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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #53 Justice League of America #53

Justice League of America #53

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 19, 2011

Cover date: March 2011

"JLA Omega" - Part 4: "Finale"

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

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge

Superwoman from the Crime Syndicate lands a hard punch to the face of Donna Troy. Donna retaliates, pounding Superwoman hard. As she does so, she lets her mind wander, focusing on the current state of her feelings. Her thoughts are a curious mix of sadness, uncertainty, regret, emotional fatigue, anger, determination, and resignation that she will never measure up to Wonder Woman. She longs for her rage to subside. She longs to find happiness and love again; but doubts that she will be able to.

We learn that this fight was suggested by Ultraman and organized by Omega Man as "entertainment," like a boxing match. But Dark Supergirl grows bored of this "sport," and steps in to end the fight with one punch to the face of each combatant. Ultraman is annoyed that Dark Supergirl has intervened; and the two of them bicker.

Dark Supergirl reveals that Batman/Dick is working on repairing the machine that created Omega Man and caused the current dilemma. Omega Man has ordered Batman to do this in order to bring down the dome and grant freedom to Omega Man and the others. Curiously, Omega Man is daydreaming of worlds he visited and disrupted when he was merely dark energy. Ultraman is impatient for freedom so that he and Omega Man can take over the Earth. Dark Supergirl merely wants to be freed so that she can have "some fun". Jade chides Batman for helping Omega Man. Batman expresses to Jade that he wants to live at all costs; and is helping Omega Man so that Batman will be spared. This brings more condemnation from Jade. Jade and Batman begin to quarrel.

Jesse Quick is continuing to move the population of Washington D.C. back and forth; a "shell game" as she calls it. Johnny Quick is assisting as part of the pact between the JLA and CSA; but really gets on Jesse's nerves when he begins to hit on her.

When Blue Jay, who has been assisting Batman, indicates that they have completed the repairs of the machine, the Crime Syndicate springs into action, attacking the Justice League and revealing that they had planned a double-cross all along. Owlman gloats to Batman, ridiculing him for trusting Owlman, who is a self-admitted "snake".

At the urging of Dark Supergirl, Ultraman, and Omega Man, Owlman presses the button to activate the machine. But we then learn that Batman has anticipated the double cross, and has planned accordingly. He and Blue Jay have reprogrammed the machine, with the help of Alexander Luthor, who has been resurrected by the Tangent Green Lantern.

The machine does not remove the green dome. Instead, it opens up a portal to the multiverse. Now it is the Justice League members who spring into action, forcing the Crime Syndicate and Omega Man through the portal and back into the multiverse. Alexander Luthor has reprogrammed the machine using a "slingshot protocol"; so that Omega Man's dark energy will revisit the worlds he harmed and undo the damage.

Dark Supergirl plays a critical role in banishing the Crime Syndicate, by freeing the other Justice Leaguers from their restraints. After she punches Ultraman hard, sending him hurtling into the portal, the other JLA members follow suit, each Justice League member vanquishing her/his counterpart and sending that counterpart through the portal.

We learn that Batman's cowardice was a ruse all along; and that the other Justice League members were in on the plan, only pretending to disagree.

Jade attempts to remove the dome, but gets some critical help on the outside from Malavar, another super-gorilla, and an ally of Congorilla. The dome disappears.

Congorilla is so proud of his Justice League teammates that he hails their victory; expressing his pride to the other heroes assembled.

4Story - 4: I have been enjoying the "JLA Omega" story arc. Robinson offers a logical conclusion in this issue.

The clues were all there last issue. It was evident that Batman's cowardice was a ruse, and that he had a plan. It was also hinted at that Tangent Green Lantern would play a critical role in that plan; waiting for the right moment to lend her assistance.

It makes sense that the other Justice League members were in on the plan, but kept quiet. Each member acted out her own role in the scam; particularly Jade, who was convincing when she expressed disdain for Batman's lack of courage or fortitude.

It is believable that a machine that is powerful enough to create the Omega Man can be reprogrammed to undo the damage he caused.

The part that was not fully evident was the role that Dark Supergirl would play. Was she friend or foe? As I indicated in my review last issue, Dark Supergirl did not seem truly "dark" to me. Rather, she seemed playful, confident, and uninhibited. She never seemed truly evil, although she certainly looked different than usual and acted out of character. The only really evil thing she did this issue was knock out Donna Troy; and that might have been faked as part of Batman's plan. I am guessing that she and Donna were acting, and simulated that knockout punch to fool Omega Man. I was happy to see that Dark Supergirl sided with Batman and the JLA. Her own true good nature won out. It was neat that when she kissed Batman last issue, she did that so she could whisper to him and offer to cooperate with Batman's plan. Communicating this way was clever, since Owlman was watching them the whole time.

What is a little strange is that Supergirl is still "dark" when the story ends. I expected her to revert to her lighter persona when Omega Man was banished. This is a loose end that I know Robinson will not overlook. He will likely handle this detail next issue.

The other bit of characterization that was surprising this issue was the information we picked up about Donna's inner feelings. We already know Supergirl has been struggling emotionally due to the destruction of New Krypton and the death of her parents. And we know that Jade has suffered emotionally with major adjustment issues after death and rebirth, plus some feelings of guilt about her relationship with her father. But it surprised me to learn that Donna is struggling with so many negative emotions. Feelings of sadness and inadequacy seem out of character to me for someone so powerful. And while I always considered Donna tough, I would not have characterized her as angry.

This is a Justice League whose members really support and encourage each other. We have seen Donna go to bat for Jade and for the new Batman. Now somebody needs to go to bat for her. Hopefully, one of the members will find out what Donna is struggling with, and support her as only a true friend can. I am sure Robinson will follow up on this. He would not have revealed Donna's feelings if he did not intend to explore them further in a subsequent issue.

And so ends the Omega storyline. Next issue we have the beginning of a new story arc, and the return of Eclipso.

4Art - 4: I believe this is the final issue before Mark Bagley moves onward. His run has been steady and solid. I like the way he draws the heroes, especially Jade. Next month, we will see how artist Brett Booth handles this book.

3Cover Art - 3: This is a rather nondescript cover. We see a shot of the Justice League in motion; facing and moving towards the reader. Jade looks good in the center of the image, and Congorilla is well drawn. Batman is OK, but the images of the other heroes appear rushed to me. This kind of cover has been done much better in the past.

I am not a fan of white backgrounds. But I make allowances here because I realize that this look, white backgrounds, a rather posed-looking portrait of the hero or heroes, and a larger-than-life logo, is the theme running through the covers of all the titles this month. I hope the familiar classic Justice League logo is back next issue, since I much prefer it.

2Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 2: Donna Troy poses in front of something... a large picture frame, or maybe a large framed mirror. Donna's expression is filled with "attitude". She looks rather smug and superior, belying the feelings of inadequacy and sadness expressed inside the book. I have enjoyed many of the variant covers by David Mack; but this one does not work for me.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2011

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