Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

JLA: Heaven's Ladder

JLA: Heaven's Ladder

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 18, 2000

Cover date: November 2000

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Atom repairs a micro-virus in the Martian Manhunter's DNA. A rumble drags him out of Manhunter's body, and Manhunter asserts that no, it's not chili. That was an earthquake.

Something massive is approaching earth, fast enough so that Superman can't even keep up with it. It's a gigantic spaceship. It grabs the earth too fast for anyone to react, and flies off.

On the moon, the JLA rushes with the Flash to try and teleport after the Earth before it's too late.

Batman finds a burnt up corpse that stinks of the Penguin.

Steel and Plastic Man attempt to calm the people of Earth while Aquaman, Supes, and Wonder Woman examine the gigantic spaceship. Manhunter, viewing the ship, telepathically gives the group a concept of what they're dealing with. The sight is so massive that it causes them pain.

Flash asks Batman to coordinate the calming of Earth's peoples.

It seems that the spaceship is gathering worlds.

Floating red eel-like entities attack the core of the spaceship. They are attempting to destroy it. The worldchains, holding the worlds the spaceship has abducted in a state of stasis so they don't explode, disintegrate, and the planets start to pull into each other.

J'onn attacks, and the invaders are repulsed. Superman attempts to repair the chains.

Aquaman swims into the center of the ship to try and save Manhunter, who's drowning, but instead finds the entity behind the world thieves.

Aquaman soothes Manhunter, who's overwhelmed with emotion. He's reading the thoughts of the god-like entities, and their emotion is pure grief, the worst he's ever felt. Three of the aliens died in the defense of their core, and they've never experienced death before, as a species. They're attempting to gather worlds to create an afterlife, which they feel the need to create. Earth, in their view, is as small as an electron, and manipulating it is no more harmful than playing with atoms, to them.

The species has reached less than a day before its death, despite its longevity, and is desperate for an afterlife. It is a race of pure logic, and thus faith is a foreign concept. But they planned for this eventuality, seeding all the worlds they've captured with a sleeper agent to help them determine a holistic concept of an afterlife which they will then create, extradimensionally.

The red eel-like attackers are zealot isolationists of the species, attempting to stop the creation of an afterlife, thinking anything involving outside species at all is unpure and filth. So what the JLA has to do is get the sleepers to the non-zealot mechanics to save all of the captive worlds by allowing the aliens to complete their plans.


Flash and Aquaman save a sleeper on a planet that is almost entirely made up of shapeshifters.

Steel and Plastic Man save a world made up of techno-worshippers, and thus save their sleeper, despite the race's ingratitude.

Aquaman saves the sleeper on the planet Rann.

Plastic Man saves a sleeper on a gambling oriented planet.

Superman saves some flight worshipper's sleeper.

Wonder Woman stops the death of all on a war worshipping culture.

Manhunter reports that the machines are hard at work repairing the planet chain.

Superman and Atom save the sleeper in Mxyzptlk's homeworld. Atom asks Superman what death was like. He says, "A sensation that at long last, whatever I had to do next... it could wait."

Batman has found Earth's sleeper, and he's not in any danger.

Superman examines the entire chain, and it turns out that the worlds are patterned in the form of DNA. Examining a portion of the chain, Superman sees on a large scale the smallest electron in a human's point of view in the brain: gigantic insecurity. The telepathic mechanics rapport with the two of them, and they agree to work together. The mechanics urge them to hurry in getting the sleepers.

Fighting the zealots, the JLA is being thwomped. Flash makes a move: he'll match the zealot vibration rate, Manhunter will blast him, and the zealots will blow to pieces. It works.

But Batman has bad news... the sleeper of earth was not the right one. The right one was the burned to death man who Batman thought Penguin had killed. A zealot has taken his place.

The zealot, large and with a huge mad-on, rears up and starts to destroy the ship. Superman has Green Lantern try to rebuild while they attack the god.

The god hands the JLA their rears in a soggy doggy bag, spewing philosophy all the while.

Green Lantern successfully rebuilds. The rest of the JLA, though thrashed, has distracted the god long enough for the mechanics to complete the goal. There is a great flash of light, and everything seems fine. The mechanics whisper "thank you".

Then the zealots all return, reformed. Joining hands, the JLA flies into the zealot storm. Unified, their spirits thrash the zealots, and the process is allowed to finish.

Earth is returned to normal, and as a reward everyone is put back together and feels great. All is well.

5Story - 5: A few inconsistencies, but you don't notice them, you're so busy watching things unfold. A really great idea, a really large in scope plot, and something you don't see everyday. It's something I don't think I've seen since Crisis or Panic in the Sky. All of the heroes uniting to destroy an unfathomable indestructable. The only plot I'd like more is Supes versus Doomsday, Luthor, Brainiac, the New Toyman, and Joker, all at once.

5Art - 5: Man, oh, man, is this book cool. Smaller, perhaps, it may have been less effective, but the format is what splash pages were made for. I hate splash pages typically, but the ones in this book made me gush, even when they were unnecessary. They're amazing at this size, and despite the price I found this book worth every penny simply for art alone.

5Cover Art - 5: Stunning, reminiscent of the plot, and very, very busy. I even forgive the fact that Supes looks like he's being turned into some kind of buck toothed rabbit. Why? Two words: Wonder Woman. Yum.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2000

February 2000 March 2000 April 2000 May 2000 June 2000 July 2000 August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 Annuals

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