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Bane of Kings and Shadowhawk take a look at the newest issue of the latest Justice League book from DC Comics.
“Justice League 3000 isn’t quite finding its groove yet after a promising start but it still continues to be fun and is far from the worst book on DC’s shelves right now.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
“Loved that we got more insight into how this world of the future works, but the primary characters aren’t quite working for me. The charm is in the setting and not so much in the characters.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
Bane of Kings:
Story: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis| Art: Howard Porter | Colours: Hi-Fi | Cover: Howard Porter
The Flash is defeated. Green Lantern is in the clutches of Locus, a psychotic teenaged girl with the powers of God. And Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have been banished to a planet wide penal colony!
Justice League 3000 has been quite a fun read so far that has been surprising, fresh and a relatively original take on the Justice League. The biggest problem with this series is the characters, there’s practically nobody to really root for with the entire Justice League of the year 3000 being unlikable lead characters. However, with the book having pulled off a dramatic twist in last issue that took readers by surprise, it’s now time to pick up where we left off, with Green Lantern in the clutches of Locus, the Flash out of the picture and Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman banished to a planet-wide penal colony. It certainly doesn’t look good for the Justice League. If they were the normal League from present day Earth, you’d easily back for them in this series to emerge triumphant. However, these aren’t the League members that you’re familiar with. They’re something else entirely.
This book isn’t among the best of DC’s stable despite the strong opening issue, but it’s a series that’s entertaining enough to keep reading even despite its flaws, mainly due to the vast amount of potential in a universe that is pretty much unfamiliar. At one point all comics’ fans must have asked themselves how the Justice League would get on if they were placed in another timezone. This is the closest you’re going to get at the moment as an answer to this question, as this book is still finding its footing after the hook that was the first issue.
The book itself is fairly exposition heavy, which bogs down the pace. The selfish qualities of the team and their unlikable factor however does pose for potential improvement so it may be worth playing the long game with this title, because once Keith Giffen and J.M. De Matteis find their grove on the book it easily has the potential to be one of the best in DC’s line-up. However for now, Justice League 3000 factors in the middle-grade of DC talent – something that’s not a must-read but it’s far from poor quality.
Howard Porter’s artwork has started to become more consistent. His design wasn’t the best thing about #1 but it’s starting to become more and more familiar. Hi-Fi handles the colours and they are pretty impressive, visually striking and helping Porter’s artwork enhance the tone of the book. The character designs are cool but they don’t quite look futuristic as one would expect – with Wonder Woman’s being one of the biggest problems. That said, we do get an awesome splash page that is one of the issues’ highlights – the one that features the planet Takron-Galtos.
In conclusion then, the third helping of Justice League 3000 is inconsistent in quality and exposition-heavy with some unlikable characters, but still proves to be a decent read – the potential of the series and the fact that it’s a lot of fun continues to prove why this book is worth sticking with. It’ll be interesting to see where this book goes in the future for sure.
The last two issues of this series haven’t been all that much to my liking. There is a decent amount of world-building in the issues, and the characters are somewhat interesting, but to be honest, the series just isn’t working out for my so much. And its frustrating because I really do want to like this series. But I can’t bring myself to care about the characters so much. Its quite funny how I can totally love one book by a creative team (Giffen and DeMatteis’ Larfleeze) and not the other (this one). Stylistically the two books are quite similar, and yet, they are so different from each other, and that’s largely because of the focus of the protagonists, because Larfleeze is about a single character with a huge supporting cast, and Justice League 3000 is about a team of characters, with a fair amount of supporting cast. But still.
The new issue leads almost directly from how the last issue ended. The Justice League of the future has been sundered and scattered, and times are looking really rough. The villain introduced in the last issue proved too much for them to handle since the team isn’t really working as a team, it is working as a bunch of individuals forced to get along because they are supposed to get along. It is an interesting angle to take with a superhero team, and given how pretty much all three of the main members (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are basically just jerks to each other, it adds a certain charm to all of it. But then that’s the problem, because there is almost nothing to redeem the characters. Being clones of the greatest heroes from Earth’s past, they are missing the life experiences that made those originals who they were. I like how the writers have shown the characters to stumble along, discovering bits and pieces about their old lives, but I’m not really able to connect with any of them. That is perhaps my biggest criticism of the book, the characters just aren’t working for me.
The new issue did show the three characters acting as the heroes they are supposed to be, but it still feels like they are completely out of their depth. It doesn’t help that none of the heroes have full command over their abilities, or they just don’t have all of their abilities in the case of Superman, so that too really mixes things up. The characters are flawed with respect to their morals and their attitudes, but they are also flawed in their very nature. On a good day, the old Justice League could go toe-to-toe against almost any supervillain and win through. Now, it is hostage to a character who can threaten a civilian population and the League capitulates. Not quite as heroic as I expected because I expect the characters to find some kind of a workaround.
Its not as if my patience is wearing thin with the book, far from it, but I kind of want to see more for each of them. Given what happens to Barry in the previous issue, I’m not certain where his character arc is going to go, or where Hal Jordan’s arc is going to go given what he is going through right now. He gets extremely little screen time in this issue since the story is mostly focused on the Trinity, but his scenes did give me a strange idea. See, thing is, Cadmus Labs created this new Justice League to counter the Five, supervillains who hold the entire galaxy in their thrall. Hal Jordan’s jailor, Locus, is one of the Five and her characterisation leads me to believe that just as the current Justice League is a clone of the old Justice League, what if the Five are clones of old villains as well? Where Locus is concerned, I have a very particular villain in mind, especially given her tantrums and obsession with Hal in this issue.
We shall see I suppose.
And as for the art, well, there are times when it works, and there are times when it doesn’t. Howard Porter delivers on some great splash pages and he sets his panels out really nicely, but the character designs don’t always work for me. And it doesn’t help that I still don’t like Wonder Woman’s expressions at all. She is perpetually locked into berserker mode and it is really, really off-putting. And the whole crew-cut style for Superman isn’t working for me either. Hi-Fi’s colours are great as usual, and it is a bit unfortunate that the best thing about the art is his work, rather than his work and Porter’s pencils. On the other hand, I enjoyed the aliens and the landscapes here, so that’s something.
Overall, I’m still not fully onboard with this series. Given how it ends, it appears that the series is going to pick up momentum now, particularly since Ariel Masters is back after her brief appearance in the debut issue, and we get some interesting reveals, so I’ll be checking back once again next month.