Nov 17, 2017

10 Awesome Moments from Grant Morrison's Justice League

Grant Morrison is the best guy to ever write the Justice League. I mean that. His JLA run is the best there is in terms of creativity and instilling a sense of wonder. Yes, Len Wein and Gerry Conway in the 70s and early 80s established what would really become the classic version of the Justice League, and all the tropes established therein, including my ever-beloved multiverse. And yes, JM DeMatteis and Keith Giffen turned everything upside down with their comedic take in Justice League International. And, yes, Geoff Johns has brought the Justice League to a new audience. And yes, okay, if you're counting the animated series, Justice League Unlimited is one of the greatest animated series of all time. But in terms of simply establishing the awesomeness of the Justice League, getting the essence of their characters in as few lines as possible, and having the most imaginative and creative use of their powers, no one tops Grant Morrison. So let's count down...

10 Awesome Moments from Grant Morrison's JLA
by Duy

This list isn't in order, and keep in mind that the run is 41 issues long. I am pulling mostly from the first half. Hell, three of these are from the same issue.

10. The Green Lantern of Krypton

The Key has captured the Justice League and placed them all in dreams. The dreams, mostly, are based on old Silver Age stories, modernized for contemporary readers. The Flash is in a world where everyone has superspeed and he has to be the glorfied traffic controller. Bruce Wayne is married to Catwoman, and Robin has taken his place. And Kal-El is on a Krypton that never exploded, and becomes the Green Lantern of Sector 2813.

9. Angels, Meet Diana

Asmodel and his rogue angels have invaded the Earth and the Justice League has to stop them. Zauriel, an angel who chose mortality for love, warns Wonder Woman that going into their ship and even touching anything in it will burn. Wonder Woman's answer? "Burns heal." And the angels were properly introduced to Diana.

8. You Will Surpass Him

In the Classic Era of the Justice League, whenever they needed a magic guest star, they'd turn to the universal plot device known as the Phantom Stranger. In the 90s, Grant Morrison thought, who'd be the best counterpart to the Phantom Stranger? The answer was the Sandman, the Lord of Dreams. One quick phone call to Neil Gaiman later, and he had permission to use him. Here's Daniel, the Lord of Dreams, telling Kyle Rayner that he will surpass Hal Jordan.

Look, this is an awesome moment, because Kyle Rayner is way better than Hal Jordan. He's a much more interesting character and a much better wielder of the power ring. That's another reason Morrison's run was the best: Kyle Rayner and Wally West were much better than Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, both individually and as a pair. The best Green Lantern and the best Flash.

7. I Brought the Justice League. That's a Plan.

Adam Strange enslaves the Justice League into helping him build a giant device that will help aliens invade Rann. However, this is all a feint, as he actually has them setting up the devices that will stop the aliens. Green Lantern comments that it was one hell of a gamble, and Adam's response was:

"If I'd contacted the Seven Soldiers of Victory, it would be a gamble. I brought the Justice League. That's a plan."

This entry is a bit of a cheat, since Mark Waid wrote this issue.

6. Nice Brain, Four Lobes

In an alternate future, Darkseid has taken over the world. With everyone down or out, the only two people left to fight him are Green Arrow and the Atom. And because of scientific know-how, they take him down.

5. Pull the Moon

In the late 90s, Superman was made of electricity, which is to say, he had electric powers. The Superman books weirdly didn't actually do much with these new powers, other than to establish that Superman is Superman regardless of what his powers are. But Grant Morrison, who had then scripted Superman pushing the moon, which was falling out of gravity, because it would be an iconic image. Denied this, he was forced to get creative.

Superman uses his electrical powers to give the moon poles that would repel itself from the Earth and put it back in orbit. What was scripted to be a simple iconic image became the best use of this short-lived powerset in our Man of Steel.

4. Shapeshift the Brain

Batman and the Martian Manhunter are in a maze created by the Joker's mind. With no logical pattern to follow, J'onn has an idea. If he can shapeshift his entire body, why couldn't he restructure his brain so that it was similar to the Joker's? Once done, the path is a straight line.

This is one of those brain-tickling clever moments that kept me coming back month after month.

3. Ready When You Are

Before Batman was unbearable and the poster child for "Would beat you as long as he had time to prepare" (essentially making him a Black Panther ripoff), Batman being one step ahead of the enemies was actually cool. With the world taken over by the Hyperclan and the superpowered members of the JLA captured, Batman figures out they're Martians and lures them into a trap.

Bonus points for Superman figuring it out moments later and busting out of his captivity, taking the Hyperclan's leader Protex down.

2. Superman Wrestles an Angel

Oh, y'know, just Superman wrestling an angel. No biggie.

1. The Punch Heard Around the World

My absolute favorite creative moment in the entire series. Fighting another speedster, Zum, Wally West pulls out a Flash fact: the closer something gets to the speed of light, the more mass it acquires. So Flash taps into the Speed Force, runs around the world in a straight line, and punches Zum in the punch heard around the world.

It's so awesome that Bruce Timm and company replicated this moment in Justice League Unlimited!

So okay, yeah, maybe Morrison's run didn't have the soap operatic elements or the character growth that you'd expect in other team books. But he wrote the best version of the greatest Green Lantern of all time, did more with Electric Superman than Superman's writers did, nailed everyone's characterization in moments and one-liners, made sure that every entrance was epic, and thought up ways to use their powers that were rooted in science and had never been used before. Grant Morrison is the greatest Justice League writer of all time. I rest my case.

1 comment:

Ulf said...

You got a lot of them right except for the part about Kyle Rayner being more interesting than Hal Jordan. Kyle and his writers stuck to using the ring as a weapon that could create objects. Hal is all about the simpler objects, but uses the ring for way more (telepathy, etc.) just look at what Morrison is doing with The Green Lantern seasons 1 and 2 with Liam Sharp. 100% Hal.

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