Monday, March 30, 2015

Starro Night

JLA Deluxe Edition Volume 3: written by Grant Morrison; illustrated by Howard Porter, John Dell, and others (1998-99; collected 2010): Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's epic 1990's relaunch of the Justice League of America comic book gets the over-sized reprint treatment here, to good effect. Porter was very much in the tradition of slightly offbeat artists who made the JLA their own (Mike Sekowsky and Dick Dillin are two other good examples), aided by Morrison's cosmically bizarre scripts.

This is the thinnest of the four Deluxe Morrison volumes, as we check in with the DC One Million event and the ensuing Ultramarines stand-off; watch the team battle another, more sinister variation on their first foe, Starro the Conqueror; and team up with the Justice Society of America to battle threats from the past and the 5th dimension.

The Starro story-line is one of the high points of the Morrison/Porter run. Starro, that giant, hyper-intelligent, telepathic starfish from beyond the stars, now invades Earth through its dreams, necessitating a guest appearance by the (then) new Lord of Dreams, Daniel. The new Starro's sudden physical appearance in Hudson's Bay (which is to say, occupying ALL of Hudson's Bay) is a great moment as well, along with Orion's incredibly stupid attack on Starro, the growing role of fallen angel Zauriel as a productive member of the team, and the subtle meta-ness of the entire enterprise. Once upon a time, the JLA used quicklime to defeat Starro. That won't work this time.

The Justice League also has to deal with a rogue U.S. general who deploys the U.S. military's super-group against the JLA. Yes, it's General Eiling, who fares much better here than he did in his last appearance on The Flash TV show. To finish things up, we get what was once an annual occurrence -- a team-up between the Justice League and the Justice Society -- which this time around pulls the original Shazamy Captain Marvel and a forgotten hero of the early 1990's into the adventure.

It's all what was then being called 'wide-screen' comic-book action. There's nothing here as convoluted and nutty as the Rock of Ages story-line from the earlier volumes, though there are nods forward to the World War Three story-line coming in Deluxe Volume 4. Highly recommended.

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