Some of this Morrison reading project has been fairly heavy going. The Filth, The Invisibles, and Seven Soldiers of Victory are meaty lumps of sequential narrative. On top of that, the modicum of research some of my posts have necessitated has felt a tiny bit like work here and there*.
So I’ve been saving up Morrison’s JLA for when burnout beckons and I need some simple 4-colour superhero fun.
That moment has arrived!
JLA was my introduction to the mainstream DCU. Even though the stories weren’t designed to be read in conjunction with the rest of DC’s output at the time, reading about these central characters each month gave me a good handle on where the DCU was at back then. I loved this incarnation of the team. Morrison’s deft handling of these characters in their team book and his portrayal of them as a group bound together by mutual trust and respect allowed them to have a strong presence when they appeared as a team in other books, or when other writers borrowed the reins.
Because I have a fondness for this period of DCU history, I’ll probably be taking side-trips to appearances of the JLA in other comics during Morrison’s tenure as chief custodian. Such was my fanboyish enthusiasm for the JLA that I eventually bought many of those appearances, including events like JLApe and Day of Judgement. These summer crossovers might have been knocked at the time, but they are veritable models of restraint in light of DC’s publishing practices since DiDio took over.
Here is a chronology of Morrison’s JLA and the storylines that intersected with it. I’ll be using it to decide the reading order and possible side-trips. Let us know if there are any glaring errors on it. I’d love to read through every appearance of the JLA during 1996-2000, but unfortunately, most of them are amongst the comics I had to leave behind when I made my big move. If you would like to chime in with commentary on JLApe, Paradise Lost, Day of Judgement or any of the other stories in the chronology, be my guest.
JLA was stratospherically popular back when it hit the stands, so it’d be good to hear what you all thought of it at the time and how you think it reads now.
If possible, I’d like for all the early posts to focus on the first 2-3 storylines rather than ranging too far ahead. Not really for SPOILER reasons, but just to keep the discussion from getting too general. I don’t think we have to worry about spoiling later developments, though, as most of us have probably read this series already.
Given I’ll be branching out to the work of other writers, it seems right to begin the discussion with Justice League: Midsummer’s Nightmare, written by Mark Waid and Fabian Niceiza.
*Ironic, given where I wrote most of them…
(1224 - 240113)
Given that a lot of the issue is taken up with the interviews etc, Tomorrow Woman’s brief arc is even less than an issue, so we are left with the bare bones of a modern fable about a mere machine that makes the incredible journey from automaton to a thinking, morally-focussed, self-directed ‘person’, capable of sacrificing herself for the good of those she’d grown to love and admire.
This is one of those bits that I love about this issue. It is very Silver Age-y to get all of this done in one issue. It was had to conceive of when it happened, and damn near impossible to think that it would take no less than 6 issue to tell the same story now. Gotta have it fit the trade don't cha know.
All she did was periodically return to a dingy old shed where the Professors switched her to ‘standby’ mode.
This is what really made me feel for her character.
If I remember and/or feel like it, I'll swing by my storage area and pick up my issues of JLA. Almost all of them I have are in one box (Those that aren't I'll just skip)
True that…. Regarding the other candidates: it’s possible that the Bat editorial office at the time (Denny O’Neill?) wanted to minimise references to the JLA in Gotham-set comics, as it worked against the noir street-level ethos of those stories, so perhaps there was resistance to producing a standalone Oracle or Huntress JLA-focused tale.
Also it should be noted that at this time the Bat-books were dealing with the earthquake in Gotham City, so that may have played a role. Obviously, I wouldn't know for sure.