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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #108

JLA #108

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 27, 2004

Cover date: December 2004

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciller: Ron Garney
Inker: Dan Green

Syndicate Rules - Part 2: "The Favor Bank"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito



Somewhere in Gotham City on an alternate Earth; Owlman delivers Jackson "Rat-Eyes" Drake to seedy underboss Lucius Fox. Drake refused to repay a favor to Lucius when the time called for it. He sites lean times as an excuse but that doesn't cut it. Drake is executed by Ultra Man by way of fiery eye lasers. Such is the severity of breaking the Favor Bank.

Later at their evil Watch Tower headquarters the Crime Syndicate search for new conquests now that they control their entire world. Johnny Quick bursts in and says he just had great fun breaking up some rebellion he found stock piling weapons in China. It only took him three minutes to crush the rebels and their weapons. Owlman is enraged. He was financing that rebellion so that months from now maybe the rebellion would provide them with aweek's worth of diversion.

While Owlman is pummeling Johnny Quick; Power Ring bursts in. He's found the perfect place for the Crime Syndicate to focus their attentions.

On the distant warrior planet of Qward, the King of the planet is inspecting his armies exercises. An adviser approaches the King and asks him to authenticate some busy Bureaucratic forms for the day. The advisor reminds the King that a general must be sent to the Qward academies to over see the assignment of posts for new graduates. The King volunteers Commander Irik Roval to monitor the process orchestrated by Council Member Diataria Lysis.

After the assignments are handed out a disillusioned mother makes her way to Roval's side. There must be some mistake, her son was assigned toexperimentalmedicaldutywhen he clearly showed talents for the Thunderer's infantry. Roval dismisses her but her words resonate within him. He had noticed a pattern during the assignment distribution. The finest warrior students had all been assigned to menial or useless tasks. Roval vows to get to the bottom of this conspiracy.

Suddenly there are explosions heard in the capital city. The King is rushed to his war room only to discover that his planet is under attack and losing viciously to the invading Crime Syndicate. The war rages on and many legions of Qward's finest fall to the might of the Crime Syndicate.

...And finally it seams as if the universe breaks apart from the sheer force of fighting. When the universe puts itself back together we discover ourselves some time earlier in which Owlman is still beating on Johnny Quick for his ignorant actions in China. Power Ring again arrives on the scene with news about where the Crime Syndicate should be focusing their attentions... But he's different. The same but not. He's not a Kyle Rayner double, he's a Jon Stewart double now...

To Be Continued...

2Story - 2: I'm sorry guys. This feels real cheap and I'm sorry but I have to give this story a low rating because I just don't get it. And I can't help but think I'm missing something. I'm sorry if I am but I just don't get the relevance of large chunks of this piece. As individual elements I understand what's happening I just can't seem to make it all gel in my head into one solid story.

The set up of an unchallenged Crime Syndicate is one we're familiar with since the JLA: Secret Files story. And the explanation of the favor bank was interesting; fun to see the "honor among thieves" that keeps a world full of criminals in check. The little things about Busiek's portrayal of the Syndicate entertain me. Such as the dead armies that surround the CSA transporter unit. Armies that were primed to invade their evil overlord's Watch Tower had been cut down by so many automated weapons.

I understand the government conspiracy to dilute the Qward's military class as well. I understand why the CSA invade their world. What I don't really grasp yet is whether those two facts are mutually exclusive or supposed to be connected in some way. The biggest thing I can't wrap my head around is how the war with Qward resets the time line with Jon Stewart's Power Ring instead of Kyle Rayner's. Again maybe I'm missing something and I apologize if I am. Feel free to e-mail me and tell me because I'm honestly confused. Everything makes so much sense on its own I just can't get over the feeling that the mistake is in my reading and not Busiek's writing.

3Art - 3: Some of the poses feel forced or awkward, especially on Power Ring's effects. The coloring is still bland;all of the scenery on Qward seemed too flat, like it was on the same plane.

5Cover Art - 5: I enjoyed this half of the cover more than the other just because of how well it juxtaposes the previous issue.



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