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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #74

JLA #74

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 23, 2002

Cover date: Late December 2002

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen

"Obsidian" (The Obsidian Age - Part 6)

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito (

The Ancient League stands ready for battle, brazenly displaying Flash's mutilated body, they show no signs of mercy. Superman pleads with them, he choke backs inconceivable rage and anger in hopes to get his friend back and tend to his wounds. But the ancient League believes the JLA to be an evil hydra come to destroy their world. A battle is inevitable.

The JLA are trounced with alarming expedience. J'onn is the first to be taken down by some all engulfing magical fire that leaves him a burnt Martian skeleton at the hands of Rama Khan. Superman meets his end after a trans global battle with The Hebrew leaves him broken and twisted in a crator. Plastic-Man engulfs Rama Khan in his plastic streatchy body and is well on his way to suficating the ruler of Jarhanpur while his beloved Gamemnae simply watches. The Shaman notices this hint of betrayal and calls out to his queen. Gamemna finally steps in and turns Plastic-Man to stone and the Aztec smashes him into a million pieces.Wonder Woman is about to die at the hands of the barberian until Batman comes to the rescue, apparently fully recovered from his sickness. Batman explains his clandestine plan to the Amazon Princess, they induldge in a goodbye kiss and then rush into battle.

Whaler, now blinded from Green Lantern's attacks, wields his energy powers with reckless abandon. Green Lantern puts himself in even greater damage by breaking away from the battle to prevent Whaler's energies from destroying Atlantis and the innocent people behind her walls. His distraction allows the ancient league to surround him. He notices for the first time that his fellow heroes are all dead. He stands alone. The Shaman calmly approaches the disheartened and broken hero and whispers something in his ear. Then without hesitation the Shaman rips the young hero's heart out of his chest. The JLA are dead.

All of Atlantis celebrates the Hydra's defeat that night, the bodies of their enemies are put on display in the center of the city, and everyone rejoices in the Ancient League's success. Except for the Shaman. He sits by the pool that serves as Aquaman's prision and ponders the deaths of the JLA. Gamemnea attacks him without warning. She can no longer put up with his insubordination. She did it all for Atlantis she claims, she worked so hard to raise Atlantis to the surface that when Aquaman arrived and told her that in the future it was once again sunken she was devistated. She enslaved the water breathers and imprisioned their king. She knew the JLA would come looking for him and so she formed the ancient league, and fooled them with false prophecies of the evil Hydra. The Ancient League were the only beings in the world that could stand in her way, and as long as they were on her side she wouldn't have to consider them a threat. Now that the ancient league is weak from their battle with the JLA they are no longer a threat, and Gamemnea is free to expand Atlantis across the globe, starting with Jarhanapur. She opens her cloak and reveals Rama Khan's form has been absorbed into her own.

The Shaman panics and trips backwards into the pool where he comes face to face with Aquaman in his liquid form. He's digging out the JLA message which set this whole turn of events off to begin with. He flashes the King of Atlantis a JLA pin and tells him to "prepare", then in a burst of magic the Shaman splits into a dozen black crows and escapes back to his cave hideaway.

Back at his cave the Shaman reveals that while his commrades tore the Flash apart he tested Batman with his magic axe which can not break the skin of a good man. It was then that the Shaman's eyes were opened and he realized his mission to destroy the hydra was misguided. It turns out that the Shaman whispered his plan to Green Lantern just before he took his heart. And now using magics once more the Shaman conjures up the JLA's ghosts. It's time to save the world.

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: There are a lot of great things going on in this story line, and I couldn't fully appreciate them until this issue. Many of my complaints about the JLA issues featuring the "New League" with Nightwing and all, make perfect sense now. Before I had said that the New League's adventures could be compressed and fit into the regular ongoing monthly JLA. However, this particular JLA arc involved plugging pieces of the story into place in a non-linear order. Without seperate story progressions the story itself might have become muddled and confusing.

Unfortunately I also have a few complaints. Is it just me or were the JLA defeated way too easily? I mean I understand that they have to "die" to serve the stories purpose, but they met their ends with less of a bang and more of a whimper to be honest. It was somewhat anticlimactic to finally see them bite the big one since we had discovered Superman's dead carcass several issues earlier. On top of that I'm a little put off by the idea of the League dying and coming back to life with such ease by next month, which will happen since that will be the last part to the obsidian age. There are enough meaningless death and rebirth stories in comics today that doing it to the whole JLA seems flat.

The best part of the whole issue is the last desperate kiss Batman and Wonder Woman share. It's been building since Joe Kelly's first JLA issue months back. I wonder how Clark is going to feel when he finds out? A little jealous maybe? I can't wait to find out.

4Art - 4: Mahnke does a great job once again. As I flipped back through this issue I realized how much I enjoy the designs of this ancient league. I hope this isn't the last we get to see of them. It would be a shame if they were killed off, if for no other reason then how cool they look.

2Cover Art - 2: The JLA die this issue, they get greased by three thousand year old super heroes. And instead of some epic cover which dipicts the horrific and terrifying battle your about to step into the middle of, you get some almost action and an orange swirl of color.


Every comic book cover should be like a James Bond movie poster. You got your logo, your subtitle, your hero, your villian, and your hot chick all doing something cool. Sounds simple enough, so why can't I get a JLA cover that looks cooler then the cover of 007 box set?

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

January 2002

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