Monday, March 1, 2010

A Justice League Of Their Own, Part One

Let's face it; The Justice League, the place where the immortals shine, is dying.

Deader than Batman, as far away as Superman on a distant planet and like Wonder Woman, currently a cipher for whatever whim a writer has at the moment:

When I was at the height of my League fandom, the team consisted of the greats: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman were there but the focus was more on the lesser known to the American public heroes such as Green Lantern, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, The Flash and Black Canary. The notion that these characters stood side-by-side with The Big Three was enough to make them special in my eyes and in many others.

Nearly two decades later, Grant Morrison stepped in and gave us the ultimate Justice League, a team where the founding members of Superman, Batman, Aquaman, The Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman were joined by the heirs to the Flash and Green Lantern legacies. The stories were epic and showed a League going at all cylinders fighting threats to humanity and sometimes, beyond.

Following that, DC rebooted The League under superstar writer Brad Meltzer and while the intentions were the best, The League, to me, seemed to lack spark. Threats were thrown their way but they, like the team itself, just didn't seem Justice-worthy.

As the stories wore on, due to one editorial edict or another, The Big Three were removed as was the League leader Black Canary, herself another victim of creative whims and what you were left with were the characters left over from Meltzer's run such as Red Tornado, Black Lightning and Vixen. Fine characters but to be honest, I don't think anyone truly saw them as A-listers. This League felt empty almost from the get-go.

It left you wondering how something so painstakingly manufactured could be so devoid of forethought.

Now, The League is comprised of League mainstays, current leader Green Lantern, The Atom and Green Arrow along with new writer James Robinson's "projects," The Guardian, Mon-El and Congorilla. What's interesting is that the current incarnation of The League is comprised of Teen Titans graduates, Cyborg, Starfire, Donna Troy and the new Batman, Dick Grayson. I'll be every interested in seeing whether a "League-within-a-League" will form around a League wanting leadership from longtime JLAer Green Lantern while The Titans are used to following orders from the former Boy/Teen Wonder, Grayson.

While this team is interesting it very much feels like filler with Mon-El, Grayson and Dona Troy simply filling in the roles of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively.

I'm reading but currently it does not feel "essential." They do not feel like true JLA. They are simply within the writer's moment just as Firestorm will ever be.

The League, as we knew it, with a Big Three, is an eventuality. We simply have to wait and it will return.

Come back later and I'll share some of the things I believe are needed to make The League "must read."

1 comment:

ChrisM said...

have also been enjoying the Robinson run but its not the best it could be.

I hate to say it, but I wonder if the current Justice League needs to be completely eradicated and begun over the way the Avengers were when Bendis took over. The Avengers at that stage were remarkably similar to the JLA right now. A bunch of 2nd stringers and with a lot of continuity from a substandard run weighing them down. I wonder if editorial issues will continue to weigh the new book down...

Sadly, I don't know who or what line up to suggest that would really make them a "centerpiece" book.
I've been really happy with Peter Tomasi's team books.. perhaps him?