Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #32

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 30, 1999

Cover Date: August 1999

Writer: Mark Waid and Devlin Grayson
Penciller: Mark Pajarillo (crud!!!)
Inker: Walden Wong

"Inside Job"

Reviewed by: Josh Gehling (

After the plagues and earthquake, the government cut off all exits from Gotham City, those who left and those who stayed were all left homeless. The United States of America would rather forget this... No Man's Land!

Standing at the edge of the ionosphere is the legendary Man of Steel: Superman! As icicles form on him, he watches Gotham from above. While he talks with the Huntress through a JLA telepathic link, she's fighting a gang below. He fills her in on the events of the past few weeks:

Two weeks ago, when a helicopter attempted to bring supplies in to Gotham, odd mechanical birds attacked it. Orion and Green Lantern stopped the birds but in the process, Orion was clawed by one of the birds and infected with a deadly virus. GL managed to get him to the JLA moon-base in time to find a cure. At the moon-base, Aquaman and J'onn discuss the virus. J'onn explains that it turns organic cells into machine cells on contact, turning those affected into drones. They realize that Locus (a rogue group of geneticists featured in "JLA: YEAR ONE") has to be behind it all. Then the league debates whether or not Locus saw Gotham as a potential laboratory for experiments and they had it quarantined by the government. GL (Green Lantern) reacts in disbelief and asks if Locus has that kind of power in the US government. J'onn sees one way to find out and goes to the senate (he's invisible) to perform a telepathic scan but he cannot perform it because the room has been cloaked by the D.E.O. (Department of Extranormal Operations).

When the Huntress hears this, she asks if Gotham is one giant Locus conspiracy but Superman tells her that the league is still unsure and then tells her about the next Locus encounter:

As Zauriel and Aquaman patrol the bay around Gotham City, a huge fish swims in front of them. Aquaman realizes that it isn't a creature that belongs in the ocean and begins to chase after it but they're forced to quit the pursuit when the fish starts detonating mines placed in the bay (preventing people from leaving Gotham). After the mines are detonated, a submarine follows (the mechanical fish was clearing the path for the ship). Seconds later, Aquaman calls in a whale to bump the craft out of the water. When Zauriel splits it open, he finds a whole ship full of Locus scientists infected with the virus (they used poison pills to infect themselves (to keep from being questioned)).

After this story, Huntress and Superman get into an argument about sending the JLA to Gotham. Superman tells her that their presence is illegal (nobody can enter the city but it is legal for the people who stayed to be there). Suddenly, ears that can hear a pin drop a million miles away, focus in on a distinct audio signature two thousand feet below the ground. A streak of red, blue and yellow shoots towards Earth, leaving a frozen statue of Superman to orbit endlessly around the planet. Underground, he meets up with Flash, Wonder Woman and Barda.

Above ground, Huntress finds a crying boy who needs her help (his dad is being beaten up by a gang of about 20 thugs).

Meanwhile, underground, the heroes try desperately to open a tank carrying Locus scientists. While they're beating on the top, Superman passes out from... exhaustion?! As he lies on the ground, Flash realizes that the tank is emitting red solar radiation (Krypton's sun was red... under a red sun, Superman is powerless). Flash runs through the tank, destroying it on impact, but at what cost... Flash is now infected with the virus! The Locus scientists attempt to destroy them, but with Superman now back at full power, they don't have a chance. Superman captures one of the scientists and questions the man. He tells them that No Man's Land is not their doing but that it is their opportunity. The man takes a poison pill and the virus starts to take over his body. Before he goes, Superman shouts to him that the JLA will not leave Gotham City. Wonder Woman gets Flash up to the moon-base for the cure to the virus.

As the Huntress finishes up with the man's attackers, she contacts Superman via telepathic link-up. He tells her that the JLA is currently tracking a Locus trail to Istanbul. He then returns to their debate about the JLA in Gotham City and tells her that he assumed that she realized that... they already are <Batman and the Huntress>.

3Story - 3: : Like most of the JLA comics have been for the last year, this issue was average. I didn't find it to be a very fun comic to read but it was fairly interesting. I do like guest writers for the most part (because it seems to me that Morrison got all the good stuff of his over in the beginning) but I wish it would've been Millar instead of Waid (I don't have anything against Wade, he's a fantastic writer, I just think Millar's comedic approach to the JLA is much more entertaining). I was a little disappointed to find that Batman is only in this book on one page.

2Art - 2: Yuck, as I've said before, I like Pajarillo a lot less than Porter (and I don't really like Porter in the first place). I hate guest artist on this book because DC can't find a descent one to do it (all the artists have been equal to or lesser than Porter and he's not that good). So, what's wrong with this artwork... I think a better question should be: what's right with this artwork. No offense Pajarillo, but this just doesn't look good. The idea of Superman freezing in the ionosphere is a really cool idea but the art looks ugly. BTW Pajarillo, people's teeth aren't exactly identical (they aren't all the same shape... Example: Superman on page 20).

4Cover - 4: Well, at least the cover looks good. A simple nice cover, which (I'm sure Porter was happy) has no background (Porter CANNOT do backgrounds). The art isn't very good (Wonder Woman's boots should be a lot higher) but the cover jumps off the shelf. The only thing missing is the "No Man's Land" banner on the side, since it is a "No Man's Land" story.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic was on sale.

June 1999

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