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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #5 Justice League of America #5

Justice League of America #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 27, 2006

Cover date: February 2007

Writter: Brad Meltzer
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Sandra Hope and Ed Benes (pages 17 and 24)

The Tornado's Path - Part Five: "Born Again"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

In the Rocky Mountain Solomon Grundy lays out his reasons for wanting to attain immortality. Green Lantern, Red Arrow, Black Canary and the injured Red Tornado eventually come to an agreement with Grundy to take on the new version of Amazo and afterwards fight for him.

12,000 miles above North England, Iowa Vixen almost loses herself to her own abilities. After latching on to the most powerful animal of all, the human animal, she pulls herself together enough to continue the search for her totem.

Lantern, Canary, Tornado and Arrow discuss their chances in fighting Amazo when Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Black Lightning and Hawkgirl arrive to remind them they don't have to go into this alone. Meanwhile the new Amazo, believing he is Red Tornado, shows up at Kathy Sutton's home. Kathy attacks him with some ordinance from Big Barda. Amazo comes to his senses and announces his intention to hurt her. Superman calls from behind and Amazo turns to see the new League standing together against him.

Meanwhile Solomon Grundy, who had held Red Tornado back while his comrades rushed into battle, tells him that despite the fact that Grundy feels for him he and his colleagues are about to find out that in this fight they don't have a prayer of winning.

5Story - 5: This is the issue where I hop off the fence and state that I love this story. Yeah it took five issues for me to finally do this, which may seem rather cowardly but in this day and age it pays to be cautious as a reviewer. Story arcs can start off horribly and turn out all fine and dandy, dandy and fine or they can come out like gangbusters and fall flat by chapter three. After this issue it would take a lot for me to doubt Meltzer's ability as a writer.

And there was a lot to like about this month's issue. Meltzer did a nice job of recapping Solomon Grundy's origin and made sense of the varying characterizations that writers have given to us over the past few decades. I rather like the smart, almost suave Solomon Grundy presented here. Not as much as I liked the Grundy that James Robinson wrote in "Starman" but pretty close.

More than that the current line-up (minus Vixen, but I'll get to her in a moment) met up for the first time and it was a dramatic meeting at that. These scenes are why I enjoy the super-hero genre in general and team books specifically. Meltzer delivered the quintessential meeting complete with reassuring off camera dialogue followed by a full page splash of the heroes joining forces and shaking hands. Meltzer did one better with some great albeit brief character moments, like Batman and Green Lantern getting all "warm and fuzzy" and Roy's reaction to seeing Hawkgirl. One of the main problems I had with Grant Morrison's run with the Justice League is that too much of it was big budget, high concept stories with little room for bits like this. I'm glad Meltzer is taking the time to put them in between the intrigue and the action.

I even liked the self-referential moments like Grundy remembering the last fight he had with Roy which took place during Meltzer's "Green Arrow" arc and the nice moment where Kathy Sutton blows Amazo out of the building with that Mega-Rod looking thing. The narration harkened back to "Identity Crisis" where Meltzer revealed that after Clark died the hero community got organized. Then, as now, I thought that was a neat and logical concept. Meltzer added to it with the armed comment and I have to say that I like the idea that once again the heroic community of the DCU had to alter its thinking after a traumatic event.

The scene with Vixen was interesting. I'm still not sure what to think of the assertion that the human animal is the most powerful but it served its purpose of getting Vixen back in the game.

And then there was Amazo. I have never been the biggest fan of Amazo as a character but Meltzer has a really good handle on the concept. The narration showing which hero he was tapping into was great as was the little wrinkle that he thought he was Red Tornado before Kathy Sutton blew him through the wall.

Add it all together and you have a strong opening to this series. Thankfully this series seems back on track release wise so hopefully it won't be too long of a wait for the thrilling climax.

5Art - 5: More of that Ed Benes/Sandra Hope goodness this month. I had absolutely nothing to complain about in this issue. As in the previous issues the art and the writing came together to produce something special. The Grundy with his fresh from the swamp look from the flashback was a stark contrast to the "Joe Fixit" Grundy that appeared in most of the issue. I also dug the look they gave Amazo. The translucent helmet showing off the brain is made all the more creepy by the zombie vibe the character has.

More than anything, though, I really dug the flashback sequences that incorporated the history of both Amazo and Red Tornado. I'm curious if this is a really good use of Photoshop or if Benes is actually drawing these sequences or if it is a combination of the two. Either way it made for a great looking couple of scenes.

5Cover Art A - 5: (Standard Cover by Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald) While Turner had his usual problems with anatomy I liked this cover. Grundy looks sharp as a tack as he walks away from the obvious butt kicking that just took place. Turner is getting better at covers that are actually dynamic and not glorified pin-up shots. No complaints here.

4Cover Art B - 4: (Alternate Cover by Art Adams and Alex Sinclair) It's nice to see Art Adams getting some exposure even if it is a variant cover. This is a nice shot of Hawkgirl, though I am a bit confused by the text since Hawkgirl has been part of this for some time. Oh well, I guess everything can't be perfect.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

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