Justice League of America #200.

§ May 25th, 2004 § Filed under happy anniversary happy anniversary Comments Off on Justice League of America #200.

Justice League of America #200 is one of my favorite superhero comics, bought off the stands by a 12-year-old me back in ’82. The plot (involving the return of the alien warriors from the team’s origin story in issue #9 from ’62) basically pits the original members of the JLA (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, etc.) against the team members that joined later. The battles between the heroes are separated out into chapters, each by a different and appropriate illustrator: Atom vs. Green Lantern by Gil Kane, Flash vs. Elongated Man by Carmine Infantino, Green Arrow & Black Canary vs. Batman by Brian Bolland, Aquaman vs. Red Tornado by Jim Aparo, and more — there’s not a clunker in the bunch. Each chapter features at least one full page drawing of the heroes confronting each other…a nice showcase for each artist to strut his stuff. The framing chapters and wraparound cover are by George Perez. It’s 72 pages, no ads, and well worth your time should you happen upon a copy.

This is the quintessential superhero comic anniversary issue, the one by which all others should be judged: it features 1) plenty of artists*, 2) all the characters regularly associated with the book, 3) a more or less stand-alone story (if you haven’t read the original origin story, it’s recapped), and 4) a nice reflection on the history of the book and what makes it unique (both within the story itself and in the essay by writer Gerry Conway, printed on the inner covers). Too many anniversary or “special” issues seem to be the culmination of the previous year’s plotlines…which I suppose is fine for that title’s regular readers. But, there are some people, like me, who like to pick up the larger special issues to sample other titles or characters and would rather get a self-contained story instead of “the senses-shattering final chapter!”

And yes, before you ask, the Gil Kane chapter does feature one of his patented “haymaker punch/receiver of punch flung backwards, head over heels” shots. It wouldn’t be Gil Kane without it!

* Okay, you don’t have to have “plenty of artists” for a good anniversary book, necessarily, but it certainly adds to the appeal of this particular comic!

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