Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics
JLA: Destiny #3Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 7, 2002
Cover date: October 2002
Writer: John Arcudi
Penciller: Tom Mandrake
Inker: Tom Mandrake
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (email@example.com)
Special note: On the back is a sort of preface, bringing the reader up to speed with what has happened: THE END IS COMING. It then summarizes that the JLA, having secured two witnesses against Edjem, are massing on Kamburu's border to take him down. Nonetheless, it warns, the end is coming.
Then: In 1994, the president, reacting to the bombing that took out nearly his entire cabinet (in previous issues, then), has nominated several position members, only to meet extreme opposition, save in the case of Virginia Christine, the new secretary of agriculture.
Now: In her apartment, on the phone, Destiny demands to speak to Thomas Wayne. She is refused. She tosses her coffee cup.
Meanwhile, Midnite interrogates Kondor. The JLA have maimed him, and they're threatening him with letting Aqualord beat him senseless, and lethal injection for murders committed as a "soldier" if he doesn't give them something on Edjem. If he cooperates, he'll be given federal immunity.
Captain Thunder hands Triumph a book on Yoga. Triumph reacts with his typical foul language. Flash comes in with a report.
Thomas Wayne, sitting in the living room of his mansion and watching television, is berated by Alfred for never being home. He watches a report on the destruction of Luthor's lab (last issue).
A building explodes, and heads turn all over the JLA.
In the Nevada desert, a man asks a woman with him in their SUV to stay with the car, because it has broken down. He goes for help.
At the destroyed building, a fiery, angered behemoth Luthor pulls himself from the rubble, revealing that he is the source of the destruction. He bellows for Wayne.
At the scene, Captain Thunder, Flash, and Triumph arrive. Triumph asks Luthor what he is, and he uses heat vision to blast Triumph in the face. Triumph, easily the strongest member of this JLA, recoils in extreme pain.
Wonder Woman arrives, and goes in with Captain Thunder. Triumph flies out of the rubble, unconscious. Flash attempts to suck the oxygen from around Luthor and knock him out, but Luthor, moving impossibly fast, slams him in the stomach. Thunder comes down on Luthor, hard.
Thunder asks Luthor why he's doing this, as Midnite and company arrive in the battle suits from last issue. Luthor collapses, muttering about his work.
In the Nevada desert, the man collapses.
At the SUV, army men hear over the radio that they've found something. They drive there, only to find a giant, green man with what seems to be a spectre image of another man meditating on his forehead.
In a lab, secure, Wayne berates Luthor for doing what he's done. Luthor responds that Wayne used his work to kill. Wayne seems to be the bad guy...
Luthor calls himself a man, and Wayne questions it... Luthor tells him that where he was born isn't there anymore.
Edjem reads the news of growing crop failures in the US with interest, and sends an aid to check on the power failures in his own country.
In the desert, the green man has reverted to a smaller, humanoid form. A woman approaches, from the desert, and walks right past the guards, using her powers.
The news tells us that the UN is advising the JLA that a warrant may soon be issued for Hussein (whoops, did I say Hussein? I mean Edjem) and that the JLA will be sent in to invade and restore order to the country.
Meanwhile, Luthor recalls Krypton...
Citizen El pleads with the council to recognize the impending end of the world. Citizen Ci, a man who looks like an overly obese Luthor, demands that the council and the government pay more attention to the war in Urikka, where the Krypton government has a more urgent political attention.
Jor-El, taking his wife aside, condemns the world for not listening to truth. He says that if he takes his rocket out for the test flight, and it works, they will leave Krypton soon after for Earth.
He goes up in the test flight, and Krypton explodes. He heads to Earth, depressed, and takes up a place in Luthor's lab. Luthor works on experimental rocket fuel at an insane pace, and the explosion in the building (the one that killed the cabinet) left only Jor-El and Luthor alive. Luthor saw it as an opportunity to conquer, and Jor-El saw it as an opportunity to bring peace to the world. He shaved his head, gave Luthor his rocket and a star chart, and took Luthor's place.
At the end of his reminiscence, Luthor (aka Jor-El) escapes from Wayne manor.
At the border, Triumph grumbles about not just going in and killing Edjem, Luthor appears in the sky, and Triumph takes off after him. A CO nearby commands Black Widow not to pursue.
On the ground, Edjem sends Black Adam after Triumph, but tells him to let Luthor through.
Luthor lands, observes that Edjem is not a human, and tells Edjem why he is there, by pointing at the fighting in the sky.
They talk about how Wayne told Luthor that Edjem sent an exploding man to kill Luthor. Edjem says it is a lie. He then tells him that Wayne is a liar. He tells Luthor to await him in a soundproof room, and has The Sword, a female with a sword, escort him.
Meanwhile, Black Adam and Triumph just fight and fight in the sky, and Triumph, getting mad about always being beaten, tears off Adam's mask, and they both explode.
On the ground in Nevada, Destiny asks the green man if all of the people she's been seeing will really die. "Call me J'onn." He says.
In Kamburu, Edjem tells Triumph that he has destroyed the most advanced piece of artificial intelligence ever created, and the greatest work of the late Thaddeus Sivana. He condemns Triumph for killing Sivana, and plows a fist into him, knocking him down.
Luthor examines the hall, and finds pieces of St. Peter's Cathedral.
Edjem pummels and destroys Triumph, eventually turning his head all the way around just as Luthor peeks in.
Luthor examines his surroundings, and sees his/Jor's rocket as a museum piece on the ceiling. Has the real Luthor come home to roost?
Story - 5: Hey, if this book doesn't have a Comics Code Authority approval, why not have Triumph say what he's really saying? I mean, really? This is one of DC's biggest problems. It can do Watchmen, but it can't do it twice. Too graphic, eh? I want adult books to be adult. This is obviously for the big kids... let's use the big kid voice!
On a serious note, I have to applaud DC for having the bravery to take a rather controversial issue here in the states and confront it directly without putting any overly pressing value judgements. I'm talking, of course, about the issue of torturing prisoners of "war". Perhaps you might consider this too serious, something I'm reading in, but there's a very important, very controversial issue we as Americans are afraid to confront in television, in movies, in books, in comic books, and it is to DC's credit that they are willing to depict a scene like the one with Midnite and Kondor. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not, but either way, this issue is added to immeasurably by the ability to question current events when transposed into a world of comics where there is no dynamic idealistic force such as Superman or Batman to keep the world progressing on its just path. We see scattered news reports of a war, a war on terrorism, but we have no formal declaration of war from congress. We see prisoners of war, but they are not technically prisoners of war...because there is no war...or is there? Is it based in a national indictment, the workings of the heroes, or in the minds of you and I? I read reports of shipping prisoners off to other countries to be tortured, so the torture isn't on the "hands" of American war enforcement, and I can't help but see between these lies a startling relevance to life at present, in the United States, and throughout the world. Though I give this issue a 5, it would be a 6 if it could be, just for this issue and its bravery in being brought to the forefront.
It is of further note that the obvious confrontation of the invasion of Iraq, with the JLA going into Edjem's country, is a particularly applauded move. We are not in a time of crisis, as the news seems to indicate, but rather, a time of great decisions. The average American is touched through moral ramifications by the actions of September 11th, and we must confront the real threat, that of our possible over reactions, or unjustified actions, to the obvious criminal and moral bankrupt acts of terrorism that may or may not continually threaten our land. Is Saddam Hussein really a threat? Is Edjem, in this case? They seem, mind you, seem to keep to themselves, in real life, and in this parralel, but a lot of important questions are raised here. I encourage you to think about them openly, as does this comic, which I think we can all agree is a good thing.
And the parallels on Krypton...I'm honestly amazed that they, the DC brass and Ashcroft, let DC get away with this. I'm glad.
If we see a good conclusion to this book, it will be my favorite Elseworlds story, outside of Kingdom Come. And Watchmen, if that counts. The simple lack of answers as to who is the good guy and who is the bad guy has me writhing and questioning all of the motives of my heroes, in life and in comic books. The parallels are staggering, to say nothing of the characterizing established over just three issues and 150 pages.
There are some cheesy character assemblies, but how they're used here is damn near impeccable. I hope this ends half as good as it's been.
Art - 4: The depictions have been fairly average, but the fights are really starting to pick up and kick around. I'm beginning to get a taste of Mandrake I like here, and it's really nice. I think he feels, as he draws, the climax coming as much as the reader. Good work. Not AMAZING, but then, still great, and the plot is what's carrying the story here, not the writer describing interesting things for the artist to draw, so in ways I feel pity.
Cover Art - 5: Nice and strong like the other two, and it makes sense. It's not overly dramatic, it's not cornball, and it hints at how dark and angry the story is. I think this is my choice for the set of covers for the year, so far.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2002Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Joker: Last Laugh #6
-  Superman #176
-  Adventures of Superman #598
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #120
-  Action Comics #785
- Superman Adventures #63
- JLA #60
- Justice League Adventures #1
- JLA/Haven: Arrival
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #1
- JLA: Gatekeeper #2
- Superman & Batman: Generations II #4
- Superman #177
- Adventures of Superman #599
- Superman: The Man of Steel #121
- Action Comics #786
- Superman Adventures #64
- JLA #61
- Justice League Adventures #2
- Just Imagine Stan Lee with Jerry Ordway Creating the JLA
- JLA: Gatekeeper #3
- JLA: Incarnations #7
- Adventures of Superman #600
- Superman #178
- Superman: The Man of Steel #122
- Action Comics #787
- Superman Adventures #65
- JLA #62
- Justice League Adventures #3
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #2
- Superman #179
- Adventures of Superman #601
- Superman: The Man of Steel #123
- Action Comics #788
- Superman Adventures #66 [Final Issue]
- JLA #63
- Justice League Adventures #4
- JLA: Shogun of Steel
- Superman #180
- Adventures of Superman #602
- Superman: The Man of Steel #124
- Action Comics #789
- JLA #64
- Justice League Adventures #5
- Superman #181
- Adventures of Superman #603
- Superman: The Man of Steel #125
- Action Comics #790
- JLA #65
- Superman/Savage Dragon: Chicago
- Justice League Adventures #6
- Superman #182
- Adventures of Superman #604
- Superman: The Man of Steel #126
- Action Comics #791
- JLA #66
- DC1st: Superman/Lobo #1
- DC1st: Flash/Superman #1
- Justice League Adventures #7
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #1
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #3
- Superman #183
- Adventures of Superman #605
- Superman: The Man of Steel #127
- Action Comics #792
- JLA #67
- Justice League Adventures #8
- JLA: Destiny #1
- Superman #184
- Adventures of Superman #606
- Superman: The Man of Steel #128
- Action Comics #793
- JLA #68
- Justice League Adventures #9
- JLA: Destiny #2
- Superman #185
- Adventures of Superman #607
- Superman: The Man of Steel #129
- Action Comics #794
- JLA #69
- JLA #70
- Justice League Adventures #10
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #2
- JLA: Destiny #3
- JLA: The Island of Dr Moreau
- Superman #186
- Adventures of Superman #608
- Superman: The Man of Steel #130
- Action Comics #795
- JLA #71
- JLA #72
- Justice League Adventures #11
- JLA: Destiny #4
- Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta
- JLA/Haven: Anathema
- Superman #187
- Adventures of Superman #609
- Superman: The Man of Steel #131
- Action Comics #796
- JLA #73
- JLA #74
- Justice League Adventures #12
- Smallville: The Comic
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #3
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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2002.