Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics
JLA #50Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 10, 2001
Cover date: February 2001
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Bryan Hitch, Phil Jimenez, Ty Templeton, Doug Mahnke, and Mark Pajarillo
Inker: Paul Neary, Kevin Nowlan, Drew Geraci, and Walden Wong
Reviewed by: Jason Czernich (email@example.com)
After weeks of being a non-member of the Justice League of America, Batman sits down with Superman to discuss how the team functions without the Dark Knight Detective. Superman relates to Batman the story of how JLA members, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Flash, Plastic Man, Green Lantern, and Aquaman paired off the day before to face the latest challenge of classic JLA foe, Dr. Destiny. Superman tells Batman the account of the adventure in order to show the distrust that Batman's secret failsafes against his teamates have spread among the team's six other members.
The case in question involved three separate strange incidents happening around the globe. Martian Manhunter paired off the Leaguers making those who voted Batman out of the League pair up with someone who voted to keep Batman in the League. When Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman flew off to Happy Harbor to handle their incident we observed immediately that there was discord between the two. As they faced the threat, this was deepened when Diana questioned if J'onn was reading her mind after he seemingly anticipated a battle strategy of hers.
Flash and Plastic Man's pairing in the city of Mayhew went no better when their investigation transformed into bickering over Batman's course of action that led him to non-Leaguer status. The fighting promptly stopped when they spotted Dr. Destiny sitting in a nearby diner. When they pursued him things went surreal and suddenly Green Lantern and Aquaman, the third pair of Leaguers on the case, appeared in their place!
We then saw that Flash and Plastic Man then turned up in the ocean where Green Lantern and Aquaman were supposedly encountering Dr. Destiny! Batman points out to the story's narrator, Superman, that if Flash and Plastic Man weren't so busy disagreeing then they would never have been caught off guard by Destiny so easily. Superman returns the serve to Batman by telling him that that is a problem that he is responsible for creating.
Aquaman and Green Lantern's investigation in Atlantis had them arguing as well. Shortly after they switched places with the Flash/Plastic Man team, all six Leaguers on the case appeared in the same place and the real sleuthing began. It appeared that Destiny had swapped places with his dream-self leaving the one in the true reality with unlimited dream powers. When the Leaguers tried to battle Destiny in their reality they found that he was unstoppable, so they had no choice but to enter unconscious states and battle their foe on the dream plane of existence.
Once asleep they found that they were represented in forms that reflected how they all subconsciously viewed themselves; Flash was a blurred red figure, Wonder Woman was in a bigger size body than her normal one, Green Lantern had rings on every finger, Martian Manhunter was portrayed in a more traditional Martian body, Aquaman was adorned in gauntlets, a crown, and a net, while lastly, Plastic Man was constantly morphing into objects. Assuming those states they are able to place the mortal Dr. Destiny back into Arkham Asylum and his dream-self back into the dream plane. However, after their battle, the friction between the Leaguers returned. Back in the present Batman and Superman come to the conclusion that there is only one way to solve the issue of distrust between the League...
The last scene in the book has the Leaguers answering an emergency summons from Superman that brings them to the Batcave. Once they're all gathered Batman reveals his true identity as Bruce Wayne! While most of the Leaguers are still in shock they next find out that Superman is Clark Kent! The remaining JLAers who have secret identities reveal them to the others and Aquaman shakes Bruce Wayne's hand to welcome him back into the League, just in time for the Batmobile to pull up and for Batman to get out?! This sounds like a lead in for the next storyline in JLA...
Story - 5: Batman and Superman played off each other nicely. When Superman confronts Batman with keeping secrets from the League, Batman simply hands over Clark Kent's glasses. Superman may have more physical power than Batman, but Batman is smarter and stealthier.
The secret identity reveal was the JLA event of the year and a nice homage to another of Mark Waid's classic JLA stories, JLA: Year One. Just as it was appropriate for the early JLA to share their secret identities when they did, so was it appropriate for the present day JLA to do the same at this point in their careers. It was also very interesting to see all the Leaguers in the Batcave. Other nice touches were having one scene take place in Happy Harbor, the original home of the JLA, and bringing back Dr. Destiny, one of the characters from Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare. This was very appropriate considering that this mini-series was the first one to feature the core line up of the JLA that is featured in it's current ongoing run.
Art - 4: It was all basically clean and it was all well inked but the thing I really want to complain about is why didn't we have page numbers listed by the artist's names? I can guess by name order and previous examples of their works on who did what, but still it would be easier and more reader friendly to list the page numbers by the artist's names. Still, it was such a treat to see all the artists working on one book that isn't simply a pin up gallery.
Last note, the seashell headband on Aquaman just looks plain silly, especially when it disappears in the middle of the story and reappears later. Use it, or, preferably, lose it.
Cover Art - 4: Nice use of Batman and Superman as monolithic figures but where's Plastic Man? He's part of the League too! I do realize that when the League had more members there were covers that would occasionally show the core seven to empasize their importance. Now there are just eight members and it seems improper to short the League by one member on the cover, especially the cover to the 50th issue.
Now, the cover says "48 PAGES!". Well it was 52 pages if you count the ads and the letter column and 38 if you just count pages of story. When I was much younger a cover blurb that read "48 PAGES!" meant "48 PAGES!" Today it means something like 32 or 38 pages of story. If I'm promised 48 pages of story I want at least 48 pages of story! UGH!
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Mild Mannered Reviews
2001Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic was on sale.
-  Superman #164
-  Lex 2000
-  Adventures of Superman #586
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #108
-  Action Comics #773
- JLA #49
- JLA: A League of One
- JLA: Act of God #1
-  Superman #165
-  Adventures of Superman #587
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #109
-  Action Comics #774
- JLA #50
- JLA: Seven Caskets
- JLA versus Predator
- Justice Leagues: JL? #1
- JLA: Act of God #2
-  Superman #166
-  Adventures of Superman #588
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #110
-  Action Comics #775
- President Luthor: Secret Files and Origins #1
- JLA: Act of God #3
- Justice Leagues: Justice League of Aliens #1
- Justice Leagues: JLA #1
-  Superman #167
-  Adventures of Superman #589
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #111
-  Action Comics #776
- JLA #51
- Legends of the DC Universe #39
- Superboy's Legion #1
-  Superman #168
-  Adventures of Superman #590
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #112
-  Action Comics #777
- Superman Adventures #55
- JLA #52
- Superboy's Legion #2
- JLA: Black Baptism #1
- Batman: Gotham Adventures #36
-  Superman #169
-  Adventures of Superman #591
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #113
-  Action Comics #778
- Superman Adventures #56
- JLA #53
-  Superman #170
-  Adventures of Superman #592
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #114
-  Action Comics #779
- Superman Adventures #57
- JLA #54
- JLA: Incarnations #1
- Super Friends! Trade Paperback
- Superman: Where Is Thy Sting?
-  Superman #171
- Green Lantern: Our Worlds At War #1
-  Adventures of Superman #593
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #115
-  Action Comics #780
- Superman: Our Worlds At War: Secret Files and Origins #1
- Superman Adventures #58
- JLA #55
- JLA: Incarnations #2
-  Superman #172
-  Adventures of Superman #594
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #116
-  Action Comics #781
- JLA: Our Worlds At War #1
- JSA: Our Worlds At War #1
- Superman Adventures #59
- JLA #56
- JLA: Incarnations #3
-  Superman #173
-  Adventures of Superman #595
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #117
-  Action Comics #782
- World's Finest: Our Worlds At War #1
- Superman Adventures #60
- JLA #57
- Superman & Batman: Generations II #1
- JLA: Incarnations #4
-  Superman #174
-  Adventures of Superman #596
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #118
-  Action Comics #783
- Superman Adventures #61
- JLA #58
- Superman & Batman: Generations II #2
- JLA: Incarnations #5
- Joker: Last Laugh #1
- Joker: Last Laugh (Secret Files & Origins) #1
- Joker: Last Laugh #2
-  Superman #175
- Joker: Last Laugh #3
-  Adventures of Superman #597
- Joker: Last Laugh #4
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #119
- Joker: Last Laugh #5
-  Action Comics #784
- Superman Adventures #62
- JLA #59
- JLA: Gatekeeper #1
- Superman & Batman: Generations II #3
- JLA: Incarnations #6
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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2001.