I read this volume almost half a year ago, but the backlog of reviews doomed it to take a while as with the Essential X Men review. Luckily, I happen to be a little more of a DC fan and the comics didn’t have a huge plot back then so with the help of Comicvine, this review will be more thorough as it’s supposed to be. You really can’t go wrong with the Justice League and this collection was just as good as I could have hoped.
There are a whole lot of comics in this collection since it brings about 25 of them. Most of these comics contain different plots entirely, although there are some multi parters. The first two part comic is the one from the cover. Nazi’s have somehow won the war so everyone acknowledges that they need the real Justice League in order to win. Naturally, the Justice League and the Freedom Fighters are eventually forced to fight due to misunderstandings and one of the ultimate fights in comics is quickly started. We also get a comic where Hawkman decides to part ways with the Justice League and this isn’t pleasant news for the other members. They aren’t given much time to react as Eclipso strikes!
We get several more comics in the collection until we reach the saga where the Equalizer attacks. All of the heroes begin to equally share their powers so they are all as fast and strong as each other. This means that Superman is a pale shadow of who he once was and Batman can’t really think too well. He’s actually pretty scared and worried the whole time because he’s not used to being average. (I find this a little hard to believe) The League won’t be able to take on such a threat so they’re going to have to call in an ex Justice League member. Is this a good move or will it merely bring about their doom. It’s definitely a very risky gambit.
Now, I have to reference the Equalizer plot once again. That was the one comic where all of the portrayals were a little off. Batman shouldn’t really lose so much confidence even if he has been equalized and I would like to think that everyone would still be pretty strong since Superman’s strength is just that great. They also lost a lot of their abilities to the Equalizer himself so it’s a little arguable, but I like to think that they would still be pretty big threats in the long run.
There was a mini arc with Adam Strange, but it wasn’t very note worthy.
A fun comic was where Dr Light switched the civilian identities of each of the heroes. Now, they all had to live out a day as someone else and that was pretty fun. Will they be able to master their new abilities in time to stop this treacherous villain and will some secret identities finally become known to the public? This is an issue that’s a must read! One issue that was…interesting was when two real life DC employees find Flash’s treadmill and jump into the Comics world. One of them quickly gets corrupted and turns to evil while the other one must try to stop him. I can’t say that I cared for either character, but it was definitely a big change of pace from the typical issue.
Another comic finds Green Lantern in a dangerous position as he continues to charge his ring during the night without being aware of it. A villain seems to be controlling him so he quickly contacts the League. Hopefully the heroes can stop him before it’s too late! Wonder Woman finally rejoins the League during one issue, but finds out that they have all quit. The new villain is far too scary for them and she has to help them get their courage back. What kind of villain could intimidate the League so thoroughly? Those are just some of the plots, but you can see that we definitely have a lot of interesting ones in the mix.
From the characters, Green Arrow and Hawkman had most of the banter. They were constantly insulting each other and it made things interesting. They don’t actually want the League to fire the other person, but Green Arrow loves picking fights and Hawkman prefers to directly defend himself while the other Leaguers just ignore the archer. Batman and Superman are pretty great as always and any comic with them is usually fun to read…meaning that all of the comics in this collection are pretty great if I recall correctly. They usually make up some kind of reason as to why Superman would lose to a random giant monster each time. Wonder Woman gets a really small role since she is mainly with the Justice Society instead of the Justice League, but she looks pretty good in her guest star role. She ends up saving the team, which gives her some serious bragging rights. The Flash’s role wasn’t very big although he had a role in the issue where he and Hawkman merged with an alien and fought the League. His super speed ensures that he’s a good match for any opponent…assuming that he doesn’t get tripped up while running of course. Green Lantern is a solid character as well and at least he went to the JLA for help right away when he suspected that something was using his body for evil. Most heroes would just keep it to themselves and call it a day. He didn’t look too great when he allowed himself to be blindsided, which allowed Twoface to escape, but I suppose that he was really concentrating on flying at the time. Willpower is what runs the ring after all so it’s almost believable.
I definitely don’t buy the League all becoming cowards because of the fear that the villain emitted. Surely they have the strength of mind to resist such an attack and to become great heroes again right? Wonder Woman had to snap them out of it in the end and use her Lasso to get them into action. No wonder Earth gets worried sometimes….surprisingly the government doesn’t really appear much. It’s hard to believe that they used to wholeheartedly trust the League. Nowadays, there is always a shadow cabinet out to get them or even the President himself when the time is right.
Of course, it still makes for a fun plot. The collection has more continuity than you may have guessed given how long ago it came out. The Hawkman plot came several times and there are definitely a lot of references to the older comics. The cast is pretty large since the members are always rotating and we even got to see the Freedom Fighters and Justice Society. I felt bad for the Justice League when they met the Society because they got fooled by a villain into destroying the heroes. I’m not completely sure if it actually ended up that way or if there was a plot twist, but I do remember the Spectre intervening so I’m pretty sure that they actually died. As a result, the villains took advantage of this and used costumes of the Society so that the heroes would believe that their ghosts had come back to haunt them. Batman didn’t believe it of course, but he still couldn’t fight back since it was too emotional. The League definitely got pummeled once again, but we can definitely say that they are the strongest group. The Freedom Fighters certainly didn’t stand a chance against them.
The art is very easy to follow which is always a good thing. This collection is in black and white as per the norm so you can actually use it to try and draw the characters yourself. No colors to distract you after all. I still prefer color for the comics, but you can still follow the fight scenes and that’s what counts. The current DC art in the New 52 is amazing, but I’ve always loved the art from these days as well. It’s just crisp and easy to read.
Overall, These adventures really are timeless. It never gets old to see the witty banter between the heroes and the villains. Back in the day, a simple trick like an incoming box was enough to take out a Green Lantern and every villain worth his nickel had a chunk of Kryptonite up his sleeve. The heroes had to face some pretty tricky villains while also dealing with the occasional alien. All of the comics are pretty interesting and any big DC fan should definitely appreciate how fun the adventures can be. I would go as far as to say that any comic reader should get a kick out of this comic. The black and white style may turn off a few, but I’m sure that they would enjoy it if they only gave it a chance. Since this is volume 6 of the JLA Showcase series, the comics are a little more modern and you can tell by Superman’s design. (His is the most notable in my opinion) I definitely suggest checking it out!