Monday, March 10, 2014
More Morrison JLA (The Lost Comics Reader Post)
Back at the end of February, DC finally had a sale (the first of the year which is why I'd been forced to read mostly Marvel comics the last couple months) on some older Justice League of America comics. I had previously read the first two volumes of Grant Morrison's late 90s run and reviewed them back in August. One was good, one was not so good. I bought two volumes, Rock of Ages and WWIII.
I also bought two random single issues. The first was an old one from about 1960. It definitely had a Superfriends feel to it. Like the first two seasons of that show there's a couple of kids who are honorary JLA members. When a funhouse beams them to an alien planet they call the JLA for backup. Which leads to finding out the funhouse is ground zero for an alien invasion. The whole thing is pretty campy, but the lamest part for me was when Green Arrow breaks the boomerang head off a boomerang arrow to use it to free them. And I thought, WTF is a boomerang arrow? I mean how would that even work? There's no way it could boomerang with an arrow attached, not unless the head detached in midflight. But it was 1960 and no one gave a crap about realism, so whatever.
The other was the "1,000,000th issue" penned by Morrison. It's kind of annoying in that the issue is actually in the middle of a story, not a standalone, so it's kind of confusing about what's going on. Basically the Justice Legion of the year 87,000-something has come to the 20th Century to do something that will ultimately save the universe.
The issue makes slightly more sense once I read the Rock of Ages storyline, which is kind of a prelude for that. Basically Lex Luthor finds this "philosopher's stone" (this was before JK Rowling hit it big so no one cared that they used that in Harry Potter) and sets out to destroy the Justice League. As I said about a Punisher comic I read, it felt like this was playing with loaded dice. The actual story could have been wrapped up in two issues or maybe three, but Morrison takes a detour in the middle to send Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Flash into the future 15 years to a world ruled by Darkseid. They have to find a way back in time to save the day. Otherwise the battle between Luthor and the JLA was pretty easily won, which seemed lame since this "philosopher's stone" supposedly gave its user the power to do anything. Maybe Lex should have read the user's manual first. (3.5/5)
WWIII was the 6th volume and Morrison's last after about a 3-year run. As such Morrison writes a grand finale that ties together elements of his previous stories. There's mention of the "white Martians" from the first volume and also "Wonderworld" from the Rock of Ages volume.
Most of the action revolves around "Mageddon" an entity that stimulates the aggressive parts of people's brains to cause chaos and war. The closer it gets the more fighting occurs. On top of it, Luthor and his "Injustice Gang" attack the JLA to divert them as the world is tearing itself apart.
(Incidentally back in 1988 the Transformers TV show did something similar to this with a "hate plague" from space that caused widespread fighting and chaos. I'm just saying.)
Fortunately there's not too much of the Morrison weirdness involved in the ending. As he later did on his Action Comics run, part of the ending involves people everywhere rising up to join in on the action. As with any big event comics it focuses on a main core of characters (the normal Justice League of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter) but other characters get a panel or two here and there. Since Morrison at one point wrote Animal Man I guess it wasn't a surprise that he has a major contribution to the ending. As often happens with these intergalactic adventures, there's not as much for Batman or other non-powered heroes to do.
Anyway, Morrison certainly went out with a bang. (5/5)
So overall I read 2/3 of his JLA run and it was 2 good volumes vs. 2 meh volumes. Which is what I've come to expect from Morrison.
That is all.