JLA: Year One #12
DC Comics (December, 1998)
“Justice For All”
WRITERS: Mark Waid & Brian Augustyn
PENCILER: Barry Kitson
INKER: Michael Bair
COLORIST: Pat Garrahy
SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age
LETTERER: Ken Lopez
EDITOR: Peter Tomasi
With the Appellaxian invasion in full effect, all the heroes, young and old alike, are working hard to defend Earth. The Justice League is on point since they’re the most familiar. The eight alien, now revealed to be named Kalar, has left Simon’s body and taken up one of his fellow elementals’ forms. As they continue to wreak havoc, Vandal Savage takes a device from Simon that can kill the Appellaxians but rather than set it off himself, he tries to goad the Justice League into violating their personal ethics against killing and mass murder. However, the heroes find a way to use it to non-lethally defeat the aliens and with the help of the other heroes send them back to their homeworld. The new Justice League earns the respect of the heroes past and present. Barry chooses Iris and Black Canary is okay with it, and the two become friends. Meanwhile we the readers learn who is bankrolling the league…it’s Oliver Queen, secretly the Green Arrow, whom Hal (unaware of this of course) nominates to join the League!
What they got right: This is the kind of story that earned Waid the praise he’s lost recently. He and Augustyn put together a great finale. All the remaining subplots are resolved, there are good character moments (even for some of the cameos), the action is intense, and the victory both satisfying and heroic.
What they got wrong: I can respect the twist here. I thought it would be Bruce to keep the League out of Gotham but I’m not sure about Oliver being the backer here. Speaking of Bruce we never get to see if Batman is among those accepting the League and crediting them for their heroics. Considering his comments in earlier issues I would have liked to have seen that.
Recommendation: JLA: Year One is a really good miniseries, honoring the past while doing good things with the present. I know Waid’s rather controversial right now but if you can put that aside, and this was before he became so, you might enjoy this story. Just blame the good stuff on Augustyn. 🙂