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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #13 Justice League of America #13

Justice League of America #13

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 26, 2007

Cover date: November 2007

Writter: Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller: Joe Benitez
Inker: Victor Llamas

"Unlimited - Chapter 2"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

(Continues on from Justice League of America: Wedding Special #1)

Batman dislocates both of his shoulders to get out of the straight jacket that the Injustice League Unlimited had put him in. He makes his way to where the villains were holding Wonder Woman and nearly had her free via batarang if not for the fact that Lex Luthor, the Joker, Gorilla Grodd, the Cheetah and Dr. Light were waiting for him.

Back at the Hall of Justice the remaining Leaguers (John Stewart, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Red Tornado, Vixen, Hawkgirl and Superman) plot their next move. They decide to split into two teams to investigate the scenes where their comrades were taken leaving Black Lightning behind in case the Injustice League decides to attack their headquarters.

Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Red Tornado head to the hospital, with John Stewart giving Black Lightning a hard time about his shaved head during the trip. Once they get to the hospital the Injustice League attacks with Killer Frost taking down Red Tornado. Shadow Thief and Fatality join the fray and John Stewart manages to take both the Thief and Fatality down before being felled by Poison Ivy.

Meanwhile, Superman, Vixen and Black Canary check out the place where Batman and Red Arrow were captured. As Black Canary looks around Superman takes the opportunity to speak to Vixen about her recent power dilemma. Superman admits that he brought her in case she needed to take on his abilities, but suggests that she comes clean to the rest of the League because they are willing to help her. As Black Canary rejoins them Vixen notices that her com link isn't working. Superman believes it is an ambush and has Vixen use his abilities to scan the room. Suddenly Dr. Light, Cheetah and Gorilla Grodd reveal their presence.

The fight is brief with Black Canary taking down Dr. Light and Vixen knocking out Grodd. Cheetah realizes that she is at a disadvantage but is confident because she brought along Parasite. He absorbs Vixen's abilities, but because of her connection with Superman he gets taken down as well. Cheetah and Black Canary square off, but Black Lightning attacks Wonder Woman's enemy from behind and even manages to stare down the Parasite, who makes a hasty retreat. As Superman and Vixen recover Black Lightning explains that once the com-links went down he took a Javelin to investigate and discovered that John Stewart and crew were missing. When Superman, Vixen and Black Canary's went down he flew to their location and was close enough to help.

Superman takes stock of the situation and tells the group that the Injustice League has eight of them now. Black Lightning points out that those are the members they are aware of since the Flash hasn't called in. Superman asks what they should do now. Lex Luthor appears and tells Superman that he is glad the Man of Steel asked.

5Story - 5: I haven't been this happy with a comic book for a long time. A long time.

(Great, now I'm sounding like Ben Kenobi. Perfect.)

I said in my review for the WEDDING SPECIAL that this story is feeling like the fourth season to JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED and I still stand by that. Some fans on the Internet have taken issue with this (the fact that there are parallels to the final season of JLU, not my review, which I don't think anyone really had a problem with) and that's their right, I just disagree with them. When the final season of JLU began to air the whole VILLAINS UNITED thing began and it was odd and kind of neat to see the same basic story concept done in two different ways, so it has been done before, sort of, but it still feels different. In all honesty I don't think Dwayne going in this direction as his first arc on the book is re-treading those stories but using the fact that it has been over a year since INFINITE CRISIS to reintroduce the concept of the villain banding together to this particular DC Earth. It makes sense that the villains would want to get together again now that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, along with the Justice League, are back.

So while I respect the opinions of the detractors I have to disagree, which is a nice way of saying they are welcome to their opinions but they're just dead wrong.

Anyway, this second chapter of "Injustice" didn't slow down for a moment. This story is fast paced but doesn't feel rushed in any way. Dwayne McDuffie paced this story to near perfection and his ability to build to big moments, like Luthor and crew's intro in this issue is well suited to a Justice League story. Again, as much as I enjoyed Brad Meltzer's run because in hindsight I think I see what he was trying to do this version of the League is more my style. There is great character interaction as well as super heroes and super villains duking it out. It's the best of both worlds, really and I can only hope the writing continues in this direction.

The nods to JLU were great. I loved (and that's something I don't usually say in a review because I think it makes me look fannish, but with this book I just don't care) the bit with John giving Black Lightning a hard time about his shaved head. It was great. It's nice to see John in the League again and again while some may take issue with this I think that Dwayne will use whichever Green Lantern he feels is better for the story. I was very taken with John on JLU and the fact that he was a Leaguer for years gives his getting re-upped a certain resonance. There was even a nod to his look in JLU with the comment he made about shaving his head and growing a goatee. While all of this was amusing and very entertaining Dwayne turned the tables a little bit and showed John being, in the most polite terms possible since this is an all ages site, a serious butt kicker. He took down Shadow Thief and Fatality with ease and it was only the gross "sucker punch" on the part of Poison Ivy that took him down.

The other character bit that I liked was the conversation between Vixen and Superman. It would have been very easy to have Superman coming off as patronizing to Vixen, but McDuffie didn't go in that direction. Given the fact that one of Vixen's first appearance was in an issue of ACTION COMICS gave this scene some emotional weight for me because it seemed like a conversation between two old friends with one asking the other to come clean about a problem. Dwayne also upped Superman's status as a strategist by having him admit that he brought her along so she could use his powers and later gave her tips on how to best utilize them. It was just a nice, character driven scene right before another solid fight scene.

My only real question is if Parasite absorbed Vixen's powers wouldn't he have been as powerful as Superman? It wasn't too clear, but it looked like he recognized her powers but just didn't use them. Maybe the transfer didn't work because he only absorbed the ability he already has. Superman keeling over was a nice touch, but Parasite leaving left me kind of confused. Maybe he didn't have the powers or somehow he just didn't know.

Oh well, aside from that this was a great second chapter with an equally great cliffhanger ending. At this rate I may start liking the comics I'm reading again.

Who would have thunk it?

4Art - 4: I liked the art. Don't get me wrong. I thought that Benitez and Llamas had a great style that meshed well with the balance of action and character the story had. Their fight scenes popped and had some true power to them. The thing is that the look of the art, as in how the characters looked, was a bit off for me. It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination but there was something about it that was a bit off putting for me.

Oh well. It wasn't bad, so I am not going to complain. Aside from that one quibble the art was aces.

5Cover Art - 5: And that five is for both of them. Frankly I was surprised that there wasn't a variant cover for this, but hey that's one less cover I have to review so why push the point?

These two connected covers were a nice bookend to the two cover spread that issue one had. This is one of those things that should have been turned into a wallpaper on DC's site but at last check there was none. Sure they put up the cover of this week's COUNTDOWN as a wallpaper but not one I would actually want. It's a conspiracy I tell you. They heard that I dropped that title and are now keeping the wallpapers I want from me.

Crack pot conspiracy theories aside this was a great set of covers and I recognized everyone except for I think three of the characters. The characters are, starting from the left cover and going up and down:

Killer Frost, Chemo, Validus, Black Manta, Fatality, Granny Goodness, Sivana, Fatality, Bolt, Sinestro, Merlyn, Black Adam (in an awesome costume redesign), Mongul II, Amazo, Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Giganta, Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd, and Lex Luthor.

On the right cover:

Joker, Mammoth, the guy I think is T.O. Morrow, Bizarro, some little guy on top of Giganta who could be Gizmo but I'm not really all that sure, Toyman, Cheetah, Cheshire, Captain Cold, a guy that looks like the old Hawkman villain Lionmane, Two-Face, Dr. Light, Shadow Thief, Parasite, Scarecrow, Major Force, Despero, Zoom, Icicle and Effigy.

So all in all this was a great cover. Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund and Alex Sinclair did themselves proud on this one.

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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