And so we reach the end of teambook month with a look at a miniseries containing the greatest team ever, the late nineties, early noughties era Justice League America. The first story in this slim volume I'm looking at particularly because it functions as a prologue to next month where I'll be looking at Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers Of Victory series. JLA Classified features the Sheeda and Neh-buh-loh who go on to play a significant role in Seven Soldiers, this appearance being a prepemptive strike by them. Fans of Paul Cornell's brilliant Knight and Squire miniseries should also be interested in this as the wonderful Squire, Beryl, gets a starring role here. The trade paperback also contains a bumper length one shot that, in a pleasing Alan Moore-esque "end leads back to the beginning" is a team up starring the WildC.A.T.s and like Spawn/WildC.A.T.s it's really not that brilliant. Although it's definitely better as it doesn't treat the reader like a moron, the art though completely average at least works sequentially and the JLA are far more interesting in their interactions with the WildC.A.T.s (especially since several of the WildC.A.T.s are rip-offs of them) than Spawn was.
JLA CLASSIFIED - This comic starts out with the International Ultramarine Corp's in action. These are made up of characters created my Grant Morrison for the crossover event DC One Million. The original core team of four are Warmaker 1, Flow, 4-D and Pulse 8. They were artifically created to oppose the Justice League, but rebelled and now police the planet from their flying city Superbia. Other members include Knight and Squire, Goraiko, Jack O'Lantern, Vixen, Olympian, Kid Impala, Tasmanian Devil, Little Mermaid and Fleur-de-Lys. The main thing that sets them apart from the JLA is their willingness to use extreme violence and kill to deal with difficult situations, making them similar to the Wildstorm superteam The Authority.
|Gorilla Grodd in action.|
They find a mysterious cube and Grodd tells them he burned Kinshasa to attract their attention. It's a trap! Goraiko suddenly sends out an electro-magnetic pulse that takes out Superbia's power. The cube starts to absorb 4-D to gain a humanoid shape while Squire escapes the crashing Superbia on a flying bike and Grodd smashes Warmaker's armour.
Narration: "Savagery is crowned King. Civilisations defenders fall."
The action cuts to Batman, Squire contacts him via the Bat-Phone to Batman's Bat-surprise. When he is filled in on the situation he goes to his "sci-fi" closet to get outfitted to go help. He tells Alfred the rest of the JLA are off saving someone else's universe. Back with Grodd, he is ranting about using Superia to smash human civilisation. He asks Neh-Buh-Loh what's in it for him. he responds that he is preparing a way for "my Queen of terror".
|The sci-fi closet. Note the Dalek there.|
|Squire Beryl gets saved by Batman in a flying saucer. Aren't comics awesome?!|
The action then returns to the Ultra-Marines. Knight, 4-D, Jack O'Lantern and The Little Mermaid are barricaded in the armory. They intend to go on the offensive but 4-D has a little Sheeda "spine rider" on the back of his head controlling him, and he makes tumours appear in the Little Mermaid to force the others to give up and they all end up under Sheeda control.
|A Sheeda "spine rider".|
The real JLA arrive on the scene and Green Lantern engages 4-D who restores his weakness to yellow. As he falls Flash creates a vortex that cushions him and sends him flying back up where he punches 4-D out. Wonder Woman takes on several of the Corp, including Vixen and Tasmanian Devil. Grodd keeps rambling and ranting about the superiority of the gorilla race to Batman, who when Grodd's back is turned, breaks free and kicks Grodd hard in the groin.
|Olympian takes down John J'onzz.|
Olympian attacks Aquaman, while Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to overide Tasmanian Devils mind control and lets him battle his teammates. Aquaman knocks Olympian out, while Batman does the same to Jack O'Lantern. Before he can fight Knight, Squire appears and appeals to Knight not to fight Batman. Knight manages to pull the Spine Rider off the back of his head and crushes it.
|But John is too badass to stay down.|
Superman reaches Neh-Buh-Loh and demands to know what he is.
Neh-Buh-Loh: "The seed of evil Black Death planted bore fruit in me! I am Neh-Buh-Loh the adult universe of Qwewq".
He doesn't fight Superman, saying he has tested them, then he teleports away saying next time he will be back with his people and the takeover will be less ostentatious. With the rest of the Ultramarines freed of Sheeda control and the gorilla's imprisoned, Superman scolds the Ultramarines.
Superman: "You were a disaster waiting to happen, Warmaker. 'Superheroes' who don't mind killing to achieve their ends can be dangerous in the wrong hands."
He suggests they all go into the universe of Qwewq and become the heroes that universe needs, which might stop it becoming Neh-Buh-Loh. They agree and Boom Tube into Qwewq and we'll find out what happened to them in the upcoming Seven Soldiers Of Victory series.
|Tune in next month folks to see how they do.|
|Pictured: The 90's.|
The Flash: "Trust me on this Wally. It's like kissing: just one of those things that won't make any sense until you're older."
They chase Epoch back and forth through time, foiling each attempt he makes to kill them. Finally Epoch sends them into the future but keeps the ships time drive in the past. They end up stranded in AD 55, Batman realises the time drive might still be around but buried in the ground, so Green Lantern makes a plough and they dig it up, the other four hold onto Kyle's ring to boost the will that powers it and jump start the time drive. They return to the present (1997, the date of publication), but it's definitely not their right present.
|Stuck in the Wildstorm Universe a year before it was cool.|
When two superteams who are unfamiliar with each other meet there is always some fisticuffs over a misunderstanding before the inevitable team-up occurs. When Majestic rather arrogantly says the following to a curious Superman:
Majestic: "I am Majestros of the Kheran Empire. These are the WildC.A.T.s and if you dare subject me to another electromagnetic scan, I intend to tear your head from your body".
Superman responds by punching him far outside the building they are in. As Majestic is the WildC.A.T.s Superman rip-off (he was absent from Spawn/WildC.A.T.s I assume simply because he'd have been able to take out even a powered up Spawn easily) there is something quite satisfying about Superman's response to him, even if it does feel a little out of character for him.
|Zealot versus Wonder Woman.|
Grifter isn't a direct copy of Batman. He is the only WildC.A.T member with no superpowers so is alike in that respect, and he is probably the most "badass" of them too, also like Batman. But he uses guns, which of course is Batman's big no-no, and he's intelligent enough to see just how much Batman outclasses him by the fact Batman managed to disarm him before they even started fighting and he correctly decides not to push his luck.
|Flash and Void.|
Superman and Majestic sort out their differences off screen, they realise they share a common enemy and finally Zealot calms down which she does out of respect for Wonder Woman's fighting prowess, they then try and work out what their next move should be against their reality messing, time-travelling opponent.
Batman: "We still don't know where we are. According to the Grifter here this is 1997 but he's never heard of Metropolis, Gotham City or the Justice League."
Grifter: "Great name though guys. Says what it means and it's not afraid to get laughed at."
Cheeky blighter! I assume this is Morrison actually poking fun at the supposedly more "realistic" Wildstorm universe characters who are in fact just as silly as those of DC and Marvel. Anyway, the Justice League set about the monsters that have just arrived. Majestic is still a bit dubious about their tale of coming from a parallel universe, but Void, who's "thing" is space and time travel says it makes sense with what's been happening.
Void: "This 'Time Lord' they spoke of has disrupted probability so severely on their timewave that the distortions are leaking through to our universe, look! This chaos will continue to accelerate unless we stop it at source."
|Some metaphysical folderol.|
They make it, but in the short time they have been away, Epoch fused with with the ultimate weapon of the 68th century, a self evolving supercomputer. Now he can't tell where he ends and it begins. He has used his power to summon troops from the future to subdue Earth, and he intends to convert the Earth into a huge time travelling engine with humans as it's slave population.
|The villain "Epoch"|
Void manages to disable the forcefield around Epoch and they hit him with energy beams, bullets and a sword. Before Epoch can overload and destroy Earth the JLA arrive with their time cube which they have programmed to follow a circle in time, a temporal prison. Epoch screams that the records promised he would be master of the earth and he disappears locked in a timeloop for all eternity.
|The WildC.A.T.s save the day.|
|And they return the their own universes.|