Justice League of America #8 Review

Justice League of America has been one of two of the hottest titles that DC is currently publishing. The other title is the Justice Society of America. Well, what happens you combine those two titles? You get an insanely good team-up that is sure to be a fantastic story arc. And throw on top of it all that this story arc is going to deal with my beloved Levitz Era Legion of Super Heroes. I am in heaven.

Meltzer has done a wonderful job on this title and I fully expect Justice League of America #8 to be another excellent read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Penciler: Shane Davis
Inker: Matt Banning

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

Synopsis: We begin with, Red Arrow, Wildcat and Geo-Force in The Kitchen on a training exercise. They are playing a game of capture the flag. We cut to The Hall where Mr. Terrific is blindfolded and playing games of chess with Hal Jordan and Black Canary at the same time. Mr. Terrific comments that they invited him over to teach them strategy and Wildcat to teach them fighting.

We cut to the Batcave where Batman and Black Lightning are examining Trident. Batman points out, the Legion flight ring on Trident’s hand. That man says his name is Karate Kid, otherwise known as Val Armorr. Batman runs a search on the Fortress of Solitude computer and notes that Superman has Karate Kid listed as a class 15 fighter. That man comments that he is listed at class 12.

Suddenly, Karate Kid gets up and attacks Batman. Batman thinks how Superman believes that Karate Kid is better than him. Batman thinks how he loves to prove Superman wrong.

We cut back to The Kitchen. Vixen is monitoring the training session. Hawkgirl is hiding and tempting Red Arrow’s team to run out into the open to grab the flag. Red Arrow decides that one stupid unorganized dash to the flag is in order. We see Red Arrow run for the flag. Hawkgirl immediately streaks out of hiding and flies toward Red Arrow.

We cut back to Batman engaged in a bloody brawl with Karate Kid. Batman moves Karate Kid into position and then talks as Black Lightning snaps Karate Kid and takes them down. Batman then contacts Superman and instructs him to meet him at the Hall.

We cut back to Red Arrow grabbing the flag. Red Arrow ties of the flag to an arrow and shoots it through the air toward the goal. Hawkgirl uses her wings to try to pick up enough wind to knock the arrow off course. Suddenly Hawkgirl’s teammate Red Tornado appears and blows the arrow out of the sky. Hawkgirl grabs the flag. Red Arrow then shoots an Arrow and cuts off Red Tornado’s cape to show him that Red Arrow’s team is not done yet. Red Tornado than powers up in hits Red Arrow with a wind blast.

Vixen panics and immediately jumps into the training session in tackles Red Tornado. Hawkgirl flies in between Red Arrow and the tree that he is about to hit. Suddenly, Red Arrow stops in mid air as he is completely weightless. Geo-Force uses his null-gravity powers to save Red Arrow from snapping his neck against the tree.

Vixen asks Red Tornado what is wrong with him. Red Tornado apologizes and says that he miscalculated. Red Tornado is having a hard time adjusting back to his android body and realizing that he is not the same person he was before he got his human body.

We cut to Batman and Black Lightning arriving at The Hall. Batman comments that Mr. Terrific is playing Hal Jordan and Black Canary against each other. That the outcome will always be either a win and a loss or two draws. Batman complements Michael on the nice test. Batman tells Hal Jordan at Michael stole the idea from the Amazing Kreskin.

We see the justice league members standing around a drug Karate Kid. Batman mentions to Mr. Terrific that Karate Kid is from the future. Mr. terrific then replies that they have a new member who also claims to be from the future. His name is Starman. Karate Kid suddenly snaps awake and says that star man’s name is Thom Kallor. Mr. Terrific calls Power Girl and tells her to get Starman from the loony bin.

We flashback to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The year is 1948. We see two people wearing transuits so that no one can see them. They enter the hospital room of Dolores Winters, otherwise known as the Ultra Humanite. The two people tell Dolores that she is going to die tomorrow unless she takes a trip with them.

We cut back to the hall way air Karate Kid is holding Wonder Woman’s golden lasso in order to trigger all of his memories. Unfortunately, rock he kid does not remember anything else. Evidently, he has been subject to telepathic fail-safes.

Power Girl and Starman then enter the room. Starman comments that the angel is close. The white angel is screaming. Karate Kid and Starman then look at each other and star man suddenly speaks something in Interlac. Karate Kid then passes out and star man says that the angel screams in C-sharp. Then the wolf howls in B-flat.

We cut to Karate Kid regaining consciousness. Karate Kid says that there are seven of them scattered all stock in this time. One of the Justice League members comments that the Legion of Super Heroes is like the Teen Titans from the future. Karate Kid snaps that they are not the Teen Titans. That the Legion is like the Justice League. At that point, Black Canary calls all of the Justice League members to report to the Hall. Power Girl calls all of the Justice Society members to report to the Hall.

We then cut to the first official JLA/JSA team-up and a very long time. The team members all socialize with each other. Stargirl comments how Wonder Woman is her favorite hero. Sandman tells Geo-Force that Geo-Force’s powers are approaching Alec Holland levels.

Hawkman tells Hal Jordan that his power ring brought Hal back from the dead. And that the ring is not a construct of science. That the ring is clearly magical in nature. We see Red Arrow telling Hourman that whenever he needs him he would sponsor him. Hourman comments that he no longer takes the pills for his powers.

We shift to Batman and Mr. Terrific tracing back the signal from Karate Kid and star man’s Legion flight rings. There are more flight rings than they thought. Booster Gold had one. Vril Dox had one. Clark had two. Kara had one. They also found the other five missing Legion members. Black Canary and Power Girl decide that they must split up their teams. That they have five cities, two continents and two planets to cover. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Damn, Meltzer is a stud. He continues to crank out one excellent read after another. It is stunning how smoking hot Justice League of America is. I expected Meltzer to do a good job on this newest incarnation of the JLA, but I never expected it to be this damn good.

Meltzer delivers a well plotted issue. I love the quick shifting between the scene in the Batcave, the scene in The Kitchen and the scene in The Hall. It was a great technique to speed up the pacing of the story and to create a feeling of tension inside the reader. Meltzer also pulls off wonderfully seamless transitions between the various scenes that gives Justice League of America #8 was an enjoyable flow.

The pacing on this issue was just right. Meltzer knows exactly when to step on the accelerator and when to ease off the gas. The story has a nice ebb and flow as the action scenes move briskly and the dialogue heavy scenes slow down in order for the reader to follow what is going on.

Meltzer crafts his usual excellent dialogue. Each character has their own unique voice. Meltzer also serves up well developed characters. There are no one-dimensional members of this Justice League of America. The strong character development and well written dialogue all lend to some fantastic chemistry between the various characters.

I also dig how Meltzer handles each Justice Leaguer like a regular person and not an iconic super hero. Meltzer takes great efforts to have all the characters refer to each other by their first names. Nobody every uses a codename unless they are on a mission. This gives the comic book a nice realistic feel and gives each character added depth that they are more than just a codename and a costume. It also re-enforces the fact that the members of the JLA and JSA are more than teammates. That they are family and friends.

Meltzer continues DC trend of firmly establishing the JSA as the mentors and role models for the rest of the heroes in the DCU. Notice that it is Mr. Terrific brought in to teach strategy to big name heroes Black Canary and Green Lantern. It is Wildcat brought in to train the Justice Leaguers. I dig that Meltzer shows deference to the JSA and thereby boosting the respect factor of the JSA and the new central role that they play in this new DCU.

The training session in The Kitchen was well done. Meltzer gives us insight to Roy’s naturally impulsive nature that causes him to gamble and to think quick on his feet. Since Roy doesn’t have super powers like the other Leaguers, he compensated with bravery and a gambling and unpredictable nature.

Meltzer continues to impress me with his handling of Red Tornado’s character. Meltzer has done a great job continuing to grow Red Tornado’s personality. We see that Reddy is having trouble adjusting to his android body as he nearly kills Red Arrow. Was this an innocent mistake or is there something darker going on inside of Red Tornado?

Meltzer writes a kick ass Batman. I dig how Meltzer makes Batman tough and just ever so slightly a dick without making him a full blown asshole. Batman takes offense that Clark would dare rate Karate Kid as a better fighter than him. Batman thinks how he takes pleasure in proving Clark wrong. We also see Batman needle Mr. Terrific by exposing his chess secret within seconds of arriving at The Hall.

Meltzer understands that Batman is one intense and driven individual. Since Batman doesn’t have the incredible super powers of many other heroes, he has to compensate by showing how he is a better hand to hand fighter and is also smarter than everyone else. Batman has to intimidate everyone to some degree or another and that even includes other super heroes. Meltzer does a good job showing that side of Batman without him being an overwhelming dick.

The sweet fight between Batman and Karate Kid was cool for both characters. It showed Batman’s ego and determination to be the best. It also showed off the incredible fighting skills of the Legion’s toughest member.

And let me tell you how awesome it was to see the real Karate Kid back in action and sporting his kick-ass Mike Grell designed costume. It was always my favorite costume for Karate Kid. I am digging seeing all of these Levitz Era Legionnaires popping up everywhere. I couldn’t be happier.

This entire Legion of Super Heroes storyline has completely captivated my attention. I love that DC in finally integrating the Legion of Super Heroes back into Superman’s history and back into the context of the present day DCU.

We get a few more teasers from Starman’s rambling. I would imagine that the angel that he talks about is Dawnstar. The wolf has to be Timber Wolf. Now, the fact that one sings in A flat and the other in B flat has to be another clue. Maybe it is referencing multiple Earths like Earth-A and Earth-B? At any rate, this issue just serves to get me more excited over what DC has planned for my beloved Legion of Super Heroes. I can only hope that we get a re-birth of the Levitz Era Legion.

I also like how Karate Kid quickly corrected the JLA member who called the Legion the Teen Titans of the future. No way. The Legion is the JLA of the future. That is important. It establishes the Legion as the premier super team of the future and not some secondary junior team like the Teen Titans.

It also re-enforces the original inspiration for the formation of the Legion of Super Heroes. The current version of the Legion that we have now was formed as some lame youth movement to rebel against the old fuddy-duddy adults that run the universe. The real Legion of Super Heroes was inspired by the ancient heroes of the JLA and formed the Legion to fight evil like their predecessors did.

The big meeting scene between the members of the JLA and the JSA was great. It has been a long time since we got a JLA/JSA team-up. I hope that DC makes this team up between the JLA and the JSA a regularly occurring event.

Meltzer does a great job with the dialogue in this scene. Red Arrow offering to be Hourman’s sponsor for Narcotics Anonymous was hilarious! And Hourman’s irritation was reflected in his comment that he no longer uses pills for his powers. I thought the dialogue between Hal Jordan and Hawkman was interesting. I never thought about the Green Lantern power ring being more or a magical item rather than a tool grounded in science.

The ending was well done. You get the JSA and JLA members split into various teams. We have a definite task at hand that includes finding the five missing Legionnaires that are located somewhere in five cities, two continents and two planets. Meltzer does a good job giving the reader a clear direction for this story arc with the promise of plenty of twists and turns headed our way.

Oh yeah, how could I forget that little one page scene set in 1943 starring Delores Winters, otherwise known as the Ultra Humanite! That was a great little teaser. Ultra Humanite is a classic JSA villain. I’m glad to see Meltzer working this character into the mix. As if we didn’t already have enough going on! I’m interested to learn the identities of the two characters who are attempting save Ultra Humanite as well as what their nefarious plans happen to be.

Davis and Banning provided some sweet artwork. I am not familiar with either gentleman, but let me say I am now a huge fan of them. Their art is gorgeous. Davis and Banning deliver a wonderful looking issue that makes this issue a joy to read.

The Bad: No complaints with this issue.

Overall: Justice League of America #8 was a great set up issue. Meltzer lays the foundation for what should be one seriously wild ride. I haven’t gotten this excited for a story arc in a long time. With the writing team of Meltzer and Johns piloting this team-up I am confident that my high expectations will be met. Justice League of America and Justice Society of America are two of DC’s best titles on the market. Combining the two for a team-up makes both titles definite must buys. I absolutely recommend giving Justice League of America at try.

7 Comments

  1. This is going to be awesome. I’m sure you probably figured it out already (since you are such a big legion fan), but the words in Interlac that Starman says are “Lightning Lad”.

  2. also when they spoke starman said lightning lad in interlac. with the name of the crossover looks like hes one of the seven

  3. You’ve got to think that Lightning Lad will be one of the others, since he was name-checked in the issue’s title. Along with Dream Girl, Star Boy/Man, and Dawnstar, plus Timber Wolf, that makes 5 of the 7 Legionnaires.

    Starman makes an “itsy bitsy” remark. Does that suggest Shrinking Violet? He had his fingers in the “itsy bitsy spider crawled up the waterspout” song manner, though, so who would the Spider refer to?

    By the way, you gave the book a 9 out of 10 but didn’t have anything bad to say. What brought it down from a 10 to a 9 in your opinion?

  4. Great, great issue.
    Hard to believe after the initial story arc and a done-in-one, we’re already getting what looks to be a classic team-up crossover, involving almost all of DC’s premier teams (wish the Titans were in on this, but it’s better not to have too many cooks in the kitchen).
    I’m guessing by the title of this installment, they’re going to find Lightning Lad first (what’s pitiful is I sat here for about a minute and a half trying to decipher the code for this ish’s title, and if you really look at it, it practically screams Lightning Lad. I thought I was pretty smart, but alas…). I hope this is setup so that both writers write both teams in the same book(s), but if the teams are already splitting up, I’m not sure if it’ll come to pass.
    I love how Batman is being characterized in this book. He knows he’s a force to be reckoned with, but he’s no longer the arrogant prick he used to be, and shows admiration and respect when it is due. His observation of Mister Terrific’s chess tactics was great, as is his humorous aside of loving to prove Superman wrong, kind of like a sibling rivalry. The best Batman moment has to go to the Karate Kid, though, when he accuses Batman of cheating in what he understood to be a one on one fight. Classic.
    I love the splash page of the League’s and Society’s interaction with each other, though I thought it was a little odd Batman wouldn’t be concerned about another team’s rookies knowing his real name. I know this is the new and improved Batman, but he doesn’t have any hands-on knowledge of Cyclone and Damage that I know of, so you’d think he’d be a little wary.
    And where the hell is Steel? I know over in JSA he’s still recovering on an operating table, but damn, let’s get this kid some action, and let him earn some stripes. I think it’d help build his self esteem to help out both the JSA and JLA. Maybe Damage’s demeanor will improve by the end of this arc, as well.
    Great opening Kitchen sequence, too. I love how Meltzer writes the aftermath of Tornado’s inadvertent attack on Roy. He leaves the moment as a quiet one of introspection for Reddy, with Clark subtly trying to get Michael to realize now is not the time to proclaim his fascination of the Tornado, without coming across as demeaning. The fact that Brad writes the scene without beating you over the head with Reddy’s thoughts, or recapping the entire initial arc, shows trust that the reader (new or otherwise) will be smart enough to figure out something’s genuinely wrong, and if they want the backstory, they can pick up the previous issues if they so desire. It’s an excellent choice to not constantly go over the same character beats, and instead find new nuances and niches.
    For instance, Bruce’s conversation with Power Girl concerning the First Edition Vauban gives me a clue as to what one of PG’s hobbies might be (I had no idea she had any interests outside of the Society), as well as playing up the millionaire playboy aspect of Bruce’s identity.
    So much of that splash page is well done, and I’m not sure who gets credit for what, but with Roy holding a bottled water (which plays nicely for readers who know where the character has been), to Supes’ telling jokes Jay finds hilariously old, to Batman drinking out of a teacup (complete with little coaster), it’s almost like you can see both writer and artist are so in-sync that details you never would notice otherwise have a deeper meaning. I believe both creators have an excellent feel for these characters, and as long as they can keep the up with this title’s monthly schedule, I think DC would be remiss to not offer both extensions on this book.
    Excellent title; excellent read.
    Now let’s see how Geoff tops this one…

  5. So…if Trident turned out to be Karate Kid…then was he Trident this entire time and the villain never existed? If not, then what happened to the real Trident?

  6. To this old fart, the real real real REAL Legion from long ago was inspired by Superboy rather than the JLA or anyone else.

    His absence from post-COIE continuity has hurt every subsequent incarnation of the Legion in my book.

    (And I don’t count Kon-El or Prime)

    Maybe that’s why I like the cartoon so much.

  7. I guess that in certain respects we actually have very differnt tasts, since I found this issue to be an incredibly dull, plodding read. Also, Meltzer’s dialogue was like nails on chalkboard to me. It seemed like he was trying to give everyone this hip, kewl, I’m-such-a-badass type of presence, and instead it just drove me nuts.

    Oh, well, glad you liked it, at least 🙂

Comments are closed.