Friday, December 31, 2010

Comics Review: Justice League: The Tornado’s Path

Title: Justice League: The Tornado’s Path (DC Comics, Amazon)
Author: Brad Meltzer (Official, What I Believe: Official Blog, Wikipedia)

Justice League: The Tornado’s Path is the story of the re-forming of the Justice League, which fell apart after the events of Identity Crisis (also by Meltzer) and Infinite Crisis. The story starts with the big three (i.e. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) discussing who they think should be in the JLA. The story then follows the exploits of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Arsenal, Black Lightening, Vixen, and the Red Tornado as they eventually coalesce into the new Justice League. Much of the story deals with Red Tornado’s search for humanity and Roy Harper’s coming of age (and shedding the mantle of Arsenal for that of Red Arrow) also with the interpersonal relationships of the big three and Hal Jordan and Green Arrow.

Meltzer is a masterful writer who is able to craft these characters into heart wrenching stories that make you care more about them as people than as superheroes. In a lot of ways Meltzer has been allowed to book end two eras of the JLA and in some respect, the entire DC Universe, in Identity Crisis and The Tornado’s Path. Much of the post Crisis on Infinite Earths DCU was about breaking from the past. The JLA was full of new and different faces. Many of the classic heroes died and were replaced by newer, younger versions (see Green Lantern and Green Arrow for examples) and much of the tone seemed to try and separate that era from the Silver Age. Since Infinite Crisis the DCU has seemed to be returning to its pre-COIE roots. Heroes have been returned (see Green Arrow, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Aquaman), the Multiverse is back, and the JLA has taken on a look that resembles the classic lineup. Now this is not to say that DC is just rehashing the Silver Age because it is not. These characters are older and wiser and in many ways the writing is much more complex. In a way I get the feeling that the folks at DC wanted to bring back a lot of the things that were great about the Silver Age while at the same time forging a new path for these characters and this medium. It’s little touches like making the JLA’s new base of operations, the Hall of Justice, resemble the Hall from the Super Friends cartoon that is a nod to the past while at the same time including characters new to the JLA (Black Lightening and Red Arrow) the help keep things fresh. I’m not sure if the comics gurus have decided that this is a new era but I can’t help but think of the DCU now in not only a pre-/post-COIE way but also a pre-/post-Infinite Crisis way (the latter being the new, modern era). And The Tornado’s Path is an excellent way to bring the Justice League into this new, modern era.

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