Thursday, November 20, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Because comics!"

JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely

Written by Arion on Thursday, December 19 2013 and posted in Blog
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
The good guys always win. Evildoers are doomed to a life of failure. Superman always defeats Lex Luthor, Batman always kicks Joker’s ass. Traditional superhero comics have focused, for decades, on the triumph of the forces of good. Any reader knows this, but this is isn’t a surprise, after all, even when we go to the movies we expect to see the good guys victorious at the end. 
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely

Obstacles can be hard, villains can be dangerous. None of it matters. If you have your heart on the right side, then you shall be blessed with a happy ending. Grant Morrison, like any other reader, knows this. But instead of simply ignoring the conventionalisms of the superhero genre, he tweaks them a little bit. If superheroes are the undisputed champions of our world, what would happen in a mirror dimension, in which everything works backwards?
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
Crime Syndicate of Amerika / Sindicato del Crimen de Amerika

In this second planet Earth, the good guys always lose, evil plans are always successful. The Crime Syndicate of Amerika reigns supreme in a world plagued by corruption, depravation and malevolence. Ultraman (the equivalent of Superman) has defeated Lex Luthor over and over again. But as Earth’s last superhero, Luthor must never surrender; and so he uses his genius and his intellect to subdue the CSA. Luthor’s strategy is brilliant. Using alien technology he travels to our world, a world inhabited by noble men and women, a world protected by the Justice League of America. 

The first time I saw the Crime Syndicate of Amerika was in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Ultraman (Superman), Owl-Man (Batman), Superwoman (Wonder Woman), Johnny Quick (Flash) and Power Ring (Green Lantern) are powerless before the antimatter wave that is devouring the universe. And although their appearance is brief, there was something very appealing about this group of villains inspired in the world’s greatest heroes. 

Morrison, of course, explores the fascinating dynamics of a world dominated by the CSA. And what’s even more impressive is the way in which the Scottish writer fleshes out the personalities of these 5 despots. Ultraman is the opposite of Superman, he has no respect for privacy and with his superior abilities he spies on every single person in the world. He is the Orwellian Big Brother but exponentially more powerful.

Superwoman’s secret identity in this parallel dimension is Lois Lane. But she isn’t the Lois Lane we know: a honest, hardworking and loyal reporter. She is a liar and a provocateur. In fact she cheats on Ultraman all the time, mostly with Owl-Man, but that barely covers her nymphomaniac urges, and she even participates in a degenerate game of fetishism and voyeurism with a very perverted Jimmy Olsen.

Owl-Man is Bruce Wayne. His greatest enemy is his own father, Thomas Wayne; and his greatest ally is Commissioner Gordon, the most corrupted man in Gotham City. Johnny Quick has super-speed thanks to his addiction to a mysterious substance, a drug that he shoots in his arm with the ferocity of a junkie. Power Ring is also a slave of his ring, so instead of the will power of Green Lantern his main characteristic is his submissiveness.
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
Lex Luthor

When the JLA visits Earth 2, they think they can help this world. They even beat the CSA. But soon they understand that even without the tyrants, everyone in this world is a potential dictator, murderer or criminal. Nothing they do can ever work there. And what’s worse, during this visit, the CSA manages to break the dimensional barrier and they invade our Earth. 

I was very seduced by the idea of fatality. By the notion that, no matter what Lex Luthor does as a hero, he is doomed to fail. And fail he does. Because not even the JLA can bring peace to a tormented world. But, at the same time, when the CSA attacks our dimension, they are easily defeated by Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Because that’s the way it always works in the comics: the good guys win; the bad guys never have a chance, no matter how much effort they put into it or how effective their stratagems are. Although, at the end of this original graphic novel we can’t really talk about the JLA’s triumph. Sure, they manage to save their world, but they lose the fight in the parallel dimension. There, the CSA continues to reign supreme. And this encounter between two different realities and two different states of mind has left a profound scar in those who defend justice and those who preserve injustice.

Frank Quitely has some truly extraordinary pages here. I love the design of Lex Luthor’s office, and the decoration of the CSA’s bathroom. The scene between Superwoman and Jimmy Olsen is terrific, you can almost see the guy drooling over her. Morrison and Quitely once again prove why they’re one of the most sought-after creative teams. JLA Earth 2 is one of the most creative and entertaining DC graphic novels of the past decade.
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Los buenos siempre ganan. Los malhechores están condenados a una vida de fracasos. Superman siempre derrota a Lex Luthor, Batman siempre le patea el trasero al Joker. Los cómics tradicionales de superhéroes se han enfocado, por décadas, en el triunfo de las fuerzas del bien. Cualquier lector lo sabe, esto no es ninguna sorpresa, después de todo, incluso cuando vamos al cine esperamos que los buenos salgan victoriosos. 
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
A strange bathroom meeting / una extraña reunión en el baño

Los obstáculos pueden ser difíciles, los villanos pueden ser peligrosos. Nada de esto importa. Si tienes el corazón del lado correcto, entonces serás bendecido con un final feliz. Grant Morrison, como cualquier lector, lo sabe. Pero en vez de simplemente ignorar los convencionalismos del género superheroico, los retuerce un poco. Si los superhéroes son los campeones indisputados de nuestro mundo, ¿qué pasaría en una dimensión paralela, en la que todo funciona al revés?

En este segundo planeta Tierra, los buenos siempre pierden, los planes malévolos siempre son exitosos. El Sindicato del Crimen de Amerika reina supremo en un mundo plagado por la corrupción, la depravación y la malignidad. Ultraman (el equivalente a Superman) ha vencido a Lex Luthor una y otra vez. Pero al ser el último superhéroe de la Tierra, Luthor jamás debe rendirse; así que usa su genio y su intelecto para someter a la SCA. La estrategia de Luthor es brillante. Usa tecnología alienígena para viajar a nuestro mundo, un mundo habitado por hombres y mujeres nobles, un mundo protegido por la Liga de la Justicia de América. 

La primera vez que vi al Sindicato del Crimen de Amerika fue en las páginas de "Crisis en Tierras Infinitas". Ultraman (Superman), Owl-Man (Batman), Superwoman (Wonder Woman), Johnny Quick (Flash) y Power Ring (Green Lantern) eran impotentes ante la antimateria que devoraba el universo. Y aunque su aparición era breve, había algo muy atrayente en este grupo de villanos inspirados en los más grandes héroes del mundo.

Morrison, por supuesto, explora la fascinante dinámica de un mundo dominado por la SCA. Y lo más impresionante es la forma en la que el escritor escocés perfila las personalidades de estos 5 déspotas. Ultraman es lo opuesto a Superman, no tiene ningún respeto por la privacidad y con sus habilidades superiores espía a todas las personas del mundo. Él es el gran hermano Orwelliano pero exponencialmente más poderoso.
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
Superwoman & Jimmy Olsen

En esta dimensión paralela, la identidad secreta de Superwoman es Lois Lane. Pero ella no es la Lois Lane que conocemos: una reportera honesta, trabajadora y leal. Ella es una mentirosa y una provocadora. De hecho, le saca la vuelta a Ultraman todo el tiempo, sobre todo con Owl-Man, pero eso apenas cubre sus necesidades ninfomaníacas, e incluso participa en un juego degenerado de fetichismo y voyerismo con un Jimmy Olsen muy pervertido.
JLA Earth 2 - Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
Aquaman versus Power Ring

Owl-Man es Bruce Wayne. Su mayor enemigo es su propio padre, Thomas Wayne; y su más grande aliado es el comisionado Gordon, el hombre más corrupto de Gotham City. Johnny Quick tiene súper-velocidad gracias a su adicción a una misteriosa substancia, una droga que se inyecta en el brazo con la ferocidad de un adicto. Power Ring (Anillo de Poder) es también un esclavo de su anillo, así que en vez de tener el poder de voluntad de Green Lantern su principal característica es su sumisión.

Cuando la JLA visita Tierra 2, creen que pueden ayudar a este mundo. Incluso vencen a la SCA. Pero entienden que sin los tiranos, todos en este mundo son dictadores potenciales, asesinos o criminales. Nada de lo que hagan podrá funcionar allí. Y lo peor es que, durante esta visita, la SCA se las arregla para romper la barrera dimensional e invadir nuestra Tierra.

Me sedujo mucho la idea de la fatalidad. La noción de que, sin importar lo que haga Lex Luthor como héroe, está condenado a fracasar. Y fracasa. Porque ni siquiera la JLA puede traer la paz a un mundo atormentado. Pero, al mismo tiempo, cuando la SCA ataca nuestra dimensión, son fácilmente derrotados por Aquaman y Martian Manhunter. Porque así es como el asunto funciona siempre en los cómics: los buenos ganan, los malos nunca tienen ni una oportunidad, sin importar cuánto se esfuercen o qué tan efectivas sean sus estratagemas. Aunque, al final de esta novela gráfica original no podemos hablar realmente de un triunfo de la JLA. Claro que salvan su mundo, pero pierden la pelea en la dimensión paralela. Allí, la SCA continúa al mando. Y este encuentro entre dos realidades diferentes y dos estados mentales deja una profunda cicatriz en aquellos que defienden la justicia y aquellos que preservan la injusticia.

Frank Quitely tiene algunas páginas verdaderamente extraordinarias. Me encanta el diseño de la oficina de Lex Luthor, y la decoración del baño de la SCA. La escena entre Superwoman y Jimmy Olsen es estupenda, casi podemos ver cómo el chico se babea por ella. Morrison y Quitely una vez más demuestran por qué son uno de los equipos creativos más premiados. "JLA Earth 2" es una de las novelas gráficas de DC más creativas y entretenidas de la última década.

Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2013/12/jla-earth-2-grant-morrison-frank-quitely.html


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About the Author - Arion


Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.

 


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