Home > DC Comics > Justice League Elite #1

Justice League Elite #1

July 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Grand Experiment

Vera Black is leading the newest branch of the Justice League… who will make the team?

Writer: Joe Kelly
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Tom Nguyen
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Doug Mahnke
Publisher: DC Comics

Spinning out of the tumultuous events of JLA #100, Vera Black begins assembling a new special task force of the Justice League… the sort of shadowed, invisible force that doesn’t exist on paper or in any computer file, the sort of force that can go places other forces cannot, get hands dirtier than the bright heroes are allowed, and get out without leaving a trace. Vera Black is assembling the Justice League Elite.

I’m not really a fan of this concept, to be brutally honest. I like the League to be the best and brightest, the shining examples, and while I suppose there is a certain tactical logic to them having a black ops team, that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. The whole thing reminds me too much of the failed splinter group Extreme Justice from a few years ago, only darker.

To give credit where credit it due, Kelly has a few nice ideas in this issue. He comes up with a clever method to send an Elite member deep undercover, and he surprises us early with major consequences for a certain character.

I was a big fan of Doug Mahnke during his run on Superman: The Man of Steel, but somehow that style didn’t work as well when brought over to JLA. I must admit, it’s a much better fit for this darker comic. His style does have a gritty look to it, but it’s still too bold to fit well on a hardcore crime comic like Gotham Central. This title seems to be the perfect balance for him, although he’s also been shown to do good work on more science fiction-oriented titles.

This is the first issue of a 12-issue miniseries, and that would seem to indicate Kelly has a definite arc in mind. As this is mostly a “gathering of forces” issue, we only get a few fleeting hints of where the story might eventually lead. If you like this sort of thing, you’ll want to follow it and see where it goes. Personally, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed in anticipation of Kurt Busiek taking over JLA.

Rating: 6/10

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