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)
If you want to stretch a point, Zauriel could be a counterpart to several Leaguers; winged warrior (Hawkman), sonic powers (Black Canary), otherworldly knowledge (Zatanna) and a different being in love with a human (Red Tornado).
Is Zauriel still around?
As for Hal and Kyle, Hal was much more direct and physical than Kyle who had more creativity and flair.
How long was Ollie gone at this stage anyway? It felt to me like a very long time. In any case, Morrison was setting up Conner using the trick arrows as early as the first pages of JLA #5 and Flash's redecorating skills.
Ollie would have been gone for about 2 years our time, when JLA #8 comic came out.
No doubt the policy is to boost failing characters by putting them in bestselling books, and DC were probably as amazed as anyone that weird renegade Morrison had got such a bestselling book up and running.
I don't DC would have been that surprised. During this time rebooting a book pretty much guaranteed increased sales. Especially, for a flagship title like this. They could have put me at the helm and it would have sold like hot cakes for a at least a few months (no offense to Morrison, who I loved on this series).
Now, I personally had no problem with how Connor Hawke was inserted into the series, but I was always a pretty big fan of his.
It's interesting, too, that the Key is aware of a metafictive Rule: The JLA always wins. He recognizes it as a law of the universe, and figures out a way to use that to his own advantage. That's a very Morrisonian concept, I think.