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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #109

JLA #109

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 8, 2004

Cover date: February 2005

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

Syndicate Rules - Part 3: "After Shocks"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito

The Crime Syndicate discover that their universe is only a few months old... They remember their entire lives, and everything around them seems familiar but something is wrong. It appears as though their universe has been disassembled and reassembled by unknown forces. There's been some sort of chronal disturbance and its origins seem to be coming from the Matter Universe which can only mean one thing: The Justice League are somehow involved. The Syndicate mobilizes to punish whoever is responsible and reassert their power across all universes.

Meanwhile on Qward the world's leaders gather to discuss unsettling universal irregularities that have revealed their destruction and restoration. The Qwardian Weapon Lord proposes a plan of sneaky and underhanded political maneuvers that would see other planets and civilization take care of their problems for them. Commander Roval has heard enough. He assassinates the Weapon Lord and calls the Thunderers to attention. He is taking command of the armies, he will lead Qward to victory. He dons the armor of the Qwardian hero Yokal and appoints his rival Lysis the new Weapon Lord to serve under him. He pledges to mobilize Qward's army and seek out the danger that threatens them so that all across the galaxy will be reminded of their might and tremble at their name.

Meanwhile on the Matter Earth the JLA are in battle with a strange water monster,one of manywater monsters to spring up in the last week. Martian Manhunter surmises that this is just a galactic hiccup as the universe resettles itself after their cataclysmic battle with Krona.

High above in space the Crime Syndicate enter the Matter Dimension. Owl Man hatches a plot that'll keep the Crime Syndicate off the JLA's radar; this is merely an investigation operation right now. Owl Man explains that any attempt to over power the JLA would simply result in their failure. Here on this earth the laws of probability are designed to favor the good guys and the Crime Syndicate are anything but.

The Crime Syndicate set to work looting and stealing whatever valuables suit them. Then they set up shop in the Metropolitan Hotel so as to formulate the next steps of their plan. Needing a means to move about unnoticed Johnny Quick retrieves a handful of costumes that are identical to their Justice League counterparts. The Crime Syndicate think they've got it made. Little do they know the Qwardians are primed for an invasion of the Matter Universe to destroy not only the source of their universal disruptions but the Crime Syndicate as well.

To Be Continued...

2Story - 2: First let me thank everyone who e-mailed me to explain the confusion I suffered from the last issue.

For those who don't know, in the JLA vs. Avengers crossover that Busiek penned, the Crime Syndicate and their universe were destroyed by the villain of that series, Krona, while they were in heated battle with the Qwardians. In the last issue we're giventhe of backstory of how that battle came to take place. A noble intention of Busiek's part, but poorly executed none the less.

For those of us who didn't read JLA vs. Avengers we were left out in the cold. Last month's issue seemed to be telling a story that just ended and restarted with a retconned Power Ring. The lack of explanation, I can only assume, was meant to serve as some sort of cliffhanger. Unfortunately it just left me scratching my head. I'm not saying I could do better, I can't imagine how to show/explain all that without an obnoxious number of caption boxes and exposition, but they don't pay me to write JLA so it's a burden I don't have to bare.

This issue picks up with an explanation, but still relies heavily on the notion that the reader had a knowledge of the events of JLA vs. Avengers. Not to mention that again the Qwardians receive a ridiculously lengthy amount of screen time. I undertand that Busiek is trying to set up a great two front battle of epic proportions.

At the same time I'm a little distressed because all we've had is set up. Three issues worth of set up and very little of it so far has involved the Justice League. In this issue they appear for just three pages, deliver a tiny bit of exposition to connect this arc to JLA vs. Avengers and then they disapear again. Things are just moving too slow. I've mentioned before I'm a big fan of decompression, but this is getting extreme.

3Art - 3: The colors are horrible. It's getting worse and worse every issue. This has been a complaint of mine since I started reviewing JLA comics. The colorist seems to pick a palate of blues or browns and just blankets the issue with it. I harp on it almost bi-monthly and I feel like a broken record. Let me apologize to anyone who is sick of hearing it, I know I'm sick of mentioning it. It really urks me because it makes thepencils and inkslook sloppy and rushed. But this isn't a slight against Ron or Dan because the cover...

5Cover Art - 5: ...Is fantastic. The conception is fun to begin with and I cracked a smile at the continuity between this cover and Green Lantern's "Pain of The God's" cover. The character's movements are all perfect, and the colors bring the pencils and ink to life. I can see the motion captured perfectly here as the Crime Syndicate ducks into this alley way. I really like Super Woman's facial expression and Power Ring's fuller goatee makes him look that much meaner.

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