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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #2 Justice League of America #2

Justice League of America #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 27, 2006

Cover date: November 2006

Writter: Brad Meltzer
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Sandra Hope

The Tornado's Path - Part Two: "Tornado-Red/Tornado-Blue"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman continue their selection process for the new Justice League.

Black Lightning carries on his investigation of Plastique and Electrocutioner and discovers that they had disappeared during a supposed hit on a Senator Godfrey. After learning that they were able to suppress their abilities Black Lightning follows the trail and discovers that the Parasite has been using his abilities to leach powers for fun and profit.

Red Tornado basks in the happiness of his new body and being reunited with his family. Later that night he gets a call from Dr. Magnus regarding the theft of his former android shell. Despite some kinks with his new body he leaves to find out what happened.

Vixen faces off against Plastique and Electrocutioner in a Hub City bar and the two villains manage to get her totem before using a Father Box to escape.

Meanwhile, Green Lantern, Black Canary and Arsenal track down Tornado's body and find Professor Ivo, who unleashes hundreds of multi-colored Tornadoes on the heroes.

4Story - 4: Well, as long as the Millennium Giants stay out of this I'm fine with the title.

In all seriousness Meltzer turns in another solid issue. The pacing seemed to slow down a bit with parts of this chapter, but most of those were the scenes with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I mean they're still in the cave talking about who they want to be in the League. I know in my head that it fits into how Meltzer is telling the story and it does work, though, and I can't find too much fault beyond that vague feeling like those scenes have a certain drag to them.

In looking at this issue as part of an overall story the scenes in the cave are important because it allows for the members of the League who aren't part of the supposed Trinity some time to develop for the reader. On some level if Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are involved then the drama of the piece diminishes somewhat because no matter how great the threat or how the writer will hamper them there is that sense that things are going to be ok. The only other hero in the book that evokes anything close to that is Hal, but in his case there are issues because he isn't that far out of the grave to command that kind of respect. He should and he will, but not right away or at least not anywhere beyond his own title.

The scene transitions gave the book an interesting flow and gave us just enough information about the mystery of the piece to keep us interested without revealing everything. Black Lightning's scenes produced a bunch of interesting concepts but didn't dwell on them. The idea of the Parasite selling his abilities so that villains can mask their powers for a time is fantastic, but it was the tease of the Cavalier explaining how there are scanners that can detect powers and abilities far beyond those mortal men that sold it. It's one of those ideas that are obvious after the fact. It makes sense that in a world of people who can hurl electricity or manifest explosions that some enterprising individual (probably from Waynetech or Luthor Corp) would develop such a security system. Adding the Parasite gives it that extra kick because if the good guys are going to develop such a scanner then the bad guys are going to find a way around it.

The scenes with Roy, Dinah and Hal had a great vibe to them as well. This is another area where Meltzer excels. Sure they're on a quest but there is so much history between these characters that the banter would just bubble to the surface. Then again I like that type of characterization so I can be a little biased on the subject.

The appearance of Professor Ivo and the theft of Vixen's totem lead to some interesting questions, especially regarding the identity of the figure in the shadows. My money is on the creation of a new body for Amazo given that they are using the Red Tornado's body, Vixen's totem which allows her to tap into the natural abilities of the animal work and the presence of Professor Ivo. All of this points to an android that can absorb the abilities of others. I could be completely wrong here and since it is so obvious I probably am. I just thought it was worth a paragraph.

Even if I am wrong this story is coming along nicely. There is a great mix of character, concepts and action, which makes for a great relaunch of the Justice League of America. Meltzer is keeping his cards close to the vest and only giving us just enough to keep us wanting to come back. If I had any serious issues it would be if Meltzer chooses to have the problems Red Tornado is having with his new body (i.e. the shaky hand) lead to him having to give it up and go into a new robot form. It would be dramatic, but also a little obvious, at least to me.

Then again, given the end of this issue he will have a lot of bodies to choose from, so at least that is taken care of.

4Art - 4: Pages two and three have to be one of the creepiest two page splashes I have ever seen in a Justice League story. I mean really, really creepy and even a little bit gross. It was also effective, especially after the first page which had four panels, three of which were virtually identical.

This is the strength of Ed Benes and Sandra Hope's art. With the different settings and moods of the scenes in this book you have to have an art team that can handle that kind of variety. Benes and Hope make the quiet moments, like Hal giving Roy a hard time, work just as well as the bar fight in Hub City. Their page layouts match the mood of the scenes to near perfection and they seemed to know when to use more traditional grids as well as unconventional, lopsided arrangements and huge, wide screen moments.

It's always nice to get a comic where the art and writing mesh together and bring the story to another level. Like last issue this chapter did just that.

I like that and hope this continues.

Covers: Both covers had something that I absolutely HATED, but I'll get to that in a bit.

4Cover Art A - 4: (Standard Cover by Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald) You know, this is a nice cover and has that, "Here's the team flying at you as they go to take on whatever evil force is threatening mankind" feeling but at the same time it doesn't do much for me. The art is great and everyone looks awesome but the layout is so clichéd that I can't jump up and down in excitement.

It's a nice piece of art, just nothing truly special.

4Cover Art B - 4: (Incentive/Price Gouging Cover by Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning and Jeremy Cox) Again, this is a nice piece of art but doesn't do a whole heck of a lot for me. I'm glad this was the incentive cover because it had even less to do with the story inside than the standard cover. As nice as Jimenez and crew's shot of Red Tornado is it still isn't worth fifteen to twenty-five dollars.

The one element that both covers had that just bothered the heck out of me was that Entertainment Weekly blurb at the top.

Look, I realize that DC is trying to hype this book as much as they can. It's a big deal. There was even a small bit on Court TV where Meltzer and the Justice League were covered. Mainstream attention means that non-comic readers (or former comic readers) may be persuaded to check this book out. Maybe a blurb from Entertainment Weekly would make them do just that.

It still is distracting and annoying. Save the reviewer blurbs for the hardcover. Leave the regular covers alone.

Please. For me. Because I asked so nicely.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2006

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