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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Mind-Shattering Malevolence of Mageddon!

Man, I don't know what you guys are talking about; World War III is awesome.

I'm referring, of course, not to the incompetent clusterfuck that shipped from DC this week--because yeah, that thing blows--but rather an event that rocked the DC Universe to its core in the distant past of seven years ago, which is apparently a long enough wait to re-use the name:

Say what you want about Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's run on JLA, but you pretty much have to admit that it was big--and World War III, Morrison's last storyline before Mark Waid jumped on with Bryan "Once An Epoch" Hitch, was the biggest of them all. I mean really: It's the sequel to a story where the Justice League fights Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang while also battling Darkseid... in the future... during the Apocalypse.

Man, Rock of Ages is awesome. But that's beside the point.

This story, in typical Grant Morrison fashion, sees the Apocalypse moved up ahead of schedule, and the Injustice Gang--this time consisting of Lex Luthor, Queen Bee, Prometheus and the Genera--is right in the thick of it. Within the first issue, they've already wrecked the Watchtower, found Oracle, and generally completely wrecked the Justice League. And to make matters worse, well, take it away, Mister Miracle:

Ah yes: MAGEDDON!: One of those wonderful comic book concepts that can only be described with a judicious use of exclamation points:


But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Originally referenced in his very first story arc, Mageddon(!) was the plot point that Morrison was building up to for his entire run, so it's pretty safe to say that it's a suitably big threat. Essentially a giant, planet-devouring sentient ball of hate and fear from fifteen billion years ago that already destroyed an entire planet of super-heroes twenty issues beforehand, it sets its sights on a planet and then slowly drives the entire population to madness until they annihilate themselves, leaving it to destroy the wreckage. And not to get too pseudo-intellectual here, but with Morrison's notorious meta-textual elements and the fact that he uses the League as a symbol of hope and the realized potential of the Good In People, it's no stretch to say that Mageddon's the embodiment of everything the League exists to fight.

Also--and I may have mentioned this--it is huge:


"Mother Box struggles to contain my rage for cosmic destruction."

And even with all that going on, even with countries literally declaring war on each other and mobilizing troops as Mageddon drives them to the edge of madness, Morrison and Porter still find the time to drop in one of the single most badass moments in comics history.

And everyone who's actually read this thing knows exactly what I'm talking about.

For those of you who only know of Prometheus from his brief, forgettable role as Hush's punching bag in A.J. Liberman's bottomlessly atrocious run on Gotham Knights, it may come as a surprise to learn that he was actually really, really awesome in JLA. This is, after all, a guy who nearly took out the JLA by himself in his first appearance, an accomplishment that included him beating the living crap out of Batman thanks to a device in his helmet that allowed him to download the moves of the greatest martial artists in the world directly into his brain.

Needless to say, it's a pretty radical throwdown, but the rematch is even better. Why? Because when Prometheus starts to get the upper hand, Batman uses a device that he prepared for just such an occasion--you know, because he's Batman--and rewrites the programming, giving Prometheus all the fighting ability of (drumroll, please)...


"Did I see you cheating?"
"Winning. First time I ever hit a man with Motor Neuron Disease."

I could seriously look at that page all day, I love it so much.

The thing about "World War III" is that everyone has that kind of amazing character moment--even Orion's dog--but as much as it might shock those of you who are familiar with my abject love of Batman-related grevious injury to the face, that's not the part that I get emotional over when I think about this sotry.

By the time the extra-sized 36 page final issue hits--which, for the record, contains more scenes of Orion flying around in his Astro-Harness shouting some of the most amazing phrases ever put on paper--Superman himself has been defeated by Mageddon and chained up within its "techno-active" body and reduced to an almost-mindless shell, reduced to an almost-mindless state. He eventually gets out, thanks to Aztek sacrificing his own life to blow up a good chunk of Mageddon by unleashing an explosion of 4-Dimensional energy (because Grant Morrison, that's why), but he's sorely outmatched.

Which is why the rest of the Justice League concocts a plot so complex that I can only tell you it involves a giant hamster wheel, the Purple Healing Ray, and the stone heads of Easter Island that temporarily gives every single person on Earth super-powers. And that's when the whole of humanity rises up as one to fight alongside Superman against the massive embodiment of despair and hopelessness, because after all the times that he saved them, how could they not save him when he needed them to?

It's an amazing scene, and it's one of the few moments in comics that I get honest-to-God choked up over every time I start talking about it, which is something I can't imagine anybody saying about Black Adam punching Terra's heart out or a clumsy, shoehorned plot about why the Martian Manhunter decided to wear pants this year. But really, I can only say so much, so if you haven't read it, you really ought to.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right, the whole run was amazing but this one capped it all, and no-one has matched it in comics since, let alone DC! The events now, although Morrison is participating, aren't on the same scale.

4/19/2007 1:13 AM

Blogger FoldedSoup said...

Damn. And curse you. Politely, though: May you buy Tarot's and Vampire Hunter's even after you lose the humor...

I was huckstered into all four issues of WWIII, because, well.. I'm a sucker that way.

I had totally forgotten about the awesomeness of the Morrison run at the time I said, "Yeah, OK.. All four? *sigh*..." even though I own the whole run. Damn you, short-term memory loss!

But.. I completely recalled the Prometheus scene you mentioned. One of the greatest "Fuck, Yeah!" moments ever. Ever. Ever, ever.

But now, I go to read the current WWIII's I brought home today.

Curse you, Mr. Simms. Curse you.

4/19/2007 1:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"that already destroyed an entire planet of super-heroes twenty issues beforehand"

I may be mistaken, but I thought Mageddon destroyed an entire Universe of GIANT SUPERHEROES, not just a planet of super-heroes, but a complete alternate dimension full of GIANT SUPERHEROES.

Or am I mixing up Morrison's JLA run with his Flex Mentallo run. And my comic collection is currently thousands of miles away, dammit.

4/19/2007 1:52 AM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Jer, no, you're right, there was a planet of giant superheroes in Morrison's JLA run. Flash stayed with them for a while on his way back from the future or something, and I think they were the ones who got mashed by Mageddon first.

the distant past of seven years ago, which is apparently a long enough wait to re-use the name
Yeah, that's what I thought too.

Man, Rock of Ages is awesome.
I grew up on Marvel. I don't do DC. But I love Rock of Ages to bits.

I remember when this arc first came out, it was at exactly the same time that Warren Ellis was doing his "God Comes Home" arc in Authority, and for the first time ever, Grant Morrison looked ordinary. I think history has been kinder to Morrison's story though.

4/19/2007 4:22 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

The Morrison/Porter run on JLA was responsible for pulling me back into comics after the late 80's early 90's, when Every c list character had his or her own chromium First issue. (Force Works, Fantastic Force & Thunderstrike!?!) Morrison's run had you on the edge, you almost couldn't wait 4 weeks for the next issue!! worth it's weight in gold if only for the PLASTICMAN, WONDERWOMAN moments...

4/19/2007 4:59 AM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

the distant past of seven years ago, which is apparently a long enough wait to re-use the name

Even with Morrison himself involved with 52, which I don't get. I'd've thought that at least he would say, "um... guys? remember this?"

Back when WW3.2 was first referenced (as WW3) in JSA #1-- as the evidence that we need better young heroes-- I just assumed that they meant the old JLA plot, but couldn't figure out how it showed any such thing. Instead, the payoff to that momentous-sounding exchange was: two panels of the lame Luthor faux-Infinitors running away, surprising exactly no one with their lack of heroism.

As a result of which, we urgently need young heroes to be mentored by the JSA, the organization that did so much to aid in the rehabilitation of, well, Black Adam.

4/19/2007 8:29 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Man, I love me some Grant Morrison, but found his JLA run to be nigh-incomprehensible. Rock of Ages actually caused me to drop the run because it was completely disconnected and non-linear. It was one the best examples of Morrison doing his worst work - which yea is better than most other stuff out there - but I thought it was all big ideas thrown together with no cohesive narrative. But sounds like I'm in the minority on this one.

Still, your retrospective here makes me want to go pick up the trade except I loathe Howard Porter's artwork - it's just bleech (not Michael Turner bleech, but geez).

4/19/2007 8:42 AM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

Michael, at the time I was with you on both points-- I kept not understanding why DC wouldn't get someone who knew how to draw for its flagship title, and wouldn't give Morrison an editor who would check for both continuity with the line and coherence from one issue to the next.

Years later, owning a bunch of the trades, I'll say: Morrison knew, ahead of his time, how to write for the trades, and the Porter art somehow feels like the right kind of kinetic-crazy. Those trades sit on my shelf next to the two JLA: Nail trades, which have that great pretty Davis artwork... and which seem noticeably flat and static by comparison. Pick up one or two of the trades and look again.

4/19/2007 9:01 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

Okay, Sims. You've sold me. On my next Amazon order I'm getting the trade.

4/19/2007 9:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morrison said something in a podcast interview thing recently about how DC are likely using the title 'World War 3' again as it sounds more impressive than calling it 'World War 4', or words to that effect. Maybe they didn't need to call it world-war-anything, then? Get some creativity, dudes.

I love GM's JLA. It is full of fun.

I'm no big fan of Howard Porter, but does anyone know if it was him that designed Prometheus? I am pretty hot for Prometheus and his neat colour scheme. If there's one thing that 'colour edit' mode in Capcom vs. SNK has taught me, it's that purple, yellow and white go together real nice.

Also, at one point there's a fill-in issue concerning the Flash, but it is not the Wally West Flash. What the hell was that all about? One of the things like Electric Superman that was going on in another title, but was never really explained in JLA?

4/19/2007 9:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've read (and reread) Morrison's entire JLA run many times.

I think he really captured what the JLA should be all about. Giant universe spanning stories that are almost to big to comperehend. He was working with characters that are the entire foundation of the DC universe. It's only right that he gave them stories big enough to match their mythologies.

As opposed to Meltzer...who had the League fight Amazo on somebody's front lawn.

4/19/2007 9:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Which is why the rest of the Justice League concocts a plot so complex that I can only tell you it involves a giant hamster wheel, the Purple Healing Ray, and the stone heads of Easter Island that temporarily gives every single person on Earth super-powers"

This leads to my favorite piece of dialog from the whole storyline, between Black Lightning and The Glimmer (an 80-foot tall Flash-analog from the former planet of the giant superheros) - just before they activate the hamster wheel / purple ray machine:
"We're making superheroes?"
"With lightning and with chemicals!"

Morrison's greatest strength has always been that he actually likes the genre he's writing in.

4/19/2007 10:32 AM

Blogger Jason said...

Actually, the moment that chokes me up is when Zauriel shames the Angels in Heaven into defending God's creation. When that first angel raises his hand and vows to fight with Zauriel, well, it gets a little dusty in my house.

4/19/2007 10:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was Porter's hatchet-like artwork that kept me from that JLA series when it first came out.
(Well... that plus I'm not much of a JLA fan, really).

But I had a buddy who was drooling over the story and would give me updates, and I came so close to buying them, but instead chose to vote with my $.

Now, I'll have to go grab some trades, because THIS sounds EXACTLY why God created comics!

Curse you, Sims!
Why couldn't you have an uncontrollable love of, and need to blog about MUFFINS instead!

Then, I could gorge myself and not go broke doing so.


4/19/2007 10:43 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

I hope that Chris Sims will soon start a side blog about muffins and other pastries.

4/19/2007 10:53 AM

Blogger Greg said...

I got ripped when World War III was solicited and I reminded everyone of this storyline. Apparently the feeling was that this story wasn't "officially" called World War III so it was fair game and it wasn't a war between nations but between the Earth and Megeddon. Both of those reasons are idiotic. Anyway, with all the world wars DC fights every few years, this latest event is probably World War IX or something.

Damn, what a good comic this was.

4/19/2007 11:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that this is tagged with "Batman punching the disabled". Here's hoping we see more postings filed under that.

4/19/2007 11:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

World War Three Classic is indeed awesome.

Somewhat less awesome is switching to flicker. What about us worker drones who have picture sites blocked? What about us?!?

4/19/2007 11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, if this blog needed something more THIS is exactily it: More Grant Morrison!

Also, remember the first scene? Where something big and scary (or so it seemed) is entering the Watchtower avoiding all the security systems? And the JLAers get really scared? And it turned out to be just Mister Miracle, and he barely noticed the security tech?

That was AWESOME.

4/19/2007 11:32 AM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

Also, at one point there's a fill-in issue concerning the Flash, but it is not the Wally West Flash. What the hell was that all about? One of the things like Electric Superman that was going on in another title, but was never really explained in JLA?

This was Walter West or Wallace West or something like that, some less-nice Wally from an alternate-near future, from the time when Flash became dreary and repetitive.

4/19/2007 11:32 AM

Blogger PMMDJ said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. The whole run was a treat, and one of the things I loan to people who don't otherwise read comics. (Though my personal favorite may still be New World Order, though Rock of Ages is dead close.) I also like how *all* the heroes get their moments to shine, even beloved Aquaman.

But Mr. Sims, how did you get through a review mentioning the General without one Shaggy Man joke?

4/19/2007 12:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the GM/Porter run was Orion.

He lost the "noble warriror" aspect of himself and became this idiotic bezerker.

Now what I really wanted to see was Mageddon trying to do the same to Joker that it did to Supes...and comitting suicide from the the Joker's madness. Maybe I'll write that story myself.

4/19/2007 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no problem with Orion, but then JLA is the only thing I've read that features him, so I had no prior knowledge of what he's supposed to be like. Is Morrison's portrayal way offbase, then?

Jacob, cheers for the Flash info! That story was bugging me with every reread, and I couldn't find anything about it online...

4/19/2007 12:53 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Cheers, Chris. That's actually the first JLA book I ever picked up and read, and being one who collects comics in mostly graphic novel format, that was a big investment for being a vehemently non-cape fan at the time.

Morrison knows how to do big, doesn't he?

4/19/2007 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the entire story was, indeed, awesome, the scene that I lvoed best of all was Steel, Plas, and Barda taking out the Queen Bee. When Barda is down, defeated, and near death, that one line and the last punch is incredible.

"We sting, too." BAM! They win!

4/19/2007 1:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood the hate for WWIII, or really the general dislike directed at the second half of Morrison's run. I really dug this, the Ultra-Marines, and the War with the Fifth Dimension. I have to confess though, I think the trade version of DC 1,000,000 beats both Rock of Ages and WWIII. It's one of my favorite DC stories ever.

4/19/2007 2:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mother Box struggles to contain my rage for cosmic destruction."

I'm pretty sure that nothing closer to the perfect sentence has ever been written.

4/19/2007 2:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

in re: They wouldn't take no for an answer...

Years ago, I was a hardcore INVISIBLES/PREACHER/TRANSMET kinda guy, who heaped great scorn on those silly throwback pervert suit comics.

I sat down and read WW3, cracking wise on Porter's art, and wondering why a genius like Morrison was wasting his time with Aquaman stuff.

Then the Easter Island heads barf purple rays all over earth, Oracle says, "This is how Superman feels, it's why he wants to save us", Diana's in space, telling everyone to stay in formation...

I found myself holding my breath. I didn't turn the page for about thirty seconds, my hater's heart growing three sizes.

I turned the page.

I screamed and threw the book across the room.

Good lord, that was awesome.

4/19/2007 2:57 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Morrison's run was great, if only Porter was not the artist. Porter was out of his league, so to speak.
I was also annoyed at Aztek's death. 4th dimensional or not he died like a punk.

4/19/2007 4:02 PM

Blogger Adam said...

Man, I don't get all of that Porter hating, he did an awesome job on JLA, espcially with his Electric Superman. So smooth and sparkley.

And to answer whoever said countries don't go to war during this run of WWIII, they do. The Bull Host Angel Army of Heaven comes down to simmer down everybody.

And yeah, I too get chills when Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League Reserves, which at this point in the story, numbers in at about 6 billion.

4/19/2007 4:25 PM

Blogger ShellyS said...

Off topic, but I had to put this somewhere. Congrats! This is a Blogger Blog of Note in case you haven't noticed. :)

Expect more hits. One of my blogs (not my comics blog) was a Blog of Note in November and the hits were in the thousands for three days and in the high hundreds for the rest of that week.

4/19/2007 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>This is a Blogger Blog of Note in case you haven't noticed. :)

Expect more hits.<<

Sims can expect more hits, and the rest of us can hopefully expect more kicks in the face!

Re: WWIII - The most absolutely awesome thing about Batman/Prometheus II for me was not the Hawking thing, though that did rock! It's that after their first match, Prometheus, the anti-Batman, just mopped the floor with the Dark Knight. When Batman woke up after that first time, he even said something like "Well, that was humbling..."

But look at what happens in that second fight. Batman doesn't just go with the Hawking thing right away. He beats Prometheus and all of his pirated skills with his bare hands. Batman hit the gym and MADE HIMSELF EVEN BETTER for the rematch! Then Prometheus cheapshotted Batman with his little wrist gun. Only then do we see that when Bruce "Lights Out" Wayne decides to lace them up, it's rock-a-bye time for evil, sucker!

4/19/2007 4:57 PM

Blogger Matt Stuart said...

DID YOU KNOW?... Turok hunts dinosaurs both for sport AND food!!!

4/19/2007 5:04 PM

Blogger AK said...

I really enjoy your blog.

Keep up the good work!

4/19/2007 5:09 PM

Blogger High Power Rocketry said...

Intense! :)

You are on blogs of note btw...

4/19/2007 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes you think you win but you find the ROCKA is knocked out day light!!!You can only get a couple of blows but knock out NYVA!!!That what you are info!!!

4/19/2007 5:51 PM

Blogger Greg said...

Incredibly well-written... I know that everyone got superpowers, but is one of those "not needing oxygen in space"?

Always bothered me..


4/19/2007 6:06 PM

Blogger Jack Zodiac said...

When you consider how overworked Grant Morrison is today, I'm surprised he'd bother having his name attached to a project like 52, when it's just as up as it is down.

For all the greatness it had: the Black Marvel Family, Booster Gold and Supernova fighting Skeets with Rip Hunter across time, Lobo leading Adam Strange, Starfire, and Buddy Baker through space to find their way home, Doc Magnus taking out an entire island full of mad scientists with mini-Metal Men... there have been just as many low points, like Vic Sage's death, Osiris' and Isis' deaths, WWIII, the majority of the Helmet of Fate subplot with Ralph... Grant's name is now associated with more shit than gold.

I understand he's like the Julius Schwartz of today's DC, more of an idea man, a plotter, a navigator, but you have to wonder if he'll look back at some of this series and just shake his head. His ideas are obviously best handled by nobody other than himself. Could you imagine if he'd thought up Seven Soldiers and handed it over to Johns and Rucka? Ewww.

Yeah, "Rock of Ages" and Morrison's "WWIII" were awesome, classic stories, and his use of the New Gods and Wonderworld, the idea of Mageddon, and a possible future where Darkseid realizes the Anti-Life Equation, all great ideas that are hard to top, even when the same man's behind 'em, when someone else is stirring the pot. Too many cooks and all that shit.

4/19/2007 6:11 PM

Blogger kish said...

i'm glad you have a tag for "batman punching the disabled", because i was wondering where the other posts on that topic were.

4/19/2007 7:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to confess though, I think the trade version of DC 1,000,000 beats both Rock of Ages and WWIII. It's one of my favorite DC stories ever.

YEAH! Well, I don't know if it beats them, but the first two pages in the JLA: 1.000.000 issue is one of my favourite scenes in the whole run; where the future Superman and Batman are talking in Earth while THE COMIC ITSELF is doing the narration ("Hello. I'm JLA: 1,000,000". Its a comic from the future, so why not?) then future-Superman doesn't fly, but JUMPS to the Moon.

Also, "asociated more with shit than gold"??? Just for 52 (and maybe the late Wildstorm titles)? What about All-Star Superman, Seven Soldiers, Batman, New X-Men?

4/19/2007 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This part gets me every time...

Superman: Better to die...just die...let it all die. We can't defeat this...can't win against oblivion...the end of it all. MAH-GEH-DUN!

Batman: Shut up, Clark! We ALWAYS win!

Superman: Mah-geh-dun. Mah-guh-buh-buh...Bruce?

4/19/2007 7:53 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Somewhat less awesome is switching to flicker. What about us worker drones who have picture sites blocked? What about us?!?

I uploaded the pictures to Blogger (as per usual) three times last night, and was pretty frustrated by the end of it, and Flickr's my standard backup plan. Hopefully, it was just a hiccup in the system, because I run a pretty image-heavy ship around here.

Why couldn't you have an uncontrollable love of, and need to blog about MUFFINS instead!

Who says I don't?

The problem with the GM/Porter run was Orion.

I have heard the word, sir... And it is battle.

DID YOU KNOW?... Turok hunts dinosaurs both for sport AND food!!!

I did, but it's always nice to have a reminder!

Superman: Mah-geh-dun. Mah-guh-buh-buh...Bruce?

I know! That's one of the few times that I'm perfectly accepting of super-heroes using their real names while in costume.

And as to the rest of you, thanks for stopping by, and all the nice words. Although I have to say, I do think Howard Porter gets a bad rap for JLA.

4/19/2007 8:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/19/2007 8:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright Batman wins are U happy now???

4/19/2007 8:55 PM

Blogger Jon Hex said...

bqmmeThe best Batman/Superman team-up EVER!

Who knows how to stop Queen Bee? Freakin' Plastic Man!

Batman to Huntress: "You're fired!"

People everwhere should know how awesome Grant Morrison is.

4/19/2007 9:19 PM

Blogger David Campbell said...


Anonymous is RIGHT Chris, U SHOULDNT LIKE WWIII! Think of all the children who were left without parents or limbs or shit because of these comics! IT IS SAD FOR THE DEAD ONES

4/19/2007 10:26 PM

Blogger My Stereo Magnet Girl said...

GREAT Site Chris!

I heard there's a Wonder Woman movie in the works. I know nothing about the comic industry but how are the two (comic/film) collaborating?

That'd be interesting to find out.

4/19/2007 10:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/19/2007 10:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris: "Morrison and Porter still find the time to drop in one of the single most badass moments in comics history."

Future-doomed-Batman, to Metron: "Boo!" That was the s.m.b.m. in ... well, okay, 2nd m.b.moment.

Porter's art looked very okay to me and still does. It looks like he's trying to tell exactly the story the author is describing, facial expressions and background details and all. There's a small number of artists who can do all that PLUS make the characters all look their prettiest, in every panel, but given that none of them was evidently available, I ... uh, I liked the art. Hmp.
And I disagree with somebody-or-other about the portrayal of Orion; he WAS portrayed as a noble warrior, especially in both of the big story arcs, Rock of Ages and Mageddon. Yeah he DID spend two issues of foamy-mouthy belligerent imbecility on planet Rann, during that era, but GM didn't script that and Porter didn't draw it either.

4/20/2007 12:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is the series that made me a DC fan and solidified my desire to write superhero comics myself one day.

And as much as I love the scene with Wonder Woman and the "Armies of Man," I think I love the scene with Batman talking Superman through his confrontation with the Anti-Sun even more. How Batman is utterly confident that they'll win because they always win and when Superman finally realizes it (one of Grant's great meta-textual moments) he says "I-I-I really hate when you use that lecturing tone, Bruce."

Now THAT'S good superhero comics.

4/20/2007 12:16 AM

Blogger Caleb said...

I'm actually mad I just read this post, because it reminded me how great JLA used to be and how incredibly lame it is now.

Meltzer spent eight issues having the Justice League fight Amazo, Grundy and Ivo. How long was this Morrison arc...four issues? Five? And in it, the entire 14 member roster all get an awesome spotlight moment, the entire world goes to war (including Atlantis and Heaven) and then every single person on the planet gets super-powers and teams up against a malevolent god weapon.

Is it possible to ever top this story? Will there ever be a conflict so big again that it takes more than six billion superheroes to fight it?

Now, what's cooler, Batman's "Dr. Stephen Hawkins!" battle cry, or the car battery scene? Or is that like asking you to pick your favorite child?

4/20/2007 12:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I never noticed before? When Batman says "I'm here to bring you to justice," it's a callback to that whole origin story they did for Prometheus when he was a kid and he thought Justice was a place. I don't know why I didn't catch that.
And now Batman's all like "Yeah, it's a place! It's somewhere between my fist and the floor, and your head has a one-way ticket! Now boarding rows P through S!" He does bring the rizzle dizzle, for shizzle.

4/20/2007 1:08 AM

Blogger notintheface said...

As if everything mentioned wasn't cool enough, "WWIII" also featured THE SUPERMAN-HUNTRESS OUTER SPACE LIPLOCK DOUBLE-PAGE SPREAD!!!!

4/20/2007 1:20 AM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

I'm no big fan of Howard Porter, but does anyone know if it was him that designed Prometheus?
He looks like an Ed McGUinness design to me, but I'm sure he can't be.

Also, at one point there's a fill-in issue concerning the Flash, but it is not the Wally West Flash. What the hell was that all about? One of the things like Electric Superman that was going on in another title, but was never really explained in JLA?
I think Morrison made the right choice in not wasting space in JLA addressing that stuff, but it does make the book read strangely in isolation. You'd get Wonder Woman appearing and disappearing between issues, or Superman going all Blue (wasn't there a Red one too? Where was he when Blue was in the JLA?), and it was strange, but since it had nothing to do with Morrison's plots, it didn't matter.

IT IS SAD FOR THE DEAD ONES should be the motto of this blog. Or my blog. Or everyone's blog. Make it so.

4/20/2007 8:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite line of the story was:

Batman: "I don't care if it can kill every GOD in every HEAVEN, Clark... it's never fought US before."

And Batman punching Prometheus so hard his helmet shattered pushed out "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!" as my GREATEST PUNCH IN ALL OF COMICS.

4/20/2007 9:27 AM

Blogger Caleb said...

(wasn't there a Red one too? Where was he when Blue was in the JLA?)

I read most of the Superman Red/Superman Blue vs. The Milennium Giants storyline out of order from 25-cent bins (which they ended up in remarkably fast).

Superman split into two Supermen, one red and one blue. The Red one didn't make the scene for a while, and they each had differing personalities. The Blue one was the more responsible, Superman-like one. At any rate, the Red one didn't really team up with the JLA ever...there was a GREEN ARROW two-parter featuring some random JLA-ers, and I think it was the Red Supes who was in it.

And yeah, Mark Waid's (the first four) and Mark Millar's fill-ins were the only ones that really belong collected in Morrison's run's trades.

4/20/2007 11:47 AM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Thanks Caleb. I knew the Red/Blue stuff wasn't well-received, but I knew nothing else about it.

4/20/2007 12:42 PM

Blogger Nato said...

Either my memory's faulty, or DC altered Batman's post-punching line to be less awesome and more PC.

I seem to recall that in the original issues, Batman follows up that epic knockout with the pithy bon mot: "Hh. Never hit a cripple before."


4/20/2007 12:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Either my memory's faulty, or DC altered Batman's post-punching line to be less awesome and more PC."
Go with door #1. As it appears in JLA #39, Feb'99, p.8, Batmen sez, he sez: "Winning. First time I ever hit a man with a motor neuron disease."

4/20/2007 1:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...er, BatmAn sez them things, I mean. Yeah, that's it, Batman. Hmf.

4/20/2007 1:14 PM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

It does sound familiar though. Perhaps a post-Authority Batman said it at one point. Or maybe the Midnighter himself.

4/20/2007 1:42 PM

Blogger zc said...

All this reminds me:

Rock of Ages is one of my favorite stories ever. The New Gods absurdity is everywhere.

It also contains the line that, I swear to God, I don't know why it isn't being whored for these Countdown ads.


How can you advertise stuff with Darkseid without a big bold dash of



4/20/2007 3:18 PM

Blogger Zubon said...

I pretty much stopped reading comics after that run on JLA. Could it go anywhere but down?

4/20/2007 4:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this series, too and lots of Howard Porter's art on it, though I felt the last few issues were among his weakest. Orion's not handled badly, but there's not enough conflict in his character. He's Orion the Hunter, he hunts monsters because he fears he is one and at least some of the time he is- see New Gods #5 for proof. It's strong and crazy stuff for comics now, it was a real shock in 1972!

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4/22/2007 4:30 PM

Blogger Michael said...

My favorite part of the good WWIII is where batman verbally bitch-slaps Superman out of Mageddon's hold.

"Thousands are dying right now! Billions more will die in a minute. SAVE THEM, SUPERMAN, OR GOD HELP ME I WILL HOUND YOU THROUGH THE AFTERLIFE AND MAKE YOU BEG FOR MERCY!"

4/24/2007 11:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were two really amazing things Morrison setup with WWIII that nobody but nobody ever followed up on.

#1 was that Kyle was finally a Green Lantern. After being resigned to an existence in his own title where every other story was Someone Kicks Kyle's Ass And Takes His Ring, Morrison gives him that moment where Kyle overcomes Mageddon's fear and Steps Up. Flash says something to the effect of, "Kyle, where have--whoa. Dude, you look like a Green Lantern." And Kyle says, "I finally feel like one."

Nobody did anything with that.

#2. He basically setup something that, IMO, implied that our world was to be to the DC Earth as the DC Earth is to Kirby's Fourth World.


Also, you're right: ROCK OF AGES rocked giant rhino balls. I remember finishing the next to last issue of that arc and thinking, "There's no way he can wrap this up in one more issue. No freaking way." But he did. Amazing.

I must put in a good word for the Tower of Babel arc after this, though. It was mad genius to figure out the only really good way to distract Batman: steal his parents' bodies. That's the kind of story card you hold for years and then play first chance you get.

5/04/2007 1:57 AM

Blogger #6 said...

I am not a Morrison fanboy at all, and I disliked very much the angel-as-superhero stuff, but overall the WW3 comic story was good solid stuff. The more over the top it got the more pointless it became though, because there will never be meaningful change in the "mainstream" titles so you know that it will always be an oscillation between shark jumping and second rate tosh.

Word Verification: pjrobc, the correct spelling of the not-well-enough-known Croatian scientist who invented the material Wonder Woman's demi-thong is made out of.

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