JLA Vol. 14: Trial By Fire

October 4, 2004 | Trades


JLA Vol. 14: Trial By Fire
Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen
DC Comics
$19.95/$12.95 US (Paperback)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

Now this is more like a JLA story should be.
Faithful readers of this space will remember that the review of JLA Vol. 13: Rules Of Engagement was — in short — not exactly flattering. But the team of writer Joe Kelly and artists Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen have gotten out of the doghouse with Trial By Fire, an epic, globe-spanning six-part story which focuses on the Martian Manhunter’s fear of fire.
After thousands of stories over the years where the Manhunter — an alien with the powers of flight, super-strength, invisibility, telepathy and metamorphosis — is felled by any goon with a Bic lighter, he finally decides to do something about it.
But his therapy to conquer this fear, with the help of small-time super-villain Scorch, accidentally breaks a genetic block and unleashes Fernus, a creature of fire that corrupts the Manhunter’s body and decides to burn down the planet.
In order to stop Fernus from destroying Earth with the help of hundreds of nuclear weapons, Batman calls upon the League’s most powerful reserve member: Plastic Man?
The long-awaited return of Plas, a key member of the JLA while this series was under the pen of Grant Morrison, is most welcome. His levity mixed with his — pardon the pun — flexibility makes him an integral part of this super-team.
In the end, Trial By Fire is about new beginnings. The Manhunter returns to the League, Plas is back as a hero and, with Fernus, the DC universe has a very interesting villain to play with in the future.

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