D.C.’s Justice League of America book hasn’t been good since Batman got mad about at the crew for using Zatanna to erase the memories of certain villains who knew the secret I.D.s of JLAers. That storyline was always a bit implausible—I know Batman doesn’t kill, but is a memory-wipe any less intrusive than the kinds of traumatic brain injuries and crippling blows he’s inflicted on hundreds of chaps over the years? But at least it was good. Since then, the series has struggled under various writers and artists to regain its ground as the D.C. version of The Avengers. (Fitting, perhaps, since The Avengers aren’t even The Avengers anymore.) In next month’s JLA #38, a new writer will join the team, and he’s announced his roster. Eisner-award-winner James Robinson’s will be the new writer. Unfortunately, he’s also the dude who has been writing “Superman” these last months, a comic book that does NOT star Superman (he’s out in space on the 12-issue “World of New Krypton” maxiseries, also written by Robinson). So Robinson is responsible for what, in my view, has ruined a character who had (maybe for the first time ever) actually gotten pretty interesting under Geoff Johns.
So who will be in the new JLA? Well, the two best members will be the original Green Arrow and Green Lantern, a duo who have worked together in the past and who have ties to the original JLA lineup, along with the original Atom. But joining them are: Dr. Light (girl version); Mon-El (who has some kind of silly relationship to Superman); The Guardian (a lame dude who Robinson seems to dig, based on Robinson’s superwriting); and . . . Who did I forget? Oh, yeah: Congorilla (the yellow talking ape). Come on. Just to round it out, the lineup will be half-full of former Teen Titans: Donna Troy (who hasn’t been Wonder Girl in years, and who doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense as a heroine); Batman (who is really Nightwing, who used to be Robin) but not Robin (who is really Bruce Wayne’s son); Cyborg (who has spent his life devoted to helping kids and young superheroes, but now for some reason will sign up to play in the big boy sandbox); and Starfire(!).
The JLA are supposed to be DC’s flagship characters—the ones who exemplify the DCU. In the past few years, DC has killed many old-time regulars (Bruce Wayne, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Aqualad, etc.), exiled it’s central character (Superman), and rearranged and busted up its best teams (JLA and Teen Titans). I suppose that from that perspective, it makes sense that the new JLA roster will be a bunch of B-listers and wannabes, but from the point of view of a comic book fan who wants to be wowed and inspired, this lineup sucks.
Again: Congorilla? Really?