JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Friday, October 19, 2012



JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told
Various, 2006

Premise: A collection of iconic Justice League stories from throughout the history of comics.

I picked this up at the library on a whim, because I like the Justice League, and I like zany classic comics. Some of these were a little corny and boring even for me, though. Some, on the other hand, were pretty great.

The first story is “The Super Exiles of Earth”, in which the Justice League has to reveal their secret identities to each other to defeat a bunch of evil duplicates. It’s a little zany, with stilted dialogue and a really silly, forced resolution. The second story is the one where Snapper Carr betrays the League in the name of “normal” people. It has some nice Batman stuff, but a really silly ending as well.

There’s another one based on secret identities, where each Leaguer thinks he’s actually one of the others. This is a neat idea, but the plot involves Doctor Light setting traps for them based on their mixed-up memories. So, for example, Green Arrow falls into a trap in Ray Palmer’s lab that the actual Atom could have escaped from. Which sort of begs the question: why not just set that trap somewhere Oliver Queen would go? The end effect is rather silly. It’s better once it gets into the big fight scene, though.

The one where the JLA body-swap with a bunch of villains was rather fun, with lot of interesting character moments and plot twists. That’s followed by the story of the formation of a later incarnation of the League, which since it includes Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Dr. Fate, Mister Miracle and Batman, is full of rather hilarious bickering. The plan to beat the bad guys in this one was pretty neat, too.

Finally there are two modern era stories: Star Seed, from Grant Morrison’s run, and a one-shot issue called Two Minute Warning. I really liked both of these, especially the latter. Two Minute Warning is a great exploration of the League, jumping back and forth between a big battle and vignettes about what each member was doing before the alarm went off. Also, there’s some really excellent interactions between Batman and Wonder Woman that make me quite happy. It does have Plastic Man, though.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this compilation, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone who isn’t already a fan.

3 Stars - A Good Book

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