Justice Be Done: Freaking Finally
I am going to come right out and say it – I have not been enjoying Dwayne McDuffie’s run on Justice League of America. It’s boring. I mean who cares about The Key? Who cares if Tangent Flash has made her way into the DCU? Not me. Vixen's powers are out of whack? Totally lame. When McDuffie first took over and I started griping I heard a lot of: “It’s so great! Way better than Meltzer’s.” The second part of that is correct; McDuffie is doing a better job than Meltzer. That doesn’t make it great, just better. Getting punched in the arm is better than getting hit in the stomach, both still hurt though.
In some ways it’s not McDuffie’s fault. He is not a bad writer: his Firestorm and Fantastic Four were both awesome. It is hard to take the preeminent super team in DC Comics and come up with threats that are difficult for them. That’s why Morrison had them fight angels and Kelly sent them back in time. These are characters who on their own should be able to take down large forces of baddies, figuring out a crisis that could tie up the team and not destroy is tough. I have said it before and I will say it again – a hero is only as good as his or her villains. The new Suicide Squad is not worth the Justice League’s time.
Yet, there is something more to the comic than simply high quality bad guys. That something is purpose and purpose is what the JLA have lacked for two years now. Some of that is probably editorial fingers in the pies, but the write has to be responsible on some level. A reader of DC comics should feel the Justice League’s presence everywhere, yes a guest spot in Green Arrow is great or a major role in Amazon’s Attack is fine, but the reader should really feel it in the team’s title. I say again this is THE super team; they should be out solving problems. They should not be getting inklings, ideas, or clues as to the larger goings on. The editors and the writer need to allow the characters to be at the forefront of the events.
Yes, I am for B, C and D-list characters getting their moment to shine. You want Booster Gold to go in there and mix it up? No problem. You want Jimmy Olsen to save the day? Do it. But do not let these things happen at the expense of a solid JLA book. If Giffen and DeMatteis did the “Bwa-ha-ha” League, Meltzer/McDuffie have done the “What’s Going On” League. Their title is where things are introduced (Lightning Saga) only to be solved in other books (Countdown). The line-up right now is too powerful for this to be the case.
So now James Robinson is taking over and shifting things around. Hal Jordan is leading and putting together a “pro-active” team of big names (Green Arrow), well-knowns (Captain Marvel Jr.) and the brand new (an old man named Bill). Their goal is to go out, stopping villainy across space and time. While this feels a little like the Outsiders’ mission statement, I am hopeful. Robinson is one of my all-time tope five and I have faith. I have faith that someday we are going to see a group worthy of being called the Justice League of America. Or maybe I am being set up for a kick in the nuts.