Comic Name: JLA
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns/Allan Heinberg
Artist: Chris Batista
# of Issues: 5
Release Date: 2006
Reprints JLA #115-119 (August 2005-November 2005). The JLA are facing a moral dilemma in the form of a past that has come back to haunt them. The Justice League had decided to mind-wipe Doctor Sun after an attack on Sue Digby and used Zatanna to change the personalities of their enemies who discovered their secret identities. Now, the Justice League’s greatest enemies know what they did and their true identities and want revenge. As the JLA fights attacks while seeking the source of the enemies new found knowledge, they also must face Batman…who also was a victim of their past mistakes.
Written by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg, JLA 18: Crisis of Conscience was illustrated by Chris Batista. Following JLA 17: Syndicate Rules, the series was meant to fill in the gaps between the mini-series Identity Crisis and the series sweeping mini-series Infinite Crisis (the book was part of “Countdown to Infinite Crisis”).
I find this period of DC a bit of their downfall. Identity Crisis was the start of the “not fun” DC. The ramifications of this series left the DC Universe shattered and created multiple mini-series that only made the events worse. JLA 18: Crisis of Conscience is a good example of this.
The story in JLA 18: Crisis of Conscience is pretty splintered. The action and attack of the villains seems not well planned especially if it is Despero who plotted the whole thing. Here, we get unbalanced issues that leads to a conclusion that gives nothing to the casual reader…it ends in a bang. If you were to randomly pick up this comic and not know what happened before or after, it would be pointless to read.
The problem is this whole “moral high ground” issue. The age old question of why superheroes don’t just kill the villains is a valid one but DC’s decision to shatter great teams feels like a fumble. JLA was a fun series before the whole Identity Crisis, and the deeper and deeper it fell into this whole pattern of mini-series, comics like the JLA suffered. The rights of super-villains might be an interesting subject to explore, but it doesn’t feel right for the series or the DC Universe’s standard comics.
I always felt that there was an easy way out of the story explored in this volume. If Jean Loring had been the victim of the rape and was mindwiped, it would have explained her totally uncharacteristic murderous behavior in Identity Crisis and this volume could have dealt with the JLA realizing that they are responsible for Sue Digby’s death…It just would have been a more compelling story.
JLA 18: Crisis of Conscience marked the penultimate volume of this series. The book feels like a bit of an ending. It doesn’t stand alone and ends in a cliffhanger which provides little resolution for readers who want a complete story. The JLA which started so grand ended with the next volume JLA 19: World Without a Justice League.