Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, May 28, 2007

I love Obsidian Age...

I have a confession to make.

I love JLA: Obsidian Age.

I'm not sure if that's an unpopular opinion or not, but I was just digging through the back room and found my TPBs. And I'm reminded how much I love them.

Now, as I've said before, I'm a relatively new reader of comics. I'd started reading them around the beginning of 2005. I'd started with the Batclan, quickly branched over to Green Lantern (thanks to dim childhood memories of Superfriends/Justice League reruns and going "I want that power!"). I tend to be a very "character-based" reader. I will read almost anything with the promise that one of my favorite characters would be in it.

I started with Trade Paperbacks because, aside from manga (which I read in tankoban form anyway), I really didn't have a lot of experience with periodicals and didn't really want to commit to a flimsy 22-page thingy until I was sure I'd like it. Fortunately, my good friend Diamondrock did what all devoted comic book readers should do for their clueless neophyte friends and recommended some good tpbs for me to get started on.

He knew I liked Kyle Rayner already so he recommended Obsidian Age in which Kyle's appropriately ass-kicking, which ended up the first JLA story I'd ever read.

It really was the perfect introduction for me. I was familiar with the main Justice League characters, at least vaguely, I wasn't as familiar with the "replacement" league (except Nightwing), but the set-up of the replacement league to begin with allowed for a nice introduction to them.

I didn't really know what to make of the mysterious Faith, but honestly, two years and many many comic book collections, pull list additions, and tons of back issues later, I STILL have no idea what to make of her.

I didn't really have any trouble following the time travel plot, which surprised me. Fortunately the TPBs had a nice introduction of the major players of the ancient past so I wasn't as overwhelmed as I might have been.

There were lots of cute relationship moments and some genuinely startling imagery (Flash being held up by the enemy with his legs ripped off, Superman's skeleton as found in the future.) And Kyle held the spirits of his colleagues in his STILL BEATING HEART for millenia. Which was decidedly impressive.

And given that my only exposure to Aquaman at the time had been a couple of half remembered cartoon reruns and countless lame jokes, the Arthur of Obsidian Age was quite illuminating!

Sadly it did give me a false appreciation for Nightwing, as the only other place he's been that interesting and competent in the last few years was Infinite Crisis! Hmph!

I did giggle helplessly at Tempest. I don't know why. Just something about the way he gets drawn. But I have to admit, he acquits himself nicely.

Also, I always have and always will appreciate a naked Jason Blood.

Admittedly, I would never qualify Obsidian Age as high literature, even by superhero comics standards. It's weirdly paced, crazy, the plot is full of holes, and it definitely reads better in trade form than it had to have had as individual comic issues.

But it had good mundane character moments, really nice kickass competent moments and a fairly exciting story. It's not nearly as confusing as it ought to be and made for a nice exposure to a decently wide range of characters for a newbie just starting to dip her toes in the DCU. Also the concept of superpowered teams in other time periods/settings is always an interesting one.

So yep, in the end, it's still one of my favorite stories that doesn't involve Sanderson Hawkins or Guy Gardner. It's!


  • At May 28, 2007 6:16 AM, Blogger Toriach said…

    You are so totally not alone. Kelly's run on JLA, and on Superman was really good. I loved the idea of a League hand picked by Batman. I loved how everyone interacted. The League Of Ancients were really interesting, and the art? Well I love Doug Mahnke, it's just that simple. One of the things that still makes me very sad is that Kelly's run was interrupted, I'm assuming to force the series to serve as a prologue for Infinite Crisis. I really would have loved to see where he would have gone if he'd been allowed room to run.

  • At May 28, 2007 10:43 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I only have the first book of this, and still need to find the second, I suppose that I have to reserve judgement.

    But Kyle is always fun.

  • At May 28, 2007 1:08 PM, Anonymous PnR said…

    I'm still in the tpb stage of comics fandom (they fit so nicely on my bookshelves!), and I just finished reading Obsidian age like two weeks ago. The only JLA I'd read before was Mark Waid's run, and I was really, really confused for much of it (there are parts I had to read two or three times to figure out), but then it sucked me in and I ended up enjoying it.

    I developed a strange fondness for Tempest during the experience...

  • At May 28, 2007 2:03 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Don't forget the Obsidian League, which was awesome because Rama Khan and Manitou Raven.

  • At May 28, 2007 2:58 PM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    Joe Kelly's JLA is a personal favorite of mine, and a large part of the reason why I'll try anything he writes sight unseen. I actually like it a little better than Morrison's run!

    Not a lot, but a little.

  • At May 28, 2007 6:41 PM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    I didn't like Kelly's JLA much (especially his absurdly anvilicious not-Iraq issue - I *agree* with the guy, but it was just... oy), but Obsidian Age was definitely the high point.

  • At May 28, 2007 6:55 PM, Anonymous davelevine said…

    You've hit a nerve.

    I bought this in floppies before I started buying only trades. Kelly's run on JLA was a lot of fun. I may just have to pull them out and re-read them now, thank you very much, along with the rest of the Kelly/Mahnke/Nguyen run. :)

    Have you read Justice League Elite? Same team (Kelly/Mahkne/Nguyen) for the most part, but not the same characters. It does have a lot of soap opera-ish, qualities that I adore. Unfortunately it looks as though only the first few issues were collected in trade format. I bought/read that in floppies too.

  • At May 28, 2007 7:25 PM, Anonymous Aaron Nowack said…

    The rest of Justice League Elite is being TPBed in October, I believe.

  • At May 28, 2007 10:59 PM, Blogger Sinspired said…

    This wasn't too long before I stopped buying for a while... I remember I truly enjoyed the story, though, and it wasn't to much of an issue that it came out issue by issue. :)

  • At May 28, 2007 11:42 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Wow, you've only been reading comics since 2005?

    I thought I'd been reading your BLOG that long.

    (Your Obedient Serpent learned to read on comics... in about 1968. Blame Stan and Jack for my sesquipedalian tendencies.)

  • At May 28, 2007 11:43 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Yep! Started reading comics in January 2005, started the blog in December 2005.


  • At May 29, 2007 11:18 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Kalinara, if you can cram a lifetime's worth of continuity into your head in only 11 short months, you will have NO trouble becoming a lawyer.

  • At June 01, 2007 8:06 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    Question: who's woken up more times with a splitting headache and no idea of where he is or what he's doing, Jason Blood...

    ...or Kyle Rayner?


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