In my recenbt marathon run of JLA v3 I read Pain of the Gods. As it's a self contained story and I enjoyed it I thought it would be perfect for New readers.... Upon rereading it prior to writing the review I changed my mind.
Whilst it is a good story it's also quite heavy handed. Each hero comes face to face with death - either their own or a person they failed to save. The story is about how they cope with the threat of mortality and how they support each other. A lot of the dialogue, especially in the group scenes, reads like group therapy. It's almost like Chuck Austen wanted to write a story about loss and had to fit the JLA into that story. I'm not convinced that that's the best way to approach storytelling.
There's also the situations that they find themselves in - Green Lantern interrupts a couple of Domestic Violence incidents but one woman is knifed. J'onn J'onzz does his undercover detective thing and confronts a cheating husband, who then threatens to murder his wife. Violence against women to prove a moral point coupled with casual sexism makes me yawn.
Then I thought about the title some more - 'Pain of the Gods' is very grandiose and dramatic. It seems a wee bit self important, like the genre is taking itself way too seriously.
Then again, some scenes are well done and the art is great. Have a gander:
OK, one of those panels might be more scary than great and another one might be a reference to a Superman movie, which might be why I like it so much.
Despite the problems with some dialogue in this trade on the whole it is a enjoyable, but I think you need to be a dyed in the wool JLA fan to really like it. It's by fans, for fans. If it was produced differently, with the emphasis less on corny group support this would be far more accessible to new fans. Which is a pity, cos I'd love to recommend the book for it's art.
Has anyone else read this? Did you like it?