Claremont/Byrne Reunited in JLA #94!

So, JLA #94 came out yesterday, marking the reunion of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, along with Jerry Ordway. Major names in comics working on a major title, it must illicit a response from everyone, right? This is as close to The Beatles reuniting in comics as you’re going to get.

Well I bought it, read it, analyzed it, and I think it was awful. Embarrassingly awful.

Now here’s my take on it… like any book I criticize, I break it down between the story and the art. Sometimes the story is great, but the art blows and vice versa. In this case, both disciplines lack any level of quality.

Let me first say that I loved the Claremont/Byrne X-Men run; everyone knows that. But ever since Claremont came back to Marvel in the late ’90s, I’ve been amazed at how awful his writing has been. It lacks any sort of hook or interest that I once had in it. It’s just down right weird, all over the place, and difficult to follow.

The last thing I remember Byrne doing that I read, was his involvement on the Spider-Man titles a few years back. I had the same reaction/feeling from those books as I did this issue. Artistically, he’s sound, he knows how to draw and layout comics. That’s not in question. What’s in question is that the artwork just feels so… dated. So “been there, done that.”

I guess for both Claremont and Byrne I feel the same way I do about Led Zeppelin or The Doors. They served a purpose for me once, but when I try to go back to the well, it just doesn’t feel the same. Times have changed, the art has evolved, and unfortunately these artists haven’t caught up.

What did you think?


  1. Here’s my take having just finished reading JLA #94…

    Back in the early 90s — wow, okay, I’m getting old — John Byrne was my favorite comic book creator. I was a sucker for his art and LEGENDS still remains one of my favorite all time mini-series. For my money, his work on MAN OF STEEL is still the definitive Superman origin and his rendition of Superman (in MAN OF STEEL and the subsequent SUPERMAN series) is still *the* iconic look. I should also add that I really like Jerry Ordway’s work and you’re not going to find a nicer guy to chat with at a comic book convention. He’s definitely someone that I’d like to see more work from.

    I give you all of that background because the artwork was the thing I was looking forward to the most from JLA #94, and I was really disappointed. I was disappointed because I came in looking for John Byrne art and what I got was much closer to Jerry Ordway. I felt his inks were very heavy. It wasn’t quite John Byrne and it wasn’t quite Jerry Ordway. It was some kind of 40/60 mix that was unsettling for me.

    I’m not really going to talk much about the writing because it was about what I expected… Overly expository… Too many thought balloons… The plot itself is a bit confusing, but I’ll give Claremont a pass on that because it’s only the first issue.

    Man… I can still remember how excited I was every month when Grant Morrison was the writer… I miss those days.

    A lot.

  2. Remember that second or third issue of JLA? When batman left the note “I know your secret” and took out all those martians? damn..

  3. Stop it!

    You know how good those Morrison issues were? I turned a bunch of guys in my dorm back onto comics with that first arc. “Wow, I didn’t know comics were written this well now!”

  4. PS – If anyone cares, that was the Doom Patrol in this issue. They’re launching a book out of their appearance in this storyline. *shrug*

  5. I didn’t even buy it. The cover was CRAP. I’ve stuck with JLA since Waid left, and it’s slowly been going down. Kelly had some good issues but as a whole it was kinda blah. Unfortunately nothing can compare to Morrison.

    Hero was very good this week. Did anyone get Gotham Knigts? The cover was THE BEST.


  6. Didn’t even know about it.

    Since Morrison, and very briefly Waid, I haven’t really thought about JLA.