JLA: Tower of Babel (2001)


“And as for the most persistent thorn in our side, the Detective … well … distracting him was so obvious a matter, I cannot believe I never thought of it before.”


This book collects JLA #42-46 and material from JLA Secret Files 3 and JLA 80-page Giant 1. The main story was by Mark Waid who has worked as a writer on most of the major characters from both DC and Marvel. The book also features a host of pencillers and inkers but the principle story was drawn by Howard Porter and Drew Geraci, in the main.

The main story has Batman investigating the disappearance of his parents after their graves were desecrated by Ra’s al Ghul who implements Batman’s contingency plan to incapacitate the other members of the Justice League. With the Justice League incapacitated or distracted Ra’s is free to pursue his agenda to escalate tensions in the Middle East.

The other stories in this book feature a gang trying to frame Superman for a murder in Gotham, Aquaman inadvertently revealing too much about his feelings for Wonder Woman on a rescue mission and the Atom discovering a bacterial civilisation manifesting as a tumour in a boy’s brain – a civilisation doomed to self-destruction that has a deep resonance for Superman.

The main story is an examination of the paranoia of Batman and the schemes he is prepared to consider, against his friends and colleagues, to ensure that each member of the JLA can be held accountable for their actions and brought to justice if necessary. When his schemes are turned into actions against the members of the Justice League, they must consider how far they can trust a man that does not have faith in them and whether they can continue to work with him knowing that he is constantly judging them. The only slight niggle I have with an otherwise great book is that there are a lot of artists used and even the main story has an interlude with guest artists as does the final chapter of the story – is it too much to hope that a creative team can see out a four or five page story without chopping and changing. A good story that would seem to have ripples that affect not only Batman’s relationship with the JLA but also those of his close companions within their respective teams.

House of M: Spider-Man (2006)


“Hope you don’t mind, Goblin, but I brought some of my buddies along.”


This book collects the five issue mini-series and was written by Mark Waid and Tom Peyer. I know Waid best from the Kingdom Come mini-series but he has had runs on other DC titles such as Flash and JLA and Marvel titles such as Captain America and Fantastic Four. Peyer was an editor on Sandman but I think this is the first book I have read for which he has a writing credit. The art was by penciller Salvador Larroca and inker Danny Miki. I know Larroca from the Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra and Ultimate Elektra mini-series and I don’t think I have come across Miki’s work before.

Peter Parker has the perfect life. He is one of the most famous mutants on the planet – as a wrestler and film star. He is happily married to Gwen Stacy with a small son and has the rest of his family around him including his uncle Ben. So why would anyone want to dirty his reputation? Who is the mysterious Green Goblin who passes the dirt, in the form of an alternate reality journal, to Parker’s personal whipping boy Jonah Jameson?

Peter Parker is the superhero who gets the roughest emotional ride in the House of M series when his memories are restored. And that continues in this great series from Waid and Peyer in which his real memories are trying to come to the surface and he goes from hero to zero with Jameson’s revelations in the press. The book continues a theme common to a lot of the House of M related series – the so-called dream come true reality created by the Scarlet Witch does not seem like a dream come true in actuality. The only fault that I can find with it is that I felt the ending was a little weak but other than that well worth a read even without any knowledge of the main book.