Wednesday, 7 August 2013

JLA: American Dream Review

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Howard Porter

Due to my new comics not arriving I went looking for something small to read and remembered that I had another two volumes from this series to read. Grant Morrison is one of my favourite writers, but unfortunately the first volume was slightly disappointing, and I hope the remainder of his run on this series proves otherwise.


The Justice League of America are opening up their ranks, and Professor Ivo, and T.O. Morrow take advantage of this by placing their android, Tomorrow Woman in the League. Also former angel Zauriel brings problems to the League, and Green Arrow's (Connor Hawke) initiation doesn't go to plan when The Key hatches his plan.


This book had three stories in it, with the second setting up the third, so my review will talk about all of them. Overall the book was very good, but it still wasn't at the level I expected, and so far this series hasn't been one of Morrison's best. I have to admit however that after reading his brilliant Batman run, as well as his All Star Superman series, I have amounted high expectation towards any of his other work, and I shouldn't really, as not everything a writer writes will be outstanding. It wasn't all bad though, as I really enjoyed the second part of the story, seeing that as the best part of the book. The last part was also very interesting, but a little out of the ordinary, and the first part was too short for me to get into. Overall Morrison has done a very good job on this book, and although it's slightly inconsistent it shows creativity, something that you always see in Morrison's work, and I expect the rest of his run, or at least some of it to be brilliant.

As I said in my review for the last volume, I'm not overly familiar with Howard Porter artwork, but for some reason I prefer it this time round. It may just be that I've gotten used to it, but his art is much better in this volume, and it suits the story much more this time round. I do however think that there are still the odd panels that feel a bit awkward, and unappealing but overall it is much better. The art is still has a very dynamic, and bold feel to it, and it also continues to give a dramatic tone, but it's taken away some of the things I disliked, and made it overall more appealing. I especially liked how he drew Superman this time round, and I think that Superman's change to the all blue suit gave Porter more flexibility in his art. There was also from Oscar Jimenez in the last couple of issues, and although I preferred Porter's art this time round I preferred Jimenez' overall. It was much more realistic, and the style of art I prefer to see in artists. Like Porter's art it was also very dynamic, and full of detail. Overall there isn't much between Porter, and Jimenez' art, but it's just the style of Jimenez' that wins over for me.

Metamorpho's Funeral
The first volume saw the death of Metamorpho, and this one fittingly starts with his funeral. As I said in my review for volume one, I don't really know much about Metamorpho, so I wasn't upset at the character dying, but that didn't stop me from liking this sequence. I always like funeral sequences, as whether they're good, or bad, they're nearly always interesting, or exciting. The most recent funeral that I enjoyed was Professor X's in Uncanny Avengers #1, and although I was slightly upset at his passing, the funeral was still interesting. This funeral was actually one of my favourites, and for one key reason, that it talked about superhero's never staying dead. Death was even a common thing back when this story was released, and Morrison's dialogue, with the priest talking about superhero's never staying dead is exactly how it is. That's the reason I mainly hate comic book deaths, and that's why I liked the mention.

As I said earlier Superman is now in his blue and white containment suit which prevents his new electricity-based abilities from dispersing. Besides knowing the fact that he was in this suit, which was meant as a throwback to '63 Superman Red/Superman Blue comic, I don't know much about this time in Superman's life. I do however remember that it caused some friction in fans, but having not been a comic book collector back then it didn't really bother me. I personally think that it's a good thing for this series, as it makes you question if this is the real Superman. Having not read about Superman at the time I don't know what happens with the blue suit, apart from the fact it gets dropped, but I got the feeling that certain League members questioned this.

The rest of the first issue is about Professor Ivo, and T.O. Morrow creating an android to infiltrate the JLA. Although this was an interesting issue it didn't really have much appeal to me. I did however like that it showed the development of an A.I. machine, but besides that the one shot nature of the story didn't affect the book much. I may have enjoyed the story more if I picked it up at the time, but whilst reading it in this book it felt like filler. It was however a slightly interesting story, but nothing special.

Zauriel's Problem
The next story did however intrigue me. The next story dealt with a former angel named Zauriel who had been granted mortality, but was still being hunted by another angel named Asmodel. I found this story much interesting, as the character of Zauriel was interesting. I also liked the idea of angels causing that much damage over each other, and that human life doesn't hold as high a value to them as you'd think. I also loved how the story developed, and that it was full of action. I may have preferred this sheerly because of it lasting more than one issue, but I felt that it had more time to develop, which heightened my interest, and enjoyment. I also felt that this showed the JLA as a team more than either of the other stories, which I prefer in a team book. It was also interesting seeing the JLA in a position where they're not at full strength.

The final story had an Elseworlds feel to it, with one of the issues actually being titled that. This was probably the most different type of story to feature in this book. Following straight after the Zauriel story the JLA are attacked by the Key, and the possible new member Green Arrow is the only one that can save them. Now I'm not that familiar with the Elseworlds style of stories, but I have read a couple, and they're basically like Marvel's What If...? series, changing certain aspects of the characters history. Where this one's different however is that it's only an hallucination, and not real, whereas the normal Elseworlds stories are in different universes. I found this probably the most interesting story, but I preferred the Zauriel story cause it was also full of action, and excitement. I also enjoyed seeing some of the changes, but the main thing I liked about the story was that Connor was left to save them. What a better way to join the team than to help save them, and with the overall theme of the book being new recruits it was nice to actually see one become a member.

Final Verdict

This was a very good book, but due to having three stories in it, it was slightly inconsistent. All the stories were however interesting, it was just that some were more exciting, and overall entertaining than others. I would however still recommend this book, as it was very unique and interesting, and like most of Morrison's stories full of imagination.

Rating: 4/5