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)
The Flash as Mercury (or Hermes, as I prefer the Greek gods over the Roman) is the most obvious one to make. Merely compare any depiction of the Messenger-God to the Golden Age Flash!
I'm glad we've moved off GL and back to JLA. Defending HJ in the wake of ET was yesterday's ax for me. Today's would be, I guess, the "Rainbow League of Lanterns" or whatever they're calling it, which I've tried to become interested in on three separate occasions and failed.
Captain Atom's Extreme Justice (where's the eye-rolling smiley when you need it?)
Will this work? Plus, if it ain't EXTREME!!! it ain't...well this is a family board so I will refrain. I think read a couple of issues of Extreme Justice back in the day.
The main artist is the commendably proficient and under-rated Val Simeiks. Ostrander too is under-rated, in my view, and it’s good to see him get his teeth into a story cutting through years of central DCU lore.
I agree on both accounts. Especially, about Ostrander. He always seems to have a nice long vision of what he wants to do with a series. Look at his long runs on Suicide Squad, The Spectre, and Star Wars.
It occurs to me now that the League chronology I’m using will probably have to be revised to account for the new post-IC, Legacies etc continuity. You can bet it will have to contain Waid’s Black Canary version of the League as well as a Wonder Woman version! Every attempt to simplify leads to more complexity! Sadly, these reboots also mean that continuity-dependant series like JLA:Incarnations don’t get issued as collections once their moment has passed.
I find as I get older, the less of a slave I am to continuity. I enjoy it, just up to a point. I don't need every story ever told to be able to fit. I just know that they don't. I do want some though, just not so much. Does that make sense?
Regarding Ostrander, his Spectre was a great acheivement. It got a little cyclical as he kept it on the road so long, but I loved that it got an ending. Did anyone here read the last issue? I've never been able to get my hands on it.
I'm really frustrated that the Suicide Squad Showcase never materialised.
I've read the last issue of The Spectre. Not to rub it in, but I thought it was great. I wasn't able to get all of the Suicide Squad when they were originally published, but I've been able to find some decent runs in 50¢ boxes.
It=Justice League Task Force?. That's interesting. Was Batman always hovering around and tut-tutting during the run?
That series was all Martian Manhunter driven (unless I am misremembering). It was similar to Marvel's Secret Defenders which came out around the same time, and had Dr. Strange as its driving force. Each arc had a different line-up, and that applies to both series.