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JLA: Superman - The Never-Ending Battle

JLA: Superman - The Never-Ending Battle

Writer: Roger Stern
Cover: Alex Ross
Series cover design: Georg Brewer

Published by: Pocket Star Books (May 2005)

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

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In a dirty bar in Chicago, a fateful meeting takes place between two strange men. A bargain is struck.

A deadly earthquake draws the Justice League to Ankorage, where, as they rescue the civilians, an unnatural storm arises, threatening to destroy the city. Together, the League puts a stop to it, but is left to wonder where the storm came from.

Splitting up, Superman and the Flash race to the spot where the League and Superman first crossed paths, years ago. As Superman remembers, Flash reminds him of how much his appearing in public changed things. Without Superman, would any of the heroes have come out of hiding to do good?

Batman, meanwhile, runs across an operation by the deadly Naja-Naja. He is soon beset by another deadly storm at sea, and only the timely arrival of Aquaman saves his life.

Soon, terrible storms begin assaulting the hometowns of various Justice Leaguers, save Gotham. Batman realizes that Naja-Naja thinks him dead, which will allow him to undermine the villain more easily.

The Leaguers fight to protect their hometowns, with Green Lantern saving Atom's hometown of Ivytown. Superman, especially, is worked to the limit, rushing across the globe struggling to avert disasters on the ground and at sea. He's being worn down, little by little.

Soon, the League gathers and compare notes, only to realize that one of the worst things that could happen has occurred... Kobra and the Weather Wizard have joined forces, and that, unless the JLA works swiftly, within hours, the only people left alive on Earth will be Kobra's followers...

But can a weary Superman lead the League in a fight against Mother Nature gone insane?

4Story - 4: This story, somehow, makes you feel POSITIVE as you read it, like some of Superman's inherent goodness is permeating your body. Despite the disasters within, you never doubt that the heroes will triumph.

Also, Stern doesn't forget to treat the League like they're people. Batman actually GETS SIDELINED. He even admits that he's LOST to Kobra and failed to stop him in the past. J'onn's earlier musings about how he had once feared he could never be a public figure are book-ended with a beautiful moment of recognition for his heroism. Kyle's vacation went horribly wrong. It's the little things that make this novel work. Poor Aquaman, however, is reduced to two sea rescues and an "Yeah, I remember that".

Superman's vast cast do superbly as well. Lois is, of course, always entertaining when written well. At the Daily Planet, the only thing missing was Perry telling Jimmy to not call him Chief. Cat Grant had just the right amount of boredom and enthusiasm. Bibbo's public challenge to Kobra is an absolute hoot. In fact, once that part came in the novel, I half expected Kobra to actually take him up on it, which would have been vastly amusing.

The only thing really holding this novel from a five is the feeling as the resolution came that it simply happened too fast. It takes them most of the book to even identify the threat, but once they do, it ends in about 50 pages. It's just rushed and disappointing.

Oh, and Elroy's still the cutest comic book cat this side of Streaky.

3Cover Art - 3: A close up of Superman's chest as he rips open his shirt. It's iconic, but it's also been done a billion times.

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