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New In Town

It was the mid 1990s, and comic books were still working the late-80s requisite grimness out of their system. Grant Morrison became the opening writer to JLA, DC's new Justice League book, meant to revive the franchise. Morrison strikes an odd chord with comics fans. Opinions of him run the gamut between those who welcome his sci-fi psychedelic romps and out-of-this-world revivals of old characters and comics, and there are those who think he is little more than a drugged-out Silver Age fetishist. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, it's pretty obvious that I'm on the fanboy side of the equation. Anyhow, He had proved himself to be a reliable and inventive writer with long-form works like Vertigo's Doom Patrol and Animal Man. However, this was long before he was handed the keys to DC Continuity wholesale. He still had to follow the bizarre choices of the editorial decisions around him, which involved using the unfortunate Electric Superman for a spell (Yeah, let's hear your complaints about Wonder Woman's new costume again.) An aside: if a thirteen-year-old who considers DragonBall Z OVAs to be compelling and original entertainment finds your new Superman concept to be ridiculous, beat your word processor into a plowshare immediately.

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Morrison opened JLA with an invasion. An invasion of new superheroes. The Hyperclan endeared themselves to Earth's population with a combination of superficial acts of charity – turning the Sahara into a forest – and the sort of ultraviolent, take-no-prisoners attitude toward supervillainy that made the Todd McFarlanes and Rob Liefelds of the time such roaring successes. Even if you were brand-new at comics, it was pretty clear where the storyline was headed around the time the Hyperclan roasted Wolverine and Doctor Doom at the stake.

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After exposing themselves as conqueror-villains, the Hyperclan immediately disabled the newly-formed JLA. Except not the entire group. In one line, Morrison managed to convey the wonderful naivete of Silver Age supervillains, while taking the piss out of every grim-as-graveyard-dirt, man-sized-gun toting “hero” to grace the pages of Image comics:

I can't find any other word for that line of reasoning outside of “adorable.” Needless to say (and SPOILER ALERT for a 14-year-old comic storyline) Batman discovers the Hyperclan's secret weakness and saves the day.


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