By Morrison, Porter, Dell
JLA issues 5-9
For some reason, the Finnish super hero comics have always focused on Marvel and specifically on Spider-Man and X-Men. From the DC side, we got a Superman comic which ran a while a couple of different times. The latest was during Byrne’s relaunch. Batman has appeared as a second hero in the Superman comics and a while with his own run. But usually we get at most a couple of DC special a year. Now even these seem to have stopped.
JLA ran four issues in 2001. However, each issue was as thick as an American trade paperback. I’ve got all four Finnish issues but I can’t just find the first one right now. This second Finnish edition includes the American Dreams trade and a couple of stories highlighting the Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter who aren't known pretty much at all here.
Anyway, this trade feels to me like three separate stories rather than one coherent story arch. Granted, there are a few hints in the Zauriel story about the Key story.
The first story is about the Woman of Tomorrow, an android who was built by two evil geniuses to destroy JLA. During her brief time in the team she learns to value friendship and freedom. In the story, the JLA are hunting down a sphere called If which is wrecking havoc around the US.
I rather enjoyed the different characters which were introduced in the recruitment drive at the start. Although, I’m a bit puzzled by the whole “discrimination” accusations. Sure, they’re discriminating; they must only accept members that can be expected to *survive*. Perhaps law firms are also discriminating for only wanting to hire lawyers?
I’d classify this as a “nice” story; rather predictable one-shot with a character which is never seen again. Even though as an android she might even be logically resurrected.
The second story is the one I enjoyed the most: Heaven’s war against Zauriel the angel. Zauriel falls (or is thrown? We never know) from Heaven into the San Francisco Bay. In his wake follows couple of angels who have been sent to erase Zauriel from the Book (the Earth). JLA can’t allow that to happen, of course. And later, the angels’ boss shows up.
Meanwhile, Neron in Hell gives a couple of creatures (demons?) a chance to take the Moon out of its orbit. They gleefully do just so.
I really enjoyed the international feel of the JLA and the multiple threats. I also enjoy the camaraderie between Flash and Green Lantern. Although, after all the hype Asmodel was a bit of a let-down. I was a bit amused how Green Lantern couldn’t believe that Zauriel is a “real” angel. On the other hand, this revelation didn’t make any of the JLA to do any soul searching. None also had any qualms about fighting angels. But as far as I understand, none of the JLAers are particularly religious. Except for Diana.
I was a bit surprised how ordinary Zauriel appeared. He used idioms and was quite mouthy. Not at all how I would have thought an angel to behave.
The third story deals with Key and his ambition to rule the world with his brains. I’m not familiar with Key but apparently he’s an old opponent. Perhaps that’s why he takes over the Moon Base so quickly that we aren’t even shown how he did it. He has captured the JLA and keeps them unconscious. He injects into them a virus that makes them all dream about being in an alternate world. The twist is that Key *knows* that the JLA is going to figure out what’s going on and wake up. He going to use the brain energy produced by waking up and use it to his own nefarious purposes.
However, JLA’s possible newest member, the new Green Arrow, has teleported to the base and found out Key’s plans, much to the surprise of both of them. Key manages to shoot Arrow’s, er, arrows and after that Key pretty much ignores him. GA is, however, quite resourceful although I was surprised that he didn’t find any other weapons on the moon than his dad’s old trick arrows.
I rather enjoyed the alternate universes here, especially Superman’s and Batman’s.
American Dreams is a pretty standard JLA romp without much cosmic action or surprises.