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by guest writer Mark Gillins

Well, this is my first time writing for JLA Casebook, and I must say it is an honor, although, to tell the truth, I'm utterly terrified. I took a peak at last month's Casebook, just to double-check on the format, and I was shocked in realizing that I am in no way as eloquent as good ol' Bruce, and compared to him I am one heck of a lousy reviewer. However, Bruce seems to have some sort of faith in me (which must be the reason why he asked me to write for this month), so I'll try no to disappoint anyone. You've had your warning, so let's get started on JLA #28.

This is the first issue of the semi-long-anticipated "Crisis Times Five" story that Grant Morrison has been tossing back and forth in his mind. Both Justice League fans and old-timer Justice Society fans alike will enjoy this story, this being the first team up of the JSA with this incarnation of the League. Not only this, but Captain Marvel guest-stars in the "floating chair" that was created for just such a story.

In fact, the opening scene shows The Big Red Cheese talking to a small group of people who are terribly frightened because of a huge "elemental giant" attacking the city. Marvel can literally smell the magic in the room, and with a strange look says, "Holy moley… First time I've ever seen anyone scared of a derby hat." This, of course, is a silly reference to the fifth dimension, the derby hat being what Mr. Mxyzptlk would wear on his head.

We next get a pleasing look at the two speedsters -- Flash I (Jay Garrick) and Flash III (Wally). Buildings and streets are twisting and distorting without explanation. As Superman stresses out (having been told by our time-traveling friend that the fifth dimension would be invading), the Flashes beam up and we get to see Classic Flash meet the new Hourman.

I don't want to get to into the issue and end up giving anything away. Morrison has some neat plans for this story, it is told. Johnny Thunder's genie is back, as well as a new genie who is out for revenge on the pink classic. Without going further into it, I will say that the "lost-in-Hypertime" hero, Triumph (who returned during the Zero Hour storyline, only to find himself missing from the history books), is involved in the whole scheme somehow.

The issue shows some interesting (and quite funny) interaction between the JSA and JLA. Hourman stands by impatiently as Plastic Man harasses Wildcat, Green Lantern talks with Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott gives orders to Zauriel. While the JSA is having a grand old time with reminiscing about the good old days, Hourman wants to take action, giving numerous warnings about what will happen at exactly what time.

This issue shows some promise for an interesting, and perhaps exciting, storyline. Thankfully it's only going to last four issues, though. I don't know how many BIG storylines I can handle with the JLA. It seems these days that the shorter ones are always more impressive. However, this is one of the last stories that Morrison will be doing (he has announced that he only has a few more to tell before he leaves), so I'm sure he'll be trying to go out with a bang.

JSA fans will really enjoy this -- while Alan Scott refuses to be a part of a new JSA, we still get to see the old team back together with their usual wisecracks and puns. It should be fun seeing the Society handle the new Hourman, seeing as how he's nothing like the old one and tends to boggle things up with his time jumps that he pulls.

JLA fans might want to catch it merely for the aspect of having Captain Marvel fill in the empty chair for a few issues (he was, after all, originally slated to be one of the original add-ons to the team before Morrison changed the roster to 14). Triumph's return looks interesting, as well. Hopefully Morrison will do something with this character in this story rather than let him be beaten down by fans as he has been in the past. Far too many times have we seen an attempt at bringing back a loser character, only to see him become more of a loser.

The art is pretty good. I've always liked Howard Porter's work -- it's never confusing and is easy to follow. He does leave something to be desired, though. The only problem I have with this artwork that I can actually point out, however, is his drawings of Huntress. Her jaw and nose seem a little weird to me, almost as if they're too big. I'm not sure, though. There's something else I just can't place my finger one.

The shading is excellent, the electricity of the two Flashes is shown well, and overall I have very few complaints about the art. There are better artists out there, but Howard knows what he's doing, and his ability to learn is showing as more and more issues come out. Just look at his earlier drawings of Wonder Woman compared to now!

Well, I'd say that if you're looking for:
a) a reunion of classics,
b) a father/son campout, or
c) an overall intriguing story that doesn't look like it has anything to do with Hypertime,
buy this issue! No rush, as I don't think this issue will sell out (unless your shop is one of those that buys only a few issues of each series), but get around to purchasing this within the next few months. Crossovers, time travel, extra dimensions, invasions, surprises… it's got 'em all.

On a scale of one to ten (ten being perfect), I'd have to give JLA #28 an 8. Definitely worth reading, but not the most universal-altering stories that have occurred in the past (thank goodness. It's relaxing every once in a while to not have to worry about whether or not continuity will change forever or something ridiculous like that). Buy it sometime soon!

All characters are ™ DC Comics
All scanned artwork is ™ DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Bruce Bachand.