Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

JLA: A League of One

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 29, 2000

Cover date: January 2001

Writer & Artist: Christopher Moeller

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

In 1348, the evil dragon Drakul Karfang ravages a small band of crusaders, intent on destroying the beast. Hundreds of arrows litter the air, and one soldier lands a hard blow to the neck. Karfang flies off.

The leader commands the men to follow Karfang to the ground in order to get her heart and destroy it. Destroying a dragon's heart is the only way to kill it.

The soldiers reach a hidden dragon lair and attack, killing the minions of the dragons, smaller humanoid lizards.

Unable to find the heart, they blow the door in, seal the area, and go home.

In the Watchtower, J'onn leads Wonder Woman through the calming of Krakatoa. She is in a terrasphere in the center of the volcano.

Her job done, J'onn teleports her back to the Watchtower, leaving the terrasphere. Superman hauls in a statue made of marble into the main area of the tower. It is a symbol of thanks for stopping the eruption. It lauds the JLA for working together for peace.

Wonder Woman admires the piece and then heads back to Themyscira to relax.

In the Alpine town of Altdorf, two goblins, Emrick and Elmen, grandsons of servants to the dragons, admire some things that they've pillaged. They speak of a time when the dragons were feared.

Back in the Goblin haunt, they notice that the other goblins are convening near a large door. The door is opened, and a sleeping Karfang lies in their view, alive.

Wonder Woman opens her heart to the gods in order to judge herself. She puts her magic lasso around herself to speak honestly about whether she's been honest and good. She has. She leaps from the cliff she's on into water.

Zoe, a mermaid daughter of Nerus, shoves her into the water playfully and makes her a mermaid. Diana consoles Zoe, but lets her know that she's not a child and can't play anymore.

Althea, a wood nymph, drops into the water and berates Zoe for giving away the secret. But Zoe pokes fun at her... she hasn't told Wonder Woman anything.

So naturally, Wonder Woman demands the secret. It seems the Oracle at Delphi is going to predict Wonder Woman's death.

Wonder Woman seeks the Oracle, who tells her the very prophecy she's feared... that the Justice League will destroy Karfang, but at the cost of their own lives. The league is pluralized. Diana notes this.

Zoe and Althea ask her to quit the league. Wonder Woman, however, decides to take the exact opposite approach.

At Uri Rostock mountain, the Goblins convene, dragging large quantities of gold in to the dragon.

At the Watchtower, five days later, the Martian Manhunter describes the problems facing the world, currently. A crime wave of gold theft in the Alpine regions of Europe. The Amazon River is being clogged by water plants... probably Poison Ivy's work. A super-tanker has run aground near Sicily. Fighting has broken out in the Balkans again. There is strange solar activity near the sun. An asteroid headed for Earth needs deflecting.

Through the briefing, Wonder Woman seems disturbingly absent.

Green Lantern takes the asteroid. Batman and Flash will save the Amazon. The Balkans they'll leave to the U.N. Superman will examine the solar flares. Aquaman will deal with the tanker.

Batman asks Wonder Woman if she knows anything about the gold. She lies... an important fault. It slights the League information-wise.

In the Dragon's Lair, the Goblin leader awakens the dragon with pounding pots and pans from all sides. The dragon rises, and the leader offers the gold they've collected, and their service.

The dragon blasts the goblins with fire and turns them into Drakunomes, the lizard humanoids from earlier. Death is in great quantity.

Batman takes a fiber and drops it into the computer while Flash whiles away impatiently. They leave.

Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter remain. She quickly lassos him and commands him to show her his true form. He reverts to his natural state.

She throws him into a teleporter and sends him into the terrasphere. He's surrounded by lava and cannot escape.

Her plan: Take out the JLA so that she becomes the JLA, so she can be the one to die in order to save the JLA. Her only concern? The plural in the prophecy.

Green Lantern stops the asteroid, wondering what's keeping Manhunter from creating a telepathic link.

Batman and Flash worry about the same thing, after having sighted Ivy.

Green Lantern arrives at the Watchtower. Wonder Woman moves in close, tricking Kyle. She grabs his ring and plants a head butt into his forehead, knocking him out. There is a star in the center of Kyle's mask, she hit so hard.

Aquaman makes the tanker safe, and Wonder Woman shows up. She launches him into Charybdis, where he will be a long time in escaping.

Drakul Karfang makes waste in Altdorf, knocking over cars, killing people. The people start acting evil, kicking an old woman to death and looking out for themselves.

Flash bursts in on Poison Ivy, who attacks him with spores that put normal folk into death-like trances. But the Flash can metabolize any chemical in seconds, so he whomps Ivy and ties her to a tree.

Batman uses his intellect to figure out what's going on with Karfang.

Flash attacks the wave of Hyacinths Ivy has unleashed, and after doing so, he trips. Flash trips. He falls down and is startled to see Wonder Woman there. She drop kicks him unconscious as Batman looks on in the background, unseen.

Wonder Woman teleports back to the Watchtower. Batman threatens Zoe with Agent Orange if she doesn't talk.

At the Watchtower, Wonder Woman locks the League into capsules to be launched into space.

Batman shows up and tries to talk her out of it. She refuses. A nice fight ensues, and Batman takes Wonder Woman around a few strong corners before she knocks him out with chunks of the Pope's monument.

Wonder Woman launches the JLA into space, and leaves for Karfang's haunt.

Elmen sees some virgins tied to stakes as offerings to Karfang, and he cuts them loose. Drakunomes see him doing so and charge after him.

The townsfolk, having been told that they would be spared if they all convened in the church, are killed as Karfang obliterates the holy place. Never trust a dragon, Elmen admonishes.

Superman returns from the sun, oblivious. Wonder Woman has him look off into the distance them sucker whomps him from behind. He gets up, and she lays a good one on his chin.

Superman wonder what's going on, but he's not really that hurt. He whomps Wonder Woman across a plain, demanding to know if this is some kind of test.

Nope. She's just weakened him so that he can save the rest of the JLA a little slower. She reveals that she's launched them into the asteroid belt, and that he alone can retrieve them while she destroys Karfang. Superman is ticked off, but he concedes and flies off.

Karfang, with Drakunomes on his back, flies about, obliterating.

Wonder Woman arrives and commands his attention, saying that she has a prophecy from Delphi. Turns out that Karfang has already heard it. But he does not fear for his life. He thinks that since Wonder Woman is a lone warrior, and the prophecy is plural, she is no threat. He flies off.

She flies after him and fights, but the battle is short. She intimates that she knows where Karfang's heart is, and she indicates that she's going to go destroy it. Karfang, panicking, goes to where the heart is... home.

Elmen is there when Wonder Woman arrives before Karfang, and he advises her of the situation, and of the Drakunomes that will return to normal if Karfang is killed. Also, that Karfang is not evil, necessarily, but that the gold it eats to survive is tainted with the spirit of its owners, and thus Karfang is slowly but surely becoming evil.

Wonder Woman, fighting Drakunomes, is launched into Karfang's main chamber. He blasts her with flame, which kills all who are not pure. Wonder Woman's lie back at the Watchtower almost kills her, but her inner purity of intent saves her. Karfang, seemingly humbled, offers her his heart so that she can destroy it if he is not behaved from here on out.

Wonder Woman goes to retrieve it, and Karfang knocks her silly, sending Drakunomes after her. Karfang flies out over the ocean, and Wonder Woman pursues. Wonder Woman lassos Karfang as Karfang blasts her with poison. The purity of the Lasso burns Karfang, and even as Wonder Woman is dying of the poison, she flies through and destroys Karfang's heart, killing him. Wonder Woman falls into the ocean and sinks to the bottom, seemingly dead.

Superman arrives, drags her to shore, and performs CPR, punching her chest as hard as he can due to her super-strength.

She revives, having died and come back to life. The league berates her, then congratulates her, after she convinces Superman that he would have done the same in the situation. All is well.

5Story - 5: Nice. Original, focused on character and not action, though the action is plentiful, and well researched. I have heard these issues on dragons before, but the angle of the gold being tainted and the Drakunomes... those were new and fresh and unused. I loved them. My one beef: what happened to the goblins? Were they returned to normal? What of our two little buddies, the goblin duo? And did Poison Ivy go to jail? But these little things are ignored when you read the whole story in context. Excellently done. You can tell that the author was the artist.

Is this worth twenty five bucks? If you've got it, definitely. I can't say that it wouldn't be better in softback, but I can say it will be one of my favorite, if not more expensive comic book purchases this year.

5Art - 5: There are splashes, and they typically bother me, but given the scope of the story and the way that it wasn't rushed like most of these one-shots, I enjoyed them. Also, Wonder Woman looks like a real woman that can actually exist. She's beautiful, and smart, but not one of those comic book bad girls that she's often drawn to be in order to entice some fanboy who's just hitting puberty. I loved that. I love human heroes. Good art.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover depicted a bunch of fallen JLA heroes in the lair, which never happened, but I have to give a four of five anyway, because the cover is so well drawn and very neat to look at.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2001

February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 Annuals

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