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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League Elite #1

Justice League Elite #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 21, 2004

Cover date: September 2004

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

"Grand Experiment"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito

Major Disaster sits in a bar talking trash on his former allies in the Justice League. An attractive young woman listens intently and decides to invite him to try out for some work back where he belongs on the side of evil. Disaster accepts and reports to an abandoned lot later that night. While speaking with the ring leaders of the Blood Brothers an assassin sneaks up behind him and cuts his head off. He was not worthy to join their ranks.

Meanwhile, in Arabia Sister Superior speaks with a man named Naif. She hopes Naif will sponsor the JLE and keep them in line during their undercover efforts. He is weary of the invitation. He not only hates super-humans, he's not very confident that they can maintain their covers for an extended period without being tempted to join the evil doers themselves.

Halfway across the world that same attractive young talent scout from the bar is looking to recruit Deathstroke. He seems preoccupied with a pair of willing women but he knows to send them away before he starts talking business. As he accepts the offer one of his female companions flies the coup, it was Menagerie of the JLE the whole time. Deathstroke goes on to kill Green Arrow in combat on the streets of Star City.

Later Deathstroke, Cold Cast, Menagerie and a number of other assassins try out for the Blood Brothers. Most of them are killed in the first few seconds of battle. In the end only Deathstroke and Kasumi are left standing. Both are granted entrance into the Blood Brothers.

Later the dead rise. Cold Cast and Menagerie and Major Disaster are all seen cleaning up the mess of the battle that had just taken place. This was all a massive sting operation to gain access to the Blood Brothers and their plans to over throw the nations of the world.

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: I really enjoy this concept and the ideas it broaches here in this first issue. Can super-heroes pretend to be bad guys without crossing that line and becoming criminals themselves? This effective hook is made that much more interesting by including characters like Green Arrow, Flash and especially Major Disaster. I single out the Major because he is already a reformed villain, I'm curious to see if slipping back into old habits will be easier or harder for him.

I'm having trouble attaching myself to Cold Cast, Menagerie and Sister Superior who simply isn't as interesting as her brother... Yet. Time will tell. Unfortunately our first meeting with her in JLA #100 was brief and rushed. She spends a good deal of time undercover in this issue and we never really get to know her here either. We only really understand her in relation to her brother, Manchester Black. I found myself more interested in Naif than her. This is more of an observation then a criticism, Joe Kelly really hasn't had the space to forge Sister Superior into a strong lead but there's still time.

Over all I enjoy the concept and was satisfied with the execution.

5Art - 5: Mahnke steps it up a notch here and really drives home a cinematic visual sense. I was really delighted with the Green Arrow/Deathstroke face off. The caption boxes had nothing to do with the events taking place in the panel and as a result those few pages had to exist on their own and tell a story without the benefit of exposition. This is a task easier said than done and Mahnke does a wonderful job.

1Cover Art - 1: Pfft. A number one issue, a perfect opportunity to grab new readers into the JLA camp... Wasted. With the exception of Flash who is mostly obscured and Green Arrow all of these characters are relatively unknown to the casual reader. It cuts the chances that folks might see a familiar face and pick up the book. Where's the action? Where's the high concept at work? Where's the background? This was a serious snafu. A wasted opportunity.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2004

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