Year of Publication:
Writer: Patton Oswalt
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
JLA Members: Superman
, Wonder Woman
, Plastic Man
, Green Lantern
, the Flash
, the Martian Manhunter
"You can't hear the phrase, 'Please would be nice' enough, can you, Batman?"
Marlus Randone, a "cape-gape" (what fanboys would be if superheroes actually existed), finds himself, thanks to completely implausible circumstances, even by comic standards, hiding away at the Justice League of America's headquarters. With this unprecedented opportunity to research for his metahuman-focus magazine, Save Us!, he remains there a week, witnesses his heroes in their off-moments, and ultimately, helps save the world from an alien menace.
While the story does not violate DC Comics' reality or continuity, Patton Oswalt, best-known for his work on Late Night and The King of Queens, approaches the material tongue firmly in cheek. Randone dismisses Clark Kent as a puff piece writer and theorizes that Lex Luthor must have financed Batman. Batman convinces the Weather Wizard to simply patent and get rich from his latest invention, instead of using it for nefarious purposes; you'd think more over-educated supervillains would follow suit, instead of engaging in the more conventional bad guy behavior. Martian Manhunter describes the Dark Knight's obsession with testing his physical limits as a fetish. A butch-cut woman introduces Wonder Woman to the crowd at an ersatz Lilith Fair. Aquaman demonstrates that his powers can be edgily cool; he takes out some kidnappers by having the assembled crabs and beach-vermin swarm them. Green Lantern and Flash watch a made-for-tv movie based on past events in the DC Universe. Plastic Man, meanwhile, throws a kegger in the Justice League's headquarters, incurring the wrath of Batman.
Throughout, however, a menace introduced in the opening pages gathers forces. This plot, which could easily fill several issues' worth of JLA, develops between the cracks, not really getting enough attention to be satisfying. That's not what this comic is about, however. In its better moments, JLA: Welcome to the Working Week follows in the tradition of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's "A Day in the Life of the Fantastic Four"(Fantastic Four #11), showing what heroes might be like during their down time. It also nearly accomplishes humorously what Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross's Marvels (despite superior artwork) failed to do ponderously: namely, show what a comic-book universe might feel like for the average, non-super-powered person. (We don't, of course, ever learn why that world still even remotely resembles ours, despite regular contact with aliens who often have sinister designs and the presence of so very may super-powered beings who have technology that permits them to teleport entire towns to safety).
The artwork doesn't break any new ground, but does feature some interesting page layouts and creative uses of Plastic Man. William W. Elder's chicken fat style influences the drawings, which have been crammed with tiny and often ridiculous details.
JLA: Welcome to the Working Week
doesn't represent a monumental achievement in comix
; portions are confusing, and overall it should have been a good deal funnier. Nevertheless, it provides amusement for comic fans and even those passably familiar with DC's iconic characters, and it reminds a fanboy-dominated milieu that, once upon a time
, funny book
s didn't take themselves seriously.
See the JLA Issue Guide for further JLA adventures.