Trade Paperback Tuesday: ‘JLA: Volume 1’

Everyone knows that Wednesday is new comic book day. While picking up your new issues consider looking at some of the trade paperbacks and hard covers of past issues and story lines. But which ones should you choose?

That’s why every Tuesday, The Flickcast will recommend a collection of comics that are just as good, if not better, than the issues you are currently buying. Books that deserve to be read, and bought the next time you walk into your local comic book store.

“I’m only human; They don’t believe I can penetrate their stronghold. They don’t believe I pose a threat. Wrong.” – Batman – JLA #3

Everyone has their favorite superhero team. For some, it is the X-Men, for others it is the Avengers, but for me, it will always be the Justice League. The team’s membership includes not only Superman and Batman, which just by themselves are unstoppable, but includes classics like Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Aquaman.

Now, the Justice League has over sixty years of publishing history. So a reader wanting to read the Justice League may be a little confused about where to start, and that’s where our Trade Paperback Tuesday pick comes in.

JLA: Volume 1 collects the first nine issues of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s run in the 1990’s plus a Secret Files special. Morrison treated his Justice League team as if they were the Greek Gods themselves protecting their kingdom from their castle in the clouds. (This Justice League had its Watchtower base on the moon!) His team also included the “Big 7” of DC Comics, and eventually expanded to a membership of twelve.

This line-up of the Justice League is, in my humble opinion, the best. Each member fit the right role for the team. Superman leads the team, pulling off feats and tasks that raise him to “God” like levels. He is humble, and doesn’t perceive himself as an inspiration to other heroes in this run. This leads to a classic line by the Flash, “This is the guy who said he couldn’t live up to his myth. He’s wrestling an angel!”

Batman takes the secret leadership role in this team as the ultimate planner. Give Batman five minutes to plan, and he will figure out a way to beat you. Wonder Woman and Aquaman fill the warrior roles on the team as this is the era of harpoon hand Aquaman. While Green Lantern and Flash take the role  of the “new” kids. This was Wally West’s and Kyle Rayner’s first time in the Justice League.

The stories and art in the collection hold up very well for being published over ten years ago. The themes and arcs make the Justice League come off as majestic while the villains and action sequences make the book fun, epic, and exciting.  In this collection, the Justice League face off with an invasion from Mars, and the armies of Heaven and Hell.

JLA: Volume 1 is an example of the solid storytelling that DC did back in the 1990s. Before all the rebirths and retcons, when DC decided to let its characters grow, die, change costumes, and everything else under the sun. With this book, Grant Morrison saved the Justice League from dying in the publishing world, and proved to mainstream audiences that he could write a big superhero book. All-Star Superman would not exist if it wasn’t for this book.

If you are looking for big screen superhero action, then JLA: Volume 1 is for you. It’s the best characters DC has to offer, all teamed up, and ready to protect the Earth. This is a superhero team at its best. With more than enough story, art, and character beats to make you drop your jaw, and your inner nine-year old go “Wow!”

“I can only tell you what I believe. Humankind has to be allowed to climb to its own destiny. We can’t carry them there.” – Superman

“Then what’s the point? Why should they need us at all?” – The Flash

“To catch them if they fall.” – Superman – JLA #4

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