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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #96

JLA #96

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 7, 2004

Cover date: June 2004

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Jerry Ordway

The Tenth Circle - Part 3: "The Heart of the Matter"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito

Batman escapes his near death encounter with the possessed detective only to face two vampires that he quickly takes care of. Then he cures the detective of his vampiric spell before rushing back to the Watchtower where the Atom is trapped in the subatomic world inside Manitou's seer stones. While there he encounters robe wearing, English speaking antibodies.

Meanwhile at the Crucifer's lair the Crucifer turns Faith into a vampire. The psychic girl recalls her origins with the four armed gorilla named Grunt and their connections to this new/old Doom Patrol. It seems that after a brief stint in the circus the Doom Patrol took in the girl and the monkey only to have them escape when things didn't go so smoothly. They were eventually taken in by the Crucifer and his cult.

Just then Superman arrives with Wonder Woman. After a battle the Crucifer stabs Wonder Woman through the chest apparently leaving her for dead.

To Be Continued...

1Story - 1: As a recent college graduate, schooled in the art of the written word, I will attempt to deconstruct this train wreck as professionally as possible. First of all the character nuances are as deep as those from any "Super Friends" cartoon. Not to mention the endlessly hooky dialogue that is almost disrespectful to the intelligence of even the youngest reader.

The death blow to Wonder Woman and the end of this issue is obviously trying to add to the step by step destruction of the league, and build tension for the reader. However, once already we've seen this ending with Batman and he's already been "resurrected." The emotional highs and lows are short changed by instant solutions such as this.

Another problem seems to be, and I've noticed this with a number of the JLA archs, is that each issue needs a beginning -- middle -- and end. Just because the arch stretches over 3 issues or 6 issues or 20 even, each individual issue needs to have a structure of its own. It must act as a part of the whole while retaining it's own values. I know it's hard work but that's why these guys get paid the big bucks.

2Art - 2: The pictures carry the story for the most part but poor background fills, out of date costume designs and flat colors are distracting and consitently take me out of the story.

4Cover Art - 4: I actually like the cover quite a bit. It's got all the trappings of a good cover, it lures the audience in and gives them a reason to pick it up off the rack and flip through it if they don't usually collect JLA. It's ashame the interiors can't back up what the cover promises.

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

January 2004

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