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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #114

JLA #114

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 25, 2005

Cover date: July 2005

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

"Enemies and Enemies and Enemies"

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

Earth-2, home of the Crime Syndicate, is under attack by the Qwardians. As the CSA's efforts to save its world are squashed, the "Big Five" (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash) arrive at the CSA's headquarters on Moon-2.

Meanwhile, the JLA'ers and reservists sent to Earth-2 last issue defend the E-2 masses have their hands full with the Qwardian Void Hound battlecraft that's been diverted there.

From E-2 below, J'onn telepathically communicates with Superman and advises him against offering to help the CSA battle the Qwardians. Following J'onn's advice, Superman tells the CSA that the League will only assist them if they ask for help as a favor. The heroes had previously discovered that the only real binding promises on E-2 grew out of favor granting.

With all of E-2 watching on TV screens set up by the CSA, Super Woman gives in to Superman's request and asks for the League's help as a favor for which the CSA will then owe the JLA a favor.

The CSA and JLA counterparts switch costumes for their initial attack in an attempt to confuse the Qwardian Void Hound. This trick works albeit briefly.

As the fight rages on, GL John Stewart flashes back to the Flash telling the team about the evolution of the Construct into a society of Constructs. Coincidentally, the Qwardians trapped and enslaved a Construct that runs the Qwardian battlecraft. GL uses his power ring's energy to hold onto a single Construct mind, with the intent to get it close enough to the Qwardian Construct mind to communicate with it and tell it to make peace because it wasn't alone.

Back in the present, GL and his Construct pal get close enough to the Qwardian Construct. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. The Construct mind in the battlecraft evolved as a single entity and therefore can't comprehend that the Construct in GL's ring is "kin" with which it can communicate.

Nonetheless, the Construct in the power ring gives GL Stewart a link into the Qwardian Construct, which GL then uses to absorb the Construct into his ring. Without their artificial intelligence to guide the battlecraft, the Qwardians quickly realize they've lost and split back to Qward.

Superman confronts Ultraman about the murders committed by the CSA; however, Owlman uses the "cosmic balance device" to return the JLA to the positive matter universe and their own "Earth-1."

Because the people of the CSA's Earth-2 saw the JLA's favor to the CSA, metahuman insurgencies have broken out all over Earth-2.

Batman wants to check on Krona inside the cosmic egg and be kept apprised of even the most minimal of changes; nothing appears to be abnormal in the cosmic egg. However, New God Metron uses a data diverter to send erroneous data to the JLA's computers. In N-space, the POV is on the cosmic egg's continuing development as Metron and the Moebius Chair fade out of sight.

2Story - 2: I expected much more from this eight-issue story arc. In seven parts leading up to this confusing conclusion, we're promised a slam-bang doppelganger smack-down that never happens. The writer appears to be trying too hard by bogging the story down with confusing and arbitrary plot points.

The Flash's seemingly random encounter with the Construct early in the arc is finally put into context - but only after most readers would've reasonably dismissed it as a dangling thread.

And the storyline itself - focused on the cosmic egg that evolved out of the DC/Marvel team-up "JLA/Avengers" - is more of a mess without the advantage of knowing its context to the upcoming "Infinite Crisis".

The Anti-Monitor turned Qwardians into his army of shadow demons in the first "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and the CSA were the first recorded victims of that Crisis. And Krona, the cosmic instigator that he is, was also a main perpetrator of Crisis One (as it will be known this time next year). So is this story arc related to the upcoming Crisis Two or not?

DC is telling two types of stories right now. Those that effectively and subtly (and often not so subtly) keep the reader focused on the carrot in front of them. And those that try to do that but leave the reader with so much ambiguity and confusion that it just becomes easier not to care what comes next. Unfortunately, this story falls in the latter category.

Qwardian warriors are so tough they're willing to take on the linguists who tell us that "q" must be followed by "u". But, big babies that they are, they can't even do the appropriately Klingon thing and make it a good day to die. Just a so-so day to retreat. The CSA seems more than enough of a threat to the JLA and who doesn't want to see the JLA battling their evil doppelgangers especially now that a Crisis is a'comin' one mo' time?

Ultimately, there's just too darn much going on and not enough resolved to leave me feeling satisfied. If the cosmic egg has anything to do with the coming Crisis Two, I can wait to find out its significance until a writer like Geoff Johns tells me all about it.

2Art - 2: Abstract art bugs me.

As a writer, I'm drawn to the DCU principally by plot and dialogue. While the comic medium is largely visual, I'm pulled out of the moment by unrealistic art.

With this in mind, I'm not a big fan of Garney's work as it makes understanding an already confusing plot even more difficult.

2Cover Art - 2: Claustrophobic. And the caption only leaves me wondering where the promised good with the bad is.

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