Formerly Known As The Justice League #6 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: A League of Their Own

Written by: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Penciled by: Kevin Maguire
Inked by: Joe Rubinstein
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Bob Lappan
Editor: Stephen Wacker and Dan Raspler
Publisher: DC Comics

Quote of the Week

BWAH HA HAAAA! – The Flash (Wally West) from Formerly Known as the Justice League (FKATJL) #6.

Can you always go back home?

Issue 6 marks the end of DC’s swim through the waters of 1980s Justice League International nostalgia…for now. Fear not, with Wildstorm publishing Thundercats and Robotech, the ’80s nostalgia wave is still rippling through DC. Hell, DC is going back even further, back to the 1960s and the Silver Age, with Darwyn Cooke’s DC: New Frontier mini-series launching next month.

As many 411 regulars know, I am a big fan of revisiting the DC Universe of yesteryear. My favorite book remains Geoff Johns’ JSA which is a hybrid of nostalgia and contemporary influences—the best of both worlds.

Sadly, FKATJL, started with such promise, but ends as such as disappointment. It was two issues too long.

How bad is it?

FKATJL #6 is marked by real buffoonery and way too many stereotypical homoerotic jokes. Nothing really funny or witty about those jokes—just crude. Those humorless moments are complemented with more inappropriate jokes, bordering on pedophilia, by Booster Gold towards Mary Marvel. Yuck.

It’s unfortunate, because the opening super-hero fight-club arc had a nice mix of humor and other real emotions—particularly around the fallout of the Mary Marvel and Captain Atom battle.

Also, the JLA swoop in to save the day from our merry and incompetent FKATJL group now called Super Buddies.

Are there any redeeming qualities?

As always, the backbone of this franchise remains the solid pencils of Kevin Maguire who still draws the most expressive, and, dare I say, best facial expressions in all of comics today and yesterday.

Also, the moments where the JLA’s Plastic Man is commenting on or interacting with the Elongated Man are the most clean and witty bits of humor in the whole issue. When Plastic Man’s riffed “They’ve got a guy on their team with an elastic body — and all he does is stretch…! Never turns into a parking meter or a taxi…” I couldn’t stop laughing.

Continuity – a four letter word?

Hmmm. I’m still confused about where and how Captain Atom’s current appearance as part of Lex Luthor’s Superman-hunting squad, in the pages of Superman / Batman, fits with FKATJL in the fabric of DC continuity.

The Flash being an active member of the JLA, in his Barry Allen costume, makes me feel that this book takes place after the current Alberto Dose-penciled and Geoff Johns scribbled Ignition arc in his own book, which concludes next month. Or does it? A little help please, DC.

And… I wasn’t aware that after the conclusion of the Power of Shazam! series and factoring in Captain Marvel‘s appearances in the JSA, that the Marvel family now includes Hoppy the Marvel bunny from the old Fawcett days. I’ll be really displeased if DC makes the Shazam! franchise a farce. Keep it away from Giffen and in Johns’ safer hands… PLEASE.

Ranking FKATJL

As I did with Batman’s HUSH arc, I thought it be interesting to see how 411’s FKATJL review scores average out for the mini-series that began six months ago.

A(nother) New Beginning – FKATJL 1, review by Chris Delloiacono: 9.5

Deja Vu All Over Again – FKATJL 2, review by Gary Day: 7.5

Dead Man’s Hand – FKATJL 3, review by John Babos: 7.5

N/A – FKATJL 4, review by Mathan Erhardt: 10.0

The Wrath of Manga Khan – FKATJL 5, review by Oscar Ferguson: 7.0

A League of Their Own – FKATJL 6, review by John Babos: 6.0

So, the scores for FKATJL 1 through 6 averages out to: 7.916666666666666666……. which we’ll round up. So, that makes 411’s overall score of the mini-series an “8.0,” my friends.

Final thoughts on the mini

I particularly enjoyed the Roulette / super-hero fight club saga that the mini-series opened with. That arc lasted until issue 4, which seems odd for a mini-series. I can’t remember the last time a mini-series had two distinct arcs. We have the Roulette four-parter capped off by the Manga Khan two-parter. The Khan story was by far the weaker of the two arcs, for reasons I’ve already mentioned.

With DC planning a follow-up mini-series called I can’t believe it’s not the Justice League, I hope we have one arc to enjoy, with the frat house hush-hush-snicker-snicker humor replaced by the real wit that we know this creative team can deliver.

The pencils of Kevin Maguire are still the best part of this franchise. Wow.

However, sadly, this mini-series ends with a whimper even though it started off with a bang.