Justice League Elite: Volume 2

May 29, 2008

Does anyone else think that Joe Kelly does a better Grant Morrison on JLA than Grant Morrison? I mean the multiple confusing storylines, the missing sequences, the non-synchronisation between dialogue and action, the love of poor work relations as theme, the perpetual apocalyptic scenarios, the outrageously mind-boggling turn-arounds and solutions, etc. This is the modern “don’t-ask-too-many-questions” school of writing which Morrison brought into JLA but Kelly seems to have perfected. His stories work more often (than not working) after the middle mark, and the little jewel is more satisfyingly revealed at the end too. 

In the previous volume, both original JLA members find themselves on the verge of a personal situation. Green Arrow gets the funner back-breaking “doubling” (wink wink) whereas poor old Flash is forced into a scheduling problem of doing his day job with the JLA and his night job with the JLE at the same time. Also, Vera Black’s team needs to solve the mystery of an embarrassing high-profile murder, the dictator Hi-Shan Bhat’s, from its first outing.

With Volume 2 displaying a much clearer narrative and a sincerely intense pace, you know that the end is indeed coming. You begin to find, rather uncomfortably, that you do like the sleazy characters a lot — can it be that the sense of impending tragedy makes us all naturally more sympathetic, that we become idiotic forgivers of that guy who peddles drugs and gets caught? Much of the perverse enjoyment certainly involves wondering just how deep into trouble this elite professionals can sleepwalk with flashing teeth on their faces. It’s one thing to watch the train coming at you in slow motion; it’s another to run towards the train.

The rightly scary villain turns out to be the inscrutable Wolfwood now. But Kelly betters that with the return of Manchester Black and an equally scary revelation later. So there are a lot of soul-screaming moments for your money in this latter half if that’s what you have been waiting for. Manchester further comes coupled with the absolute power of some divine creature called Eve, who appears to be, if you’re a DC person, a Fourth-World god or, if you’re a Marvel guy, Galactus with boobs. They command together a Worlogog to unleash total devastation on the universe, which is fine, if I know what that is!

What is a Worlogog? It has made numerous appearances in JLA stories by now, but if you know what it really is, you’re a genuine DC guru because I don’t. That still doesn’t stop me from enjoying this ride to the end in a number of rather gratifying “end-after-the-end” twists — and why? Why else? Because I stop asking too many questions here long ago!

Gweek gives this volume 7 spins of the bottle, for good luck.

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