Friday, July 26, 2013

JLA: A League of One: A Recommendation

Wonder Woman is something of an interesting icon in American comic history. Oft referred to as one of three members of DC universe's "trinity" (a gross misuse of the word, by the way), Wonder Woman has had one animated film, a short lived television program, and numerous supporting roles in cartoons such as the JLA. However, unlike the other members and the trinity, Batman and Superman, she has not been given a full treatment on the silver screen nor has she struck a chord with the American cultural vernacular in the same way. This is a great loss, for Wonder Woman is perhaps the most noble of three. 

I did not always believe this, but Christopher Moeller, with his graphic novel JLA: A League of One, has changed my mind. After reading this book I would certainly put Wonder Woman into my Top 10 Comic Book Heroes Of All Time, and I look forward to seeking out more of her adventures (though I think all will pale in comparison to this initial one that made me value her so).

I can wax poetic about many things in this book: the story itself, Moeller's breathtaking art, the wondrous exploration of mythical creatures, and the beautiful theme of true heroism. All of these and more seem like good fodder for discussion. But perhaps the best way I can go about the recommendation of this graphic novel is very simply to say this: in a world of mundane and tired rehashes of the same old conflicts, JLA: A League of One is a masterful tale for the reader of all ages in all aspects of comic book composition. 

Granted, I come to the book with a love of myth as well as a working knowledge of the DC universe and it's many characters, but my knowledge of them is only skin deep. I recognize them by virtue of following various toy lines in which these characters recur. While I have read several DC books, I have not been steeped in the lore to any real degree (though the more DC comics I read the more I have an appreciation for that comic universe, something I cannot really say for Marvel given that the vast amount of books I read from that imprint are disappointing).  

Luckily, the story of A League of One is not necessarily concerned with all of the DC characters involved, less Wonder Woman herself, and this is a wonderful exploration of her. Let us not forget that she is one of only two members in the female members of the JLA, and in a great many stories (at least that I have read), she is lessened in favor of bolstering the exploits of the male members. Given this gender specificity within not only a team of superpowered beings but also an industry full of men, Wonder Woman deserves a great deal of respect simply by virtue of her presence. This book gives her all the more reason to be cherished not only among her super peers, but among all contemporary heroes. She is noble, intensely conflicted over doing what is right, and she serves as a stark picture of strength, truth, and sacrifice. 

With Wonder Woman at the heart of this book, Moeller creates a narrative that is constantly compelling and enhanced by his ever vibrant and beautiful art. For the comic reader, I cannot recommend JLA: A League of One highly enough. I consider it requisite reading for the DC Universe, and I challenge anyone to find the book anything less than excellent. 

You can thank me for the recommendation later (and I'll thank you for reading, right now),  

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