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JLA Classified #2
posted February 7, 2005
Grant Morrison, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines
DC Comics, $2.95, 36 page, 2004.
#2 is a Grant Morrison comic that for some reason known only the dark and vast spaces of DC Comics editorial couldn't be a run of the monthly JLA
comic out of which Morrison made an unlikely hit in the mid 1990s, solidifying his career. Like that run of comics, Morrison is working with a very modern and, to my eye, a pretty straight-forward modern superhero artist, Ed McGuinness. The best parts of the story come in the first few pages where a sixteen-panel grid is used for two pages, like some much more clear version of a 1980s Keith Giffen comic, all chines and quarter faces, suggestions and mood. There is also a lovely single page with Batman around a scientific set-up.
The problem here is with the plot, which recycles certain rhythms of the earlier Morrison run without the apocalyptic oomph behind every arrival and scary moment. The story has something to do with Gorilla Grodd and some other person I can't remember with the comic out of reach making super-powered terrorists out of some sort of dangling plotline international superteam from a few years back. Those scenes nearly bored me to death, although some interplay between Batman and the typical random character into which Morrison infuses an extra dollop of personality amuse. Mostly, it just made me nostalgic for the writer's giddy take on Silver Age comics, a guilty pleasure at my last full-time job, but not an exquisite one, by any stretch. I can't imagine buying the first or third issue, but I would probably be entertained a little bit if they fell into my hands. This book may play differently if you're immersed in other DC Comics in a way that you know automatically how this take contrasts sharply against them.