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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Classified #13

JLA: Classified #13

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 26, 2005

Cover date: December 2005

Writter: Warren Ellis
Penciller: Butch Guice
Inker: Butch Guice

"New Maps of Hell" - Part Four

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

The Justice League of America converges on Las Vegas to fight the giant monster that has materialized there. The battle leads the League into a realm ruled by a being that is so old that it has been known by countless names, though its original name was the final pictogram of its originating species inscription table. The equivalent of the dominant language of North America would be Z.

Superman demands to know what Z wants. Z replies that it was created to test emergent life. It is the greatest weapon in the galaxy but is not to be given away or discovered. Z tells the League that they will be tested. If the League fails Z will make an example of them at the center of their civilization so that the League's ancestors will know to become worthy. If the League defeats Z it will become their weapon to be deployed at their wish. If the League fails utterly Z will deem their species unworthy to live and make their species extinct.

The League uses their telepathic link to strategize and once Z asks if they are ready to be tested the team strikes. Z is impressed at their novelty and determination and opens miniature black holes, which separates the League. As Superman is enveloped by the black hole he informs Z that it will see them again.

3Story - 3: The real disappointment of this issue is the fact that while the writing and characterization is still excellent this is the first issue that feels like it was padded out. Frankly the whole of this issue could have taken up only half of your average comic. There was excitement, exposition and some fun with the Justice League, but in the end this felt more like an issue of The Ultimates than a JLA story.

I really hate that I feel this way. I enjoyed the first three parts of this story arc and thought that Ellis was doing right by the Justice League. This issue was very repetitive. The scenes with the League in battle mirrored the previous battles from this arc. The creature, Z, spits out the exact same story that J'onn told last issue. This seems to be a sloppy bit of storytelling on Ellis' part and it hurts the overall story. Read a month later it feels like I have gone through the same book twice. I can't imagine what it would be like to read this as part of a collected edition. The only upside to this is the fact that since it was written this way I can say with some level of certainty that this was not a story designed to be "written for the trade."

In the end I really disliked this issue. It felt like a massive waste of space. All of the exposition could have been condensed. What makes me nervous is the fact that I now have doubts that this story is going to end well. It had such a great start, but with this serving as the middle I'm wondering if the ending is going to be worth it or if it is going to be just like a lot of the other stories that appeared in JLA prior to "Crisis of Conscience"; dull and pointless.

Here's hoping that I am wrong.

4Art - 4: While Guice's artwork continues to be strong it lacked a lot of the detail from the previous issues. The action scenes were well paced and the scenes with Z had a certain creepy quality to them. The art in this issue was one of the few things that saved it from being a monumental waste of time.

2Cover Art - 2: These covers are getting kind of boring. They're nice and all, but the more I look at them the more I think that they really do nothing to serve the story. This cover looked rather weak and stiff and didn't have near the iconic feeling the Batman or Wonder Woman covers had.

This cover receives a rather low two out of ten on the 2005 Edition of the Grab Me Meter.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2005

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