By Morrison, Porter, Pajarillo, Millar

This is part of my comic book challenge 2009.

This trade collects JLA 24-33, about a year’s worth of stories. To me, this is a fairly average collection; nothing spectacular but not bad, either.

First there is the story about the Ultramarine Corps where some of the military bigwigs have become distrustful of JLA and they want their own super humans. Of course, that story never ends well unless it’s the origin story of the main team of the book. Then JLA gets a hot tip from T. O. Morrow that Professor Ivo is going to use Amazo to break himself out of prison. Then JLA and JSA team up against the threat of genies from the fifth dimension fighting each other on Earth. At the same time a forgotten founding member of JLA is getting his revenge. Finally, there’s a two-part tie-in to Batman’s No-Man’s Land story.

The first story is perhaps the most average of them. Someone steals the Shaggy Man from the undersea containment where JLA has placed him. At the same time General Eiling is introducing a new, military-controlled super force of four super powered soldiers who will be USA’s own line of defense. Eiling also implies that he doesn’t trust JLA. A bit later, JLA is lured into a trap where the super soldiers and the army attack JLA. Meanwhile, Batman and Huntress are investigating the disappearance of the Shaggy Man. There’s also foreshadowning when the Source warns the New Gods that Maggedon is coming.

The first story felt more like a Marvel story than DC. To me, one of the biggest differences between the two universes is how the general public sees super heroes. In Marvel, it’s ridiculously easy to turn the public opinion against any super group. X-Men are already reviled but Avengers have also suffered their share of mistrust. Perhaps the Fantastic Four are the least mistrusted super heroes in Marvel universe and even they have had their times. However, JLA and JSA have pretty much always enjoyed the trust of the people, Superman especially. In this story, there’s a scene where the normal army is attacking JLA! To me this feel likes the army attacking the police. Not bloody likely. However, some of the soldiers resist the attack order and after Superman talks to them, they pretty much cave in. So, not a complete Marvel-moment.

I was intrigued by the city-state Superbia and the implications it had, but apparently it was destroyed quickly in a later story. Bummer.

The two-issue story about Amazo was pretty much a long fight with lots of brief guests, including the Atom.

The JLA and JSA team-up was the longest story and I liked it the most. The 5th dimensional beings are always entertaining although they tend to be so powerful that the endings are usually cheesy but this ending was a bit better than most. Here we have a man who used to be one of the JLA’s founding members: Triumph. However, he was lost in time and nobody remembers him. He’s bitter about that. He managed to get his hands on the 5th dimensional imp Lkz who gives him his powers back. Then he sends Lkz on a rampage at Central City so that he can save the city when things are most desperate. When JLA is on Earth fighting the genie, he walks into the Moon base with two mind-controlled JLA members Gypsy and Ray.

However, a kid named Jakeem Thunder also possesses one of the genies. He doesn’t understand the being and is reluctant to use him, though. Jakeem lives in Central City and soon the very powerful genies are tearing the city apart in their fighting. Meanwhile Captain Marvel is searching for a way to stop the genies. Zauriel knows that the Spectre has been imprisoned and he and Sentinel are trying to free the Spectre.

The story has a lot of different plotlines which I enjoyed. The Spectre plot gave a nice moral dilemma to the characters.

Again, the JLA had only one female member and this time it was Huntress. I like Huntress and think that she worked very well in Birds of Prey. However, I fear that here she’s badly outclassed. Since Batman wasn’t in this story, Huntress was the only member without powers at all. JSA had Hippolyta who was also the token female character in that team.

The last two-parted was also a pretty weak effort. I haven’t read No Man’s Land but I’ve heard of it. This story felt like an excuse to readers who were wondering why JLA wasn’t doing anything. Batman should have been resentful about that.