"Lightning Saga Final Chapter"
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artists: Ed Benes (p), Sandra Hope (i), Alex Sinclair (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
After reading the finale to this crossover between the Justice Society and the Justice League, I stopped and asked myself "What did I just read?" No, I wasn't overwhelmed with awe at a jaw dropping finale of epic proportions. Instead, I just read one of the worst finales to a story in a long time.
When we had last left off, the Legionnaire Sensor Girl left a series of manipulative images to distract the Justice League and Justice Society while she and the rest of the Legion of Superheroes escaped to complete their mission. What follows is a race against time to catch the Legionnaires before they can do whatever it is they're doing. Only, it's not. They catch up rather quickly. Instead of an intense chase we get more forced, mopey dialogue from all the characters. In the end, the hype, and what little suspense this issue has fizzles out in one of the most inane copouts I've read.
So the Legion is back in the past to ressurect someone of importance to them. It's a suicide run, as one of them will die in the attempt. When they finally do get around to it, they bring back someone else entirely and get away with a mysterious figure trapped in one of their lightning rods. While I'm extremely thrilled that Wally West and his family is back, I am woefully confused by Meltzer's use of a dazed Wally stuttering and then stopping from claiming to be the Fastest Man Alive, instead claiming to be faster than anyone. Why the switchup? No one even bothers to question where they've been. There's not even an explaination as to why the Wests were brought back, considering they were just a side effect of the ressurection of the mysterious player. It looks to be a Flash, but considering the clues presented in the issue (which point to Wally, Barry Allen, and the now deceased Bart Allen), it's impossible to guess who the Legion was after in the past. Also, it appears that Karate Kid was the one who was going to die, and we even see him get struck by the lightning. Yet, he's alive, feeling perfectly healthy at the end. He even claims to have "ducked," despite clearly being hit by lightning. Wha....huh?
Meanwhile, Meltzer continues to make the characters seem even less like themselves. His inner monologues and attempts to make scenes overlap to suggest parallels continue to fail and only muddle the storytelling process. I'm not even sure where he's getting his information on the characters. Jay Garrick isn't the fastest guy among the JSoA and JLoA, Hal Jordan and Red Tornado are? What? And the Red Tornado continues to be written as an android inept at understanding humans, despite, oh, years of history showing having a well adjusted family life with a wife and daughter, fitting in perfectly. Also, since when is Wildfire of the Legion a future version of Red Tornado? I checked and doublechecked and I cannot find a single mention of that in the past. Meltzer writes it like it's cannon and an attempt to add more sympathy to the now fully android nature of Reddy, but it comes off as confusing and a waste.
Ed Benes' art continues to be par for the course. Sketchy, with an almost Image-in-the-90s feel of muscular men and T&A-influenced women. While it's not my style, it just suffers under Meltzer's style of story telling. It's easy to tell that Benes is an artist who excels at action scenes, but this series doesn't give him an opportunity for that. Instead the repeated poses and exposition leave a boring and bland layout.
All in all, "The Lightning Saga" failed. Sure, the Legion succeeded, but as a story this was not exactly the best there could have been. Instead of giving the reader some interaction between the JSoA and the JLoA, pointless exposition and a lack of any real action dragged it down. Johns provided some great moments with his handling of the Legion and the truly creepy Arkham Asylum sequence, but Meltzer's hand, especially in this issue, folded miserably. This could have been so good, but it just bombed.
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