I don’t know what happened, but somehow Dwayne McDuffie went from writing some great episodes of the best-yet superhero cartoon to churning out over a year’s worth of some absolutely clunky and uninspired issues of the comic book series. The thing of it is, I can’t detect what McDuffie is doing so differently between the animated series and the comic, except that in the book he’s confined by cast, and given (theoretically anyway) more room for character development. But compare the Green Lantern/Vixen/Hawkgirl love triangle of JLU with the Red Arrow/Hawkgirl/Hawkman triangle in JLA. The former is damn wicked, the latter seems to be going through soap operatic motions.
It’s seems as if McDuffie doesn’t understand (or care) as much about the DC Universe as he did about the much more confined JLU universe, which would make sense. He did have decidedly much more control and no Dan DiDio on JLU.
In introducing the Milestone characters which he helped create, he’s shown far more interest in developing them as unique personalities than any of the main characters of his title. McDuffie has long been a proponent of “self-containment” in comic books, meaning each title should be able to stand and progress on its own without having larger continuity to deal with. It would be nice if he could make Justice League of America more like Justice League Unlimited to prove his point.