In the 1960s, writer Bob Haney got the idea to take all the younger characters in the DC Universe and mash them together as a team. Not unlike the very successful Justice League Of America. And so in the summer of 1964, in the pages of Brave and The Bold #54, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad teamed up. A year later, in issue 60 the team got its first female member in Wonder Girl, and a name, Teen Titans. And by 1966 the team would have its very own magazine. The Titans would see many twists and turns through the years, but at the core was still Dick Grayson, either as Robin or Nightwing. And as the book “grew up” from its early Silver Age roots, especially with the Marv Wolfman-George Perez 1980 relaunch of the title, it appeared writers would thrust the role of “leader” onto Grayson. Even on the animated series based on the Wolfman relaunched lineup, Robin was very much the leader of the team.
And so in 1999, when the team was renamed simply “Titans” guess who was right in front? Yup, Dick Grayson, now of course in his Nightwing personae. So in 2010 (JLA issue # 41 to be exact), now taking over, for the second time, the Batman mantle of his mentor Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson is finally a card carrying member of the Justice League of America! And once again it appears the writer, this time James Robinson, who has been on the book since #38, is angling Dick into a leadership role. This seems especially the case since in issue # 41 he assembled a team of heavyweights, drawing from former League and Titan heavy hitters and proceeded to disassemble them by issue #43! Leaving Batman with Donna Troy (Wonder Girl), Mikaal Tomas (aka the current Starman), and Congo Bill (aka Congorilla) as the current JLA lineup, the latter two from Robinson’s JLA: Cry For Justice mini-series. This is especially interesting since there is a feeling that DC wants a return of the “classic 7 (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter)” in the 75th anniversary year of the company. But that is most likely down the road this year, in the meantime it’s Dick, Wonder Girl, Starman and Congorilla as your JLA roll call.
Well, that brings us to the current story arc, which features the Brightest Day trade dress, due to the fact that it is dealing with the return of Jade, who was one of the Black Lanterns who got resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. Issue # 44 featured Jade returning to Earth in the middle of a meteor fragment, and her father, Alan Scott, Earth’s first Green Lantern of the Justice Society of America, in bad shape with emerald energy emitting from him.
And so, preamble out of the way, we begin with Justice League Of America issue # 45. Written by James Robinson, art by Mark Bagley, inks by Rob Hunter and Norm Rapmund.
We begin where #44 left off. In Germany, with Jade announcing to Jason Blood that she will not stand down, and Dick's inner monologue exposition on her. Well, it turns out the meteor was part of the Starheart, which Jade describes. Then members of the JSA, trying to follow Alan Scott, whom is in a trance, headed right towards the said Starheart fly in, but their plane gets ripped up by what appears to be a mind controlled Power Girl. The speedsters in the JSA, Jay Garrick Flash and Jesse Quick are able to save the team. The matter gets complicated when Obsidian gets taken over by whatever is drawing Alan to the Starheart.
And from out of literally nowhere, even several characters inner monologue the fact, Supergirl flies in to take out Power Girl. It turns out Congorilla had signaled for her help before they left the Watchtower. Batman then gets Jade to use her magic based power to take down Power Girl (Kryptonian in case you didn’t know). While Batman wonders why the Starheart affected Power Girl, but not Supergirl, Jade then goes into an explanation of Starheart via a retelling of Alan Scott’s origin.
Well, the Starheart was this rock, created by the Guardians of The Universe as a way to create order between chaos and good. A piece broke off, fell to earth where Alan Scott found it, becoming Earth’s first Green Lantern. After Jade finishes up her story, Mr. Terrific, and Batman start receiving reports throughout the world of magic wielders going crazy. It is theorized that it could be in part thanks to the chaos part of Starheart. Then Alan appears to be out of his trance, but only to talk about the Starheart bringing about the end of the world, and he is transformed into something akin to what Alan Scott wore in the Kingdom Come story.
Well, that was interesting. Right now we are dealing with a JSA story in the pages of JLA. Which is fine, but is this something needed if Robinson is trying to mold a new team? I guess since the whole Starheart/Alan Scott situation is a big enough problem that the JLA has to be present for then yeah. Obviously the DCU’s biggest team has to confront it. It should be noted that this is part one of a story, and the second part will be in Justice Society of America #41 next month.
Don’t get me wrong, its a good story, its just feels like reading a JSA story with the JLA as the guest stars in their own title! Maybe that’s just the “B-Team” feel of the team at the moment, and wanting to see that team rise or fall before getting its first team-up with a team like the JSA. Yes, DC is all about the cross branding, and since Brightest Day is the current event, the flagship team book has to be a part of it. In any case this is still a good issue.
Justice League of America #45:
Reviewed by SteveJRogers