Reading these recent JLA trades, one thing seems clear:
Grant Morrison has a fondness for uniting superheroes from the past, present, and future.
I was surprised how many times older superheroes played important roles in these comics. Sure, certain old-time heroes pop up every once in a while, and some play a larger role than others, but as a whole Morrison seems to make use of them far more often than most writers.
Jay Garrick has been making repeat appearances in the recent Flash comics, and it was nice to see him appearing with the former Justice Society of America once again. Not only do we get to see many familiar faces, but we get references to many less mainstream heroes as well.
Sandman, Hourman, Wildcat, Green Lantern. These are just some of the famed superheroes of old who are featured or at least referenced in these comics. It was nice to see such numerous throwbacks to these characters, and I was once again grateful to have read those earlier stories on “the shelf” to give me a better understanding of their significance.
What’s more, Morrison doesn’t shy away from expanding on these characters’ stories, adding a deeper level to characters who have been left by the wayside for too long.
I was glad to see Morrison address how and why so many superheroes can still be in operation all these years later, and particularly enjoyed Wildcat’s explanation. It just felt so perfectly comic-y that I couldn’t help but smile.
While these homages to past heroes are plentiful, there are also plenty of instances of futuristic heroes and villains alike teaming up with the JLA. One particular instance features a government sponsored super team, meant to represent and defend the USA’s interests (or so everyone is lead to believe).
Here we see a vision of what we may expect from superheroes in the future, with new superpowers and conflicts being introduced. Although these futuristic heroes were intriguing, I still found myself enjoying the throwback character appearances far more. Writers constantly seem to want to put their own mark on the comics world and create their own unique characters. While Morrison doesn’t shy away from this, creating his fair share of heroes and villains, it’s nice to see him include plenty of older characters as well. After all, the host of legendary and new superheroes and villains wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for their fore-bearers.
The stories in this trade are in much the same style as the previous Morrison JLA collections. While none of the individual storylines stood out to me enough to dedicate an entire post to them, the numerous appearances of Golden Age heroes more than grabbed my attention. Reading so many comics in an age where there have been constant upheavals and massive changes, it’s nice to see some things remain steady through it all. These heroes had lasted for over fifty years at this point, and I can only hope that writers continue to pay tribute to these original superheroes and hearken back to their classic acts of heroism as the comics move forward into the new millennium.