The last two issues of Justice League 3000 have set the stages for a very strange set of reunions.  After a surprising first arc and impressive epilogue by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, this new arc of Justice League 3000 promises to bring the past and present (or future?) together for new battles with familiar faces.

“A Cold Day in Hell” starts with the most recently-decanted heroes, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, battling a copycat Blue Beetle on Takron-Galtos.  We get a quick bit of recap from Booster, who comes off as pretty useless.  In all the ways to possibly be killed, eaten by mutated future sewer rats is not high up the list of most noble or respectable.  Beetle spends most of the time beating the tar out of his futuristic doppelganger.  It’s just another reminder that the strength of most villains lies not in their physical prowess.  Once Beetle gets hands on the impostor, the fight is pretty much over.

If there is one thing this issue does well, it is to make me care about characters I otherwise wouldn’t.  I brought up last time that I was not so high on the previous issue because I did not have a total grasp on the Booster and Beetle characters, but their pseudo-meta bromance is starting to grow on me.  They’re basically video game characters, comic book characters that act like they know they’re in a comic, without all the potential obnoxiousness of breaking the fourth wall.  Also, knowing how treacherous Takron-Galtos really is and how strong the influence of the Convert is on the planet places the two in very tangible danger.

JL3000_13_3

The majority of the issue takes place on Camelot-Nine, the home of the JL3K.   The cover ruins the reveal, but Diana, Clark, and Teri come across Ice, who is still alive through some kind of immortality and is spoken about as a goddess.  Diana makes some cracks about Justice League International being the worst iteration of the Justice League and one that everyone would rather forget about, which was genuinely funny.  We don’t get to hear much of Ice’s story, other than that she is the same hero from the 21st century and has managed to stay alive for this long.

There is one thing that really threw me and left me with about a thousand questions which I’ll throw under a tag. 

Spoiler
  So Lois Lane is on Camelot-Nine, and we hear her internal monologue talking about how she was going to destroy the Justice League “as easily as [she] did in the last.”  What does that mean??

One of the signs of a strong series is character development.  I’m a huge fan of watching characters grow and change in realistic fashions, which is one of the main reasons why I love this book.  Setting the majority of this issue from the perspective of Teri shows how the girl struggles with taking up the mantle of Barry Allen.  It is a real conflict; there are expectations to live up to, and she is almost completely out of her element.  Watching her briefly internalize that conflict works very well to show how she is handling her new-found powers and team.  Another character who shows a change through Teri is Superman.  For this entire series, Superman has been by far the least like his 21st century counterpart.  Seeing him actively care about Teri’s welfare then have him go to hitting on Ice was a funny dynamic.

I can’t praise the quality of the artwork enough in this series.  Howard Porter’s work has definitely allowed this book to take on a life and style of its own.  I absolutely love how he illustrates Teri, especially one scene where she has the goggles down and is racing through Camelot’s streets.  Still one of his major strengths are those close-up, emotional face shots that bring across more than the words do.  Diana in particular has some great faces when she talks to Teri.  Porter and colorist Hi-Fi also create these exceptional fantasy-realm settings that can be full of life or total desolation and look cool either way.

If you aren’t reading this book, you’re missing out.

Spoiler

  • Sheriff Tariq saves Booster and Beetle from the mutant rats. Last time we saw him, he was under the control of the Convert and trying to capture Ariel.
  • Etrigan can apparently see close-ups of people through his mystical pool, and it seems that he’ll be bringing in Fire to combat Ice. I thought it was going to be Firestorm until he said it was a woman.

Interesting Facts:

  • Yeah I’m stealing this for today.
  • The original Justice League International was created in 1987 and was written by – oh, hey – Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis.
  • Before Justice League International (2011-2012) was cancelled, Fire and Ice were comatose, while Booster was busy recruiting other heroes to the team.

Favorite Quote:  “She’s with Diana.”  “Who, as we all know, is the soul of caution!” – Ariel and Superman.

Recommended If…

  • You’ve book looking to jump on to an original, fun book.
  • You’re miss Justice League International.

Overall:  This book was the surprise of the year for me, and its high quality has gotten me looking for big things in the future.  While I have questions about some direction choices, the character development and artwork are some of the best I’ve seen this year.

SCORE: 8.5/10