Going the Hard Route

October 24, 2004

By Avi Green

JLA #100: Elitism
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Tom Nguyen

The idea of this 100th milestone issue of the now acronym-titled Justice series is to set up the premise for Justice League Elite, a maxi-series also written by Kelly, starring Vera Black, the sister of the late British mercenary and Superman adversary Manchester Black, who’s trying to clear her family name, but also to go an extreme route in dealing with justice and crimefighting.

It’s not a 100-percent perfect setup, but it’s fairly effective and interesting nevertheless, as Vera for starters faces off with the JLA when trying to state her cause in hard terms. She comes at first and attacks the District of Columbia with a team of other metahumans who’d appeared before, The Elite, and they certainly prove a very hard bargain for even Superman, and even Plastic Man, who gets pretty stunned by one of their blasts.

Her intention is to show them all just “how things should be done” and by that she means to take a very hardlined stance against crime and evil in the world. But the League just ain’t interested…well, most of ‘em anyway. The whole incident ends up dividing the ranks of the League in the end, as Flash, Major Disaster and a few others decide to join up with Vera’s cause.

As the start of a storyline to be focused upon in JLElite, it’s got some interesting potential for a story whose purpose is to center on a group of hardlined crimefighters who feel that the more liberal approach being used by the regular league isn’t doing the job, something that’s also been the focus of JSA’s Black Reign story arc of early 2004. Problem is, it’s only skin-deep in what’s its getting at, and it’d be a lot more satisfying if they’d just have given some more meaty details, even in metaphorical terms. However, that does appear to be what’s being done in JLElite already, so I guess I can certainly overlook any flaws in the writing here.

Vera Black is an interesting character, whose premise is that she had her original set of arms blown off in an accident and replaced with special organic ones that could turn into guns, and by that I mean pretty big guns. There’s raw-force girl power for you.

The artwork is pretty good, and so is the job on Wonder Woman, drawing her again with a straight ‘do, and the battle dialogue is appreciatively well done, with the usual trade between characters even as they’re fighting, something that some of the trendier writers of comics today don’t always seem very keen on these days.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to read JLElite all at once, and I’ll probably have to wait for the trade, but as far as the 100th issue of JLA goes, it’s an okay start.

Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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