JLA: Year One #2
DC Comics (February, 1998)
WRITER: Mark Waid
PENCILER: Brian Augustyn
INKER: Barry Kitson
at least I think that’s how it breaks down…the 90s love combining the writer and artist(s) so you don’t know who to blame
COLORIST: Pat Garrahy
SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age
LETTERER: Ken Lopez
EDITOR: Peter Tomasi
Black Canary surprises the others with a press conference to formerly announce the team, and on the fly they end up with “Justice League Of America”. While some of the press question the choice (because it’s the 90s and the news media…that didn’t start recently) the ones really annoyed are the Locus Group and their new ally, Vandal Savage. He doesn’t want a new generation of heroes and recruits Solomon Grundy, Eclipso, Clayface, and Thorn to help in exchange for giving them what they want. (After a bit of research I think they’re using the usual evil version of Thorn, the alter-ego or Rose Canton, instead of the hero alter ego of Rose Forrest from the Silver Age and the Adventures In The DC Universe annual.) The teleport right in their midst and while the villains start to get the upper hand the JLA use strategy to turn them against each other and defeat them, barely escaping the hotel. We see the various heroes react to what’s taking place, while Batman plans to use his resources to keep the “amateur heroes” out of Gotham. Then they’re approached by Simon Carr and Green Arrow, who make them an offer to help the team set-up, and point them to young inventor Ted Kord.
What they got right: The heroes don’t win just by throwing the best punch but a good strategy, playing on Grundy’s mindlessness and rage. I like when heroes think their way out along with their great powers. But what really works are the character interactions. The quintet play off each other not only in battle but in their discussions (both private and during the conference) and how they respond to Black Canary’s impromptu press conference. You get a good idea of their characters and how they handle things, bit it supervillains or reporters just looking to tear them down.
What they got wrong: Why include Vandal Savage? All he does is basically recruit the villains, which Locus could have done as well. If this is supposed to explain why he becomes one of the League’s biggest threats his actual battles with them should suffice. If it’s to show off they’re doing something major based on Vandal’s reactions but not actually showing us I’m not sure it was necessary. Or did Waid really want to write Vandal Savage?
Recommendation: A good second issue that frankly works on its own as well as part of the miniseries. Worth picking up.