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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #29

Justice League of America #29

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 21, 2009

Cover date: March 2009

"Star Struck"

Writter: Len Wein
Penciller: Chris Cross
Inker: Rob Stull with Chris Cross

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Starbreaker, the Cosmic Vampire, tells Shadow Thief of the first time he battled the Justice League. After the League prevented Starbreaker from destroying the planet Rann, the destroyer of countless worlds set his sights on Earth. At first Starbreaker gains the upper hand thanks to his ability to feed on human suffering, but after the League enters the fray the fear that the onlookers feel turns to hope. After exhausting his energy trying to fight the League and plunge the Earth into the sun Aquaman is able to deliver the knock out blow and the Earth is saved.

4Story - 4: No school like the old school, as the kids say these days.

(Darn kids with their hoola-hoops and Dan Fogleberg records.)

In any case this was a fun issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. Len Wein wrote some of the better issues of the first volume of this title so it's nice to see that he hasn't lost his touch. Like his recent SUPERMAN/BATMAN ANNUAL that also came out this week Len demonstrates that while he still has a classic feel to his writing it does not feel dated. Wein even manages to hold his own among the "hip" and "edgy" writers that populate DC these days. This was proven by Hawkman's line, "The safe word is - I quit!" This is not a line I would have expected from a League story from the seventies or eighties, but it works here and it doesn't take away from the fact that this was a very well written, action packed, super hero romp.

I only had two problems with this story, both of which are completely my own darn fault. The first problem is that Superman and Green Lantern managed to not only prevent the Earth from being drawn into the sun but also put it back into its proper orbit. There are some people that love this kind of thing. This sort of large scale super-heroics where anything and everything is possible seems to appeal to a certain type of reader. I am not one of them. Call me a stick in the mud but I like my super-heroics on a smaller scale. This is what happens when a man is raised on the John Byrne/Roger Stern/Dan Jurgens Superman. I like limits. The thing is I realize that this a personal gripe and doesn't take anything away from Len Wein as a writer. He told the story he wanted to tell and he did a good job of it, so take this quibble for what it is worth.

The second problem is one that apparently at least one person that reads these reviews saw coming even before I wrote this, which makes me feel kind of predictable. Be that as it may it was a little frustrating that this issue interrupted the current arc with what breaks down to be a fill in. As I previously mentioned this is a well written story, but it is a fill-in. I can see why the powers that be went for this though. A lot of newer readers may have little to no idea just who the heck Starbreaker is. He is not one of those Justice League villains that have gotten a lot of face time in the comics and he wasn't an antagonist on the recent "JUSTICE LEAGUE" animated series. The fact that he is the villain in the current story arc is kind of cool actually because Starbreaker as a concept is great. So on a rational level I know why this issue came out the way it did and I also know that this fits into the whole Faces of Evil "event" going on right now. On a completely fannish, irrational level though I want to whine, "But I want the story Dwayne McDuffie was telling. Wah!"

It's hard to see both sides of the issue sometimes. It really is.

At the end of the day if you are looking for a solid super hero story where the heroes of the Justice League rise to the occasion and defeat the ultimate evil then this is the issue for you. I enjoyed it quite a bit in spite of my somewhat irrational problems. It would be neat to see more from Len Wein, actually. It's nice to see he hasn't lost his touch.

3Art - 3: The art in this issue was strong as far as page layout and storytelling but I just don't like Chris Cross' style. The characters are too thin and some of the facial expressions were kind of funky. Still, I can't say that the art was bad. I just didn't care for it.

5Cover Art - 5: Hey look! It's an Ed Benes cover that doesn't employ the gratuitous use of the female form. I had no idea he had it in him. And the cover is really good too, not only as a Faces of Evil cover but as a piece of comic book art. Great job, Ed!

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2009

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