What is ‘JLA: A League Of One’?

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Comic book characters get reinvented, it’s what they do. One year we want a dark and gritty Batman not afraid to do what must be done for the safety of Gotham, the next we want a more upbeat guy who owns his own space ship. Perhaps this is why DC has always done so well with Elseworlds books because their characters still manage to shine through. Make Batman a pirate or Superman a communist and you can still tell that it’s them. One exception to this though is Wonder Woman a hero seemingly arbitrarily picked to join Clark and Bruce to round out DC’s “holy trinity”. Despite being just as old and having her own camp t.v incarnation she has never quite shifted the books like the boys and this has meant that while they have adapted to the times she seems to have rebooted every few years with every writer on the block sure they know how to solve a problem like Diana Prince.

From secretary to super spy, god of war to diplomat Diana has had a rough time in comics and despite her owners decrying that she would never play second fiddle to anyone some of her best stories seem to have been found in other books. Case in point………………………………

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This is a Justice League book, it says so on the cover right over the picture of Wonder Woman going one on one with Smaug. The League show up and everyone gets something to do but despite all that this is a Wonder Woman comic. It just happens to guest star the League and truth be told it suffers for it. But I’m getting ahead of myself as usual for before all of that we must journey back to 1348 where British are killing French, rats are killing Italians and a Dragon is dealing with the rest of Europe. But do not worry for this is the last such Dragon in the world and soon the knights will have finished it for good. Well they would if they could find its heart. You can’t kill a dragon without a heart it seems and thus Dragons such as this had started leaving it at home in the safe behind the quite nice picture above the mantle. Unable to kill said beast they do the next best thing and bury it in a mountain and simply call it a day.

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Now roughly six hundred years later it seems the Dragon may be about ready to get out of bed. You would think this wouldn’t be a problem with a Justice League to hand but just before it can stir Wonder Woman gets word of a prophecy foretelling of the fall of the Justice League in the fight against Puff. With time running out Diana decides the best option is to take out the League before going on to fight the Dragon using the age old logic that the prophecy said the League would fall it never specified how many were in it.

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Thus the bulk of the book is actually Wonder Woman taking on each core member of the league with the book just occasionally cutting to the dragon and its army of weird little servants wiping out whole villages and pretty young virgins being left out on a silver platter, apparently just in case you forgot about the kick ass cover. Now this isn’t a ‘Tower of Babel‘ situation and its kind of interesting to see Diana try and over come the core seven at the drop of a hat. Well we say over come. Truth be told most of them are pretty embarrassing, especially when she takes out Aquaman by dropping him in the ocean and yet while she gets the drop on most of them she of course is out foxed by the Bat who is doing two jobs here. One padding out the middle and two figuring out everything, why? Because he’s Batman!

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Seriously the leaps in logic Bruce seems to make straight away to catch onto her plan are bordering on idiotic, if they weren’t of course absolutely right and the worst part is this doesn’t lead anywhere. Had this lead to Batman teaming up with Wonder Woman to fight the Draco or it becoming a three way fight with Bruce maybe not fully aware of the giant, prehistoric, fire breathing lizard then okay but as it is it’s just there to turn this from an issue to a slim trade paper back.

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There are lots of nice fantasy touches in the book and none manage to feel like a misstep, like when Wonder Woman becomes a mermaid or when we learn that Dragons are only evil because of human gold or most importantly when we find out that Dragons are real and flying around Europe with an army of Gollum like gnomes. Yet all of this is overlooked so we can establish that Batman is awesome~ish.

This all turns a decent Wonder Woman story into a passable one, except for the art work which is going for a semi Alex Ross painterly type thing and gives the book a ton of weight and gravitas.

If you see it going cheap I’d suggest picking it up mostly for the artwork and partly for the plot but I wouldn’t rush out for either.

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2 thoughts on “What is ‘JLA: A League Of One’?

  1. Great analysis. Couldn’t agree more. Wonder Woman has no firm direction nor has she found a definitive footing like Batman and Superman. Who wrote this comic? And most importantly who drew it?

    • From what I can recall it was pretty much a one man job of Christopher Moeller aside from the cover art which is the epic shot at the bottom. From what I can recall he’s a graphic artist for art prints and stuff. I’ve got to say if nothing else I would consider getting one of his prints if I could.

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