Friday, September 30

Justice League of America #60 (Oct 2011)


James Robinson obviously had a lot of stories planned out for his run with what had, finally, after being hampered by being jerked around by various other story-lines and “events” across the DCU, started coming together as a fairly interesting Justice League of America composed of an interesting mix of “second-tier” and unlikely characters. But, as indicated in the sudden shift/cliffhanger which the previous issue ended on, they were not to be … well, sort of. They happened, the stories will just be left essentially untold except in passing in this wrap-up final issue. Stories like:
  • The confrontation with The Construct that took control of every robot on Earth, both ally and enemy, including the wonderfully-named “Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard”!
  • The JLA's crucial role in averting the Saturn-Thanagar War as prelude to a Thanagarian invasion of Earth.
  • The Battle for Gemworld that saw Mikaal Tomas Starman in a swords and sorcery adventure.
Interspersed are our heroes' farewells, one by one, as they go their separate ways, ending with the old friends, fellow alumni of the Teen Titans Dick Grayson and Donna Troy leaving the satellite.

So,” says Dick, just after a saluting Congorilla has faded away in the teleporter. “So,” replies Donna. “Do you think they'll remember us?” she continues.

Who? Bill [Congorilla] and the others?”

No, dummy. The people. The world. Think they'll remember this version of the J.L.A. and all that we did?”

Who can say? We did what we could with what we were given and I'm proud. I'll remember. Other people? Honestly, who cares. It's not why I'm in this anyway and frankly, Don, I didn't think you were, either.”

No. That's not what I'm getting at, Dick,” she declares. “I want them to forget. Me, anyway. I want the world to forget Donna Troy ever existed. I'm certainly going to do my best to disappear.”

Good luck with that,” Dick Grayson Batman says with a wry smile. “Try as you might, I can guarantee not everyone is going to forget you.”

They step into the teleporter chambers. “This was fun, Dick, and I'm so glad I got to do it with you.”

Me too. It's been a blast, Don. But all things must end. … Ready?”



They fade from sight and the lights go dark in the JLA satellite … “Adjourned.”

Wow. That last scene, as Donna Troy who is MIA in the DCnU expresses the wish to be forgotten with Dick figuring that ain't gonna happen, is great metatextual commentary on what's happening. Considering that Donna Troy, onetime Wonder Girl, is a character who for nigh on 25 years, ever since her continuity came unstuck with the great changes wrought to her “anchor,” Wonder Woman, after Crisis on Infinite Earths (much like the Legion of Super-Heroes' with Superman's career as Superboy – and therefore their very inspiration – wiped from their history at the same time), floundered around with a confusing variety of stories and interpretations that seemed to change almost every year at the whim of an almost-as-often-changing variety of creators, this was maybe the easiest way to handle the character and the confusing mess she had become. It is a shame, however – like Wally West, a beloved early-Silver Age creation falls victim to the DCnU's seeming preference for younger, more current, “cooler” versions of her character. It's not that I dislike Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Girl or Bart Allen Kid Flash. It's just that I would have preferred the DCnU characters be based on what I consider to be the more iconic, “original” versions – which are of course the ones I grew up with. Younger readers obviously don't have the attachment to them that I do, however. Ah well, it is what it is.  But they won't be forgotten ... at least by me.

One last comment, however: James Robinson – whom I was worried about at first when he didn't appear in the first round of New 52 announcements although he's subsequently appeared on the new Shade miniseries as well as been announced, along with Nicola Scott, to be developing a new Justice Society – should be very much commended as a team player. He seems to have worked hard throughout his run to work within the shifting constraints imposed on him by DC Editorial – the aforementioned jerking around – and probably handled the situation with as much finesse as any writer could have. It took a while getting its stride, and was kneecapped almost as soon as it did, but overall this JLA series has remained reasonably entertaining from start to finish. What more can we ask? And in this very issue he at least alludes to the relative continuity that will be enjoyed by the Bat-titles as Dick Grayson Batman announces his decision to step out along with the rest: “I'd half-thought I'd stay on to recruit the next wave. … But … as you all know, my predecessor returned, so I feel I'm marking time and he'll want me back as Nightwing soon anyway ….”

And there's a nice character bit between Dick and Kara as well – Robinson's really good with this kind of stuff, and what I'm bringing attention to in this post is by no means all that appear in this very issue – “Grayson, thank you.” – “For what?” – “Being a friend, being a big brother when I sorely needed one.” – “I'm always around if you need me in either role, Kara.” I hope this relationship will be redeveloped in the DCnU. The new Supergirl looks like she could use such a human connection.

There's only one thing I found distracting about this issue. 
Donna Troy?
Daniel Sampere's female faces, mainly when seen in profile, seem unnaturally high-cheeked or long, with the eyes positioned a tad too high. 
Sandra Oh
I kept thinking of that Asian-looking actress who appears on Gray's Anatomy – whom I've only mainly seen in commercials since I've only ever sat down and watched one episode of that series ever, when I was visiting my mother. Not that she's unattractive or anything – just somewhat unusual and not what these characters are supposed to look like.

And I find it hard to believe that Jesse Quick's pregnancy would go from basically not showing at all to practically sticking out into the next room in the span of time that this issue covers. Maybe it's the Speed Force...?

Those quibbles aside, this was a decent ending to what was, overall, a somewhat uneven pre-DCnU JLA series.

Cheers – and thanks for reading!

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