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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #47 Justice League of America #47

Justice League of America #47

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 28, 2010

Cover date: September 2010

"The Dark Things - Part Three"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Rob Hunter

"COGS - Part 2"

Writer: James Robinson
Pencillers: POW, RODRIX
Inker: Ruy-Jose

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

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The heroes continue to battle chaos caused by dark magic. Congorilla shows his heroism by bolstering the Hoover Dam for five hours, while people evacuate from the threat of an impending flood if the dam bursts. But on his way to combat another magical threat, Congo Bill himself is affected by the madness of the Starheart; and Supergirl is forced to subdue her friend with a knockout punch.

The Starheart is no longer just controlling metahumans who have magical or elemental powers. The Starheart is now directly affecting the elements on our planet; causing extreme and dangerous weather around the globe and keeping Earth's community of superheroes very busy.

A team comprised of Batman/Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Jade, Jesse Quick, Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman), and two members of the Justice Society, Hourman and Mister America (Jeffrey Graves), head to the Starheart's lair on the dark side of the moon; and are able to breach it thanks to Mister Miracle. Jade's power keeps the team from being detected, at least initially. Meanwhile, the JSA All-Stars implement a frontal assault to act as a diversion and keep the Starheart's attention away from Batman's team.

Jade continues to feel guilt and responsibility for the Starheart problems; although she tries to suppress those feelings and stay focused. She also feels guilty that she hurt her father's feelings, as she learned from Molly Scott last issue. Jade is struggling to process these feelings; which are distracting her from staying focused on the mission. Her friend Donna, who is very perceptive, understands what Jade is struggling with, and provides moral support and reminds Jade to keep focused.

Batman's team finds itself in a room programmed to shift dimensionally from moment to moment as a defense; but Mister Miracle is able to crack the code and allow the team to move onward. The Mother Box (a sentient, miniaturized, portable supercomputer from New Genesis; also known as Mother Boxxx) leads the way.

Suddenly, Mister Miracle is viciously attacked by the green energy. Jade retaliates and gets Mister Miracle out of danger; and his Mother Box heals him! Jade realizes that all the attacks have been reflections of her dad's thoughts and interests; implying that Alan Scott is alive and mentally working to counter the chaos of the Starheart energy. This gives her hope.

Another sudden attack materializes from the Starheart energy; this time taking the form of a gang of folks from Alan Scott's life, including Doiby Dickles, Solomon Grundy, and others. As the JLA/JSA members show determination and prepare to enter the fray, we see that Alan Scott, still possessed, is aware of their presence. Flash and Wildcat of the JSA and Sebastian Faust, all of them captive and bound by Alan Scott / Green Lantern, attempt to communicate with their captor. They first try to reach Alan Scott; but then settle for dialogue with Starheart, who is suppressing GL's psyche.

Meanwhile, Doctor Mid-Nite finds Starman (Mikaal Tomas), who is still suffering because the sonic crystal was ripped from his chest last issue. Doctor Mid-Nite offers medical help, but Mikaal urges him to flee to safety.

The JLA/JSA team is now in the throes of a full-scale battle with the Starheart-generated adversaries. The heroes are struggling but hanging on. Obsidian, still possessed, approaches Jade, his sister, and attempts to lure her over to the Starheart's influence. The other team members urge Jade not to succumb.

Suddenly, Green Lantern/Kyle Rayner arrives. Jades hopes he will help her father; but instead Kyle says the Guardians of OA have sent him to kill Alan Scott.

4Story - 4: This is a worthy installment in this five-part series. It moves the plot forward, and continues to explore themes introduced last issue.

There are certain trends that are characteristic of Robinson's writing, and we see them at work again here.

Trend #1: He likes to write stories that are character-driven.

We have seen this over and over from Robinson; notably in the World of New Krypton saga. It continues here. We see the focus on Jade, and her feelings of guilt and low self-esteem right now. She is really struggling mightily to overcome the trauma of her resurrection and the shock caused by the chaos occurring in her family. She feels horribly guilty because the Starheart is the source of all the problems. It makes sense that she would react to these events with such strong emotions; and makes her character seem three-dimensional. Her feelings are very natural and understandable. The fact that she is obsessing about her personal feelings during a combat situation, however, is a bad sign. Her friends realize this, and are trying hard to help her snap out of it.

In this issue and last, Robinson includes dialogue that subtly contrasts the behavior of Batman (Dick Grayson) with his mentor and namesake. For example, when the team manages to breach the lunar lair of the Starheart, Dick graciously gives out quick praise. "We're in. Mr. Miracle came through big time." Can you imagine Bruce Wayne uttering this sentence? I can't. Dishing out praise for his teammates is not something you would generally expect from Bruce Wayne. Dick has some of the same qualities as his mentor, such as being a great tactician. But he is not nearly as dour as Bruce; giving this Batman a whole different feel. His growth as a worthy successor to Bruce does not go unnoticed by the other team members; as when Donna says to herself "He's more confident now. He's Batman. He's the man I always knew he would be."

I liked the panel where the team is preparing to respond to an attack from the gang of green baddies. We glimpse a quick thought from each member as they prepare to intercept the attack. Donna thinks like a warrior; Dick thinks like a tactician and team leader; Jesse Chambers and Hourman each think selflessly about their spouse being in harms way; and Jade is filled with thoughts of rescuing her father. Six people going into battle; six different reactions. This is good stuff.

Trend #2: Robinson likes to pull together disparate elements and characters from the DC universe.

And this series gives him the perfect opportunity to draw from DC's extensive "reservoir" of characters. With magical chaos popping up anywhere around the globe, and the JLA and JSA teaming up, this storyline gives Robinson maximum freedom and flexibility to pull in just about anybody he wants. And so we are treated to Congorilla, Mister Miracle, Kyle Rayner, and a reference to Doiby Dickles, all in the same book! I get the feeling that Robinson is having a lot of fun with this series.

The appearance of Kyle Rayner on the final page was a bit of a surprise. We know that Jade and Donna both have a history with Kyle, and that Jade has some lingering feelings of jealousy towards Donna as a result. Also, Kyle's and Jennie's stated goals here are in direct conflict. So Kyle's involvement promises to make things very interesting next issue.

4Art - 4: Bagley and Hunter continue to show that they are the right artists for this book. I like their layouts; and I like the way they draw the faces of the various heroes.

"COGS - Part 2"

At STAR Labs in Houston, Dr. Light arrives and chats with Cyborg (Victor Stone) and Red Tornado. She offers Vic a job as head of S.T.A.R. Robotics in Houston.

In flashback, we see Cyborg explaining to Red Tornado his updated abilities.

The magical chaos that is affecting metahumans around the world (from our main story) suddenly affects Red Tornado, who aggressively attacks Cyborg. Cyborg has a plan, but it may involve releasing a dangerous JLA foe.

3Story - 3: We again have a short backup story in JLA. Not much new ground is covered here. Some more details are given about Red Tornado's new abilities. I liked that Robinson ties this story in with the main one.

4Art - 4: My comments from last issue apply again here. The characters are all well drawn, and the fight scenes are dramatic. A good solid job!

3Cover Art - 3: I do understand that the covers from this series all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, to make one large image. Nevertheless, I am not crazy about this image. Overcrowded covers leave me cold.

4Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 4: Batman is surrounded by multiple versions of Alan Scott, all formed from the green energy. Batman looks determined, but a bit unsettled. I prefer this variant cover to the original.

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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