Wednesday, July 13, 2011

JLA #97 (Late June, 2004)

From out of a pink portal in the sky fell Wonder Woman tied up in burlap. Ma and Pa Kent an older couple swerved their RV to avoid the mass, and ended up rolling it. The couple were okay, and the man was a doctor, which was handy. Diana was soon at Memorial Hospital in Las Vegas, lying unconscious on supplemental oxygen, having miraculously survived her wounds. A warning from the 10th Circle the the JLA was founded secreted in her removed costume by her friends.

A group of haughty Amazons (are there any other kind?) demanded their injured sister be turned over to their care. Stewart insisted that she was in no condition to travel, but Batman ordered him to "Stand down, Lantern. They're here at my request." Batman felt Diana's injuries were far beyond the scope of modern medicine, so that advanced Amazon science was her only hope. However, Diana managed to get out of bed to protest by sheer moxie, which the Caped Crusader blew off as stupid. "You can barely stand... You've done your part. Leave the rest to us."

Crucifer presented Superman to his demonic overlords, but still had to explain why this story was dragging on, and was punished for his vanity. Nudge tried to help the blood-drained Faith, who remained unconscious, and was visited by the spirit of Manitou Raven.

I've read a lot of hate online for this story arc, which I thought was overheated, since the first half was just plodding and the storytelling quaintly anachronistic. With this issue, I'm starting to see where the venom comes from. Why wouldn't Crucifer chop Wonder Woman into pieces just large enough to identify if she was completely in his power and near death anyway? Why is it that only the female team members are brutally beaten and left for dead in this series? I can only recall two instances of Wonder Woman lying helpless in a hospital bed throughout my decades of reading her adventures, and both times John Byrne was the responsible party. Superman has remained a total mind slave the entire time, unable to prevent himself from all but murdering Wonder Woman. Instead of advancing the plot, the spectacularly unimpressive Crucifer keeps sadistically tormenting innocents to show off for no one. Byrne keeps doing these annoying dutch angle layouts, which are a pain to scan. Finally, and most importantly, this book is relentless in its treading of water.

"Interlude on the Last Day of the World," part four of "The Tenth Circle," and possibly the most pretentious story title of all time, was by the famous X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, joined by the inks of Jerry Ordway.

The Tenth Circle

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