Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #79

Sun, December 6th, 1998 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

PRELUDE

First of all, I invite all of you who aren't reading this on the web site, to go there and click on the special commentary which came out mid-week last week regarding the whole CRISIS screw-up DC managed in time for the Christmas shopping season. That's not the cast of Riverdance you hear at DC's headquarters -- that's the sound oof DC shooting itself in the collective foot. (Of course, one toe was missing, but that will be tipped-in later.) There is a link to the special edition off the main page.

THE JLA OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

I picked up the JLA: AMERICAN DREAMS TPB this past week. It's a nice read, although I think I prefer the first TPB to this one. For starters, the first story is self-contained. I didn't realize that and kept waiting for the continuation of it to happen in the next story somewhere. That left me a bit uneasy. The first TPB was one large story, as is the rest of this volume.

This tome has one HUGE advantage over the first one: Howard Porter doesn't uglify EVERY page in this book. The gorgeous art of Oscar Jimenez is utilized in the last two chapters. The contrast is startling and makes you realize what this book lacks to keep it from becoming an instant classic: a good artist. Alas, DC signed Howard Porter to an exclusive contract, so we are probably stuck with him for a while. Do like I do: Grin and bear it. It's the story that counts, right?

THE JLA OF CHRISTMAS PAST

I've also been reading the JLA books of another time: The Giffen/DeMatteis era. I've gotten through the first two years' worth of stories and am awed by them more than just about anything else I've ever read in comics. It's an amazing package. Giffen and DeMatteis show off a wicked sense of humor, put together with lovable oafs, laughable clowns, ludicrous situations, and an overall sense of fun. Along the way, you get the likes of Ty Templeton, Kevin Maguire, and Terry Austin on art. Who could ask for anything more? Issue #24 knocked me out cold. The second half of the story contains the single funniest sequence of storytelling I may have ever read in a comic. For those of you who are familiar with it: Go to the bit which starts with the Khunds bursting out of the kitchen. It took me five minutes to read the next couple of relatively dialogueless pages. I had to put the book down to laugh out loud. BWAH-HA-HA!

A few issues earlier, there's a similarly hilarious moment in which Batman tries to talk Hawkman into joining the League. The last two panels of that page left me gasping for air, too.

These books are relatively easy to grab if you have any conventions happening around you. I've picked up just about the entire run from fifty cent bins. I think I'm a half-dozen books away from having a complete run of JLA/JLE/JLI/JLQuarterly from that era. And it only took three years. =) Patience, butterfly.

THE JLA OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE

YOUNG JUSTICE #5 has its funny moments, but it's the ending which brings you to a stop. It's powerful. It's harsh. It's something I've wanted to see in a comic in a long time. Let's hope PAD follows up on this. It's not often the moral dilemma discussed therein reaches that particular conclusion. Sorry for being so vague, but I don't want to ruin it for you.

The book also gets bonus points for printing one of my letters. Yes, I can be bought! =)

This issue is short, yes, but it's done so in the interests of editorial clarity. The editor of PCR has determined that it is better to end here than to expand this column by bringing in books which don't fit the topic of this week's column: The JLA. Besides, I already wrote 5k on the whole CRISIS thing. Go read that instead, OK? Have a good week.

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