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Wednesday November 19, 2008 2:23 am

JLA/Avengers

JLA and Avengers 

This week Diamond Comics shipped the paperback version of the classic JLA/AVENGERS saga. These came out in comic book form in 2003, but was only compiled in hardcover format for $75. Now we have a softcover at $19.99 and it is time to revisit this story.

I believed at the time that the entire concept was flawed. Kurt Busiek wrote a story in which every Avenger and every Justice Leaguer that ever existed made at least a token appearance. He succeeded in his mind, but not mine. By putting too many characters in a story, you lose the ability to focus deeply on any of them. Recall the series of Marvel/DC Crossover books. These stories usually had one hero and one villain from each universe and you had a real interaction among the heroes and villains. Remember Crossover One with a full Superman/Spider-Man story, Hulk/Superman, etc. You really got into how the characters reacted to each other. In Crossover 2 we had Batman/Punisher, Silver Surfer/Superman and Batman/Captain America. The other two books weren’t as good, but it is always fun to match heroes from different universes. In my opinion, confining the epic to 7 or so stars from each universe would have made things much less cluttered and a better read. Characters kept coming and going so quickly it is difficult to keep track.

The story itself starts as one of the generic contest of champions ideas we have seen a million times before. Mystic artifacts being sought by both sides being manipulated by cosmic beings. Ho-hum.

No real detail in the battles to get an artifact and the 12 items are quickly divided up. They we get a mish-mash of heroes from diferrent universes interacting in a confusing way and then A Crisis on Infinte Earths climax against the super-duper villian with everyone throwing in a few shots. Been to the Source, done that.

It was, I suppose, a noble effort and it is certainly a better buy at $20 rather than $75. But as the pundit said about Dicken’s Great Expectations, I hoped for more.

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