In a week where some top-notch quality books were released, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when all was said and done, Justice League 3000 stood as not only my favorite book of the lot, but as perhaps my favorite issue of the entire run.  Last month, I was underwhelmed with the ease by which the JL3K was able to dispatch of the most ruthless killers in the universe in about half an issue.

For “A New Beginning,” the entire creative team stepped their game up for this issue and, while there are really no world-saving heroics of any kind whatsoever, produced the most entertaining comic I’ve read in a long time that had plenty of heartfelt and genuine moments on every page.  It serves as an exceptional epilogue for this series’ first arc, wrapping up every loose end that I could think of in a timely and believable fashion.

So here’s wrapping up the last arc: three and a half members of The Five are captured and are now securely locked in stasis within a massive Camelot prison system.  By three and a half, I don’t count the Convert, seeing as how he/she/it can be pretty much anyone.  Teri is back on Cadmus dealing with the loss of his supervillain team.  The nanobombs that were implanted in the League and Ariel have been disabled, and both sides are moving on to new things.

Keith Giffin and J.M. DeMatteis craft an excellent story that gives us a better understanding of how our heroes, villains, and supporting characters have evolved since the start of the series.  Almost every character has revealing or powerful scenes that demonstrate that these are more than husks with someone else’s memories, they are real people who are developing in very unique ways.  Bruce and Ariel have their moment, which revealed some cool things to come, Flash and Superman recreate the “Fastest Man/Woman Alive” race with an entirely unique ending, and Hal is still coping with the loss of his best friend.

With all of the heroes in this issue, the best work is done with Terry, who has a full emotional range of someone who has been beaten and humiliated in front of literally the entire universe.  He returns to Cadmus broken and bitter, and it is in these moments that you remember that Terry – regardless of his intellect and demented mind – is still a child, and he acts as such.  He’s a bully who has been punched, so what does he do?  He gets more bullies to fight back.

The art team of Howard Porter and Hi-Fi are on point in this issue, continuing their trend of close-up facial panels that highlight their ability to articulate human emotions exceptionally well with their wide open landscapes that are wonderful to look at.  Out of all the books that I read, when this duo is at their best they rival any artistic team in the business right now.

For anyone who took a look at the solicitations or the cover, do try to figure out who the members of the Injustice League 3000 are.  Some of them are quite obvious, but a number of them genuinely surprised me and offer some promising complexities going forward.  Or just read the Spoilers.

Spoiler

  • Here’s your new Injustice League 3000:
    • Bane (obvious)
    • Sinestro (also, obvious)
    • Mirror Master (I don’t read much Flash nowadays, but I couldn’t tell who that was at first)
    • Zeus (would have never guessed; if anything I would have guessed Ares)
    • Lois Lane (yes you are reading that correctly, Lois Lane is back, and apparently she is DNA-spliced to the max with powers; exactly what powers are unknown)
  • The second big reveal is on Takron-Galtos, formerly known as Earth, where Blue Beetle and Booster Gold have been found in some kind of hibernation chamber. It is indeed the very heroes from the 21st century, but what has brought them to the world of JL3K?
  • A new headquarters is being established on Camelot for the Justice League, and Bruce brings up that they will need a butler!  Yay, Alfred!
  • Teri wins the race with Superman by the way, and it’s not even close. It’s also one of the best scenes I have ever seen between her, Clark, and Hal.  There is so much that made me laugh, from Teri’s respectful manner to Superman out of breath (which I’ve never seen) and then the air is ripped out by Hal’s moving panel where he talks about his friend Barry.

Favorite Quote: “He was – he was the best.  Not just as a costumed hero – but as a human being.  That’s a lot to live up to.  Don’t let me down.” – Hal Jordan

Recommended If…

  • You’re looking for an excellent place to jump on.
  • You want a fantastic story that focuses on characterization and character building.
  • Seeing the Porter-Hi Fi team on their A-Game is for you.

Overall:

I loved every moment of this issue from the quiet serenity and funny moments of Camelot to the sinister and plotting machinations on Cadmus.  Not only does this do a fantastic job of closing the first arc of a series that just rocketed to the top of my reading list, but also skillfully sets up an intriguing plot going forward that I am very much looking forward to read.  Go out and get this book!

SCORE: 9.5/10