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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #97

JLA #97

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 28, 2004

Cover date: June 2004

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

The Tenth Circle - Part 4: "Interlude on the Last Day of the World!"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito

A vacationing couple comes close to a deadly car wreck as the unconscious body of Wonder Woman falls from the sky. With a light pulse and heavy injuries they rush her to the hospital where the JLA convene around her. Soon the Amazons arrive to take her away but she awakes from her life threateing wounds. She informs them of Superman's enslavement as she gets out of the hospital bed.

Back at the Crucifer's mansion he pontificates before seven shadowy demon figures. They are unimpressed with his accomplishments and inflict some indecipherable punishment on him. On the other side of the mansion Nudge and Grunt try to rescue Faith before they're interrupted by the giant disembodied head of Manitou Raven.

Speaking of Manitou, Atom is still stuck inside one of his seer stones. Unable to grow he tries to communicate with the english-speaking antibodies that live in the stone and protect some unseen artifact hidden in a tabernacle.

Crucifer and his meta-human legion of children attack some small town and feed off of their essence. No motivation is given, but they are ordered not to turn anyone (into a vampire?) or kill. After the whole population is enslaved the Crucifer sets ablaze a giant sigil of the Tenth Circle and lays claim to the world.

Nudge and Grunt escape the Crucifer's mansion and†dive through a portal. They end up at the Doom Patrol's headquarters just as the JLA arrive to finally call their actions into question.

To Be Continued...

1Story - 1: Everything I've been†saying is wrong about the other issues is still wrong†here†in part four. Character motivations and actions, especially, are strained by this point. I feel that the top cannon of DC's character are being aimlessly manipulated. There seems to be no deliberate movement unless it serves to help Byrne launch his†new Doom Patrol series that will last ten issues before cancelation and descent into obscurity. For example, Wonder Woman is stabbed through the chest and dropped to the ground from†hundreds of feet up. Two pages later after we get done hearing about how horrible her injuries are she is up and about. Now I know she's a super-hero, no doubt she would heal fast, but you don't say "there's no hope" then have her spring to life without explanation. Give me something, anything, call it magic or an experimental steroid injection Batman was working on. Anything is better than nothing. The same goes for Vampire Superman, if you're gonna turn the world's greatest hero into a villianous lap dog let's put him to work. Why is he standing around doing nothing. That's the problem with the arc, it's a whole lot of nothing.

1Art - 1: I really, really hate writing this review on John Byrne month after month. Don't get me wrong I love the review gig here at the Homepage, I just hate to have to say nasty things about one of my favorite creators of all time. But the fact of the matter is the pencils are sloppy. The colors are a growing problem as well. It's ok to have flat colors, in some cases it's a stylistic choice, and I get that. But when you're using flat colors they ought to be as vibrant and bright as possible. Here we're stuck with a bunch of muted blues, greys, lime greens, and browns.

1Cover Art - 1: I get no idea what the comic is about from this cover. The disembodied heads of the JLA have no emotion to them and the Crucifer isn't very threatening or interesting.

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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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