Saturday, 25 October 2014

Justice League 101...


Comic-books are nothing if not a medium of ideas. No other medium in existence comes close to doing the things that can be done in comics. Any idea you can imagine visually can be brought to life in comics. In fact in my experience comic creators are mavericks one and all who live by the edict 'the bigger and crazier the idea the better'. Recently movies have claimed that technology has made it possible to bring anything you can imagine to life on the big screen - but it's not true. If the movie version of Watchmen tells us anything, it's that Hollywood will never have the balls to drop a big, giant, squishy, green, one-eyed, many tentacled, telepathic alien on top of New York.

But comic books did it.

In fact we did it - thirty-five minutes ago.

Tee Hee, I've always wanted to say that.

What's set me off on this 'big ideas' diatribe you ask? Well I've been re-reading JLA #7 from Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's incomparable run on that book.

This thing is like a college syllabus for a class lays out step by step how to take a Justice League story and make it mind-blowingly awesome.

Are you guys ready? Class in session.

You gotta start out right. So you take the Justice League concept right back to basics. It's the greatest heroes of the DC Universe all gathered on one team. So you take the seven big guns and stick them all together and base them some crazy comic-book location. A compound on the surface of the moon? That'll do!

Then you take these guys and give them a threat to tackle. It has to be a threat that can only be handled by a team that boasts two dudes that can bench-press aircraft carriers and one that can surf on the backs of humpback whales.

Having heaven invade earth? Hmm interesting.

Okay but these invading angels can't be of the nice, pious, fluffy-winged, harp-playing variety. These guys should be huge and mean. We're talking big, honking monster angels with rings through their noses, heaven forged weapons made of magic fire, armour made out of eyes and a maybe giant heavenly space-ship that burns anything in touches.

Now you might think that sounds awesome enough as is- that no matter what you do from here you're onto a winner. Not so - this the Justice League - you've got to throw something in the mix awesome enough to have resulted from a situation as wild and crazy as the Justice League versus the Heavenly Host.

Maybe......urm.....have Superman wrestle 'em?


Looks Like A Job For Superman! Get It, Like Job...From The Bible...Dude Who Wrestled Angels? No? Fine. Whatever.

Hold on, don't drift off and think about what you're going to have for lunch just yet. Class isn't over. Sure you've come up with a comic-book concept that is the most awesome thing most regular folks have ever heard of - but this is the Justice League we can't stop there!

We need a sub-plot people. They're the glue that holds comic-books together.

Of course, now that you've dropped angels on top of New York and had the Justice League hit them with giant green boxing gloves and stuff - a regular sub-plot is not gonna cut it. I mean no-ones going to care if Aunt May needs her medicine at this point, you're not going to get any points for having Lois staring out the window in her skivvies thinking about the state of her marriage.

No, we need something that'll compliment our main story. Like Neron and some ugly little demon guys trying to pull of some kind of evil scheme while the feathers are flying.

Let think. Maybe they could be....um....trying pull the moon out of the sky and crash it into the Earth? Yeah that's the ticket.

Of course big crazy comic-book problems like this require big crazy comic-book solutions! I'm sure your first thought was, just like Grant Morrison, to have Superman build a giant electro magnet on the surface of the moon out of pieces of the Justice League Watchtower and power it with his own body in order to use the magnetic force generated to repel the moon.

Hold on a second did I just say repel the moon?

I sure did:
Look Kids: Science


Damn that's some zesty lemonade made out of some serious electric blue comic-book lemons right there.

There's just not enough good things to say about Morrison and Porter's run on the JLA book. It's JLA done as they should be - the biggest and best of the heroes taking on the threats that are so earth shattering in their proportions only these guys can take care of it.

What makes it even more impressive is that he did it all without the benefit of one of DCs patented hair-trigger reboots. I mean three of his big guns are far from at their best. He's not just saddled with Electric Blue Supes, he's also got Kyle 'You Put What In My Refridgerator?' Rayner as Green Lantern and a hook-handed, 80s haired Aquaman! Respect where it's due, even those duds got some great character moments.

That folks, is how great the JLA could and should be done.

New 52? Is that you sleeping in the back? You of all people should be taking notes here!

Sigh - comic book universes today.

Class dismissed.
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