Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #44

JLA #44

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 5, 2000

Cover date: August 2000

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: Drew Geraci

"Seven Little Indians"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Ra's Al Ghul stands in his underground lair with technicians all about him, scurrying to help lay waste to the world's population through disorientation. Batman bursts in, kicking goons about like he did in the old sixties show. "Where are the bodies of my parents!" He screams. Ra's points to their coffins, above his regenerative pool. He's giving Batman the chance of his lifetime... bring his parents, who he's fought for forever, back to the land of the living.

JLA update: Green Lantern is blind. Aquaman is scared of water. Plastic Man is somehow detained, as is Wonder Woman and Flash. Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are all in the same room. Superman is in parts unknown. (Find out how in last month's review of JLA #43). All courtesy of the machinations of "Ra's Al Ghul's" nanites. Fear not, that parenthetical indication will be explained.

Forgive how random that last paragraph was. The JLA, as you can imagine, is in utter chaos.

In burst more of Ra's Al Ghul's technician goons. They blast nanites into Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern's ears.

In Metropolis, nay, across the world, nobody can read. Chaos is ensuing. Superman saves a kid from touching the third rail, since he can't read the warning. He confers with Oracle via a communications device, and she finds that a sine wave is attacking the world's language center, confusing everyone. The only solution she can think of? Six billion earplugs. On to plan B.

Wonder Woman fights her equal, someone with her exact same powers. The battle is fierce. Suddenly, Kyle is shaking her limp form on the floor. A nanite is giving her a Matrix-esque fight in her head that resultantly is beating her to death.

A technician fires a bullet at Flash. He vibrates instinctively to avoid being hit, but he can't. He's given epileptic seizures at lightspeed.

Aquaman radios Vulko for help.

Superman takes the device Brainiac used to create a force field over Metropolis once and blocks the sine waves, at least for his hometown. He takes off to find Flash.

Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman seem neutralized. The technicians prepare to leave. Kyle, though blind, starts lashing out randomly. A quick rifle butt to the head silences him.

Batman is tempted. You can see it. Ra's offers: "How long have you dreamed of hearing your father's voice once more? Or feeling your mother's touch?"

"Or being worthy of their memory?" Batman responds, bataranging the controls. Jeah.

He pops Ra's, then demands information. Ra's pulls out some red kryptonite. Uh-oh, says Bats.

Martian Manhunter bursts in to where Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern are downed. He's wearing a water suit from Atlantis, to keep himself from self immolation. A technician tries to puncture the suit with Wonder Woman's tierra, but it explodes, suddenly. Superman has arrived!

Batman desperately tries to stop Superman from entering, but Ra's has planned for this and created a communication proof room for his headquarters. Hundreds of goons envelop the dark knight, preventing his departure.

A technician pulls out the red kryptonite, and Superman recoils in terror, his muscles showing through his skin.

"Superman!" Batman screams to himself, finally outside and realizing his screw up, "I did this to you!" All of the equipment, the nanites, the plans, the traps, the signals, Batman claims them as his.

5Story - 5: Oh, monkeys. I haven't read this good of a story in comics in months. I think the last comparable one was when Lex gave Lena to Brainiac, or the issue a long while back when Superman had to choose whether or not to kill the Joker and save Lois, or let the Joker live and watch his lover die. Every hero is being destroyed by a viable weakness, not something cheesy like they did on the Superfriends. Remember those shows? Wrap them all up in big gooey bubbles, let the villain ruminate aloud for a while, then set them free to destroy him. This was the exact opposite. They left Ra's to Bats, as should always be done (Batman can't fight extraterrestrials and Supes can't beat the Riddler if his life depended on it.). Kyle wasn't wrapped in yellow, he was BLINDED. Wonder Woman's Matrix-esque rip could be construed as a bit overdone, but you're so caught up in everything that you miss it. Manhunter unable to stop himself from lighting on fire, Flash being seizured into oblivion... it's all thought out. I loved, absolutely loved the choice Batman was given. Make the superheroes have to make hard choices. Make Superman fight in the rain, make Batman confront his parents again and again. It's much more entertaining than one shot villians and four part crossovers... my one nit pick... why in the heck would any kid reach down for no apparent reason to touch the third rail? I knew at five that the third rail caused instant death. How? Superman IV, I think it was, when Supes stops the train by putting his foot on the third rail. Small world, small imagination. Go figure. BUY THIS BOOK!

4Art - 4: A bit brooding, but not too brooding. Like I said in the review... you can see Batman thinking about his parents. Superman has his muscles showing through his skin, and it's pretty believable. My only problem: everyone looks like they're wearing eye shadow. I don't know if that's the inker's fault or the penciller, but it looks a bit odd.

4Cover Art - 4: I was going to give it a two. Then the relevance hit me at the end of the story. It pretty much redeems a cover we've all seen before. Chess player, marionette superheros. Dull, dull, dull. But, it did something to redeem itself that few covers do these days... have something to do with the actual content of the issue. That's enough to make me almost give it a five, as you can see. I'm sick of seeing covers showing Superman beating the crap out of Jimmy Olsen, and then having it end up being a robot, or a shapeshifter, or Lex Luthor in disguise. Am I the only one that sees this? Oh well. Again. BUY THIS BOOK!

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January 2000

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