Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

From the Bookshelf...

by Nicolas Juzda

JLA: American Dreams reviewed

The second trade paperback reprinting the current JLA series encompasses issues five through nine of the series. These in turn comprise three story arcs.

The first of these is the single part story "Woman Of Tomorrow", in which the JLA is infiltrated by an android named Tomorrow Woman, sent to kill the heroes.

This story has grown on me through subsequent readings. When I first read it, it had all the earmarks of Grant Morrison's writing at its worst: too many multiple plot elements converging into a mess that made the total less than the sum of its parts. It is, after all, a very busy issue; we get Metamorpho's funeral, a membership drive, the menace of IF, the introduction and final fate of Tomorrow Woman, and some scenes of Professor Ivo and T.O. Morrow hanging out, all in just 24 pages.

Frankly, the IF plotline still seems tagged on to give the JLA something to do while Tomorrow Woman gains their trust and ultimately for Tomorrow Woman to defeat.

But the real story here is that of Tomorrow Woman's journey towards humanity, poignantly summed up as she struggles to explain what motivated her sacrifice but can't put it into words, since her creator deliberately left "freedom" out of her vocabulary. As Morrow gloats, this is the story of "a soul being born".

The next story in the volume is the two part "Fire In The Sky" and "Heaven On Earth." This is Morrison writing at his worst. Full of sharp dialogue and powerful moments, but fitting together awkwardly and hoping to cover its flaws with sheer momentum. If anything, this gets worse as you re-read, and start to ask yourself questions like "So, Neron and the Demons Three really had absolutely nothing to do with Asmodel's plan, did they? They just sort of happened at the same time."

Also, the plot leads right into the JLA: Paradise Lost mini-series, which isn't included in here, making the ending feel very abrupt and point of the entire story in question.

That said, this is the only story EVER to make Electro-Supes cool, if only momentarily. He holds the Moon in its orbit magnetically.

The final story in the book is another two-parter. "Imaginary Stories" and "Elseworlds" chronicles the JLA members trapped in dream realities while the Key threatens to rule reality and only Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) can stop him.

This story is a marvelous read for nostalgic comic book fans. From Dick playing Batman with Bruce Wayne Junior as Robin, to Wonder Woman in her "mod" look fighting the Nazi Baroness Paula Von Gunther, to Connor desperately trying to use Ollie's trick arrows, it's a delight.

The dialogue in here is sharp, even by Grant Morrison standards. I especially love Wonder Woman's line upon realizing she's been hallucinating ("Damn! Every time!") and the Key noting that as part of his transformation he can't stop delivering exposition.

It's also a tightly plotted story, which as I've noted is not Morrison's strongest point during his JLA run. And the art is by Oscar Jimenez, who I much prefer to Howard Porter.

I'm not sure if this book could qualify on its own as a necessary addition to a comic collection, although the entire Morrison JLA run might. But it's reasonably cheap and two of the three stories I recommend.

Return to the Top of the Page

Now that you've read this piece,
discuss it in the Fanzing Forum!

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This piece is © 2001 by Nicolas Juzda.
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are ™ DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.

Fanzing site version 7.4
Updated 7/27/2010