Tuesday, April 05, 2005

JLA / JSA VIRTUE AND VICE GN DC Comics, 2003


This is a deluxe hardback treatment of a time-honored DC tradition: the annual meeting of the Justice League of America* and the Justice Society of America. Back in pre-Crisis days the two teams, who existed on different parallel Earths, would meet up and eat turkey or play baseball. Or maybe that's the X-Men. Anyway, their reunions would always be interrupted by a threat so great that it required the power of both teams. Such is the case here as well.

Let’s get one thing out of the way – the traditional roster page at the beginning of the book includes Vixen and Captain Atom as members of the League. At best, they would be reserve members. As stated previously, Captain Atom is a tool and I’m opposed to his affiliation with the JLA. Vixen is okay, I guess. She’s from the Justice League Detroit era, and can channel the power of different African animals. That’s why you see a big ghostly elephant behind her during her only scene in the book – she’s channeling an elephant. They don’t really explain that at all; you just sort of have to know that or it looks really weird. As a matter of fact, writers Geoff Johns and David “Blade” Goyer just sort of assume that the reader knows the history of all 24 or so heroes and takes it from there.

The storyline pits the collected heroes against each other and against arch-enemies Despero (JLA) and Johnny Sorrow (JSA). Some heroes get possessed by the Seven Deadly Sins, some other heroes get stranded in Limbo fighting an Endless Battle, and general wackiness ensues. I always loved superteam-ups when I was a kid, so I dug it.

Carlos Pacheco does a great job drawing a shitload of characters – his style is very clean and detailed, he rarely missteps with his visual storytelling, and every character gets a chance at the spotlight. He manages to make Firestorm look cool(!), and his Hourman and Mr Terrific look awesome. It helps that the paper is so high quality. Plus there's a great two-page money shot of the heroes storming into battle.

This book also features my favorite, Power Girl, who is drawn by Pacheco with even larger breasts than normal. Appropriately, this object of fanboy desire is possessed by the sin Lust, but as you might imagine, they don't really follow through on the idea to its logical conclusion. So, no pole dancing Power Girl.

One thing I didn't like is that Wonder Woman isn't treated like the heavy hitter she is - she gets knocked out twice in the big final battle! That ain't right.

*I don’t know how you can call yourself the Justice League of America when your base is on the moon and you’ve got an alien, an Amazon, and the King of Atlantis on your team, but nobody’s asking me.

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