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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Classified #9

JLA: Classified #9

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 29, 2005

Cover date: Late August 2005

Writter: Keith Griffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Penciller: Kevin Maguire
Inker: Joe Rubinstein

"I Can't Believe it's Not The Justice League" - Part 6: Lo! There Shall Come an Ending (and None Too Soon!)

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

As the giant, alternate version of G'Nort rampages through the city Guy Gardner, Power Girl and Mary Marvel argue amongst themselves in the creature's fur. Suddenly they are attacked by the evil versions of Mary and Captain Marvel. The fight is brief and Guy tricks Mary into rushing towards him before becoming intangible at the last minute. The evil Marvel crashes into G'Nort's head. Guy and his friends make a hasty exit as G'Nort grabs the evil Marvel and eats her.

At the Power Posse headquarters Booster Gold throws a shield around Bea as Tiffany brings down her ice fingers again and again. The evil Metamorpho attacks, but Booster grabs the Blue Beetle and joins Bea under the shield. The alternate Maxwell Lord threatens the Elongated Man with a machine gun and offers Ralph's life in exchange for Booster dropping the shield. Bea and Booster try to bluff their way through the situation, but Max eventually comes to believe their story that they are from a parallel universe. Booster tries to bluff Max again and claims that there is a super-powered army pouring through an international portal to help them, but Max doesn't buy it.

After a short argument with the alternate Sue, Max orders Booster to cap Ralph. Beetle whispers his plan to Booster, who eventually realizes what is going on and the group attacks. They eventually take down the evil versions of their friends and after Max is unconscious and Metamorpho is trapped Beetle and Bea discuss whether or not the Tora they had seen in Hell was really Tora. Beetle convinces her that it wasn't her and the Hell they were in was a manifestation of their own minds.

Beetle suggests that they need to find a way home. Ralph suggests that Power Girl and Mary should be in on the planning and Booster reminds him that Guy is with them too. They decide to take the evil Metamorpho with them since he is too dangerous to take the chance that he might try to stop him. The alternate Sue wants to go too, but Elongated Man tells her no.

Elsewhere Mary Marvel and Guy debate whether or not they should try and stop the rampaging G'Nort. Guy tries to bring Power Girl into the argument, but Power Girl won't have any of it. Mary wants to find the others, but again Guy argues that they should just sit there and wait for Beetle and crew to find them. Mary points out that they are the ones that can fly and Guy agrees with her, but reminds her that the other Captain Marvel can fly too, so they should stay put. Mary doesn't want Guy to refer to the evil Billy as her brother because they are not the same person and the other Mary couldn't possibly be her. Guy concedes and tells her that after everything that has happened he is not up for that kind of fight. Mary asks if that is because of what happened with Tora and Guy becomes sad and tells her don't.

Finally Guy agrees with Mary and decides they should go and find the others and maybe Beetle will figure something out and click his ruby slippers together and say there is no place like home. As he says this Guy clicks his own heels together and suddenly the group, Beetle and all, are transported back to their reality. Max is overjoyed that they are back, but Power Girl is so angry that she storms out. Mary tells Max that they have been through quite an ordeal. Max responds that they have too and that Doctor Fate is in a very bad mood. Doctor Fate bans them from the JSA Mansion for eternity. Sue and Ralph are reunited and Sue finally convinces her husband that she is not pregnant. Sue adds that she is willing to give the matter another try and L-Ron rips off his own head at the thought. Bea and Booster talk about what happened in "Hell". Bea apologizes for hitting Booster, who says that it is okay and reminds her that it wasn't Tora that they encountered. Bea offers to have dinner with Booster after she finishes furnishing her apartment.

After Bea leaves Beetle and Max ask Booster what happened. Booster isn't sure, but he thinks it was good. He had the feeling that the Super Buddies really had it in for him and he was considering resigning, but Bea showed him that they might actually want him around. Beetle and Max tell him no. Booster tells them that they do, but they insist that they don't. Max asks Sue if they want "Buster" around, and she chimes in that she doesn't either. Booster tells them to cut it out, but when asked Ralph denies knowing who "Buster" is. As Beetle and Max smile at their handy work Booster asks why everything must be a joke with them.

4Story - 4: Despite a slightly rushed feeling I thought this story-arc finished up in grand style. Giffen and DeMatteis seemed to run out of juice right at the end and things wrapped up a little too neatly, but taken as a whole it was a fun little story that managed to recapture and era that ended over ten years ago.

I would have liked to have seen more of the alternate Billy and Mary, but given that they were not a major focal point of the story I can't be disappointed. The resolution to their part of the arc fit into Giffen and DeMatteis' style and it really felt like it was 1990 again.

The whole alternate reality sub-plot played out well. As much as I liked Blue Beetle taking point and leading the others out of trouble it was great to see Booster come into his own as well. It's kind of fitting too considering events in the OMAC PROJECT. The great thing about this arc was that it looks back at the era and plays with it, but it doesn't take away from current events at all. In fact, given the events of the OMAC PROJECT it makes this series extremely relevant because if you had been reading this story-arc and then went and read how Guy and Booster were going to get the old team together to avenge Beetle everything fits into place nicely. It gives the OMAC PROJECT added emotional weight because you can see how much these characters meant to each other.

The little bit with Booster and Bea at the end was a nice touch as well. One of the best aspects of the Giffen/DeMatteis run was the work they did with the characters. In their book The Comic Book Heroes authors Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones (who had written JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE for a time) wrote, "Giffen said that JL was about 'being with your co-workers.' The heroes' antics were a little too insane for a work atmosphere, thought. This was more about being with your buddies in the most entertaining high school ever, or being with your fellow fans at a never-ending convention where no one's too shy to act up... Obviously by accepting the fact that superheroes can't go any further into art or realism, that they're just absurd fictional people we'd like to hang around on pizza night, to see who falls in love with who and to laugh at their pratfalls."

The Giffen/DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE was not all about the BWA-HA-HA. The series had it's serious moments, like the scene with Tora, Guy and Bea in this arc, but the main draw was seeing heroes go through whatever they went through. I hate to make the comparison, but it was kind of like FRIENDS in a way. You read the series to see what happened with the characters, who became very real despite their surroundings. Sure there was action, but most of the time the action was there to play off the character work because you cared so much about these characters that seeing them go into action made them more heroic than the big guns.

(I would like to point out that I, on the whole, hated FRIENDS. I used it as a basis of comparison because it seemed to fit, not because I liked the show, which I didn't.)

Seeing this story-arc wrap up is a little sad, but in the same way that parting with friends you haven't seen in awhile is sad. You'll miss them, but things in your life have moved on. It isn't a bad thing, just the way life works. For a lot of us the Giffen/DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE was an important part of our reading lives, but that era is over and the characters have moved on. DC was very smart to have this and the first reunion as a story arc and mini-series respectively because I don't think the reading audience would have embraced it the way they did back then.

All in all this was a fun story that had some fun writing and was a nice respite from the more serious goings on currently running through the DCU. I'm really glad that the same team is headed for Marvel and will be doing something similar with THE DEFENDERS.

5Art - 5: The art has never been disappointing with this story arc. Throughout the entire story Maguire and Rubinstein have put a lot of detail and emotion into the work. From the opening page to the final gag this issue was not a disappointment.

The highlights include:

Pages one through three: Wow! Now this was an opening page, which was made more powerful by the two-page spread that followed. It was a great way to introduce the issue.

Pages seven and eight: A fun little bit of business. This was one of the points where the art and the writing came together to create a great scene.

Page fourteen: A great action page. This proves how Maguire and Rubinstein can do action as well as character.

Page nineteen: Another fantastic talking head scene.

Page twenty: Character wise this was a packed page. The layout was nice and, again, the bit with Dr. Fate showed that the story is at it's best when the art and story blend seamlessly together.

As much as I will miss the writing it was the art that really sold this story-arc. Again, I can only be happy at the fact that they will return with THE DEFENDERS later this month.

4Cover Art - 4: A really fun cover. If you want your cover to stand out from the others on the rack have a giant dog eating a series of subway cars on it. It works every time. The detail of this cover is fantastic and the layout was just about perfect, from Power Girl and the gang coming at G'Nort to the crowd at the bottom running for their lives. This was probably, art wise, the best cover from the story arc.

This cover gets a nine 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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