After Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns teamed up to tell “The Lightning Saga,” I decided to wait until the adventures of “Justice League of America” were collected to read them. The rationale was simple: the stories simply left me wanting more in each dose. Sure, the sputtering frequency of release may have had something to do with it, but after closing my ninth issue of the series and saying, “I can’t wait until next month”, well, I decided to wait a little longer.
I was sorely tempted to jump out of this mindset once I heard Dwayne McDuffie was going to be writing the series, but I persevered. I recently picked this book up and was able to read it cover to cover over the weekend.
Unfortunately, the book is as disconnected as its art team is varied. McKone, Benes, and Benitez have styles as widely divergent as Penguin and Shaggy Man’s personalities. In all fairness, this title does collect stories from more than once resource: containing the “Justice League of America Wedding Special” and issues 13-16 of “Justice League of America”. To make mattes even worse, there is no spine labeling, like the previous two “JLofA” hardcovers, so an uninformed reader may not grasp the sequence of events between this and other JLA collections past, present or future.
The story itself reads fairly well, but contains a large amount of apathy for its own existence. The characters flow through the story here and there, dramatic scenes are fumbled and the sacrifice made by selecting three different artists takes the problems to a whole new level. For example, in the Mike McKone pages, Hawkgirl clearly gets shot through the left shoulder, but in the issue immediately following, her right arm is in a sling. Cheetah sports her newer look from recent issues of Wonder Woman, but Giganta doesn’t (which in turn allows some “JLU”-brand humor to sneak in).
In all honesty, I expected better from the first collection of stories penned by McDuffie, but I suppose at this point, things were rather chaotic on the creative (if memory serves on the timing, McDuffie was writing this and “Fantastic Four” concurrently) and editorial side, with Green Arrow and Black Canary’s wedding, not to mention the effects of “Countdown to Final Crisis”. I’m hoping for a little more consistency in the next collection, or at least a stronger effort from McDuffie.