Friday, 24 June 2011

Justice League of America #58 review


The JLA's battle against Eclipso and his horde continues, with brains proving as important as brawn, as the team recognises that the Shade is key to defeating the dark god. Batman organises the fightback into two fronts - one subteam distracts Eclipso while another shoots a bullet - carrying the Atom and Starman - into the Shade's brain. As the Atom and Starman reach Shade's corrupted control centres, Donna Troy is revealed as the JLA's secret weapon against Eclipso. And she dies ...

... well, maybe. She's certainly skewered, but the Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, has set up an expectation that Donna will be renewed with energies certain to prove potent against Eclipso. The key is Donna's ruddy miserable past - dead husband, lost child, thousands of tragic alternate lives ... this sort of thing changes a gal. Basically, Donna is going to beat Eclipso with continuity.

And it's continuity that is key to several surprises here. Atom is summoned by Batman Dick because he remembers that Batman Bruce was once given micro-surgery by him (in a 1974 issue of the Brave and the Bold, no less); Congorilla is used as a sharpshooter rather than a brute because he's also big game hunter Congo Bill; and long-lost L.E.G.I.O.N. member Lydea Mallor appears in an effective piece of foreboding.
Robinson is strong on character too, with all JLA members and guests getting something to do, but no one hogging the action, even while Donna gets the splashiest moment. This Rise of Eclipso serial really has seen Robinson's JLA click as a team, facing a massive challenge and proving worthy of it. I'll be sorry to see this era end - had it continued, I can only see the book getting better.

Especially with the addition of new penciller (according to the lettercol - yeah, right) Daniel Sampere. He doesn't actually draw the whole issue, sharing the pages with Miguel Sepulveda, but as it's all rather stunning my speculation stands, I think. Donna's costume is a tad skimpy, but in the grand scheme of things - page after page of excellently choreographed action peopled by powerful, expressive heroes - it's a minor matter. Sepulveda inks himself, while Wayne Faucher adds blacks to Sampere's lines. Well, presumably - DC aren't breaking down the credits as they should. The artists gel superbly, and every page has something to offer. Standouts include a splash spread on the moon showing the forces of good about to confront evil, and a right old ruckus featuring giant gorilla vs giant cephalopod (click to enlarge, and I'm only using big words cos I don't know if that's an octopus or a squid!).
Colourist Andrew Dalhouse and letterer Rob Leigh's contributions are also noteworthy, as is that of most recent regular artist Brett Booth (hey, he must have done at least three issues), a cover showing Donna at her most determined.

I've no idea how the post-Flashpoint Justice League comic will shake out - with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee in charge, it'll certainly sell - but I hope this run one day gets the raves it deserves.

10 comments:

  1. Poor Donna. Poor, poor Donna. Will she be reborn a Blue Lantern only to be tossed into limbo after Flashpoint? I don't like either option, frankly!

    I wonder why she wasn't 'reset' back to Wonder Girl status, giving Cassie the Fury title, or something. It's amazing that noone can figure out what to do with her! Get her back in the red togs, let Jim Lee put a couple seams on it and metal-up the boots and there you go! Wonder Girl! No Terry. No dead kids. No Troia (isn't that Greek for something bad?). Give Phil Jimenez a Wonder Girl book to write a draw (with a heavy-handed, Karen Berger type editor).

    Sorry! Went on a bit there.
    craig

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  2. I'm not worried for Donna... things look bad, but as you say, she'll be fine.

    And the art team knocked me out. Just a great job, and it makes me sad there's only two more issues of this.

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  3. Oh.. and like you, I was pleased to see one of the most ridiculous stories ever acknowledged as in continuity. HANEYPOWER!

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  4. Well, Donna is certainly one of the primary characters who could beat someone down with continuity.

    I'm saddened that there has been no mention of her, Wally or Garth in the post-Flashpoint "DCnU."

    And I agree, the art on this issue looks lovely.

    http://infiniteopinions.blogspot.com/

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  5. It strikes me as funny how Hype works, the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee relaunch is being billed as a return to greatness or whatever but here in JLA #58 we have possibly the best art on the stands and a story to match.
    But according to 'teacher' it's not the real thing?

    It's a badly underrated book, I've enjoyed James Robinsons run tremendously and I really do think it's one of the top three strongest team books on the market right now. I would say we aren't going to get the closure we deserve with the book before the relaunch and some plotlines will be left dangling but out of the entire volume of this JLA run I do think this is the most stable and best written the book has been.

    Really good issue.

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  6. Hi! I'm Daniel sampere, JLA artist, I just want to thanks all of you for your comments and support, next issue will be really better than that, I promise you, you really will enjoy it!

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  7. Donna dies?
    Thats it, JLA...Im DONE.

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  8. I have loved this book and this team and even this treatment of Donna as an anger-filled hero trying to channel her feelings to good.

    I hope she isn't dead because she is a wonderfully complex character that deserves better.

    And I also will miss this team when it is gone.

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  9. "Basically, Donna is going to beat Eclipso with continuity." HAH!

    What got me was that St. Blue Lantern (a male, of course; women can't think for themselves, as so much current legislation is reminding us) is the one who has to inform the otherwise perfectly intelligent and ept Donna Troy as to how wonderful she is. Gaah.

    Of course this is all to set up a retooled Donna. Maybe this time she'll bring Lilith back with her. Ho hum, death in the DCU.

    I'm glad you saw some good in the artwork, as I saw it as being of the usual meh-to-awful standard that too many DC books have these days. On top of it of course I kept track of Donna's shrinking costume, but it was amusing to see it have a straight back on one page, then when you turn the page it's a halter top. And of course the front neckline varied from a modest V to two narrow straps barely concealing the nipples.

    Sometimes I think September can't come fast enough.

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  10. Well ch, supposedly Phil Jimenez has a secret project, perhaps it's a Donna book? As for the name 'Troia', wasn't there talk that it was Greek for 'prostitute'?

    Rob S, it's funny, I've heard people say that DC doesn't have a globetrotting talent spotter such as CB Cebulski, but they're constantly finding great new artists. Someone is obviously doing a good job.

    Thanks for the blog link, JAR!

    Glad you've been enjoying JLA too, James. I wouldn't be surprised if James Robinson does, though, give us a proper wrap-up, as he'll have known Flashpoint was a-coming.

    Hello Dani, thanks for popping by. I'm looking forward to next issue even more now. And whatever you do after that.

    Karl, I'll let you know if she's back next month ...

    I'm trying to think Anj, have we ever had so much as a single team-up between Donna and Supergirl. We really should have.

    I dunno Carol, I'd say Donna is so used to feeling Donna-ish that she wouldn't notice her Eclipso-nobbling potential. I think Mr Blue has sensitivity powers, or something.

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