A Justice League of America: Team History Review – Will the Real JLA Please Stand Up?

Justice League of America: Team HistoryTITLE: Justice League of America: Team History
AUTHOR: James Robinson
PENCILLER: Mark Bagley
COLLECTS: Justice League of America #38-43
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Some of the creative decisions surrounding Justice League of America in the past year or so have really left me scratching my head. Certain characters have been in the League for a little while, then left, only to be replaced by other characters, who then leave, and are replaced again. The cast/team line up has been in a constant state of flux.

James Robinson’s would-be epic, Justice League: Cry For Justice, is partially to blame for that. First they were going to make that book into it’s own series, then they decided to just make it a miniseries, and that seems to have screwed things up. Robinson was put on the main Justice League book, and proceeded to give us an almost entirely different team.

Still, he and Mark Bagley put on a decent show with Team History.

Justice League #38 (2010)The book begins in the aftermath of Cry For Justice, with Vixen, Plastic Man, Dr. Light and Red Tornado contemplating whether the Justice League should even exist in its current incarnation. Soon, the events of Blackest Night kick in, and Zatanna must confront her zombified father. Meanwhile, Vixen and Gypsy face their old teammates from the Detroit Justice League, and Dr. Light deals with her villainous counterpart of the same name.

Then we jump post-Blackest Night, and everyone but Dr. Light and a bodyless Red Tornado remain on the team. So Robinson throws Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman (Dick Grayson), Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, Mon-El, The Guardian, and The Atom together. Plus, we get Congorilla and Starman, who were featured in Cry For Justice. They take on, among other threats, a trio of villains who gain access to the Justice League Watchtower.

For my money, the first part of this book overshadows the second. Robinson does a really nice job with the confrontation between the good Dr. Light, and the sadistic rapist Dr. Light. He taps into some of that Identity Crisis magic really well. The fight with the Detroit League is fun too. I was pleasantly surprised.

Justice League of America: Team History, group shotThe book gets convoluted during its second half. The assemblage of the team is done well enough, but the bad guys are introduced via a series of flashbacks that left me scratching my head. I knew who/what the threat was, I just wasn’t sure how they got to be a threat or why.

What frustrated me the most about this book, is that the new team seems to start imploding before their first adventure is even over. The events of The Fall of Green Arrow/The Rise of Arsenal start to take over, and there’s a big question mark left hanging over the entire team. Plus, based on events that have taken place since Justice League #43 was published, it’s looking like at least a couple of these heroes won’t be sticking around for the long haul.

Team History is a decent book on its own, but it left me frustrated at the lack of consistency in the Justice League’s roster. Heck, even the characters themselves seem to be getting frustrated. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have even complained about the Teen Titans, and saved my frustration for the League.

Seriously…will the real Justice League please stand up?

RATING: 6/10

Image 1 from craveonline.com. Image 2 from dreamwidth.org.

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