JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #14

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[ JUMPING INTO A BARGAIN BIN
In the year of our Lord, June, 2014, DC Comics commended the soul of our dearly departed comic book into the ground. Earth to earth. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. May the world not pass judgment on those involved. Such as Matt Kindt, Tom Derenick, Eddy Barrows, and Diogenes. Amen.

To QUOTE T. S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper”.

THE STORY:
Well, we're finally free of that Firestorm Matrix, so the obvious thing to do next, is to sit around a table at a clandestine suburban strip-mall, and sum up where all the pieces were left behind. Maybe beat up some of the remaining A.R.G.U.S. agents on the side. You know. Wipe the slate clean, as it were. Put all the pawns back on the chess board again -- just like they were at the beginning -- as if nothing ever happened. 

That certainly counts as a story, right?

THE GOOD:
Well, with the pencil work shared between three artists, there are a ton of really beautiful close up panels of the different JLA members.

And that's about it. Sorry.

THE BAD:
Let's start with the big two page spread showing the Justice Leagues fighting the Crime Syndicate. It's just a big mess of things that never really happened. We've got Hal Jordan fighting Power Ring, despite being carefully posted on OA before any of the Trinity War started. We've got Shazam fighting Black Adam. We've got Batman fighting Owlman. We've got Nightwing fighting -- at all. And we've got Clayface involved -- at all.

Now if the text leaned towards this being Stargirl's misconceptions about what happened “outside” while she was trapped 'inside', then maybe it would make some sort of sense. But as presented, it's just a big mess of nonsense. Possibly worse so than David Finch's big villain gathering spread in the opening of Forever Evil.

And that just leaves the question mark hanging over the rest of the issue. Did any of what Steve said actually happen? Is it BS, speculation, or intentional misinformation? Is this just mush to bridge the gap to Justice League United? The only purpose this issue serves is to explain why Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter were the only two JLA members to respond to Stargirl -- in Issue 0 of Justice League United.

A single page in JLU #0 could have accomplished this far more cleanly.

The only interesting points to takeaway are that Vibe and Element Woman are “missing in action” (similar to, but not quite matching up with Forever Evil 7's claim that there was no evidence that they were ever there). Amanda Waller was ripped apart in front of Congress. And Green Lantern has picked up an indication of another power ring on Earth.

If any of these items can be believed as “being in continuity”, then this implies that the entirety of Vibe's solo series happened after Forever Evil, that Waller may not be involved in the New Suicide Squad title, and that Simon Baz may pop up in the Supergirl/Red Lantern arc, or over in Justice League, if he's referring to Power Ring's ring.

Where's my update on The Crimson Men? I'd much rather have seen Trevor and Candy debriefing to build that story up than a summary of what we already “know” from all the other titles.

THE MUSIC:
We're going to have to pull up everyone's favorite song by a band that never existed which reached number one on the US Pop Singles charts, despite the producer's attempt to make it unplayable. Yes, turn up your speakers and say farewell to the Justice League of America to the tune of Steam's “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”.  




For a bonus experience, play it again, this time with your eyes closed, picturing J'onn J'onnz singing and doing that terribly awkward dance that Garrett DeCarlo is doing.

THE COMPARISON:
Some series end on a cruel cliffhanger. Some end all tidied up and ready for a new writer to pick up any of the pieces. Some end in a sudden, inexplicable mess. 

Any such ending would be welcome here. But instead, what we get could have been fun, but simply wasn't. A deflated balloon, just laying there, no ribbon, no explosion, just blah.

THE CONCLUSION:
I'm convinced that DC hates Matt Kindt. They hand him 'Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.' and let him start a pretty solid new arc, only to cancel it before people even knew it existed. Then they give him Suicide Squad and Justice League of America just as both titles were getting dragged in to the Forever Evil tie-ins, only to cancel both immediately out the other end. (Well, Sean Ryan, the writer for New Suicide Squad, wrote the final Suicide Squad issue).

I obviously don't know if he knew that he was just title-sitting through cancellation from the get go. Nor do I know what, if any, control he had of the macro story framework. But from a fan's perspective, he did a very solid job on Suicide Squad, and while his JLA run may have felt lazy to me at times, I never gave up on it. In fact, I was looking forward to his post-Forever Evil run that never happened. (Does the music selection feel more deep now?).  But no, I get nothing.

I can only hope that while he was giving JLA an interesting but overall half assed effort, he had his whole ass engaged on the Rebel Heist miniseries he's doing for Dark Horse. (The first issue leans toward yes, despite opening with the existence of paper in the Star Wars universe).  Work them glutes, Matt. Work them glutes.

*** Just reading and writing and rambling in the back of the Joker's old Ho-Home-On-Wheels... Keath.