Comic Review – “JLA / Avengers #1”

Some people have been anticipating this project since
negotiations began over 20 years ago. Does it deliver?

General Information

Title: JLA / Avengers #1

Author: Kurt Busiek

Illustrator: George Perez

Original Publication Date: September 3, 2003. (Some areas
may not
receive it until September 4, due to the Labour Day holiday.)

ISBN: 0-7851-1389-4

Cover Price: $5.95 US, $9.50 Can


Cosmic beings are disrupting the Universes, allowing heroes and
villains from Marvel and DC to meet each other head to head.

It’s printed in the Prestige format, which means that it’s more
expensive than most comics, but it’s also twice as long and

High Point

“Oh, right – NOW I got it! These losers – they’re nothin’ but a
of Squadron Supreme wanna-bes!”

Batman’s encounter with the Punisher was a close second.

Low Point

The “two super teams are tricked into fighting each other” plot
is grossly overused in this sort of thing. It’s used well here, and
seems to have some excellent motivation, but it’s still overused.

The Scores

The plot revealed thus far doesn’t seem particularly
original. However, given the amount of set-up
required for
this sort of thing, not to mention the fairly limited number of ways
to get the two teams to meet, it’s fairly forgivable, particularly in
light of how the misunderstanding occurs. I’ll be expecting more
later issues, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork by George Perez is very much on
target. He’s got
great story-telling skills, and can pack a lot of detail into some
very character-filled pages. He’s got a huge task to accomplish
and he’s pulled it off. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is well crafted so far, even if it does use
stock elements. Still, it’s hard to avoid some of these given the
nature of the material. I give it 5 out of 6, again expecting more
from later issues.

The characterization is decent. Most personalities
through clearly, but the cast of characters this story will require
simply doesn’t allow much depth to them. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was high at
moments. I
haven’t really been a huge fan of either team, so I don’t feel quite
as much fanboy glee as some. Still, the fact that the story still
works is a testament to the way it was made; this story could
stand on
its own. People who don’t know either team would still find this
entertaining read. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow through the story is excellent, particularly
the dense artwork and the reality-hopping that the script
The pace starts fast and doesn’t slow down, which is very
for the rest of the miniseries. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid story that sold me on the rest of
miniseries. It’s a classic superhero slugfest with some of
most recognizable characters. Last December, Wizard picked
this as
their most anticipated project of the year. So far, the only title
that has impressed me more is Supreme Power.
This is a great
comic; devoted fans of either team should pick it up before it sells
out. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, JLA/Avengers #1 receives 35 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

This is likely the last week I’ll be reviewing comics on
for a while. My labs and courses will keep me on campus past
closing time of my preferred comic shop Tuesday through
Thursday, so
starting next week new comic reviews will come on Fridays.

Reviews of Eternal #4 and Ultimate
Spider-Man #45

will be up later today.

3 replies on “Comic Review – “JLA / Avengers #1””

  1. Liked it…

    I enjoyed the first issue. Being a long time comic fan, it was hard not to. Keep in mind, I read some of the Marvel/DC crossovers from the mid-90’s, and hated them. I also have read some of their older crossovers (collected in “Crossover Classics”, with a very nice Perez cover), and thought they were too campy for my serious comic fan tastes. But just from the way this series started, for the first time in a very long time, I the next issue.

    The story was a blast (and to the naysayers saying it was another cliched plot, yes it was, so what?), the art was great. However, it is quite obvious superman and captain america are being influenced somehow, thus leading to the fight toward the end. Still, I enjoyed the contrast between how the normal folk of the dc universe and the normal folk of the marvel universe looked at costumed types.

    Ok, sorry this review has been written like a toddler, but here are my predictions:
    1. Magic will play a very large role in the fight between the two teams. Scarlett Witch got rid of starro with her chaos magic/mutant power. Thor decks Superman with his magic hammer.
    2. Batman will beat Captain America next issue. Cap, like Supes, is obviously “under the influence” of some sort of cosmic mood alteration, thus giving clean minded Batmn the upper hand.
    3. Whoever Iron Man fights, IM will beat. Not sure who it will be, but Iron Man has not showed flaws which other characters have.
    4. Martian Manhunter’s lack of ability to use his telepathic powers on MU charcters will go a long way.
    5. Supes recovers, and may beat thor, but since he too has a “DUI” of a cosmic level, will not use mjolnr, since in his corrupted mindset, would not be worthy.
    6. Hawkeye will take someone on the JLA out. My bet is Plastic Man or Aquaman. Not just that Busiek has stated Hawk is one of his faves, if not his fave, But betwen the two groups, is the most human of the bunch.
    7. Iron Man connecting with Mother Box will end the fight short. I see the Avengers getting a few good licks in, but the JLA taking control. Now, will an army of Avengers attack the JLA universe, or will the JLA get together a strike force and go after that colossus-killing idiot Quesada and that pompous insider trading crook Jemas? (I am more of a maarvel guy, but love DC more since fat @$$ and the dubya of comics took over)

    Well, anyway, this is gone on for too long, forgive my rambling, and check out the series, so far I haveloved it

  2. 20 year wait
    First off, I don’t think Batman will be able to take Cap out, as predicted by Wetbrain in the previous post, no matter how much under the influence Cap is. Also the Batman vs Punisher “highlight” actually happens off camera, so none of us get to see the Punisher take a beating which may have slowed the story anyway. On the story, the whole thing reeks of ‘Secret Wars’ revisited with a little ‘Crisis’ thrown in. The most interesting aspect was giving the Marvel and DC Universes seperate realities and seeing the transplanted heroes over-react to them like fish out of water- a much better premise than previous crossovers where the heroes were in the same world (OK, different cities) and simply hadn’t crossed paths up to that point. That said, the series looks like it will keep playing on Marvel/DC differences but otherwise your eyes will glaze over at a tired old story line of another all-powerful cosmic invader (Starlin’s The End, Secret Wars, etc) creating the need to search for devises and such. I know a combined team of the JLA and the Avengers (already assuming they will join forces after the battle in issue 2) needs a powerful foe, but this type of story was already tired by 1969 or so, I’d rather they all fought the Puppet Master or someone like that. On that subject, notice the heavy presence of Kirby creations in both Universes, and the absence of any Ditko creation in this book.
    I bought this book for the nostalgia of the project that never was, until now. I can’t say it was worth the wait or worth the $6.50 (with tax), but for the amount of work Mr Perez put into this book (pencils AND inks!) he deserves to be showered with money. He’s definitely shown he’s still the greatest superhero team artist juggling an amazing amount of characters here.
    With all my negatives, will I pass on the big clash in issue 2? Probably not, so long as these guys really duke it out.
    Highlights: Arkon and Thundra in the 1st two pages (bring ’em back!!) and Thor taking out Supes in the last 3.

    • There’s something familiar about them….

      1. Surely someone on one of these “best and brightest” teams should say, “hmmm… Maybe there’s a downside to our gathering up all of these super-items in one place…. Maybe someone’s using us to gather up these items….”

      I guess every crossover has to establish its own context of reality, whether shared or alterate universe. In this case, having the JLA and the Avengers unfamiliar with each other allows a contrast between the two worlds. But someone’s hit a reset button; in the 90s, several crossovers established that chracters from these universes have already visited each other, and that at least some of the DC comics exist in the Marvel universe.

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