Home > DC Comics > JLA #100

JLA #100

June 29, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Elitism

The Elite is back… and the world is theirs!

Writer: Joe Kelly
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Tom Nguyen
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen & David Baron
Publisher: DC Comics

Okay, credit where credit is due – I was fully prepared for Joe Kelly’s origin story of the new “Justice League Elite” to go in one direction that I was prepared to thoroughly dislike, and he didn’t. He actually came up with a fairly reasonable origin story for the new team, an explanation of how it could get Justice League sanctioning and a decent launching point for the miniseries.

The Elite, a team of bloodthirsty anti-heroes, is re-formed by Vera Black (sister of their deceased former leader), with an ultimatum – the governments of the world must turn power over to them, because clearly, humans aren’t fit to govern themselves. This, naturally, sends the Justice League to the battlefield for a brutal fight sequence that turns out to be much more than it seems.

Kelly seems to want this new Justice League Elite to be a conspiracy theory superhero story, but the conspiracy he sets up in this issue is really trite and the conclusion of it is naïve at best, unrealistic at worst, and hard to swallow in any case.

Doug Manhke’s artwork is fine, and well-suited to the sort of story Kelly is telling here. He does good action, and the literally gargantuan battle scene that climaxes the issue looks extremely well-done… it’s the story itself that falls flat.

In truth, I’m probably being more charitable to this issue than I should be, but that’s because I expected it to be much worse than it actually was. It’s still not a great JLA story, not one that justifies placement in the 100th issue of this title. All these years later, I can’t help but look back at the first issue of Grant Morrison’s JLA where he brought the title back to its roots… brought in the “Magnificent Seven…” gave us good old-fashioned superhero action and showed why these characters are worthy of being known as the greatest superheroes not just in this world, but in any world.

Then I see this issue, which postulates that the JLA is out of date and old fashioned and not good enough, and it makes me think two things:

1. This is the same guy who wrote the brilliant “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” in Action Comics #775?

2. (Sigh.) How the mighty (no, that’s the Avengers) – how the magnificent have fallen.

Rating: 6/10

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