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Top Five Things In Grant Morrison’s JLA Run That Annoyed Me

Top Five Week continues (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far)! Today’s installment is the top five things in Grant Morrison’s JLA run that annoyed me.

Enjoy!

Honorable Mention

The artwork by Howard Porter was not very good, but after seeing some of the work on Morrison’s New X-Men run, I find it hard to give Porter too much of a hard time.

5. Orion and Big Barda’s membership

That really seemed like a case of a storyline that Morrison was planning but never got around to, because man, did Orion and Barda have nothing to do during Morrison’s run or what?

I think the only guy to use them during Morrison’s run was Mark Waid!!

Also, this was funny, because Morrison decided to play with the fans a bit and give them hints as to Orion’s identity (as a new member of the League), while not knowing that Orion already HAD joined the JLA, during the Giffen/DeMatteis run!!

Granted, Orion did even less during that run than he did on Morrison’s run, but still!!

4. Catwoman defeating Prometheus

Or should I say Cattus ex Machina.

Having Prometheus take down the league was pretty interesting (and how weird was it to see a Batman villain show up a few years later using the exact same “downloading moves” gimmick that Prometheus had?), but while Morrison basically did what one would hope (the JLA escapes from Prometheus’ “perfect” plan and is about to defeat him), having Catwoman being on the Watchtower for no real reason and to have her save the day?

Annoying!

3. Making Triumph a bad-guy

Almost all of the things that annoyed me in Morrison’s JLA run were the things that came from Morrison clearly not caring much about the stories he wasn’t a fan of/wasn’t familiar with. And on the one hand, that’s usually a good tactic, on the other hand, it results in stuff like Morrison totally butchering an interesting Christopher Priest character simply for an amusing gag about a hero who never catches a break being turned into a villain.

I get that his supply of possible choices was quite slim – but still, it annoyed me.

I liked Triumph.

2. The old JLA getting kicked out of the satellite

This just never made sense to me. I blame editorial slightly. They should have had Gerry Jones disband the previous league before Morrison’s run began, because the sight of the “Big Seven” KICKING OUT the previous league just seemed way lame.

I mean, BATMAN maybe I could see being willing to tell fellow heroes, “Beat it – we’ve decided that us seven have to be the JLA, even though our GL is a new guy,” but not the rest of them.

It just gave a really awkward feeling.

One that annoyed me.

1. Only Superman attending Metamorpho’s funeral

I get it – Morrison was making a point about how ephemeral superhero “death” is – but he could have done so without having NOone but Superman (who barely KNEW Metamorpho) show up at his funeral!!

The worst part for me is that while you may try to write it off and say “Nah, they were busy on a mission” etc, Morrison decries that by actually SHOWING what Flash (former teammate and friend of Metamorpho’s) and Green Lantern (who just had his bacon saved by Metamorpho earlier in the series) were doing during the funeral – and it was just hanging out at the Watchtower!!

SO lame!

Well, that’s my list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

40 Comments

Orion and Big Barda were meant to be representatives before the coming of Mageddon although yeah, they didn’t actually do anything.

What’s weird to me is that Orion got his ass kicked fairly consistently throughout Morrison’s run, even during his swan song in World War III.

I collected Morrison’s JLA through trades, so I always assumed that the reason why the ‘Big 7′ had replaced the previous team had been explained in the previous series under some sort of UN mandate or something. Midsummer’s Nightmare featured them forming like it was supposed to mean something, except that (in then-current continuity) those 7 (or their predecessors in the case of Kyle and Wally) had never all been on the team at the same time.

And having Catwoman on board, particularly when it was evident that the JLA actually was able to defeat Prometheus on their own really made no sense to me.

Howard Porter’s art was bad? Seriously, I never thought that. If anything, he was one of my favorite aspects of Morrison’s run. The future stuff during Rock of Ages was especially good.

Howard Porter’s work was much maligned. He had problems – especially in the first arc, but by the end he was pretty good. And he did manage to bring a sense of grandure to the book that Morrison’s JLA as gods book needed.

I don’t remember the old JLA getting kicked out. I thought the old JLA just got trashed by the white martians when Metamorpho got “killed”, leaving a space for a new JLA.

Patrick Hamilton

July 5, 2007 at 6:43 am

On the previous Justice League getting kicked out: in JLA #1 we see Metamorpho, Nuklon and Icemaiden (I think) in the satellite and Metamorpho makes a comment about them making room or there not being enough room for the egos that will be clashing. That seems to speak to the idea that the old league was being cleared out for the Big 7

how weird was it to see a Batman villain show up a few years later using the exact same “downloading moves” gimmick that Prometheus had?

Really? What’s the story on that?

I really liked Prometheus – an interesting character with a cool design, and he wasn’t grossly overused within a year of his introduction, like so many new characters are. I always got the feeling that we weren’t given the whole truth of his origins, though: yeah, he told that story about being the son of slain bankrobbers, but that sounded like bunk to me; he just looked too much like the Alternate History Batman in “Rock of Ages,” you know? There was even a perfect point in that story that would have moved Future Bruce to the now.

future Top Five suggestion: Top Five World War Threes…

Porter’s art was really boring during the early parts of his JLA run. Everyone looked stiff. His art got better though, so I don’t have a problem saying that. :)

John Byrne left (well, ended, since Walt Simonson could only take the book a few years later) the Jack Kirby’s Fourth World book because he couldn’t use anymore Orion and Barda when they got into the JLA.

I know most of you don’t care or are even happy to know that, but it did annoy ME! I loved that series!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

5. Orion and Barda were there to prep the League for/watch out for Mageddon.

4. Catwoman didn’t defeat Prometheus. The League’s new members defeated Prometheus. She just delivered the final blow.

3. Triumph sucked.

2-1. Meh.

Bradley Curry

July 5, 2007 at 8:44 am

Porter’s art and the muddy coloring were major turn offs for me. It made the whole thing seem very drab. Also at the time I was a HUGE fan of Steel (especially Priest’s run) and Morrison kinda just made Steel into this Reed Richards level intellect, which bothered me. Now I don’t care what happens to these characters they aren’t anyone’s intellectual property, but at the time it annoyed me a lot.

I think this run is vastly overrated in general, though.

Ooh now I’m torn. While I do like flaws in Grant Morrisson being pointed out, I did like his JLA run.

Suggestion for top five list: Top five hats. Not masks, hats.

I never got into Triumph, but I heard something from Priest that he was supposed to be a dick. Yeah, it sucked tht his true potential was directed against the League thanks to a dark genie…but it was appropiate that the one to take out a Priest-created character was Steel, a Priest-redesigned character.

You know…since the Spectre has changed hosts a few times since Morrison’s JLA/JSA story, maybe Triumph-as-ice isn’t in effect. He might make for a decent hero…or as a cranky secondary character in a humor book, especially since he shares his codename with a foul-mouthed dog puppet.

Wasn’t Selina in the Watchtower to steal stuff?

I agree with the Scott & Barda thing, and on a related note was annoyed that Orion was brought onboard mostly to just stand around snarling & foaming at the mouth like a mad dog.

My main gripe with JLA was was that Batman was written as such an arrogant, anti-social jerk who was able to take down pretty much any foe. But Morrison is hardly the only writer to have portrayed Bats like that in the last twenty years, so I probably shouldn’t single JLA for that.

Seriously. Dude you are a big girl’s blouse!

I had never even heard of Triumph when I read “Crisis Times Five” and it still really bothered me how crapped on he was as a character. Particularly the line:

“Shrink ray hits him. Doctors restore ALMOST all his anatomy to normal size.”

That’s just piling it on the poor guy!

Funny this is the same writer who did “Coyote Gospel”, a sad tribute to fictional creatures tortured by a cruel omnipotent creator.

Other than that the only thing that bugged me was the Batman-as-unbeatable depiction of the character which got old pretty fast.

Still, this JLA run won me back over to superhero books after I quit in the early nineties, so I remember it fondly. I recently re-read most of these issues and still really love ‘em.

Worst thing: Batman endlessly going “Hh” or whatever it was. I know why he did it, but it still sucked.

Hm, good points. Orion didn’t really do much besides act completely psychotic (I mean, yeah, it’s Orion, but MORE psychotic).

As for Triumph, I must admit, the only reason it annoyed me was I happened to like all things Christopher Priest. If Morrison has turned a similarly-sucky character I hadn’t read about into a villain (Damage, f’rinstance), I doubt I’d have cared.

Everyone’s complaining about Unbeatable Batman, but one of the cool things about Prometheus was that he quite simply beat the living crap out of Batman. The day was then saved mostly by Steel and the Martian Manhunter (at least if I’m remembering correctly).

Of course, next time they met Batman had a cheat code ready and kicked Prometheus’ arse, but that’s just a one-all score. He beat Desaad in a battle of wits, but then got vaped by Darkseid, so again he’s hardly ahead on points. Against Mageddon, his role was limited to: “Fight it, Clark, fight it!” which basically means he was the Lois of the story. He had some great moments, but he was hardly depicted as unstoppable.

I did like his buying off the Mirror Master, though. And Plastic Man dressing up as him to scare criminals.

“John Byrne left (well, ended, since Walt Simonson could only take the book a few years later) the Jack Kirby’s Fourth World book because he couldn’t use anymore Orion and Barda when they got into the JLA.”

Wrong. http://www.byrnerobotics.com/FAQ/listing.asp?ID=3&T1=Questions+about+Aborted+Storylines#67
“JB: We’re far enough away from the events now that some behind the scenes stuff can be revealed. Paul Kupperberg was planning on leaving his editorial position at DC (he was in charge of both books I was doing at the time, WONDER WOMAN and JK4W), and since my contract on both was coming to an end I thought it might be better to leave than to re-up for a year and find myself burdened with an editor I did not want to work with. So I wrapped up my stories on both titles, and went elsewhere. Paul’s plans were a secret at the time, so I was not able to give any reasons for my departure other than “end-of-contract”.

As it turned out, Paul did not leave editorial for quite a while (eventually he moved upstairs — literally — to Special Projects), so I could have stayed on both titles another year. Ah, well!”

I was really pissed about Triumph being made into a bad guy, too. I LIKED Triumph! I had all of his DCU appearances!

And Orion. Morrison either was unaware, or just didn’t give a fuck that Orion had ALREADY BEEN in the JLA. I guess that’s because he’s admitted himself that he really doesn’t read comics!

I also hated Batman always going “Hh”. Unless you happened to be at that comicon panel where Morrison explained the sound that this pseudo-onomotopoeic word was supposed to be associated with, it made no sense, and was ENDLESSLY annoying.

What annoyed me most was that the fantastic Superman-tows-the-moon-back-into-orbit-and-wrestles-an-angel scene was ruined by it being Electro Glide in Blue Superman.

I was annoyed by Waid’s mostly unreadable fill-in arcs.

I loved Batman’s “Hh”. And Waid did a pretty good play on omnipotent Batman in one of his first fill in arcs.

Zauriel annoyed me. He just never seemed to be a character that should be rubbing shoulders with the icons of the DCU.

And I always thought Lois should have baseball-batted Prometheus, but that’s just little Lois-fan me.

My number one thing in Grant Morrison’s JLA run that annoyed me?

That he wrote JLA–

Sorry guys, I’m just not a Grant Morrison fan.
If you like him, great.

Mike Loughlin

July 5, 2007 at 8:41 pm

There were multiple scenes where a character was either mind controlled or awestruck by the sheer size or power of the foe, and another character yelled at him or her to get them back in the game.

Aztek, Orion, & Barda were underused.

The Crisis X5 & Ultramarines arcs were weak.

Other than that, Morrison’s JLA remains one of my favorite comics. “Rock of Ages” is my favorite JLA story.

Joe Gualtieri

July 5, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Morrison was clashing with his editor over how to portray Orion. Said editor wanted “Mad Dog” Orion and was actually rewriting some of Morrison’s dialog.

Morrison was clashing with his editor over how to portray Orion. Said editor wanted “Mad Dog” Orion and was actually rewriting some of Morrison’s dialog.

I’ve heard (I believe in a comments thread here) the same about Plastic Man – that the characterization was editorially mandated.\

And the two of them were my big pet peeve. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Also Crisis Times Five. I read it a bunch and I think I see what M. was getting at… But that was some muddlybad writing right there.

Al from Italy

July 6, 2007 at 12:55 am

Triumph was an idiot. While I always liked C. Priest works, Triumph was always an idiot.

Morrison was clashing with his editor over how to portray Orion. Said editor wanted “Mad Dog” Orion and was actually rewriting some of Morrison’s dialog.

Excellent, if true. I’d love to be able to blame someone other than Morrison.

Triumph was an idiot. While I always liked C. Priest works, Triumph was always an idiot.

He was indeed an idiot. Which in no way disqualifies him from being an interesting character.

OK, Aaron, I stand corrected!

But even if he didn’t leave because of that, he was still deprived of the characters on his later issues (check them out! Of THAT I’m quite sure!), which was annoying.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

How can anybody not like “Hhh”? That’s exactly what a Batman laugh would sound like- a dry, sardonic, emotionless Eastwood snicker. Would you rather he bust out a “BWAH HA HA” every time something amused him?

I’m just going to go on the record and say I loved Morrison’s Omnipotent Batman. I know the internet seems to hate that characterization for some reason, but I love it. Something about the guy who always has a successful plan of action ready for ay scenario that really resonates for me. I was also okay with Morrison’s anti-social Batman (just not the total jerk, pushes away all his supporting characters Batman)

I always liked Waid’s Julian September story, mostly because it was utterly suffused with Morrisonesque zaniness.

My number one thing in Grant Morrison’s JLA run that annoyed me?

That he wrote JLA–

Sorry guys, I’m just not a Grant Morrison fan.
If you like him, great.

Phew! I can finally stop holding my breath!

Morrisons JLA got me into the DC Universe. very big fan.

the most annoying thing? Despite some cool moments, i still dont understand rock of ages.

And Joe kellys story where they had to die in order to be resurrected to defeat the bad guy. isnt that kind of a big risk to take?

I have to go along with the criticism of Porter’s art. While it was perfectly competent, it was very stiff and overall, it was workmanlike.
Unfortunately, when you’re trying to portray ‘BIG IDEAS’ ™, workmanlike just doesn’t cut the mustard. I can totally dig that some writers will give the artists impossible challenges in their scripts (Alan Moore on Promethea and Warren Ellis in Planetary come to mind). For them, it’s okay, as JH Williams III and John Cassaday are more than capable of dealing with the sort of weird-arse crap that gets chucked their way.

Porter? Not so much.

On the previous Justice League getting kicked out: in JLA #1 we see Metamorpho, Nuklon and Icemaiden (I think) in the satellite and Metamorpho makes a comment about them making room or there not being enough room for the egos that will be clashing. That seems to speak to the idea that the old league was being cleared out for the Big 7

You’re right – I never spotted that the first time around. I didn’t read A Midsummer Nightmare until a couple of years later so at the time I thought the new JLA was formed in that first issue.

I think JLA by Morrison would have been a lot better with art by Doug Mahnke.

5. Orion served a purpose. He got beat up by the unknown bad guy to demonstrate how tough the bad guy was.

Not saying that was a good thing. Just a different flavour of suck.

4. Catwoman’s Deus Ex Cameo should be #1, IMHO. It made no sense, came out of left field. I agree that it should have been Lois with a stick. At least her presence was foreshadowed.

Of course, I also have trouble with the idea that someone capable of defeating the JLA would go down to a low blow in the first place. Is it really too much to ask that the Deus Ex Machina is clever?

3. I don’t remember this? I wonder if this came after I had to cut back, or if I purged it from my memory?

2. I have to admit that I thought that the old JLA quit. But, I can’t tell you now why I thought that.

1. And, this I took to be a guard duty thing, not a dis on Flash and GL’s part.

For the other bits in the comments, I loved that Batman acted, and was treated, as omnipotent, but he was often defeated. I liked that a lot better than Orion getting beat up, actually, because I knew Batman better than Orion, and it made more sense that something Batman wasn’t prepared for for defeat him, and that his defeat alone would alarm the rest of the cast.

I think that in fairness, you should do a Top Five things that you liked about the same run. My #1 (and, please correct me if I’m misattributing this) would be when Atom went through the phone lines to see Oracle during an emergency and was shocked to find a woman on the other end. When Barbara asked him what he expected to find he said something along the lines of, “I honestly thought you were an artificial intelligence Batman created and then lied to us about.”

Theno

I always got the impression Morrison wanted the best Avengers to join the JLA. Orion was basically Thor and Steel was characterized like Tony Stark. I remember an interview where Grant called Steel “the greatest inventor in the world”, or something like that, which sounded more like Iron Man than Steel.

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