So what did you think? Entertaining at the very least, right? I mean, you can't argue when you have great source material! Obviously, my story is much different than the original JLA #111 (shown below). It doesn't have the humor of the Elongated Man, for one thing. And without the same members and same vilalins, I didn't keep the same sub-groups, either. Now I don't remember why I didn't keep the same groups...maybe *because* I had a few different characters to work with? In the source story Aquaman teamed with Green Lantern, Batman worked with the Flash and the Elongated Man, and Superman worked solo. If I wanted to read a Superman story I would buy ACTION COMICS! ;-)
In chronological order, here are a few of the things I personally liked about this story.
As mentioned in the FORWARD, I like the idea of the bad guys getting together and discussing how to bring down the good guys. This was the only issue where I started with the bad guys, and I think it works really well. And in this beginning, I liked how during Vandal Savage's long-winded introductions I had the Toyman nervously fidgeting with a Reubik's Cube and Poison Ivy bored out of her mind. I always tried to find little personal touches like that with the characters.
I also liked how the bad guys are taking a good thing that the JLA is doing, namely appearing/sponsoring a world AIDS charity show (ala LIVE AID), and using it for their nefarious plans. My guess is that if the JLA really existed and really did these types of things, the insurance at the event would be astronomical, haha! Speaking of the AIDS charity show, this comic was created in 1993. There was still a lot of prejudice and fear about AIDS. The Japanese Health Ministry had just issued out a whole pamphlet and poster series to explain to their people that all foreigns did not have AIDS and that it was not "a gay cancer." I figured the least I could do was show my kids that it was a disease, like any other disease, and not a health "boogey man." I reprinted some of the most important facts from this pamphlet in the pages after the story. I don't know if I had any effect doing this and by showing that the JLA wasn't afraid of it, but I like to think that I helped answer a few unasked questions.
In order to show the dramatic effect of Vandal Savage's power-stealing ray, I used my "printing in red ink" schtick I had just used in the previous issue against FELIX FAUST. This time it was much more difficult to coordinate because I wasn't just printing lines and waves and spells but entire figures! It was a fun challenge and in the black and white book that I handed out to all the kids, scenes like this one literally jumped off the page.
Look closely at the panel of Captain Boomerang about to attack Green Lantern. In the crowd scene behind Captain Boomerang's right arm you'll see the Scarecrow moving up to attack. I loved choreographing things like this.
I tried to imagine what it would look like to be a victim of Count Vertigo's power. I remember fondly artist and CV co-creator Trevor Von Eeden and how he had shown Escher-like scenarios with The Count. My images don't come anywhere close to being as cool as his stuff was, but hey, I did try. :-)
In the panel below where Vandal Savage is explaining his Master Plan, by "break up" I'm pretty sure he means "kill you." ;-) Once he has the powers of the JLA, he will try to kill his erstwhile team-mates lest they challenge him for authority, right?
I introduced The Parasite as the power source for Vandal Savage's machinery, which I thought was good at the time. I also had the intention of bringing him back as a villain again. However, that didn't work out. It ended up being like he was one of those corpses on one of those procedural shows like CSI. "Hey, mom, I'm gonna be on TV...I'll be the corpse next week!" Sorry, Parasite.
This was the first time I ever did a full-page splash page. If you look closely you can see that the second (right-hand) half of the page folds in on itself on/over Green Lantern and at Aquaman's shoulder. With eightteen characters, I figured this was the best way to "clean up" The picture itself is based very loosely on one of my favorite issues of JLA, #61, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. The original is reproduced below.
Now from the last page...I do two things that I'm very happy with. Check out the coloring of Aquaman in this panel. Compared to Black Canary and the Flash, he's as pale as a ghost! Obviously, defeating Vandal Savage did not give the heroes their stolen super-powers back! And here we have Batman, totally at a loss as to why! Now, anybody who knows anything about Batman *knows* he is not in the habit of admitting he has no idea what is going on. Could this be a clue that he is not as sharp as he had been before? Haha!
Next time....the epic conclusion to my adaptation to one of my all-time favorite JLA stories. Thanks for reading!