I’m glad Justice League is getting caught up from the delays. The cover by Jason Fabok looks great. Jessica Cruz’s character has an interesting development. Unfortunately, these are the most positive things I can say about this issue. I did not find it worth $3.99 or perhaps $2.99. I must confess: I did just get finished reading Grayson #3 which was excellent. I would compare that to drinking a regular Coca Cola and then taking a sip of Diet Coke. The Diet Coke would taste much worse than it normally would. This issue of Justice League may seem worse than it normal, but I’m going with my gut here.
What probably suffers the most in this issue is the artwork. You see that terrific Fabok cover, right? The interiors are the opposite. From the first page with Captain Cold and Flash, everything just seems so off. Cold is in a dream so I can’t focus on all the weirdness of the first page (a guy with an undrawn eye, Cold’s weird glasses, Flash’s realistic then solid white eyes). But after that. Cold’s glasses look dumb. Like dumber than usual. One of the assistant’s eyes is twisted so strangely. Superman is shown fighting. He looks like an action figure you’ve picked up and thrown across the room and his upper body is twisted backwards and legs spread wide but you keep playing anyways because that’s how bad he’s getting beat up. Completely not anatomically normal looking. If you’re gonna draw Grodd at an angle where his junk and his butt hole should be seen, then find a way to creatively hide it in hair or obstruct it with debris or something. Don’t just leave a blatantly untextured spot for me to stare at and think about what all should be there.
Scott Kolins is the artist for this issue. He is not a bad artist. There are several pages in here that I enjoyed. Flash has a one-page standard shot of him running that looks great. The shadows in the reveal are cool. The snickering look on Lex’s face is natural. If I were to draw this issue, it would look forty times worse. That being said. I think Scott would have benefitted from either some extra time (I’ve a feeling that was a major issue here with the delays and rush of the series) and some extra guidance/critique on the front end. This isn’t the ugliest comic I’ve seen by far. But this is Justice League. It’s a fairly big title that’s been helmed recently by some of the best artists in the field, so it does come as a bit of a shock. Enough about the art, on to the story.
The story fairs better, but not by leaps and bounds. This is a prologue and really just a stepping stone to the Amazo Virus (uh, ebola?) so it’s not going to carry a ton of weight. Most of what we are given here is a rehash of things we already know. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman’s distrust Lex. Lex’s motives are money and power. Captain Cold is working for Lex. Something terrible is coming, thanks to info from both Cyborg and Lex. All these topics we’ve known and don’t need to pay four bucks to read about again.
There are, however, a few new pieces of information we’re given which I will provide for you for free below.
- Captain Cold is planning to pull “the biggest job of our lives” as he tells Scudder. This is concerning his working at Lexcorp.
- There is a fear that people can get trapped in the Power Ring. I don’t think that’s much of a spoiler.
- Instead of trying to remove the ring, Jessica Cruz wants Flash to teach her how to use it.
- Bruce and Lex make a corporate partnership.
- Bruce and at least Superman are planning to arrest Lex Luthor soon.
- Since Lex knows something bad is coming, he’s recruited…you guessed it months ago…Owlman to help him. Owlman agrees as long as Lex promises to (pardon the pun) “deliver Superwoman’s child” to him.
On my second pass through the comic I started thinking about how much the artwork affected how I felt toward the story. Would I feel so blah about it if, say, Ivan Reis had penciled it? No, I don’t think so. Imagine watching a movie like The Shawshank Redemption. Now imagine playing that movie in the background while you watched sock puppets with holes in them that still smelled of feet act out the movie in a cardboard box. It just wouldn’t have the same effect. Now I’m not saying the artwork was stinky holey sock puppet bad, but I am saying it might change how you feel about the story. The same goes here. I think for what it is, it was written fine. All the subtleties of the subplots and how well the story as a whole is flowing is good. It just kinda fell apart on a surface level for me, at least.
- You want to thicken these subplots just a little bit more before we dive into the Amazo Virus.
- You’re into Einstein quoting while fighting.
- You just have to own it, otherwise most all you need to know is right here.
The artwork suffers in this issue and drags the story down with it. Some neat reveals and character advancements take place but really I’m left waiting to be infected with the Amazo Virus next month or whenever that issue might make it to the shelves. One could easily pass on this issue.