Sunday, March 20, 2005

JLA #112

...I'm just going to re-use last month's comments:
Part of me wants to abandon reading this arc month-to-month because I can never remember all the details from one issue to the next. But the rest of me knows that if I did do that, I'd never actually get around to reading the whole story because it's really not interesting enough to merit any anticipation. Yes, this is Kurt Busiek and yes, this is better than Chuck Austen, but is it actually good on its own?

The problem, near as I can tell, is that this is an old-fashioned sci-fi story that simply requires too much world-building to run as a short-range arc. Ever since Joe Kelly left the title with JLA #91, there has been a rotating cast of writers and thus no continuity and no constancy. This kind of epic arc -- and this is an epic story Busiek is telling -- requires both those elements. We don't know Busiek's version of the JLA and their world well enough to be able to recognize and understand the subtler differences between them and the Crime Syndicate of Amerika; you can't do the Evil Twin or Parallel Universe plots if the original is not easily distinguishable from the perverted copy. Kelly, Mark Waid, or Grant Morrison could have done this sort of story during their runs because we had a sense of who the individuals were and how the team dynamic worked and we just don't have that here. Certainly not when the real JLA has only cameo appearances through the first several issues and we don't know if we care enough about them to worry about their fate.
This month, we have the Randomly Chosen Squads (the higher profile heavy hitters, plus old standbys like Black Canary and the JLE, whom I'm not sure anyone cares about but is a nice favor to Kelly) taking on the Syndicate and the Qward. There's plenty of narrative over-exposition -- gee, Wally and Vera, could you go into a little more detail? -- and stuff blowing up. And as nice as it is to see Hawkman being the cold voice of reason instead of Batman... I wish I cared more.


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