Home > Weekend Asides > Weekend Aside: JLA 27 – “The Bigger They Come….”

Weekend Aside: JLA 27 – “The Bigger They Come….”

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Written By: Mark Millar
Art By: Mark Pajarillo, Walden Wong and Marlo Alquiza

Although people remember the first three years of the relaunched JLA as the “Morrison run”, in reality a fair number of guest writers contributed to the run in addition to Grant Morrison himself. While the usual go-to guest writer was future regular writer Mark Waid, by the time JLA #27 hit the stands, Grant Morrison was collaborating with future Marvel star writer Mark Millar (at the time better known for his tenure on Superman Adventures) on a series called Aztek. As a result, Millar got a shot at what was at the time the biggest job in comics: writing the JLA.

For his JLA guest-shot, Millar was tasked with returning one of the classic JLA members, The Atom, to a more permanent role on the team, as well as bringing back one of the JLA’s most enduring foes in Amazo.

If you’re expecting a typically convention-flaunting Millar effort here… it wasn’t really his style in these days; he seems to always have had more reverence for the big DC heroes than Marvel’s, especially Superman. In this case, that goes so far as to echoing Morrison’s structure of the JLA, as Green Lantern (still Kyle Rayner here) and Flash show up at the lab of Ray Palmer, AKA The Atom, a former member of the JLA and a close ally of Wally’s predecessor Barry Allen. GL and Flash wound up paired together a lot under Morrison’s tenure, as they were the ‘kids’ of the core seven members; here, they’re around to reminisce and invite Ray back onto the team as science advisor, but Palmer declines.

We then see some of the satellite members (the team had expanded to an unweildy 14 members by this point), such as Steel, Plastic Man and Huntress, investigating an Amazo that’s been dug up and is ready to activate in the next hour. That team calls for backup, as they don’t know what Amazo’s capabilities are. Meanwhile, the command group of the League – Superman, Batman, and J’onn – are meeting in a Tokyo restaurant to discuss the state of the league. Here, Millar takes a very talky scene and makes it pretty entertaining, with Clark and Bruce trying to one-up each other and getting in a few digs along the way.

The relatively pastoral scenes are interrupted by Amazo, who wakes up and starts to wail on the Leaguers in attendance, who eventually get bolstered by the rest of the frontline league members. This proves to be a bad plan, as Amazo is more like the one from Justice League, capable of adapting to any JLA member’s powers. The League decides to overwhelm him, calling in the reserves:

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Amazo needs to basically upgrade into a godlike state, and he destroys every hero preseent. Before the League can rally even more forces, Atom shows up with a way of cutting Amazo’s gordian knot:

Ah, the literalness of comic book science. Gotta love it. Not only does Atom make it back onto the roster, but he also gets the deal most of the vets do – no monitor duty, much to Kyle and Wally’s consternation.

Although this issue is remarkably talky for a fight against a power-absorbing robot in stripey pants, it’s a clever little done-in-one tale. Millar would later shake his image as a Morrison clone, but he’s never been quite as enjoyable as his DCU days.

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Categories: Weekend Asides
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