Now, I love me some Grant Morrison. He wrote the quintessential Superman story, he made me revise my "I hate the fucking X-Men" policy, and just look at what he's done with Batman.

But in the mid-1990's, I was more of a Marvel guy, so I never read his run on JLA.

Now, I've been told for years that it's a classic run, and so I finally picked up the first trade the other day. And I have to say...what the fuck is this shit?

Image: Constipated Green Lantern

Yeah, it would be a lot easier to appreciate the spectacle of the seven greatest and most iconic DC superheroes if they didn't look like this:

Image: Mullet Superman, Pointy Batman, Bimbo Wonder Woman, Popeye Flash, Surprised Martian Manhunter, Enraged Green Lantern, Angry Aquaman

Hell, let's take a look at that entire Popeye Flash panel; it's a great "goofy faces" picture in and of itself:

Image: Giant Spitcurl Superman, Grimacing Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter picking up his skirts, Very Surprised Wonder Woman, Popeye Flash

And of course the 1990's art aesthetic didn't just apply to the pencils -- let's see some Photoshop Blur!

Image: Photoshop Blur Abuse!

WHUTT! indeed. And the Photoshop problems don't stop there. It's not really easy to tell onscreen, but I can assure you that on the printed page, there are badly-antialiased fonts and jaggy pixels on backgrounds.

Now, I'm picking on the art a lot here, because it is a constant barrage of pure eye-searing awfulness, but what about the story? Can a brilliantly-written Grant Morrison story redeem truly reprehensible art?

Well, as we all know from New X-Men, the answer is "sometimes". Unfortunately, that doesn't happen here. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced this story was written by Morrison, or even a human being; it reads like it was written by the Justice League Cliché-o-Matic 5000.

New superhero team shows up and promises to save the world?
Image: The Hyperclan pledges to save the world.
Check. They're actually bad guys?
Image: The Hyperclan pledges to bring the world to its knees.
Check. They lose because they underestimate Batman?
Image: Protex dismisses Batman as too fragile to be a threat.
Check. Martian Manhunter is set up as a traitor because he's an alien who doesn't fit in...
Image: Protex recruits J'onn.  Sure he does.
...but it turns out he was a double-agent the whole time and he's still on the JLA's side?
Image: J'onn fakes out the bad guys.
Check and check. (An aside: that's the one artistic touch I really like in the book, is the Martians' shape-shifting depicted as clay crumbling off and reshaping. So kudos for that.)

Overcompensating for the fact that everyone makes fun of Aquaman by constantly showing that no really guys, Aquaman is a total badass!?
Image: AQUAMAN IS HARDCORE.
Check. Kryptonite?
Image: Protex has Kryptonite.
Ch--
Image: THE KRYPTONITE IS A LIE.
Ha, good one, Grant. Almost had me there. But I'm still pretty sure I had a Bingo two clichés ago. ...okay, one more.

Facile explanation for why the JLA doesn't just fix the world like the bad guys said they should?
Image: If you fall they will catch you, they'll be waiting -- time after time

Check. Also, what the hell are they all looking at?

Soooo yeah, a JLA story that would have sent me to the hospital if I'd made it into a drinking game, complete with Liefeld-lite 1990's art atrocities.

My question is, does it get better after that, or has everybody been having fun at my expense and this "classic" run is actually that terrible all the way through? Should I bother picking up any of the rest of it, or just skip to Earth 2? Please advise, Internet.

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