Comic’s is an industry and strives and survives not because of its overwhelming popularity but because of the quality of its product. It is the antithesis of reality TV in so much as it’s not nearly as popular but is of a much high caliber of product being provided.
It is in this vein of thought that I am brought to the reality that there are certain artists and writers whom I will always give the benefit of the doubt. I will, without question, pick up and read something they have produced; at least until they burn me one too many times (sly glance at Warren Ellis). Frank Quitely is one such artist. Though it could be argued that his kinship with writer Grant Morrison is what brings out his talent, I see it as a two-way street. Morrison may be a visionary but his visions are often times laced with gasoline like a bad acid trip.
Their most renowned work together is All-Star Superman, an amazing telling of a Superman story with heart and feeling and love for the character rarely seen. But in the case of this story they took on the broader universe of DC Comics.
In JLA – Earth 2 we are told a familiar tale with an unfamiliar twist; like Jules Verne’s Time Machine wherein we learned that one cannot change the past because to do so would alter the future in such a way as to remove any necessity to change the past that once was, Earth 2 dissects the struggle of Good vs. Evil to its core and discovers a sobering truth: there can be no good without evil and there can be no evil without good.
This may seem a self evident truth but it is one which carries with it characteristics far too often ignored in fiction. In world where those with super powers decide not to protect and serve but rather rule and destroy and the one force for good is Lex Luthor we must all wonder what could be so bad, no?
There is one part in this story that stood out to me most of all. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern and Flash all go with Lex to his anti-matter universe leaving J’onn J’onnz and Aquaman behind they share a moment: “They’re gone. J’onn if there are complications…” “Then let us pray you and I are equal to them, Arthur.” It is a simple statement but it conveys such strength and conviction. It compels the reader to feel for the characters; to have the faith in them that they must show in themselves.
JLA – Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely is a tale worth reading. It will hold the attention of even the most despondent JLA fan because it is less a JLA story than a narrative of the human condition and the nature of who they are as heroes; at their best and at their worst.
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Till next time…