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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Destiny #1

JLA: Destiny #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 5, 2002

Cover date: August 2002

Writer: John Arcudi
Penciller: Tom Mandrake
Inker: Tom Mandrake

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Black and white (presumably the past):

At a hotel, the staff argues about issues of the day, like whether or not a nuclear explosion in the desert, or so the government would have us think, was not really what everyone thought it was, a vessel from space, brought down to Earth with the passenger dead (Presumably Superman - Reviewer).

They wonder who the man in the limo outside is, and determine it is probably the secretary of energy... but the secretary of energy doesn't have that kind of money, does he? A long haired man with a pony-tail pushes a bell-hop bell ringer with a trigger, and outside, a huge explosion tears cars and people alike apart.

Color (presumably present):

Kamburu's representative pounds a podium and denounces the United States calling it a "rogue" nation, just because it harbors what they consider to be a great hero, Khouriga Edjem.

Meanwhile, as the press conference continues, an altered-history Widow opens the door and reports to Dr. Midnight, who is taking steroids to maintain his muscles. She tells him that the Flash is in place at the power plant. She confronts him about the steroids, but he shirks her off.

At the JLA table, Midnight sits down with Widow and regards their team, Marksman (like Owl-Man, maybe the same), Triumph (Looks a lot like Prime, from that other company), Wonder Woman (different armor, same woman), and Captain Thunder (a black man in the Shazam suit).

The Unknown enters (a lot like Spectre), and Triumph curses up a storm at his dramatics. He then grows frustrated and leaves to take out the bad guys Flash is performing invisible surveillance upon. Midnight tries to stop him, saying that Kondor (basically Hawkman without gear) would be there, should anything be near going down. He leaves anyway.

Triumph is quickly intercepted by an agent of the enemy, Black Adam. (If you covered Steel with black armor and threw in elements of the Aegis, you'd have Black Adam). Black Adam radios in to Kondor, who tells him to find out where Triumph the Opressor came from.

A butler figure, unseen until this point, berates Midnight for allowing Triumph to take out fine redwood roof. Midnight says that Wayne will pay for the damages. The butler counters that Redwood is scarce and the roof is irreplaceable.

Black Adam smashes into the hideout. All move out to the front lawn to throw down. Thunder makes a comment that they are outnumbered, because they have fewer meta-humans than the enemy, despite the fact that the body number is skewed towards the JLA. Midnight takes note.

Two trolls appear while Captain Thunder clashes with Aqualord (basically Aquaman in a new getup, and religious)(More religious). Midnight takes the trolls out.

Flash arrives, and says that the situation is well in hand. Midnight complains, because they had the situation even MORE well in hand a few minutes previous.

The Unknown starts spouting about evil falling to his might, and Black Adam just rips him a new one with a really big gun.

Marksman gets Adam in his sights, but Triumph shows again just in time to throw off the shot and take Adam to the ground, temporarily.

Wildfire, on the bad guy's team (kind of like Faora), lights the place on fire and the bad guys take off. Midnight complains that they all got away, but Captain Thunder holds Aqualord, triumphant.

A paranoid woman watches television, with seeming foreknowledge of a horrible future. On the TV, Waynetech is moving onto the moon, with Thomas Wayne at the head. The TV and the comic cut to a party Wayne is hosting.

Wayne makes excuses and goes into the back to visit the JLA, who tell him what he already knows about the lodge and the power plant. Midnight barks at Thunder for his comment about the numbers. He also attacks Triumph's actions.

Wonder Woman reminds them of how Clock, Green Lantern, and Manhunter died, attempting to figure out what happened in Nevada (presumably the Superman ship), because Clock and Manhunter were normals, not meta-human.

Wayne lights a cigarette with his artificial limp on his right hand. He tells Midnight to get information out of Aqualord, and let the others watch and learn how.

In Kamburu, winged men remark on how enjoyable life is, thanks to Edjem. One of the angel-men gives the idea an odd eye, only to the audience.

In the palace, Kondor finds (presumably) Edjem, huge, yellow, and angry, with red eyes, demanding to know why the organized attack turned into a raid on a cabin. Kondor blames it on Black Adam. This makes Edjem angry. Edjem smashes Kondor into the floor for his cowardice.

In a distant Swiss research institute, the anti-war, anti-terrorism scientist Lex Luthor works towards free and unlimited resources for all through space travel. Pete Ross, his assistant, annoys him with news, when Lex has purposefully made his lab a news-free zone.

The JLA watch over Aqualord, screaming because his soul is on fire because he has no water.

Thomas talks with Midnight about the future, and what started this all in the first place. Wayne relives his son, Bruce, and his wife being coldly murdered in the streets.

Midnight remembers Bruce leading him to the cave and showing him the (then) JLG. They wonder about whether they're doing the right thing, and assume that they have, even if the big boys are about to take over.

4Story - 4: Well, I don't know what I'm going to think of the series as a whole, but it's really, really fun after reading and quitting the J. M. DeMatteis Spectre because of such long, rambling nonesuch without any action, seeing a Spectre-like superhero take a good long blast in the craw for extrapolating. Yeah. Kill em all.

And though it wasn't intended that way, I'm reminded of an old Kids in the Hall bit where the JLA have to go solve some problem and Aquaman has nothing much to contribute, so the JLA tells him, "Go...TALK TO SOME FISH!" And everyone laughs at him. I felt like laughing, seeing him tortured and begging for water, because he's a bad guy, and it's okay to laugh at him, right? Everything's concrete, good and evil, right and wrong, right? Insert political commentary HERE.

This is one of those stories where you have to see the rest of the thing to know whether it's worth jack or not, but I'd imagine, given this well set up opener that it will be. And what's the deal with that? DC hits us with a Last Laugh, and prattle like DC 2000, JLA: Act of God, and other things, then hits us with Destiny, and Superman/Aliens II, with both turning out with rather good openings. I have to say I'm happy.

This envisioning is not entirely original, but the fact that the author doesn't baby us into it with a hundred introductions for the new incarnations of previous good guys and bad guys, and lets us come to our own conclusions, is great. Even if it does make for a longer and harder review. I like Midnight. He's one of my favorite underused guys in mainstream DC. I'd like to say I'm super read up on the guy, but I'm not. Still, I like his basic character, I've liked it, and it's good to see him head an elseworlds.

My only worry is that they'll bring Superman and Batman back in some form or another to save the day. Who knows? But a good start. Enjoyable writing, and more attention to story than huge, dramatic pages and rushed story to fit the format.

3Art - 3: Pretty average and dry. The reinvisionings didn't really shine off of the page, and like I said, Black Adam is basically Steel painted black. Shazam's costume on Captain Thunder, though he doesn't have Shazam's power? And where is Shazam, anyway? Sorry. That belonged one paragraph up. I think the splash pages were all right, but the explosion could have been more graphic, and/or real looking rather than Hollywood (sensitive though his topic is right now), and the whole I'm-a-gonna-smasha-your-face-into-concrete villain kill is overdone. Maybe that's the writer's fault. Still, just average stuff here. And a lot of the characters are archtypical and undistinguished. I couldn't tell Cole from Wayne in the last few panels.

4Cover Art - 4: Really captivating, interesting cover. It doesn't depict anything that happens in the issue, which makes me angry to the point of losing one point off the rating, but it's quite well done, and makes me wonder what will happen in the next few issues.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2002

February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002

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