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)
Man, if you want me to downgrade a story or tune out completely put the New Gods in there. I know I read some of the Genesis tie-ins, but I avoided the main series like the plague. They just drain my life force (for the most part).
The Scottish Mirror Master was created by Morrison in Animal Man. I'm not sure if he had fought the Flash by this point. But it does give it a certain symmetry to have the successor Flash against the successor Mirror Master. Also the original was part of the first Injustice Gang.
The amped up Doctor Light (in order to undo the damage from Suicide Squad yet get worse in Identity Crisis) for Green Lantern? I guess Kyle didn't have a major villain yet!
Wally had fought this version of the Mirror Master by this point in time. And I don't know what Major Force was up to, but I think he could have been included as a foe for Kyle. Dr. Light is fine I guess.
For once, there is a logical reason for Joker's position on a team. Luthor is using his irrational mind to build the maze which will keep Superman and the Martian Manhunter as busy as possible for as long as he needs.
I totally agree. One of the few instances of the past number of years that I enjoyed a Joker appearance.
Just wondering Travis, have you ever read a New Gods story you enjoyed? Not even the originals? There's a lot of scope to write boring New Gods stories, I'll admit. Are you reading along with this one? Let us know how you think they are handled here once it's all wrapped up. Morrison is already using different techniques to amp up their strangeness and 'difference', years before Final Crisis.
I have read some of the originals, but I didn't enjoy them enough to continue reading them. Except for Miracle Man. I've always liked him, and I enjoyed those originals that I have read, and I've generally enjoyed his later appearances. I liked Legends back in the day, but I haven't read it since it came out, so I don't know if I still would. There were two Legion stories that I consider more Darkseid stories than New God stories: The Great Darkness Saga and Giffen's during his Five Years Later storyline. Those are probably my two favorites though.
After Giffen's story I would have been perfectly happy to not read another Darkseid story again, but that happened 1,000 years in the future, so I knew that would never happen. I can tolerate Big Barda, Oberon, and Orion. The rest I can take or leave them, or don't like at all. There have been other bits I've enjoyed, like the one Parademon who was a member of the Secret Six.
I haven't had time to pick up my issues from my warehouse yet to read along. I will try to get by there today though, and give you my thoughts at the conclusion which are typically just a few sentences.