Comic Name: JLA
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: John Byrne/Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne
# of Issues: 6
Release Date: 2004
Reprints JLA #94-99 (May 2004-July 2004). Children are disappearing all over the United States, and the JLA have decided to investigate. When Manitou Raven is attacked and Superman disappears, the danger seems greater than the JLA even suspected. The JLA’s only hope could be a girl named Nudge and a four-armed gorilla named Grunt who hold the key to Crucifer and his army known as the Tenth Circle. The JLA are about to discover that someone else is investigating the Tenth Circle as well…and is the “Doom Patrol” friend or foe?
Written by John Byrne and Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Byrne, JLA Volume 15: The Tenth Circle follows JLA Volume 14: Trial by Fire. The collection does not include JLA #90-93 nor does it include JLA #100 which were not included in the original trade paperback collections. The issues contained in this volume were also reprinted as JLA—Volume 8.
I loved John Byrne and Chris Claremont’s run on Uncanny X-Men which helped shape my comic book reading. I also love Doom Patrol which was one of DC’s more “Marvel” series. The combination of the two should have been magic…instead it was pretty weak.
Like the X-Men, Doom Patrol was always kind of a family for freaks and people who didn’t fit in with society. I thought that Byrne and Claremont would do swimmingly with this, but the issues ended up being a real hodgepodge of events and circled around the new characters of Grunt and Nudge (and Vortex) who pretty much act as a substitute for Beast Boy. Claremont and Byrne did away with the past of Doom Patrol and erased their history in the DC Universe with one six issue story…it was pretty disrespectful to some great characters.
The story’s core about Crucifer is also rather poor. The basic concepts of the story seem pretty garbled and I think instead of prolonging why Crucifer was doing what he was doing, it would have better been served if the early issues had an origin story for him. You get a rather generic vampire doing a lot of stuff that isn’t clear until the end…and by then you don’t care.
This collection served as a launching point for Byrne’s Doom Patrol which was poorly received. The series fortunately only lasted a year and a half and was reconned back to the traditional Doom Patrol’s history by Infinite Crisis. JLA at this point feel pretty shoved together and for a series that started out so strong and contains all of DC’s heavy hitters, it doesn’t seem to be developed enough. JLA 15: The Tenth Circle was followed by JLA 16: Pain of the Gods.