This issue begins the story arc by Roger Stern and John Byrne, and it was a nice opening to the last JLA Classified story arc.
For the most part, this was a pretty standard comic book adventure. It was a fun action-filled romp, that had a nice smattering of character moments, leading to a pretty interesting twist – that the villain of the issue fought the League in the past (in a different form), allowing Stern and Byrne to depict two different incarnations of the League during their story. I thought that was quite clever, in terms of laying out a future story arc.
Byrne’s art is in strong form, nice, crisp lines and a good sense of action. I enjoyed Mark Farmer’s inks on Byrne.
Two particular plot points stood out to me. One is a spoiler – the other is not.
I’ll lead with the non-spoiler. As seen in the following page, Stern has J’onn reflect upon the JLA transporter, thinking about how frequently he uses it now, and yet years ago, it was a teleporter that left him stranded on Earth.
I thought that was a really clever point by Stern – why hasn’t anyone else ever made that observation before?
The second one is a spoiler, so beware! It’s not much of a spoiler, but it IS a spoiler. Okay, later in the issue, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Atom are trying to get to the Watchtower (I also loved the old school “break the team up into two groups” thing – Englehart used to KILL at that sort of thing – I heartily approve!), but the teleporters are only working at 5% capacity. So what do they do?
They use that 5% capacity to send a shrunken Atom up to the Watchtower! I really loved that bit.
And yes, there IS a bit where Superman and Wonder Woman are tied up by her lasso, just like Joshua Middleton’s impressive cover shows.
So yeah, a fun comic with some nice character beats (particularly J’onn), a nice set-up for a storyline, and a strong cliffhanger (Batman and the Atom alone against a villain who has defeated most of the League, including their most powerful members) – I’d say it would be worth your while to read.
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