Review: Justice League Elite, Volume 2 trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Just a short take on the second Justice League Elite trade today. Constant readers know what a fan I was of the first volume of Justice League Elite. Well, I've just read issues five through twelve, and balancing the first trade with the second, the first would still remain my favorite. Justice League Elite Volume One packed a lot of political intrigue into a few short chapters; the Elite had to balance working undercover with a team of assassins against preventing loss of life and stopping foreign genocide. The entire story, from intriguing beginnings to startling ending, is both fresh and engaging. In the second half, however, elements of standard superhero fare begin to creep in; the infiltration of a drug ring leads to an alien crime boss who's neither interesting nor comprehensible, and almost as quickly, the crime boss is killed off by an even more obscure Fourth World menace. From there, the story quickly degrades to an internal Elite battle to save Vera Black from herself, the end relying on something of a cosmic restart button. At the same time, we get more of Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen drawing both the Elite and the JLA, and Joe Kelly does a fantasic job of showing the flawed-but-trying Elite, especially Coldcast, Major Disaster, and Manitou Raven and Dawn. Worth it, perhaps, to finish off the series, though not the finale I had hoped.

Anyone else read the second volume? How did you think it stacked up to the first?

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3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this second volume, and the storyline as a whole. Great buildup of suspense, dark humor, twisted plots and fine art by manhke. Recommended to all.

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  2. I liked this one too, though I have to admit, the premise of this entire series was so anti-Justice League I was constantly thinking to myself, "How can this be a existing ongoing series?" While I really don't think Flash and GA needed to be on the team, Vera, Coldcast, the Ravens, Menagerie, hell, even Major Disaster got good treaments. Kasumi's inclusion was a logical idea, too.

    The art was super nice (I loved the "stealth black" costume designs), and the characterizations were generally excellent, even if the plots got a little overcomplicated. You're right about the strange bit with the drug runners, it felt very out of place. And what the heck happened to Coldcast's brother?

    Still, overall (As the story keeps referring to itself...) JLE was a very good experiment. Good pacing, and probably better than JLA during the same period. I hope the team returns at some point in the same vein as Secret Six or Shadowpact.

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  3. Yeah, as much as I liked the team on Elite (and wouldn't mind seeing Kelly, Mahnke, and Nguyen again), I do think Justice League Elite is a hard concept to keep in an ongoing. I'm a little concerned in the same way for James Robinson's new Justice League series; I hate to see new series start that seem destined to fail, and I'm just not sure where there's a place in the DCU for this kind of title as more than a mini.

    Thanks for your comment!

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