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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #79

JLA #79

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 26, 2003

Cover date: May 2003

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen

"Rules of Engagement - Part 2"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito (

Wonder Woman meets with the leader of the peacemakers in and effort to bridge the gaps between societies and prevent a full scale war. Her noble attempts are thwarted by the peacemaker's distrustful and insulting attitudes.

Meanwhile Kanjar Ro gives Superman and the rest of his JLA envoy a tour of the "interrogation rooms." Superman is outraged to see the carefree torture that Kanjar Ro takes part in. Manitou calms the man of steel and Major Disaster takes it upon himself to use his powers to cause a citywide black out so the torture chambers can no longer function.

Later on a landing platform by their JLA transport Superman apologizes for dragging everyone into the middle of this fight that they have no part in. Wonder Woman comes to his defense and convinces them that this is exactly what the JLA should be getting involved in. As the peace maker fleet mounts Major Disaster suggest that if the fleet is destroyed there can't be any war. Superman isn't so sure, he doesn't know how to beat the bad guy without playing their game. But Faith has a plan...

Back on Earth in Brazil a pair of dominatrix looking secretaries explain to their unseen boss, Manson, that Batman refuses to return Faith and that getting her back from the Watch tower will be practically impossible. However, with extensive planning the surmise that they should be able to reclaim Faith within the week.

Superman stands outside the Kylaq capitol and eaves drops on the senate debate over proper actions that should be taken in the wake of impending battle. Kanjar Ro is obviously all for war. Suddenly Maitou sneaks up on Superman, the ancient shaman offers the man of tomorrow some old fashioned advice: don't concern yourself with the individual men but the betterment of the tribe itself. These words linger in Superman's super ears and leave him with something to ponder.

The next day the Peace Maker army prepares for battle and issues one last warning. Wonder Woman tries to desuade him one last time but it's no use, the war has begun. Jon Stewart sets up emerald shields to protect the cities below from laser fire and Wonder Woman does her best to back him up, but it's Faith who goes on the offensive. Channeling all her bright energy powers into a wide dispersed pulse she manages to destroy all of the enemy ships and not injury any of the soldiers inside. The sudden burst of power drains Faith and she is left immobile and unconscious in the arms of her comrades.

Back at the Watch Tower Atom, Flash and Firestorm monitor their team mates progress. Manitou's wife Dawn interrupts, she can't seem to get a hang of the oven. Firestorm is more then happy to give the gorgeous young woman a hand in the kitchen.

In the Kylaq senate they report that the peace maker fleet has retreated in wake of Faith's display. The citizen's of this isolationist planet credit Kanjar Ro with their victory. It looks as though the evil despot will soon be elevated to an even greater position of power. Then suddenly Superman shows up with a massive "dream catcher" that displays a vision of Kanjar Ro hard at work in his torture chambers. This unflattering image has been brought to all the peoples around Kylaq so that they may see what kind of man they admire. Superman gives the people the facts and lets their outrage defeat him. Superman beats up the bad guy and never raises his fists.

Just outside washing DC a man walks up the steps to a quaint little suburban home. Sweat mounts on his forehead as his nerves betray him. The house bursts into flames and the man is revealed to be the Martian Manhunter. The Manhunter enters the house undaunted.

4Story - 4: Maybe I read to much into this but I definitely saw parallels between the peacemaker invasion of Kylaq and current "Operation Iraqi Freedom" that has taken control of all 24 hour news networks for almost two weeks now. I feel that the similarities, intended or not, make the story a bit more important then usual. I don't have much to say about it, I don't want to risk climbing up on a soap box, but I thought it deserved to be pointed out for anyone who didn't see it.

I was impressed with the resolution to Kanjar Ro's character assassination at the hands of Superman. I was intrigued by the growing mystery surrounding Faith and the extend of her powers. I was curious to see what will come of the seemingly innocent touch between Dawn and firestorm. And I laughed out loud when the Peace Maker called Wonder Woman a whore.

Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with how quickly Faith took out the enemy army with almost no explanation of her powers. I wish some mention would have been made of how Kanjar Ro escaped his last imprisonment. And when Superman first sees Kanjar's torture chambers I suspect he would be a bit more quick to action in his outrage.

That aside, the good out weighs the bad once again and we're left with a wonderfully written adventure featuring the world's greatest super-heroes.

5Art - 5: Mahnke really hit a stride here. There's a level of detail in everything he draws, a super stylized detail that lends a distinct feel to each new culture and species we meet. I'm am continually impressed with how full each panel is.

5Cover Art - 5: The scales on Karjar's twisted evil face are so perfectly laid out and curve to fit the wrinkles in his face. It's an excellent depiction of the villain.

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

January 2003

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