Justice League of America #10 Review

The Revolution has anxiously been awaiting the conclusion to this Legion of Super Heroes story arc. I have loved this story arc and am confident that we are in store for a pretty wild finish with Justice League of America #10. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Sandra Hope

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the JLA and JSA realizing that the brawl they are engaged in is just a massive illusion cast by Sensor Girl. That the Legionaries have long left the area. Superman comments that he wants to find the Legionnaires immediately.

We cut to the Legionnaires arriving at their specific locations. It is four minutes to impact. Dawnstar in Tokyo. Timber Wolf in Central City, Sensor Girl in Smallville, Wildfire in San Francisco, Starman in Gotham City and Dream Girl in Keystone City. Starman comments how even if he doesn’t die that he can’t come back to the future. That there are too many black holes to make. Starman asks Karate Kid to take care of Dream Girl for him.

We see Jay Garrick suddenly appearing next to Dream Girl in Keystone City. Jay says that now that he is here there is no way the Legion can pull of their mission. Dream Girl responds unless her role is to stall the one person fast enough to stop this all from happening. Jay retorts that he isn’t the only fast member on the team.

We then see Power Girl arriving next to Dawnstar. Hal Jordan arriving next to Timber Wolf, Red Tornado arriving next to Wildfire and Superman arriving next to Sensor Girl. It is two minutes to impact.

Sensor Girl tells Superman that this is different from last time. That they don’t have Proty to take the fall like when they brought Lightning Lad back to life. Superman contacts Black Canary and tells her that he was right about the Legionnaires’ mission.

We cut to Batman and Mr. Terrific in Gotham City. Mr. Terrific comments that if one of the Legionnaires is willing to sacrifice themselves for their mission then who is it for the JLA or JSA to stop them. Batman responds that it is for the same reason that they would stop someone from jumping off a roof. That they are not here to debate suicide. They are here to save someone’s life.

We cut to San Francisco where Red Tornado tells Wildfire that he doesn’t have to do this. Wildfire answers that he does have to do this. Wildfire tells Red Tornado to not to forget that Wildfire is Red Tornado and that Wildfire already knows how this ends.

Suddenly, we see Batman and Hal Jordan both comment that they have seen this before. That they know this place. We then see Barry Alan’s death scene from Infinite Crisis. We also see the scene where Barry gets his powers.

Hal Jordan comments that the Legionnaires are not here to bring back Lightning Lad. That the Legionnaires are chasing something bigger.

The Legionnaires then activate the personal force fields that Brainiac 5 gave them. This prevents the various JLA and JSA members from taking the lightning rods away from the Legionnaires and foiling their mission.

We shift to Karate Kid in Blue Valley. Karate Kid has located Batman’s tracer on his costume and had torn it off. Therefore, there is no one to stop Karate Kid. A massive bolt of lightning comes crashing down and Karate Kid says “Lightning Lad” and then gets blasted by the bolt of lightning.

We then see all the Legionnaires fade away. As Wildfire fades away he tells Red Tornado to “fight what’s inside of you.”

We cut back to Blue Valley and see Wally West, Linda and their two children lying on the ground. Wally gets up and says his name is Wally West and that he is faster than anyone. We then see Karate Kid get up from the rubble and retort “No you’re not.” Karate Kid then tells Brainiac 5 that they won and to bring the Legionnaires home.

We see Starman taking off his Legion flight ring so he won’t be transported back to the future. Starman comments that he is not the only one who has to help the past.

We shift to the Fortress of Solitude. All the Legionnaires are assembled. Karate Kid hands his glowing lightning rod to Wildfire and tells Wildfire to give it to Brainiac 5. The Legionnaires step through the time portal except for Karate Kid. A shadowy figure tells Karate Kid that he has to stay in the past. That Brainiac 5 says Karate Kid’s mission is just beginning.

We cut to the members of the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America warmly welcoming back Wally West.

We then zip forward to Metropolis in the future. Wildfire tells Brainiac 5 that he should have seen it. That Wally was riding the lightning. That Wally saved his entire family. Brainiac 5 comments how curious it is that Wally West appeared.

We cut to Power Girl tells Superman that he has to trust his old friends that there was an important purpose to their mission. Superman snaps that he wants to talk to Starman. We see Batman mumbling that he thought it was going to be someone else that the Legionnaires were bringing back to life. Starman babbles that the Flash is back. That worlds will die again. Black Canary proudly tells Power Girl that Wally West has chosen to join the JLA.

We see Karate Kid with the shadowy figure leaving the Fortress of Solitude. The figure comments that the countdown begins. The figure asks how Karate Kid didn’t get fried by the lightning. Karate Kid responds that he ducked.

We shift back to the future where Wildfire is still ribbing Brainiac 5 for being surprised by Wally West’s return. Brainiac 5 comments that all he cares about is that for “this” universe he got who they wanted. Brainiac 5 holds the lightning rod that Karate Kid had given Wildfire. Inside the glowing rod we see the shape of a face. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Justice League of America #10 was a great ending to a story arc that I have completely enjoyed. Meltzer gives us a well paced issue. The issue gradually builds in intensity and gains speed with each page as we tick down to the moment of impact. Meltzer employs short scenes and cuts back and forth between multiple scenes in order to increase the feeling of tension in the reader and to quicken the pace as we race to the dramatic conclusion.

Meltzer also crafts some excellent dialogue. Meltzer has a good feel for each character and gives them well developed voices. Meltzer has been committed to strong character work during his run on this title. Each character is so nicely developed and this lends to some good chemistry between the various characters.

Of course, we got a monster ending in Justice League of America #10. Meltzer unloads two huge bombs on the reader. The first is that Wally West is back. And he has his wife, Linda, and his two kids with him. Fantastic. I was so happy to see Wally back with his family in tow.

Even though Barry Allen is my favorite Flash, I am a huge Wally West fan. I enjoyed Wally as the Flash and absolutely hated it when DC got rid of Wally and his family and then aged Bart and made Bart the Flash. What a crappy move. Wally was a perfectly fine Flash and there was just no need to replace him.

I also didn’t like the fashion in which DC wrote off Wally. It was such an unsatisfying and ambiguous exit for such a great character. Also, Dan Didio sounded like a total moron stating how if you have a Crisis then you have to have a Flash die. Why? Where is that written down in stone? What a totally random and arbitrary rule. Didio really dropped the ball in handling Wally’s character and I’m glad to see DC admitting their mistake and bringing Wally back.

The joyous return of Wally West was nicely done. You could feel the emotion that poured out from characters like Jay, Hal and Roy when they happily embraced their long lost friend. This was a dramatic and touching scene and it made me smile seeing Wally back with the Justice League where he belongs.

Yeah, DC teased us with the return of Barry Allen. Especially with the visions that Batman and Hal Jordan had just prior to Wally making his grand return. And Batman was visibly stunned that it was Wally who the Legion was bringing back and not Barry. But, maybe Batman was right after all. Because, after Wally’s dramatic return, Meltzer then drops another bomb on the reader. Wally West was not the person that the Legion was trying to bring back to life.

At the end of Justice League of America #10, inside of Karate Kid’s lightning rod we see the outline of a face. The rod is glowing red. My guess is that Barry Allen is inside the lighting rod. Brainiac 5 mentions that all he cares about is that they got the person they wanted inside this lighting rod. That affirms that Wally West’s return was just a random occurrence but not part of the Legion’s mission.

Also, when Wally made his return he states that he is Wally West and is the fastest man there is. Then Karate Kid stands up with his glowing lightning rod and retorts that Wally isn’t the fastest man there is. I figure that has to be a hint that Karate Kid has the one man faster that Wally inside the lightning rod: Barry Allen.

I would be beyond happy if DC not only gave me back Wally West but also Barry Allen. And with the events over in Flash #13, there is now room for both Wally and Barry in the DCU. And honestly, DC can’t keep teasing readers with the return of Barry Allen. At some point, they will have to let it go and stop teasing or actually deliver the goods.

Now, Karate Kid does say something in a foreign language just before the lightning hits his lightning rod. I’d be interested to find out exactly what Karate Kid said.

Meltzer’s ending immediately presented the reader with numerous questions. I found it interesting that Wally’s kids are wearing outfits that look like the Tornado Twins’ costumes. I wonder if this connection with be looked into a bit more in depth.

Another question that Meltzer leaves the reader wondering about is why Starman chose to stay in our present time rather than go back to the future with his love, Dream Girl. Clearly, Johns has something planned for Starman. I am interested to see where Johns takes this character.

I’m also curious about what is going on with the Pre-Crisis Legion. Brainiac 5 mentions that all he cares about his saving “their” universe. Now, the use of the word “their: makes me wonder if Brainiac 5 is just making the distinction between their future universe and our present universe or if the Pre-Crisis Legion is actually from one of the other multiple universes.

There are some many questions with regard to the Pre-Crisis Legion. What is the great threat that they are facing? What happened to the Legion that caused them to sever their ties with Superman? I am fascinated with the return of the Pre-Crisis Legion and I cannot wait to see what DC has in store for the Pre-Crisis Legion. Personally, I’d be thrilled if we found out that the current version of the Legion of Super Heroes is actually from an alternate universe and that the Pre-Crisis Legion is the Legion from New Earth’s future.

I’m also curious about Karate Kid’s mission that Brainiac 5 has him staying behind to complete. And just who is Karate Kid’s mysterious partner on this mission? The obvious reference made to Countdown by the mysterious partner makes be believe that Karate Kid and his mission will be fully addressed over in Countdown.

Personally, I’m psyched that Karate Kid is sticking around in the present day for a little while longer. Karate Kid is a very cool character and it is nice to see a Pre-Crisis Legionnaire running around in the DCU.

I’m also fascinated by this connection between Wildfire and Red Tornado. Wildfire makes several cryptic statements to Red Tornado about how Reddy has to fight what is inside of him. I’m glad to see that Meltzer is making a huge effort to continue to evolve Reddy’s character.

As always, Benes’ artwork is fantastic. I love his style and he delivers one gorgeous looking comic book.

The Bad: I have no complaints at all with this issue. Having said that, this Lightning Saga story arc was certainly slow and I could see where a reader who isn’t a big fan of the Pre-Crisis Legion would not have found it particularly compelling or intriguing.

Overall: I loved Justice League of America #10. I am actually sad that this story arc is over. It was wonderful being able to see my beloved Pre-Crisis Legion of Super Heroes back in action once again. No other version of the Legion can even come close to the Pre-Crisis Legion. Seeing the Pre-Crisis Legion in this story arc made me realize just how much I really missed them. Hopefully, we will get to see more of the Pre-Crisis Legion soon.

10 Comments

  1. The Justice League of America seems to be one of the more popular comics… do you know if they come out on a monthly basis or are an at random item?

  2. I’m thrilled to have Wally back (although this entire thing with Bart has been a colossal mess, and killing Bart is just the final twist of the knife; okay, maybe the final twist is Tim yet again collapsing in agony; killing Titans/Tim’s loved ones has long since become a grotesque black joke).

    I’ll lay odds that one (or both?) of Wally’s now-much-older kids will shortly be the new Kid Flash.

    In the past, I’ve expressed complaints that this crossover is so heavily geared to pre-Crisis fans as to be completely impenetrable to anyone who started reading comics in the last decade or so. But, beyond that, the biggest flaw with this crossover is the total lack of anything resembling a villain or actual stakes.

    The JLA and the JSA between them have about thirty members, including Superman and Wonder Woman, the biggest powerhouses in the DCU. They’ve got the world’s most brilliant minds, in most fields; one of the world’s fastest men, etc. And, upon assembling this massive fellowship, Meltzer and Johns proceed to have them do nothing with their enormous combined power; they visit a couple of different locales, learn about the pre-Crisis history of Superman and the Legion, fail to stop the resurrection, and then go home. Now, I’m not, by any stretch, arguing for non-stop mindless action; but I’d like some intelligently-managed action, and I’d really like an actual plot (with a villain and some actual stakes); here, the only driving element is the LSH’s resurrection plan, which the readers know will succeed, and which they have no reason to wish the JSA/JLA to succeed in stopping (essentially, then, the readership is meant to hope the heroes fail).

    On a sidenote, since I know you don’t peruse the finer comic book sites very much, DC recently announced Dwayne McDuffie as the new JLA writer with issue 13 (he’ll be trimming the cast down and simultaneously adding a few). McDuffie was a principal architect of Justice League Unlimited, which rocked, so I’m looking forward to that (Benes is sticking around on art). The cover for his first issue promises a bit more of what I like to see in the JLA:

    http://www.newsarama.com/heroes_philly07/DC/sat/jla.html

  3. Hmm, that image link I posted doesn’t work; the end is missing; just put “.html” at the end after “jla”.

    To the first poster, this series has been good on scheduling, overall.

  4. It’s clearly not the original pre-Crisis Legion – Wildfire’s a robot based on Red Tornado, Karate Kid’s alive, Ayla’s dead, etc. – but a close facsimile.

    Who’s that running with Karate Kid at the end, after they all get back? Is that the same one who earlier said “Brainy said don’t go in… you can’t go back. For you, the mission’s just starting.”?

    Significant lines hinting of things to come:
    Starman to Karate Kid: “You died too and came back…. Even if I don’t die, I can’t come back. There are black holes to make.”
    Starman to himself: “Poor lonely Kal-L. His friends are always leaving.”
    Starman to Mr. Terrific: “I can’t let it take me like the others… I’m not the only one who has to help the past.”

    There’s a good “post-game” interview with Johns and Meltzer on Newsarama. Meltzer says that what Karate Kid says in Japanese is “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

  5. islandliberal: Woah! I swear, if that group of supervillains gets together, I’m gonna be freaking out wondering how in the world any group of superheroes will be able to face them.

    My opinion of Justice League of America #10: I agree that it was pretty slow, but I still really enjoyed it. It could have used more action, definitely, but I think the intrigue from this arc is from what the Legion is planning and whether or not the JLA/JSA will let them succeed.

    Man, this is NOT Robin’s year, is it? His dad is murdered, his best friend dies, his second-best friend is killed…it’s a quite a lot, isn’t it?

  6. Absolutely loved this issue.
    Thought they were bringing Barry back, which I thought was cool, but was that excited, and then Wally appears, and I thought “Holy Shit!”,
    Haven’t thought that about a comic in a while. Avoiding spoilers is class. I may do that more often.

  7. Black Panther and Storm, no. But there are rumours that John Stewart will.

  8. I can see it both ways; Hal’s the all-star, and this is traditionally thought of as an all-star title, with some lower-tier characters added. On the other hand, DC has five Lanterns running around, and two of them (Alan, Hal, Guy) have their own books/team books already; letting John or Kyle have a JLA spot would at least put them to some use.

  9. On a subject completely unrelated to the quality of the writing or interior art (the former is still good, even with my many quibbles; the latter is great, as usual), but, Michael Turner? Please learn to draw. I mean, good God, poor Power Girl; Liefeld himself would be appalled by that anatomy.

  10. Why did Karate Kid say he ducked when he obviously got hit. Based on the last time these rods were used, the lightning would kill the holder it struck. And why did 2 legion members stay? Batman never trusted Karate Kid but he did trust Starman so maybe he is being corrupted as Mary Marvel is. He could be another one of the villanist good guys. It seems a lot of the lines are being skewed between good and evil in the Countdown series. What do you think?

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