Thursday, February 19, 2009
JLA: Our Worlds At War (2001)
JLA: Our Worlds At War was a misleading title. In the beginning, J'Onn J'Onzz floated through space. His alien body seemed twisted so heinously as to suggest damage to even its malleable form. With a shredded cape and one eye dangling out of its socket, the Manhunter sent out a telepathic cry for "Help."
"Martian Manhunter is down. I'm afraid we let another one get by us! Don't know how long J'Onn will maintain the telepathic link. We might have to go electronic--," thought Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, as he joined the Flash and Plastic Man in combating an Imperiex drone. All three were soon out of commission.
In the distance, Wonder Woman and Aquaman battled another drone. "J'Onn. Tell the League. I'm on my way." Even with the timely arrival of Superman, the drone's "death" gravely injured Diana.
Batman chose to remain in Gotham.
That meant that with J’Onzz pretty much out before page one, Plas by seven, Flash eight, and Wonder Woman eighteen, a book with the JLA logo no longer featured anything that could be considered a League before the halfway point of the special. Green Lantern wasn’t even allowed the dignity to fall in-panel, though he would eventually recover before anyone but Wonder Woman. Further, all but three present Leaguers were out of commission by page 9, in the equivalent of five story panels.
The remaining 20 pages focused on two active teammates, Superman and Aquaman, with the fallen JLAers placed in intensive care aboard Maxima's Space Arc. Former JLIers Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Rocket Red were shown fighting a drone, while Guy Gardner was skewered. Seems curious that of all characters, Aquaman was left standing with Supes, although the pair actually separated immediately after losing their team.
King Arthur took on a drone before Atlantis, and the explosion that ripped from the Imperiex's torn armor caused a rift to open in the ocean. Aquaman had vanished completely, and the full circumstances of his disappearance remained a mystery for some time. There’s that elusive rationale... a seagoat needed to be led to the altar of the Crossover Sacrifice.
Jeph Loeb's writing was poor, especially his distracting inclusion of FDR's "The Pearl Harbor Speech," broken into captions running throughout the book. Thankfully, the art team of Ron Garney and Mark Morales, aided by colorists Tanya & Rich Horie, delivered an epic look to the many splashes and spreads that turned this comic into a glorified poster book.