Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga

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I’ve mentioned before how certain comics make me happy to have such a solid foundation, given how many references they make to past storylines and events.  Well, this is the granddaddy of all comics in terms of needing to know the history.  While reading, all I kept thinking was how insane it would be to read this without having read all the previous trades/storylines I did.  Seriously, thank you Mistah J for crafting such a well-thought out and comprehensive tour through comics. I wouldn’t appreciate this story nearly as much if I didn’t have all of that foundation knowledge.

The comic draws upon numerous storylines from the past to craft a brand new saga in the era of the Justice League.  Building upon previous issues, it is revealed that seven members of the Legion of Superheroes, a superhero team akin to the JLA from the 31st century, has been sent back in time.  They’ve been placed under spells to forget who they are or why they’re there, but a handy-dandy failsafe phrase unlocks their memories.  The League joins forces with the Justice Society of America, and together they search the world for all seven members of the Legion.  Superman is especially vested in this search, as he was close personal friends with the Legion, once upon a time.

The Legion is found, but it’s soon revealed that they had a mission of their own, and despite the League and Society’s best attempts, their mission is successful:

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Wally West and his entire family are brought back.  The JLA and JSA still have no idea why the Legion felt it so important to bring him back, but there he is. Interestingly, Batman is a bit surprised by this, having thought that a different hero would be returning. Based on the images, I’d guess he thought it’d be Barry, which I admit I wondered as well.  My curiosity was only further peaked when the Legion makes the following cryptic comment:

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I can’t help but think Barry Allen might be making a return. I have no proof of this, other than this brief exchange and Batman’s comment, but it’s enough for me to hang my hat on. This storyline’s far from over, with one Legion member being left behind, being told that his mission “is just beginning”.

While this entire story was highly entertaining, my favorite issue in this trade was its concluding story, Justice League of America #0, a precursor to the revamped JLA series.  In it, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all meet up, looking to put their disagreements behind them and start a new team.  The issue beautifully drifts between times, focusing on various important events from the past, present, and future.  The teasers in the “future” scenes were fun, as well as just vague enough to keep us all guessing, but what I really enjoyed were the “past” moments.  They referenced so many seminal moments in JLA history, almost all of which I had previously read.  It allowed me to fully appreciate the weight of the League’s history, much more than I ever could had I read this story on its own.  The sense of legacy is clear in these pages, and the accompanying art style works wonders to reflect the rich history of these characters.

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These side-by-sides give me chills, I love it.

This comic was a brilliant addition to the JLA lore, leading into a future storyline seamlessly while still being engaging in its own right.  This latest JLA really emphasizes the sense of time in its story, explaining that the League has been through many incarnations and many trials, but that some things remain steadfast throughout it all.  It’s a heavy sentiment, but this comic pulls it off seamlessly.  It’s a great way to reintroduce the League after the events of Identity Crisis and the subsequent fallout, and left me dying to know what this latest incarnation of  Justice League of America has in store.

-Jess

 

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