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)

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Actually my point was if the Big Names decided to put the band back together, why would they ask Kyle? They know Wally and he aleady was a member. Kyle is a stranger to them. It seemed like , "We need a Green Lantern! John's depressing, Alan's too old and Guy...NO! Hey let's just get the new kid! How bad can he be?"
I agreed that Kyle's inclusion was kind of arbitrary, and it's one of the ways Midsummer's falls down.

JLA itself has a go at justifying his inclusion retrospectively later on. That Kyle was then the sole weilder of one of the most powerful weapons in the universe is a major plot point in DC 1,000,000.

And then there is the argument that new readers to DC perhaps kind of knew the Green Lantern 'brand', (rather than eg the 'Arsenal' brand) making JLA that much more accessible to non-DC heads - as I was at the time. Having it be Kyle not Hal, is a nod at least to continuity-obsessives. Like many compromises, it's not going to please everyone 100% - although DC virgins like myself took to Kyle just fine. (He was gentle...)

Getting on with the reading: because I don't have access to many JLA-focused series that ran during Grant's run, I thought I'd look at the series that falls between Midsummer's and the beginning of JLA proper. That was Final Night. Leafing through it, I realised that it was a sequel of sorts to Zero Hour.

That series turned out to offer up a few things that are germane to the discussion we're having here.

Next stop then - grit your teeth, strain those trapezius muscles - we're winding back the clock, to Zero Hour - Crisis in Time!
Wasn't Kyle the only GL at the time?
Very much so. 'Sole wielder' was the way DC tried to make him special and noteworthy*. The point even gets a specific beat in Zero Hour, which was all about editorial laying their cards on the table as to how things were going to defintively be in the the DCU from that point on.

*That and his Mexican-Irish heritage...
I'm from Irish decent. My wife is Mexican. My son Pat loves Green Lantern.

Hmmmm.....

Figserello said:
*That and his Mexican-Irish heritage...
I've only read about it online, but I've never seen any reference to his heritage in any Kyle comics I've read. I wouldn't want him to bore everyone with 800 years of struggle against colonialism like McNulty in The Wire, but a little would add a bit of texture amongst his primarily WASP associates.

I don't think it even came up in Ennis's crossover between Green Lantern and Irish-born Tommy Monaghan, which was a missed opportunity. (That team-up is probably one of the main reasons I have a soft spot for Kyle. Poor Kyle was a bit out of his depth there, but just about retained his dignity. No mean feat.)
I had forgotten about Kyle being the "Only" GL at the time. That didn't last long. Alan Scott had already returned in 1991 or 1992's Armageddon: Inferno mini and was renamed Sentinel.

Bring on Zero Hour! At least I have that TPB, unlike JL:AMN!
That didn't last long.

Or did it? We shall see...! :-)
Figserello said:
I agreed that Kyle's inclusion was kind of arbitrary...

It's like Admiral Kirk choosing Sonak to be his first officer aboard the Enterprise for the V'Ger mission.
His heritage isn't a big part of his character, it's about as important as saying his family is from Ohio or Pennsylvania or Nebraska. He doesn't have anything more in common with Monaghan than I do with someone from the other side of PA.

Figserello said:

I don't think it even came up in Ennis's crossover between Green Lantern and Irish-born Tommy Monaghan, which was a missed opportunity. (That team-up is probably one of the main reasons I have a soft spot for Kyle. Poor Kyle was a bit out of his depth there, but just about retained his dignity. No mean feat.)
His heritage isn't a big part of his character, it's about as important as saying his family is from Ohio or Pennsylvania or Nebraska. He doesn't have anything more in common with Monaghan than I do with someone from the other side of PA.

As an Irish parent of an Irish-Australian kid that kind of talk saddens me, but then we Irish are generally very sentimental about our roots and our identity. Some of us like to think that being Irish has a bit more to it than just where we happen to have been born. Growing up Irish gave me values and attitudes that I'd be very sad if I couldn't pass them on to my children. Being Irish is as much about having to leave Ireland and make your life elsewhere as anything else, so this kind of thing is a sore spot.

Of course people of all ethnic groups would identify parts of their culture that they think are valuable and worth passing on to their children. Things that they could share with people of the same background.

And isn't being Pennsylvanian in America a different kind of thing to being of Irish* or Mexican descent? It's maybe too big of a topic for this thread, and I appreciate that it's a bit close to the bone for both of us, but being a member of an ethnic group sometimes entails having to adopt the position - "My heritage isn't something that defines me or that I choose to display in any way." That's a survival mechanism that I don't begrudge anyone, but that position happens to suit the dominant hegemony very well and stops them having to reassess any of their attitudes.

Which brings us back to the comics. Kyle having a Mexican-Irish background is mentioned when DC gets accused of racism (a lot, these days), but as a non-WASP, doesn't it look bad that he himself never mentions it? Someone in real life might have good reasons for downplaying his background, but someone never mentioning it in a comic looks a bit like saying that there's something unacceptable about it. I don't think America is at a point yet in terms of ethnic groups where your background doesn't matter, so having someone who never stops for a moment to appreciate his own background is kind of dodgy. Is there something wrong with being Mexican, or Irish, or Mexican-Irish?

*I know being Irish isn't that hard a yoke to bear these days, but historically, and very recently at that (my parents generation - even my older brother's and sister's generation), being Irish in the US or the UK entailed being on the receiving end of all kinds of basically racist treatment. Children of Irish parents, being white, had the luxury of 'choosing' to belong to a minority ethnic group or not as they grew up in a foreign country. Of course they could take the route that their identity wasn't important to them, but I hate the thought of the pressures those young kids were under that nessecitated that 'choice'.
I didn't even know (or remember) that Kyle had Mexican OR Irish roots. Both have had/are still having problems being accepted in "society". There was that line in Blazing Saddles, which I cannot directly quote but it's "We'll let in the Blacks and the Asians....But No Irish!" Even in comics, characters like Banshee, Jack O'Lantern and Shamrock seem to exaggerate Irish culture, instead of relect it.

I'm of Maltese descent so my parents were British subjects before they came to America, so I have some concept of anti-Irish sentiment. Though it is not as rampant as before there are always bad jokes and stereotypes just waiting to be sprung again.

If it means anything, I'm a big, big fan of Celtic Woman. Their music is uplifting, melancholic, melodic and very inspiring!

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