Wednesday, 7 August 2013

JLA: New World Order Review

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Howard Porter

I have had this book along with the following two volumes (American Dreams, and Rock of Ages) sitting on my bookshelf, and haven't gotten round to reading them. I made a point of putting it in my graphic novel pile, and seems it's only four issues long I decided to read it before Superman: For Tomorrow, which was what I originally planned on reading next, but as I said this is only four issues long, whereas that is twelve.


A group of aliens collectively named Hyperclan have arrived on earth. Their goal is to change earth for the better, as they believe that it's inhabitants will destroy the planet, similar to what the inhabitants of their own planet did. The Justice League of America however see more than meets the eye, and believe that Hyperclan have bad intentions.


This was a good book, but not quite as good as I'd have expected. I've been a fan of Grant Morrison for some time now, and have enjoyed most of his work, but mainly his run on Batman. His Action Comics run also started good, but has went a bit inconsistent of recently, and his All Star Superman series was also brilliant, so I always expect big things from him. Although I expected the same here, it was actually a very decent story to start a series, but still nothing brilliant. The story overall was a bit slow, but I kind of expect that from opening stories, but due to that it just felt a bit dull. It did however pick up pace in the last issue, and a half, and was very exciting after that. The thing I liked most about Morrison's writing on this book was the interaction between the characters, but I'll talk more about that a little later. I do however think that the rest of Morrison's run on JLA will be brilliant, as this story did get very good, but just a little too late.

I'm not too familiar with Howard Porter's work so didn't know what to expect. Although it's far from the best artwork that I've seen, it was still good, and suited the story. To be honest it's the colouring by Pat Garrahy that I don't like in the artwork. To be fair I'm not a huge fan of colouring pre-2000. This is probably due to getting into comics after then, with lovely, realistic colours, but I can't quite enjoy the artwork as much. Besides that Porter's art is very good, and I love the dynamic feel it has. I also love how it's very bold at times, and that it feels very dramatic, and exciting. He also does a great job at action sequences, as they look amazing, and very spontaneous. I do however thing that the way he draws the characters is a bit too rough for my liking, but I have seen much worse artwork in the past.

I'll move onto talking about the Hyperclan. The Hyperclan are a group of aliens that have arrived on earth, and have persuaded everyone (bar the JLA) that they are here to help. It is soon realized however that the JLA is right, and that these aliens aren't her with good intentions. Hyperclan weren't the best villain team that I've ever seen, and I won't be desperate to see them again (don't think they actually appear in anything after this), but they were interesting to a certain point, and different. I did however like that Morrison wrote these characters in a way that you want to hate the, or at least I hope that was his plan. They are very dislikeable characters, and although I personally like a villain you can actually like as a character, it's nice when there're ones you totally despise, as you should hate a good villain (at least sometimes). Without spoiling anything, I did however like the twist to these characters, and found their true goal interesting.

Now I'll move onto the JLA line-up. There were a few characters at the start of the book that I wasn't too familiar with, but I assumed they were minor League members (Metamorpho for one). Anyway, the main team consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. As some of you may know I'm not the biggest fan of Martian Manhunter (I hope to become one with the current Justice League of America series), but he's been a part of the JLA for so long, being a part of every team up until this point, so he does kind of deserve the place. Besides that I was very happy with the line-up, as besides being a big fan of Batman, I also love all the other characters. It's also nice to see Kyle, and especially Wally (as he's not in the New 52 DC Universe). It was also nice to see the other two part of DC's big three Superman, and Wonder Woman, to be honest a JLA team ain't the same without them three (other part being Batman). I think Morrison did a great job with this team, and although due to (most of) them already being a team it shouldn't have taken as much time to introduce them.

Wally and Kyle
The interaction between Wally, and Kyle was probably the funniest thing in this story. It's no secret that Wally was friends with former Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, so it was natural for there to be some tension between himself, and his replacement. I also liked that Kyle was trying to fit in, seeing himself as not in the same "League" as the rest of the members (skill wise). Overall the interaction between all the members were brilliant, but besides this the other interaction that caught my interest was when Wonder Woman wen't to recruit Aquaman. I loved that Aquaman had the attitude that he no longer wants to be a team player, and is looking after himself, and the ocean. I also have to say that before the New 52 I wasn't a Aquaman fan, but now that I am I can enjoy the character in series like this a lot more, and Morrison actually did a good job of writing him anyway.

Batman to the Rescue
It always appears that Batman can find a way to win no mater what the circumstances. This story appears to be no different. Whilst trying to take the JLA out they believe they've killed Batman, but the ever tactical Dark Knight wasn't dead yet. In fact after the other JLA members were captured, or waylaid, Batman used his best friend, the shadows, and appeared to know Hyperclans secret. This is when the story really started to get interesting, as before that it was a bit dull, and it looked like a one sided fight. What I also liked about this is that the Hyperclan overlooked Batman, seeing him as nothing more than a human, with no superpowers, so he was no threat. Whereas if they actually knew anything about Batman they'd know that wasn't the case. Although he's not got superpowers, he has got a lot of skills, and is a master tactician, able to beat bigger opponents if needs be, and I was happy that this story showed that.

The fight between Hyperclan, and the JLA was awesome. If Batman's rescue was the most interesting thing in the book, the fight was the most exciting. It was marvelous, and Porter did a brilliant job on the artwork. I loved that it showed the potential of every member, giving each the opportunity to show of. It was however a shame that this was too little, too late, as the last third of the book was tremendous, but the rest was nothing more than mediocre. Hopefully this is only a taste of things to come, and that the rest of Morrison's run is better.

Final Verdict

This book had the potential to be phenomenal, but besides the last third of the book, it was generally mediocre. I would however still recommend it, as the last third was brilliant, and it was a fun read, but hopefully the other volumes are better.

Rating: 4/5