Geoff Johns has a long and storied career writing comics, mostly for DC, with a few things at Marvel too, but mainly DC, and his fir...moreAnd so it begins.
Geoff Johns has a long and storied career writing comics, mostly for DC, with a few things at Marvel too, but mainly DC, and his first major long form work for them was The Flash, and this volume nicely collects the first few arcs of his run on the series, and fully includes issues #164-176, plus the 'Our Worlds at War' and 'Iron Heights' Specials, and the profiles from Flash Secret Files #3.
The first arc is the Flash filtered through almost a Fables like lense as the Flash finds himself trapped in a mirror version of Keystone city, complete with no powers, a very alive Barry Allen, a very dead Jay Garrick, with Mirror Master and Captain Cold along for the ride. It's well documented that this was basically John's test run with the book, so it's generally pretty detached from the rest of his run, but he still manages to incorporate a few of the concepts of this book into his later run.
Following this Johns really begins his run proper with his first major arc 'Blood Will Run.' This one departs from using classic rogue's and re-introduces Wally's former girlfriend Magneta, and sets up a deadly cult known as Cicada. We also get more teases of the future when another former girlfriend of Wally ends up dead, and has a child that may or may not be Wally's. Also introduced are some Keystone City police stalwarts, the old grizzled street cop Fred Chyre and new up and comer Jared Morillo.
This is followed up by a two issue Weather Wizard centric arc, introducing a new costume for him no less, that comes back to that mysterious child. Weather Wizard has somehow gained a whole new mastery of his weather wand, and seeks to increase his power by any means necessary.
This is followed up by a couple of one off stories, including the 'Our Worlds At War' crossover issue, which sees Wally team up with Cyborg to repel Parademons as they invade Keystone City and the world at large. 'Iron Heights' which introduces new Flash rogue Murmur, and introduces the Iron Heights prison and the mysterious warden Gregory Wolfe. And the last story introduces Hunter Zolomon, a metahuman profiler coming to the police department to assist the Police Department with the resurgence of the Rogue's.
The art is a great mix of some up and coming talent. Angel Unzueta handles the first Wonderland arc, as well as the 'Our Worlds At War' crossover issue. A pre-Green Lantern Rebirth Ethan Van Sciver steps in for the Iron Heights issue, and Scott Kolins handles the rest of the series. Unzueta has a more exaggerated style that works fairly well for the Flash, Van Sciver was stepping into his current style and his book is a mix of what he'd become with a few flashes of the style he used previously, while Scott Kolins really makes the book his own with a great, energetic, kinetic style that he'd use to great effect for the rest of his career.
Overall this volume really acts a primer for what would come later in John's run. He introduces tons of concepts, revitalizes others, and sets up tons of scenarios going forward. It's truly a run where the supporting cast all prove relevant, and having read the entire run I know that Johns truly had a plan for this book when he took over full time.
If you enjoyed this book, definitely seek out volume 2, that's where the action gets turned up to 11. (less)
Geoff doesn't slow down as he moves into the second act of his Flash run, where several plot seeds from the first omnibus pay off, and he sets up plen...moreGeoff doesn't slow down as he moves into the second act of his Flash run, where several plot seeds from the first omnibus pay off, and he sets up plenty more for his run going forward. This volume collects the DC 1st Superman/The Flash, then issues 177 to 200 of the Flash ongoing series.
The first issue is a standalone, sort of, issue as DC did a series of DC 1st issues, chronicling the first meeting of specific characters. Geoff has Superman and Jay Garrick team up for the first time, but uses the chance to seed some more things for his ongoing Flash run, particularly with Pied Piper.
Then the action turns back to the ongoing series, where Johns takes everything from the first volume and keeps the action going. We see several new rogues introduces, some profiles on classic rogues, all building into a major story called Crossfire, which sees the new AI version of the Thinker trying to take over Central and Keystone City at the same time the new Rogues and the Network try and take over the twin cities, with the Flash caught in the middle.
Then series then charges on giving us a vicious return of Gorilla Grodd, which segues into the final story in this volume, Blitz, which sees the rise of a new Zoom, hell bent on giving the Flash a personal tragedy to make him a better hero.
Scott Kolins is on board for most of the art chores here, which a few other variants, but Kolins really hits his stride here and packs the emotions and actions well into every panel. He sadly would leave the book soon after this, but he definitely left his mark.
So if you're a Flash fan, definitely check out this volume, and by all means, look into volume 3.(less)
After building and hinting at it for over a year, Trinity War finally arrives, as all three Justice League teams find themselves at odds, with Pandora...moreAfter building and hinting at it for over a year, Trinity War finally arrives, as all three Justice League teams find themselves at odds, with Pandora lurking in the background. While there is no resolution to the conflict at hand, and it more segues into Forever Evil, Trinity War features plenty of great action and some great art from Doug Mahnke and Ivan Reis. (less)
Geoff Johns caps off his Aquaman run in an epic fashion, firmly re-establishing Aquaman in a major way. Though based off some teasers at the end, John...moreGeoff Johns caps off his Aquaman run in an epic fashion, firmly re-establishing Aquaman in a major way. Though based off some teasers at the end, Johns isn't quite done with Aquaman just yet. (less)
Morrison continues his redefining of the JLA, keeping his momentum going in this second volume, collecting issues 10-17 of the series, as well as some...moreMorrison continues his redefining of the JLA, keeping his momentum going in this second volume, collecting issues 10-17 of the series, as well as some things from JLA: Secret Files #2, New Year's Evil: Prometheus, and the JLA/Wildcats crossover. Most of these things are written by Morrison, outside the Secret Files story, and continue his re-establishment of the JLA as DC's premier team.
The biggest hooks of this book are the mega-epic 'Rock of Ages' and the JLA's conflict with Prometheus.
Rock of Ages is especially important, as it plays with some concepts that will prove extremely important to Morrison's later work on the series, as well as his later work on Final Crisis. In that regard, aspects of Rock of Ages are almost the 'blueprint' for what would become Final Crisis.
Rock of Ages is probably Morrison's first true epic on JLA, it plays with some heavier concepts, and juggles multiple plots over the course of six issues, sending parts of the JLA to the outskirts of the Universe, before plunging them into a dystopic future ruled by Darkseid. The conflict begins with a newly formed Injustice League, headed up by Lex Luthor, who recruits Mirror Master, Joker, Circe, Ocean Master, and Doctor Light. This ends up splitting the league which results in Aquaman, Flash and Green Lantern getting sent on an interstellar voyage through the Universe, which ends up with them getting dropped into a future ruled by Darkseid. Anyone who's read Final Crisis can definitely see some analogues to that, and several concepts are re-utilized in that story.
The other big conflict of the book is that of new villain Prometheus, he's introduced in a one-shot that establishes his, supposed, backstory, before setting him up as a villain intent on destroying the Justice League.
A few other ideas are peppered throughout, a big idea in this book also being the expansion of the team, bringing in new members Huntress, Steel, Zauriel, as well as bringing Barda and Orion as potential future recruits. Aztek also gets some screen time, as well as some more great Green Arrow moments. Morrison also works in several of the changes DC was implementing at the time, for better or worse, and flawlessly works them into the story. This includes the supposed Death of Wonder Woman, and her subsequent replacement by her mother, as well as Superman's miraculous transformation into his strange Electric persona. Morrison recognizes these changes, and manages to make them work within the team structure to great effect.
Fans of DC One Million will also start to see that story teased with references to Hourman, and the Justice Legion A showing up in the aftermath of Rock of Ages.
Howard Porter is back for the majority of the art, getting some help on a few issues, and his style starts to get bolder and more expressive, and a bit more stable. Some of the fill in artists aren't quite up to par, but overall the book holds together. It even features some early work from Yanick Paquette, who is reteaming with Morrison on a new Wonder Woman graphic novel in 2014.
Needless to say, if you enjoyed Volume 1 there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this one either. Lots of big action and big stories with the best heroes DC has to offer. (less)
And with that, Grant Morrison's JLA run comes to it's epic conclusion, with a few bonus items added for good measure.
The first half of the book deals...moreAnd with that, Grant Morrison's JLA run comes to it's epic conclusion, with a few bonus items added for good measure.
The first half of the book deals with the culmination of Morrison's 3+ years on the Justice League book, the monumental World War III storyline, which deals with the Apocalypse Engine, Mageddon, coming to Earth with is intent to wipe out the entire universe. It's a massive storyline that sees the Justice League pushed to their limit, with the entire universe on the line. It's packed with nods to earlier stories in Morrison's run, and packs in tons of additional superheroes. It's a truly epic tale, with tons of heady superhero ideas, in classic Morrison fashion. It truly caps off his run showcasing the JLA as the best of the best in the DC Universe, dealing with massive threats that no one can handle alone. Howard Porter handles the art chores in the final arc here, and he does things in a truly epic fashion, capping off Morrison's run in the best way possible.
But the fun doesn't stop there! Also featured is JLA: Earth 2, an original graphic novel by Morrison and longtime collaborator Frank Quitely. Long before Forever Evil or the New 52, Morrison delivered this tale of the Crime Syndicate, painting them as truly sinister and flawed villains, with giant egos to match. Quitely is along for the art, and his truly unique style aids the story and makes it one of the best CSA stories ever.
And not to be outdone, Morrison's last major JLA work is included, which is the first three issues of the anthology style series JLA: Classified. The idea of that series was to feature rotating creative teams, and Morrison launched the book with Ed McGuiness on art, and features the return of the Ultramarine Corps. Last seen in an earlier story of Morrison's, this features them returning and getting into a major conflict with Gorilla Grodd. It's a quick story, only three issues, and picks up on some of the concepts of that original story, and sets up a few things Morrison would use in the future, namely, the new version of the 'British Batman' The Knight.
Overall, it's a great volume that concludes Morrison's run. The World War III arc was my first major DC comic and it's great seeing it presented in this oversized format. So if you're looking for the JLA being the JLA, definitely check out this whole series.(less)
Grant Morrison powers forward, having the JLA engage Starro, the Justice League of the future, before giving us a classic JLA/JSA teamup. It's more Ju...moreGrant Morrison powers forward, having the JLA engage Starro, the Justice League of the future, before giving us a classic JLA/JSA teamup. It's more Justice League stories at their best, showing the team handling threats they genuinely can't handle alone, and the seeds for the final big confrontation coming in Vol. 4, and seeded since Vol. 1 start to come together here.(less)
When DC relaunched Justice League, written by Grant Morrison, who apparently got the job after being denied the Teen T...moreAnd with that, the JLA returned.
When DC relaunched Justice League, written by Grant Morrison, who apparently got the job after being denied the Teen Titans relaunch at roughly the same time, the League was in a pretty bad place. Long gone were the glory days of the Big 7 in the 60s and 70s, and even more recently, gone were the days of the infamous Bwahaha era featuring the Justice League International. What we had instead was a collection of heroes that no one truly felt represented the best and most powerful of the DC Universe.
So in a strong back to basics approach, DC retrieved Grant Morrison, an interesting choice as, to that point, his mainstream DC work had been fairly minimal, being known mostly for his Doom Patrol and Animal Man work over at the Vertigo imprint. After this he would naturally go on to do defining runs on Superman, Batman, and a multitude of other things.
Joining him on art was Howard Porter. Previous he had worked on a short lived Ray series for DC, and the 'Underworld Unleashed' event with Mark Waid. Following JLA, which he'd draw for most of Morrison's run, he'd go on to work with Mark Waid on Fantastic Four, and a highly acclaimed Flash run with Geoff Johns.
So with the writer and artist in place, the goal was simple, re-establish the JLA as the pre-imminent representation of the best of the DC Universe, pitting them against truly the worst the Universe had to offer. This volume collections the first 9 issues of Morrison's run, and whew, it's a doozy.
While the comics of today are naturally seen as the classic decompressed 6 issue mega-arcs, Morrison actually plays things a bit smaller at first. He'd use the mega-arc format to it's best with some of his later stories, but he reintroduces the JLA in a big way in the first 4 issues of the series, pitting them against mysterious new heroes called the Hyperclan. Morrison immediately dived in head first, giving all the members of the Justice League some great moments to shine. His affinity for Batman is evident here, and you can see why he'd return to the character in such a big way almost 10 years later.
Following the first arc that firmly re-establishes the League as the big heroes, he immediately dives into some follow up arcs that waste no time introducing new members to the team. We get brief moments with Max Mercury, Hitman, before the League settles on a new member called Tomorrow Woman, who is not all she appears to be.
Following that, Morrison introduces us to Zauriel, who was, very clearly, originally intended to be a returning Hawkman, but for various reasons Morrison was left unable to use him. He constructs an Angels vs. JLA scenario, which sees Superman, in his weird electric state, wrestling in Angel in truly one of Supermans best moments.
This arc segued right into the next one, pitting the JLA against a newly re-awoken Key, and Morrison takes that chance to put the spotlight on the new Green Arrow, who had just recently taken over for his deceased father.
This is followed up by a short prologue that leads into the next volume of this series, and features another short story featuring this version of the League in it's formative stages, taking place before JLA #1.
Grant Morrison handles most of the writing here, with Mark Millar assisting on the short story at the end, and this is definitely where Morrison established himself as being able to handle the biggest characters of the DCU. You can even see some early foreshadowing at ideas he'd later explore in All Star Superman and Batman.
Howard Porter is on board for most of the art, with Oscar Jimenez coming in on the two issues featuring the Key, as well as the short story at the end. Porter definitely firms up his style over the 7 issues he contributes here, his early issues can have some anatomy hiccups, but he really starts getting into his stride by the end of this volume. The Jimenez issues are done in his own style, but are visually similar enough to Porter that the transition is a fairly smooth one.
Long story short, this book is what truly re-established the JLA as the team to watch in the DCU. So if you're looking for some truly iconic Justice League stories, this is a great place to start. (less)
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, after giving us the epic 'Court of Owls' storyline, up the stakes the only way they can, by bringing in a new, even mor...moreScott Snyder and Greg Capullo, after giving us the epic 'Court of Owls' storyline, up the stakes the only way they can, by bringing in a new, even more sinister version of the Joker.
After missing for nearly a year, Joker returns to wreck havoc, and it's up to Batman to stop him. Featuring a powerful narrative by Snyder, great artwork from Capullo and Jock, Death of the Family is a great Batman story, and a fantastic Joker story. (less)
Bruce Wayne: Murderer, and the subsequent Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, was the major Batman story during 2002. Crossing in and out of all the various Batman...moreBruce Wayne: Murderer, and the subsequent Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, was the major Batman story during 2002. Crossing in and out of all the various Batman titles at the time, all kicking off with a specially priced 10 cent issue.
This first volume gets all the pieces in play as Bruce Wayne finds himself inexplicably accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Vesper Fairchild. His cohorts are immediately taken aback and work to clear his name, despite Bruce asking them not, also caught up in the mix is Sasha Bordeaux, Wayne's bodyguard who gets accused of being an accessory to said murder.
The mystery is only deepened during this volume, and answers don't start coming until the later 'Bruce Wayne: Fugitive' volumes, but the talent involved creates for a compelling story. Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker, both known for their Batman work, as well as subsequent other work at DC and Marvel lead the charge by writing Detective Comics and Batman, while fellow stalwarts Chuck Dixon, Devin Grayson, and Kelly Puckett all assist with writing the various tie in issues. While the art is handled by an immensely talented group including Rick Burchett, Scott McDaniel, Trevor McCarthy, Steve Lieber and Rick Leonardi.
While the lack of answers, and the need to immediately jump into another volume lead this to be a mildly unsatisfying read on it's own, it works extremely well as a primer for the story to come. So if you're a big Batman fan, you'll probably dig it. Even more if you're a Nightwing or Robin fan.(less)
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive Vol. 1 begins the proper storyarc after the setup seen in 'Bruce Wayne: Murderer.' The basic gist is as such, after being accuse...moreBruce Wayne: Fugitive Vol. 1 begins the proper storyarc after the setup seen in 'Bruce Wayne: Murderer.' The basic gist is as such, after being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Vesper Fairchild, Bruce and his bodyguard Sasha end up in prison. While his team immediately tried to figure out what happened and who is responsible, Bruce seems very passive during all of it. That is until Bruce Wayne escapes from prison. The end of Bruce Wayne: Murderer sees Bruce escape, and tell his team that the Bruce Wayne identity is no more, as he stages a scene indicating that Bruce has fled the country, while he will continue on as Batman, without the Bruce Wayne identity.
This volume immediately picks up on that, as his team is not having it. Oracle, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Spoiler, Black Canary and Spoiler all continue to work to try and figure out who framed Bruce for this. This volume has a heavy emphasis on the supporting cast, so if you are a big fan of them, definitely check it out as it showcases all of them doing what they do best. Nightwing finally begins to crack the case of how someone was able to, seemingly, infiltrate Wayne Manor undetected, while Robin discovers the security tapes have been doctored. Meanwhile, Oracle, with the help of Black Canary, finds out that all of Vespers documents have all been altered. Expanding the plot even larger than they expected.
All the while, Bruce continues to be detached from them all, just continuing on as Batman, operating out of a backup Batcave he has set up. He remains detached until a heartfelt moment with the man who comforted Bruce all those years ago after his parents got shot finally naps Bruce back into reality.
This volume is much more satisfying read as some answers start coming together. The first volume is all questions, and here we finally see some things come together as Batman starts to realize the error of his ways as his team starts to finally get together some evidence on what is happening. This all sets up a big change as they enter into the next volume of the story.
Most of the creative team from the last volumes return, as their various issues are featured, allowing the story to unfold chronologically.
Overall, the story finally begins to pick up steam as things start falling into place and Bruce finally puts himself back into the game.(less)