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