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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Classified #18

JLA: Classified #18

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 15, 2006

Cover date: Early May 2006

Writter: Gail Simone
Penciller: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Inker: Klaus Janson

The Hypothetical Woman - Part Three: "Salvage the Steel Heart"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

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Superman and the Martian Manhunter are faced with a battalion of fighter jets that contain Thanagarian technology and three beings that are based on Chemo. With the rest of the team either incapacitated or not responding to their signals J'onn suggests calling in the reservists. Superman weighs the threats before them and disagrees since with the Chemos involved they have the best shot at taking out the attacking force.

Wonder Woman continues her battle with the possessed Flash and finally manages to get her lasso around him. The result is quite painful for the Flash but he is finally cured of the Conqueror Strain.

In China General Tuzik kills the mercenaries who had tried to eliminate him. One of the mercenaries, Erich Cross, finds himself in a meadow confronted by a beautiful woman who asks him to come with her. He tries to ask where and how he came to this place and the woman explains that she carries a little bit of heaven and hell with her and that she is an accidental detour for those who die in her presence. Erich is reunited with his comrades where the woman, who finally introduces herself as Sybil, explains that despite the fact that Tuzik will resurrect them to his own ends there is a chance they could complete their mission.

As Tuzik brings the mercenaries back to life Chen, Tuzik's Chinese contact, is furious and warns that China may revoke his asylum. Tuzik seems unconcerned and continues with his mission. Chen has enough and calls in the guards but is shocked to discover that Tuzik has infected them with the Conqueror Strain and they are now under his control.

Superman and J'onn are soon joined by Batman and Wonder Woman. The group works together and takes out the jets and Chemos. Afterwards they meet at the Watchtower for a rare bit of down time to discuss what there next move should be.

3Story - 3: I'm giving this story a three, but it is a solid three. I'd give it a four but I have certain reservations with the story in general that take the score down a notch.

It hit me while reading this issue that the main problem I am having with this story is that aside from the Giffen/DeMatteis arc this has continued the theme that the now defunct JLA series had before it was cancelled of giving a certain creative team a shot at telling a six part Justice League story with pretty much the same cast. This isn't a bad thing necessarily and I understand that this series is probably using the stories that were commissioned for JLA before plans for that series changed, but at the same time all of these self-contained stories are starting to run together. I would rather see the "untold" stories from the team's past, but it seems I have to wait another month or so for that.

This is not a shot at Gail Simone, who I am assuming is writing the Justice League story she wants to write. It has turned into an interesting one at that but the pace is still moving along too slowly for me. The Flash/Conqueror strain sub-plot was resolved and we got to see another neat little battle, but the overall plot advanced by only inches. We finally got to see who the Hypothetical Woman was but that was four pages out of the whole issue. I know that the world attacking the Justice League is part of the story, but after three issues it would be nice to see something else.

At the same time I am still enjoying the interplay between the characters. Simone obviously has a lot of respect for the history of the group and it shows in her writing. The exchange between J'onn and Superman at the beginning of the issue was nice and I liked how most of the team finally came together at the end, especially the Flash's comment that despite his weakened state he could still take out the pilots who had been teleported to the Watchtower. The ending was a tad over the top though especially the Wonder Woman bakes gag and Batman's comment that he wanted Diana to give Alfred the recipe. It was amusing, just a bit too much.

Despite my reservations I still have faith that this story is going to end up being awesome before it's all over. Simone has never let me down as a reader in the past and I don't think she will in this case.

4Art - 4: The artwork remains consistently good. I could go on and on about Garcia-Lopez's masterful draftsmanship and that despite the fact that Klaus Janson may not be the best choice for inker the final result is still rather good, but I've done that twice already and I would end up writing the same art review three times. The two artists know what they are doing and bring the energy the story needs. I have no real complaints here.

3Cover Art - 3: After last issue's cover I was hoping for more, but this cover did absolutely nothing for me. The gray background has a depressing quality to it and while the monster had some nice detail to it there is nothing really exciting to me about Superman and J'onn fighting a dragon at sea. Given the artist involved I was expecting more dynamic covers, but so far they have been rather disappointing.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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