GRAPHIC NOVEL
Justice League Elite
Volume One

Author: Joe Kelly
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Lee Bermejo and John Bryne
Titan Books
RRP 10.99
ISBN 1 84576 191 X
Available 23 December 2005


Conflicting goals causes a schism among the world's greatest superheroes. As a result, several members of the JLA choose to do undercover work with Vera Black and her super-powered team, the Elite. Their first assignment: infiltrate a small brotherhood of assassins gathering to hit a major political target. Heroes find themselves suddenly allied with deadly foes. Can this group function effectively enough to do their job? And if it can't, what happens to the world...?

Volume One of Justice League Elite is a bit of an odd beast. The first tale in this collection is a blinder. It starts with the Earth in total chaos. Monsters are running amok and the JLA seem to be unable to cope with the situations that are happening worldwide. Then the Elite enter the picture... This small group, headed up by Manchester Black, take out all the threats to mankind, but they don't care how they do it. Whereas the JLA will capture the super villains alive, the Elite have no qualms about killing them where they stand. And if innocents are also killed, so be it. The JLA won't stand for this blatant disregard for the law of the land, but they just don't have the power to take the Elite down. Their only chance is to get the Elite to see that bringing criminals to justice is the better solution.

To be quite honest, you almost have to admire the Elite's way of getting the job done. Sure, it's messy and the odd innocent is killed, but then the JLA's solution just doesn't seem to work - as though they haven't evolved over the years.

Sadly though, the other stories in this collection don't quite measure up. Without spoiling too much of the plot to the remainder of this collection, several members of the JLA decide that the Elite's compromise to the whole JLA/Elite conflict is a better way of running things, and decide to defect to the Elite.

I have to admit to getting a little bored with this collection in places. Vera Black isn't a patch on her Sex Pistols-like brother, Manchester. And after a while I didn't really care whether the Flash had over stepped the mark or not by deserting his old friends.

It's not that the writing is bad, far from it, it's just that the whole thing is dragged out a little to much. The whole collection would have benefited greatly from some heavy editing. Having said that, this is still an impressive collection.

Nick Smithson

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