Monday, December 17, 2007

The End of the JLA - A Good Death

Even though I was a Justice League maniac as a child, I was in the midst of an early high school ‘too cool for comics hiatus’ when this series ground to a halt. I’d always heard about how bad these last few years of the JLA were, but I’d never read any of them. As I understand, this storyline all takes place as part of the ‘Legends’ maxi-series. A few years back, I bought a copy of the Legends TPB for $4, and wish I’d spent it at Starbucks.

I saw these 4 issues at a deeply discounted price, and thought I’d pick them up just so that I actually had a clear idea how things ended. You know what? This storyline was much better than I had expected. Sure, it’s obvious that this is a pretty lame JLA (and a lame-duck one considering the re-launch had already been announced), but with the right words and pictures almost anyone can be the subject of a compelling story. If the fans are calling out for Vibe’s head, you can give it to them – but do it in such a way to make them realize a little too late that he may have had a place in the DCU. Steel’s death is handle even more deftly, as it is hard not to feel a mixture of sorrow, pity and relief for him.

This stuff is far from perfect, but it’s a pretty damned good read and seems to be an appropriate way to brings and end to this tile that had enjoyed a 25-year run. My admiration for J.M. DeMatteis continues to grow. He was obviously giving the marching orders to shut down the JLA, and he fought off the temptation to avoid write something too nihilistic or, even worse, too sentimental. In the end, it’s a decent, quiet story and the loss of life serves as an act of cleansing.

1 comment:

Paradox said...

Gerry Conway, however, deserves a smack in the head for not knowing the differences between the JLA and the Avengers, and for not knowing that what works for one might not work for another.

Among his other sins, anyway, like not knowing Detroit is on Lake HURON (or St. Claire, depending). I shudder to even discuss his horrid misuse of "chill".