31 Days of comics, day 1

Good evening/morning/afternoon all.  I decided to kick off something a little different today, a month long challenge of sorts.  As the title suggests, this is my “31 days of comics” challenge.  I first saw the article over here at Comic Book Resources and thought it would be fun to have a go myself.  This will be a daily update, since rather than just list off everything that would drop into each category I want to give some sort of reasoning behind my choices.  So, let’s kick this thing off, shall we?  The category for day one is:

Your favourite comic

Now, for this I am going to pick out one single issue that stands out as my all time favourite, not an easy task!  But here we go.

JLA #46 – Tower of Babel, Conclusion – Harsh Words

While a tough choice, in the end all I had to do was look at my favourite story arc from a comic book series, and then pick out which issue really stood out for me.  This is the one.  In the previous issues, Ra’s Al Ghul has taken out the Justice League using Batman’s secret plans, plans he had in place to bring down the best of the best in case they went rogue.  He is just a regular man after all, surrounded by people as powerful as gods and he knows damn well that if they turned on the world they protect someone would need to be able to stop them.

The story, by Mark Waid, is incredibly strong both in terms of the grand over arching story, and the impact Batman’s actions have on all the other members of the JLA.  The dialogue throughout is sharp and concise, not too wordy but not dumbed down to basically a picture book.  Waid has a great understanding of all the characters in play here and it shows.  The pencil work throughout from Steve Scott are beautiful, everyone looks absolutely spot on.  Backgrounds are not left to sink away behind the action, remaining sharp without taking too much attention away from the foreground.  It took me a little while longer to read through the issue thanks to lingering a little while longer on each panel to fully take everything in.

One of the things I really liked about this issue was Talia lending the JLA some well needed help once they had made their recoveries, being disgusted at her fathers abuse of her beloved’s knowledge and contingencies.  I always approve when Talia shows up, never really sure what angle she will be playing and seeing her in much more of a protagonist role was a nice play.

The real meat of this issue comes at the end, however, when the league discuss how best to deal with Batman and his “betrayal”.  They opt to take a vote on whether to allow him to stay a member or not, with three in favour of expulsion and three voting to keep him in leaving Superman with the deciding vote.  While we do not see directly how he votes, not in this issue anyway (it is directly mentioned later during issue 50) Batman already knows how this is going to end and leaves before the League returns to inform him.  I love the fact that one of Batman’s greatest villains manages to have his plot foiled by a joint JLA/Talia effort, but in doing so manages to turn the JLA against Batman.  The real kicker is that I actually think Batman is totally right for making such plans, any one of the JLA members is easily powerful enough to cause an incredible amount of chaos should their powers be used for evil.  Whether they would be acting on free will or not is beside the point, and Batman’s plans were there to bring them down, not kill them.  Removing Batman from the JLA is an incredibly brave move too, considering what an absolute cash cow that character has become so it’s good to see writers willing to go for the risky move.  And we ended up with one of the all time greatest story lines run in a Justice League comic as the pay off, with a really satisfying conclusion that left me sitting there wondering what the hell they were planning on doing next.

So there we have it folks, the first day done.  I’m really looking forward to delving into some of the other categories now, and one thing I am going to try to do is make each answer unique.  If it comes to it and there ends up an obvious choice for one category that has already been used in another then so be it, but ideally I’d quite like a different one each day.  Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I will be back tomorrow with day 2, “A comic you recommend to everyone, no matter what”.  Good night all!


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