Justice League of America #12: Brad's Meltzer's fantastic run on the JLA concludes with a shocking cliffhanger! “Monitor Duty" is an amazing day in the lives of the world's greatest heroes, as only the League’s artist Ed Benes could envision!
This solicitation neatly sums up what's wrong with Brad Meltzer's Justice League of America, careless typo included.
First, "concludes... with a cliffhanger"? Does someone need to teach Brad (or whoever's writing DC solicitations) what "concludes" means?
Second, and more to the point, the big concluding issue is a Day in the Life story?
It's not that I have a problem with Day in the Life issues, they can be great. The first issue of Astro City is a Day in the Life of the Samaritan. Joe Kelly's first issue on JLA was a fun Day in the Life story. It's a good way to show what superheroes are like when they're not on a life and death mission, when they're just hanging out or dealing with more mundane problems. Day in the Life issues can display hidden depths to characters and humanize superhumans. They are great sources of exposition and as such belong at the beginning of the run!
But Meltzer's entire run has been day in the life stories. What superheroes are like when they aren't acting like superheroes. And it just doesn't work.
It doesn't work because most of the characters in the Justice League already have their own book (or two) to get character work done (and the ones that don't don't belong in the League).
It doesn't work because dwelling on the character stuff needlessly decompresses the story, spreading a two issue plot over six issues, losing narrative drive and reader interest at the same time.
And it doesn't work because the low stakes interpersonal drama ("uh oh, Power Girl wants to kiss Hawkman") looks pretty petty in comparison to the high-stakes superhero drama ("A giant moth is eating Earths' history!").*
I should say I actually enjoy Meltzer's take on superheroes, that the battles are vicious but extremely fast, leaving a lot of time to stand around, talking about books or playing capture the flag, in the right books. I liked his run on Green Arrow, about a man putting his life back together, and even appreciated how Identity Crisis focused on the emotional cost of a single murder; in stark contrast to way casualties in the thousands are usually forgotten by the end of most crossovers. So I might check out whatever he does next.
But Justice League is just not the book for him. It's the crossover action book of the DC Universe about heroes coming together to save lives, and if they are NOT actively engaged in saving lives most of the time, then I don't want to read about it.
I am eager to hear who the new writer for the Justice League will be, what his or (please please please please please) her plans for the team are, and how quickly they'll drop Geo-Force, Vixen, and Red Arrow from the team.
*I have a similar complaint with "24", where people keep wanting to interrupt Jack's search for today's nuclear weapon to talk about their feelings.