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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #48 Justice League of America #48

Justice League of America #48

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 25, 2010

Cover date: October 2010

"The Dark Things - Part Five"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund, Don Ho, Derek Fridolfs, & Rich Perrotta

"COGS - Part 3"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Pow Rodrix
Inker: Ruy Jose

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge

Continuing from part 4 in Justice Society of America #42, Alan Scott has reappeared to confront the team of JLA/JSA heroes. He is still possessed by the Starheart energy. As we view close-ups of their faces, most of the heroes show a mix of apprehension, awe, and determination. Most, but not all. The entity that contains both Jade and Obsidian (who were merged into one being by the dark magic, as seen in JSA #42) shows her/his glee at seeing the return of their father.

The action continues on the Moon, where the Starheart is located. Jesse Quick (Jesse Chambers) goes on the attack, using her speed and strength to pummel Alan Scott. She is torn between fighting and going to find her husband (Hourman/Rick Tyler), who seems to be missing. Kyle Rayner is scolded by Donna Troy for freezing in battle. But Rayner is stymied because the Starheart is draining the energy from his power ring; and his ring is almost empty.

On Earth, Mister Terrific has been working to create a device that will counter the affects of the Starheart. He enlists the help of Supergirl and Power Girl, since they both have backgrounds in science. (Kara had joined the Science Guild on New Krypton; following in the footsteps of her mom.) From blueprints he provides, the two ladies proceed to build the device at super speed.

On the moon, the battle continues. Hourman lands a haymaker to the jaw of Alan Scott; and Jesse Quick is pleased to see that her spouse is present and OK.

Doctor Mid-Nite returns to Starman (Mikaal Tomas), and brings him his sonic crystal, which was previously ripped from his chest. The crystal heals Starman, and once again bonds with his chest.

Jade (still merged with Obsidian) argues with Kyle over whether he left her, or she left him, as they hurl green energy at each other. As Dr. Fate jumps into the battle, Jade separates from her brother and obtains a white lantern ring. Obsidian urges Jade to merge with him again; but Jade urges Kyle to take Todd far away, so that the merger cannot recur. When Kyle replies that his power level is down near zero, Jennie-Lynn uses her own power to augment his ring. Kyle has many questions, such as how and why the white lantern ring appeared; but Jade again implores Kyle to move fast and take Obsidian out of the vicinity. He complies.

The battle rages on against Alan Scott and the Starheart energy. Batman explains to Jade that she may be the key to helping her father break free and regain control; because the Starheart seems to be afraid of her. Supergirl, Power Girl, and Congorilla arrive and join the fight.

Jade engages the Starheart in dialogue. As she comes to understand the true nature of her power, Jade realizes she can siphon the dark energy of the Starheart into herself, and proceeds to do so. As the heroes look on, aided by his daughter, Alan Scott is able to exert his will, regain control, and revert to his true form.

Because he is channeling a much greater amount of Starheart energy than in his younger days, Alan Scott is now much more powerful, at least according to Jay Garrick.

Impressed with her performance during the battle, and in need of a speedster for the team, Batman invites Jesse Quick to join the JLA. She accepts immediately.

Jade and Obsidian are warned to stay from each other, or the Starheart might once again merge them for evil purposes.

Supergirl is back in Metropolis; patrolling the city and thinking about her life back on Earth and her new role in the Justice League. As she wonders why the Starheart possessed Power Girl but not her, we see that in fact an evil-looking duplicate of Supergirl appears to have been created and is lurking nearby.

4Story - 4: I found this to be a satisfying conclusion to the "Dark Things" saga.

There is a lot to digest in this issue. James Robinson always gives you a lot to think about.

For example, the entire resolution hinges on Jade and her enhanced abilities. While merged with Obsidian, she undergoes a metamorphosis. She spontaneously breaks the link with her brother, using her own power. She feels immediately that she is changing. She discovers the white lantern ring on her finger, but is unsure how and why it got there. She is different now; she has been transformed.

We see this in action immediately. When Kyle Rayner explains that he needs a recharge for his ring, it is the white energy, not the green, that she uses to recharge him. And when she is able to siphon the dark energy away from Alan Scott and thus permit her father to break free from the influence of the Starheart, it is partly her abilities as a white lantern that empower her to do this.

But Jade asks many questions. Why did she get the white ring, and why now? "What is happening to me?" she asks. She is a bit confused, as are her teammates. Kyle asks about the white lantern ring, but she puts him off until after the crisis has passed. Only Batman is clever enough to figure that Jade and her father are the keys to solving everything.

I had questions as well. What additional abilities are conferred to her as a result of the white ring? Is her status as a White Lantern a permanent change, or temporary? None of this is ever explained. It is left to the reader's imagination. Hopefully, Robinson will address this; perhaps next issue. I bet he will. Robinson is pretty good about tying up loose ends.

In looking for answers, I went to Brightest Day #7, which includes a panel showing Jade receiving the white ring. It is noteworthy that in that issue, other heroes get white lantern rings as well; and in each case, upon receiving the ring, they are given a task to perform. Jade's task is expressed as "Balance the darkness." She fulfills her task handily, and thus saves the day. Siphoning power from her dad could be considered balancing the darkness; since she is pulling some of the dark energy away from him and towards her. In the same way, spontaneously separating from the hybrid entity she shares with her brother could also be considered balancing the darkness, since it causes the balance of power to shift.

I had additional questions. Mr. Terrific invites Supergirl and Power Girl to build a device that uses advanced science to combat the effects of the Starheart. But when the super ladies arrive on the moon to join the battle, they do not have the device. In fact, although they may have completed building it, it is never used, never shown, and never mentioned again. I am guessing that Mr. Terrific's device has not yet fulfilled its purpose, but may do so later. Perhaps it is designed to negate the Starheart's influence moving forward; so that at some point Jade and her brother can be in close proximity again without the risk of merging into one entity.

Near the end, we are told by Jay Garrick that Alan Scott, due to his ability to access more of the Starheart energy, is now the "most powerful human alive"! Really? More powerful than Green Lantern / Hal Jordan? More powerful than Wonder Woman? More powerful than Superman?!!

I don't think so!!! Guess again, Jay.

4Art - 4: Mark Bagley and five Inkers do a solid job. I love the splash showing Jade transformed, hovering in front of the white lantern logo. I also love the two-page splash of Alan Scott as he breaks free of the Starheart's influence. Good stuff.

I got a laugh at a little joke that Bagley shares with us on the final page of the story. As Supergirl, back in Metropolis, flies in the vicinity of a very familiar news building, take a close look at the rooftop globe. It says, "Daily Bugle"! Hah!

"COGS - Part 3"

At STAR Labs in Houston, the battle continues between Cyborg (Victor Stone) and Red Tornado (John Smith). Red Tornado, is still under the influence of the dark energy. Cyborg has a plan, but it involves releasing a dangerous JLA foe, the Construct. Victor theorizes that a blast of Construct energy fired into John might set things right. But there is some risk that this maneuver could injure or kill Red Tornado, and might also unleash the Construct into the world once again.

Cyborg performs his maneuver, it does cure RT, and none of the bad things happen.

2Story - 2: I am not sure why they keep putting these backup stories in JLA. I hope they get better, or else disappear.

This story lacked any real suspense. There wasn't much going on that was of interest. It felt like filler to me.

3Art - 3: Three means average; and that is how the art felt this time around. Competent, but unspectacular.

4Cover Art - 4: As almost everybody knows by now, you can take the covers to JLA #46, #47, & #48, plus JSA #41 & #42, lay them side by side, and they form kind of a mural. Well, I did place them side by side, and the effect was kind of cool. Also, I am adding a point because we have Supergirl front and center. Her look of agony as the Starheart-possessed Alan Scott gives her a hefty squeeze is quite convincing.

5Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 5: This is another in a series of variant covers that each feature a close-up of one individual member. These covers remind us of the importance of each individual within the team.

In this case, we have Jade, the star of this story. She sits in a relaxed, informal pose, showcasing her new white lantern energy, and looking pensive as she contemplates all the changes going on in her life right now.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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