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Hey Kids! JLA # 69!

I swear I'm not going to do this again, and then one day later a huge review spills out of me.

JLA #69
New Blood
writer: Joe Kelly
artists: Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst

During the JLA/JSA panel at Comic-Con, Joe Kelly admitted that at the end of this whole Obsidian Age event, only 3.5 members out of the current roster would be remaining on active duty. Near as the Fanboy Planet staff could figure, that must mean that Batman was leaving his utility belt as half a member.

You've got to figure The Dark Knight would have that sort of plan in the back of his head, because at the last second before being pulled 3,000 years into the past in the previous issue, he triggered a mysterious code in the JLA Watchtower. This issue we see the results, as a whole new team gets recruited. Out of those, we must assume, we'll have the remaining 3.5 to 4 heroes that make up the next JLA line-up.

But before they get recruited, Kelly reminds us that a month has passed since the big guns' disappearance. New supervillains rear their heads and supernatural disasters loom. Even notorious anti-meta President Luthor demands to know where the JLA have gone, an interesting throwaway bit that somebody should pick up for the Super-books.

Luckily, Batman had a plan in the event of the JLA's destruction. He always has a plan - at least in the pages of this title.

Sending out imitation T-Spheres (designs stolen from an almost giddy Mr. Terrific), the "deceased" (or would that be preceased?) Batman assembles his team. Some of them make perfect sense, and others…well, he has his reasons.

  • The Atom - An obvious choice, as already the size-changing Professor Palmer had been ensconced as the team's scientific consultant. Frank Miller proved that the character could be cool again; time will tell if Kelly can carry that weight.

  • Green Arrow - Insisting to the T-Sphere that he will only join on his own terms, which include no interrupting his wicked, wicked ways. Kelly uses Ollie to give a quick nod to the varied incarnations and occasional mis-steps in the League's history. It's a clever bit that won't leave newer fans out in the cold, as the most important thing is still "…the broads." Black Canary is nowhere to be seen.

  • Captain Marvel - Actually, thanks to the fabled Wisdom of Solomon, he rejects membership. It's a shame, because Guichet unexpectedly draws a cool Captain Marvel.

  • Hawkgirl - Okay, other than demographics, it doesn't make sense that Batman would offer membership to Kendra over Carter, who at least remembers having a place in the League. Or does he? Hypertime has lent this some confusion. Anyway, we must always remember that (say it with me) Batman has a plan. Batman always has a plan.

  • Faith - Brand-new characters introduced in this sort of context scare the heck out of me. Based on Kelly's track record, though, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. All we really know about her is that she leaves some sort of sparkly vapor trail, and she's a flyer with super-strength (already I'm envisioning her potential in a HeroClix game). But she is clearly meant to have been around for a while, as she understands the impact of being recruited for the League.

  • Jason Blood - Perhaps the most unexpected choice of all, moving Blood to the forefront of the superhero ranks has a very cool edge to it. For too long he's been treated as a brooding, almost self-pitying misanthrope. Clearly, Kelly has other plans for him. And should Etrigan try to get out? Batman has a plan. Batman always has a plan.

  • Firestorm - At last Mark Waid can rest easy. Firestorm returns to the Justice League. Apparently Kelly has chosen to ignore the character's ridiculous incarnation as alcoholic male supermodel Ronray, to which all I can say is: God Bless Hypertime! Except that now we do first see Ronnie doing some college binge drinking. Kids, don't try that at home. Leave it to the professional comics writers, preferably those who hail from the United Kingdom.

  • Major Disaster - What? You mean that we were supposed to remember that Our Worlds At War had some impact on minor characters? It was moving last fall when Superman offered Major Disaster a shot at redemption, and brilliant of Kelly to pick up on it. Of course, it remains to be seen just how good a team player the guy can be with a power that matches his name.

  • Nightwing - Of them all, this is the absolute no-brainer. And it reminds me, is there still a Titans book?

    What had the potential to just be a big empty "event" has suddenly turned interesting. Even more impressively, I've lost my resentment to having to buy the book twice a month.


    Derek McCaw

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