Comic Review – “JLA / Avengers” aka “Avengers / JLA”

Superman. Captain America. A couple hundred others
I won’t bother to list by name. They’re all here.

General Information

Title: “JLA / Avengers” or “Avengers / JLA”,
depending on the company
that released that issue.

Author: Kurt Busiek

Illustrator(s): George Perez

Original Publication Date: Individual issues started
in August 2003,
and finally finished on March 31, 2004.

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

Earth’s mightiest heroes from two different Earths
band together to
face a massive challenge.

High Point

“Sorry to disappoint, but in my world, it looks like
the dials go up
to eleven.”

Low Point

I was hoping that one of the most anticipated comic
cross-overs from
the last thirty years would be a little more original
than the
standard “villains swap heroes, and make heroes fight
each other,
until the heroes recognize each other’s inherent
nobility long enough
to stop fighting long enough to find and defeat the
real threat,
before everything is wrapped up in a way that means
the cross-over
need never be referred to again.”

The Scores

The originality is the weakest category, as
you might have
gathered from the Low Point. The basic plot is
pretty much identical
to so many others, but some of the smaller details
are new. (For
example, the extra layer.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is excellent. Many pages are
poster-worthy.
(For example, Superman getting Mjolnir on the chin.)
I give it 6 out
of 6.

The story is a bit predictable, but it reads
like a story
written by a continuity master. The clues are there,
and reasons for
odd behaviour are explained quickly and almost
adequately. I give it
5 out of 6.



The characterization here is clear, but
there is no depth or
growth. The cast of characters is huge, so it’s hard
to do that, but
it’s still weak. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produces is
pretty strong. I’m
not a huge fan of either team, but I can’t deny how
cool it is to see
them together, particularly in that fourth issue. My
only
disappointment was not seeing Superman really cut
loose with his
borrowed equipment in that fourth issue. I give it 6
out of 6.

The flow was very, very fast, but well
maintained. Perez
must have loved to do this project; he could draw
every Avenger and
Justice Leaguer in every outfit they’ve ever worn.
The realities
shifted all the time, but the dialogue and action
kept the reader
moving with it. It’s extremely hard to keep things
moving with this
much action and this much confusion and reality
bending, but the team
pulled it off. Wow. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is recommended to anyone who
enjoys classic
superhero action stories, regardless of how familiar
they are with
either team. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, JLA / Avengers receives 36 out of
42.

4 replies on “Comic Review – “JLA / Avengers” aka “Avengers / JLA””

  1. graikor says:

    Annotations yet?
    I loved the series, and I recognized a good portion of the references, but I have to admit that although I have been reading JLA since the 70’s, I am fairly unfamiliar with the Avengers as a team, so some of the Avengers stuff was completely lost on me.

    Does anyone know if there are any annotations posted on the net to help me maximize my enjoyment of the series?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Annotations yet?

      Does anyone know if there are any annotations posted on
      the net to help me maximize my enjoyment of the series?

      Check out the rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe and
      rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroups. Annotations of
      half of issue 4 went up yesterday, with a promise of the
      rest today. Somebody has requested a repost of all
      previous annotations, so those may be out soon, too.
      They’re certainly in Google Groups archives.

      • emagles says:

        Re: Annotations yet?
        Excuse me, but I’ve got a question.
        I’m from Argentina and my english isn’t as good as Id’ loke it to be. I ‘d like to know the exact meaning of this phrase:

        “Sorry to disappoint, but in my world, it looks like the dials go up to eleven.”

        What’s Superman saying? is this a common phrase in the U.S.A that’s used when something almost impossible is achieved? Or it has to do with the phrase that Thor says before this?

        Please, it would be great if someone can answer this to me. Thanks a lot!!!

        Emagles

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Annotations yet?

          I ‘d like to know the exact meaning of this phrase:

          “Sorry to disappoint, but in my world, it looks like the
          dials go up to eleven.”

          What’s Superman saying? is this a common phrase in the
          U.S.A that’s used when something almost impossible is
          achieved? Or it has to do with the phrase that Thor says
          before this?

          It is a reference to the remarkably funny movie This
          is Spinal Tap
          , a “mockumentary.” It’s pretending to
          be a documentary, but the band doesn’t exist. At one
          point, one of the band members shows their non-standard
          equipment. On most amplifiers, the dials go up to ten as
          the highest value, but the amps that Spinal Tap had went
          up to eleven. It’s not a particularly common phrase, but
          if you’re familiar with the material being referenced, it
          becomes very funny.

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