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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #115

JLA #115

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 8, 2005

Cover date: August 2005

Writer: Geoff Johns & Allan Heinberg
Penciller: Chris Batista
Inker: Mark Farmer

"Crisis of Conscience" - Part One

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

J'onn J'onzz is on the red dead planet Mars looking for any evidence of life on his former home planet. But Mars is dead and he thinks of the League as home now.

On the Watchtower, Hawkman and Green Arrow are fighting. The Flash wants to tell Batman that the JLA mind-wiped him as detailed in "Identity Crisis". J'onn returns to the Watchtower. He can't read their minds because he's been kept out all these years by Zatanna's magic.

The newly alive Hal Jordan Green Lantern shows up and tells Hawkman he's inclined to agree with Wally that, if they get the secret out in the open, they can move on with their lives.

Hawkman angrily tries to storm out and Jordan uses the power ring to stop him. GL then tells J'onn the truth about what they did to the Secret Society, Dr. Light, and Batman.

J'onn, as a telepath, has a keen appreciation for the extent that they violated the villains and Batman. He leaves, telling the League he is off to fix things.

Meanwhile, at Belle Reve prison, a shadowy unseen figure resuscitates the second Star Sapphire and restores her mind-wiped memories. She demands to know who did this to her.

Back on the Watchtower, a distress signal comes in from Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Someone has attacked android Red Tornado.

Suddenly a second distress call comes in from Opal City where Ralph Dibny (a.k.a. the Elongated Man) lives.

GL, GA, and Black Canary rush to Happy Harbor to help the Red Tornado, but they are attacked by Chronos, Felix Faust, and the Floronic Man.

Meanwhile, in Opal City, Maryland, Ralph is being attacked and is reaching for the Gingold that enables him to stretch when he's rescued by Hawkman. Along with Flash and Zatanna, they are being attacked by the Wizard, Star Sapphire, and Matter Master.

In Gotham City, Catwoman is fighting Firefly when she's interrupted by Batman, who's interrupted by J'onn, who's interrupted by the beaten Justice Leaguers dropped on their heads by the Secret Society. The Wizard calls Batman by the name "Bruce". Batman tells J'onn that whatever he wanted to talk to him about will have to wait.

4Story - 4: My buddy Brad Meltzer, author of "Identity Crisis" is either a @#$% genius, having written a blueprint for the two to three year period following that series, or a writer who wrote a story so full of holes that DC naturally had to follow up with stories answering the myriad of open issues left after the story's end. Honestly, my opinion of "Identity Crisis" fluctuated several times as I reviewed that series between those two extreme beliefs as did the opinions of many online prognosticators. Now that life in the DCU has clearly not gone on as it did before "IC", everyone associated with the new new DC - not just Meltzer - deserves accolades for making comic reading, vis a vis comic collecting, fun again.

As the next Crisis looms four months in the distance, it's clear that the point of stories like this is to show the unraveling of the 'all-for-one, one-for-all' approach to the League that was always much better suited to the Teen Titans anyway. This is a League in name only. When the "Infinite Crisis" causes crises of an infinite nature, the heroes of Earth will be so beaten down by betrayals and breaches of trust that the fraternity of do-gooders will be so woefully unprepared for whatever threat will clearly require a united front of heroes (and God help us, villains).

The highlight of the issue was the inclusion of Catwoman, the one villain who didn't need a mind-wipe to go straight (or did she?). Her presence only helps to highlight the increasingly blurry line between heroic behavior and vile villainy.

All in all, this is a strong start loaded with enough action to preoccupy the reader. The only major downside? No Superman. But seeing J'onn's reaction, the villains' rage, and Batman's growing distrust (even for him) of the rest of the heroic community, only whets my appetite more for when the inevitable reveal to the Man of Steel takes place.

5Art - 5: The issue is drawn as if it were the next issue of "Identity Crisis" which is an impressive feat for Batista and Farmer as they had nothing to do with the landmark miniseries. From the classically iconic representations of the League to the blue-black, star-speckled depiction of outer space outside the Watchtower, this isartwork that heightens the emotions.

4Cover Art - 4: A straight-forward and well-rendered illustration that evokes the story inside without aping it. As in "Identity Crisis", Rags Morales is still guilty of the Pinocchio syndrome - cut the long noses.

The most interesting aspect of the cover is the rendering of Batman's cape. The lines and shadows lend substance and weight to the leathery appearance. Now if only Green Arrow would get rid of the little green feather in his cap.

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

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