Friday, February 14, 2014

Not Really Off-Topic: In Depth Review Of JLA # 12


I have been generally disappointed with the JLA branch of the FOREVER EVIL storyline. But this month's offering was really quite good. Martian Manhunter and Star-Spangled Girl continue their quest to find the Criminal Syndicate's Deathstorm, stop him from destroying Los Angeles in a nuclear explosion, and freeing the rest of the Justice Leagues from their prison.

In the middle of their quest, they are ambushed by Despero, who may have killed Manhunter in the process (the comic book ends without us knowing for sure.) As he lay near his end, Manhunter recounts a Martian legend to the young woman, inspiring her to face down Despero on her own. We also learn of a tragedy Star-Spangled suffered at the beginning of her superheroine career.

In the midst of the darkness that is DC's FOREVER EVIL storyline and the chaos we see in EARTH 2, we are starting to see DC acknowledge that what had always defined them was hope. Seeds of hope are not only showing up in the various books, they are being specifically identified as such. We have been seeing that in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK and in EARTH 2, and even in the main FOREVER EVIL book. Now we see it in JLA. Star Spangled Girl's youth and power, her willingness to fight and to keep faith in the face of terrible odds, is lauded by Manhunter, who uses his story to ignite that flame to heights great enough to give her the inner resources she needs to face down Despero.

Perhaps what DC is trying to do here is make that tradition of hope that much more poignant by placing it against a background of genuine darkness. There is some truth in this. The light that shines in the darkness is all the more noticeable, all the more important. I recently heard Alvin Plantinga say that the very fact that Jesus dies for a lost world makes life all the more miraculous. As if God let the world fall to show the glory of Christ. I do not believe this exactly, but it is interesting, and it is interesting that DC may be playing with some similar ideas. We really see that possibility here in JLA.

Aesthetically, the pacing in the book is off but the dialogue is pretty good and so is the story, the art is good too. But it is the themes I really liked, and the thematic elements elevated the whole thing. I'd give the whole thing an overall rating of 4 Stars.

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