The ‘90s were a weird time for comics. Grant Morrison is good at weird.
Surprisingly, the first arc of JLA is pretty tame. Super-powered aliens called the Hyperclan arrive on Earth claiming that they want to solve the world’s problems. When they start acting like fascists—including killing supervillains on live TV—people only love them more. The League does not buy it, and pushes back.
From there, the book is pretty straightforward, with a couple of fun twists. Morrison’s strongest moments are those with Batman, Superman, and Flash. I’d love to have more focus on Flash in subsequent issues. There is also an unintended cultural relevance right now, what with the promises to make Earth great and the violent oppression.
Porter and Dell’s lines are very clean, which helps offset the peak-‘90s figure work. And Garrahy’s colors are similarly light and gentle. This keeps focus clear, especially in combat—and it keeps the book from feeling too grim and dark.
In all honesty, I probably never would have picked this up without the recommendation from one of the people at my regular comic shop. Comic shops are important; cultivate those relationships. It’s a fun read, and classically super-heroic. It’s a bit wordy at times, and it has weird ‘90s bodies, but if you can live with that, Morrison's JLA run starts strong.
- JLA, Vol. 1: New World Order (#1-4)
- JLA, Vol. 1 (#1-9, JLA Secret Files #1)
Writer: Grant Morrison | Penciller: Howard Porter | Inker: John Dell | Colorist: Pat Garrahy | Letterers: Ken Lopez, Albert Tobias de Guzman