I’ll admit, I had no clue about this book. With the main Justice League title, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark and Justice League International on the shelves, United flew quietly under my radar. After a hiatus during Convergence, the title returns looking to recruit new members for their team. Some of their newest members that will in the next coming issues landed this book under our review umbrella.

Justice League United #11 kicks off a story to revamp their ranks with characters able to handle large tasks. With multiple members now gone, a whole new legion of heroes and anti-heroes have been chosen. Led by the charismatic Alanna Strange, a colorful cast of misfits are put together to combat a threat so large that all of existence faces eradication. Typically, this is the type of job for the main Justice League, but it’s always good to have options. Don’t look at them as a downgrade though, because this team is fully capable of holding of their own.

An interesting lineup. Ivy's facial expressions are priceless in this book
An interesting lineup. Ivy’s facial expressions are priceless in this book

 

The pacing of the issue works well. They explain that the chosen allies must be convinced to join. This allows for the story to progress organically. Writer Jeff Parker does well at finding the voices for each character. The interactions feel natural as the team comes together. Each character’s voice is distinct, giving a real sense of their personalities in their few alotted panels. Although they’re not all throughout the entire book, there’s a large amount of characters involved in this title. The DC preview showed a vast array of individuals that could/would/have been used, and issue #11 adds to the members already employed. Poison Ivy, Etrigan, Swamp Thing and Queen of Atlantis, Mera are the new recruits to the League. They join Alanna Strange, Animal Man, Equinox, and Stargirl, becoming the new Justice League United. As they convene on a Coast Guard ship, they find that there’s barely any time for pleasantries. The ship is immediately attacked by what looks like large red blood cells. These organisms are a part of The Breakers. Anomalies that are fighting for a place in our reality. Swamp Thing mentions that they’re neither plant or animal so I’m assuming an alien/mystical element. Thanks to Mera, the team takes to the water to confront the source of the problem. Once they arrive, Swamp Thing and Poison Ivy lose their connection to plant life. This doesn’t sit well with Ivy who strongly feels that the avatar (Swamp Thing) should not be disconnected from his green world. Her frustrations prove to be warranted as the operatives become overwhelmed in the process. Etrigan tries to save Swampy, but to no avail. *cue dramatic cliffhanger*

Spoiler
I was surprised that the team chose two plant masters (Ivy and Swamp Thing), but with Swamp Thing lost in the battle, it might prove useful to have Ivy onboard. Besides, she has the best facial expressions in the entire book. Not to mention this awesome line:
[caption id="attachment_21562" align="aligncenter" width="807"]Hey! I like redheads too! I'm sold Hey! I like redheads too! I’m sold[/caption]

Water aerobics seem to be working out well for Mera
Water aerobics seem to be working out well for Mera

Right away, the art is what caught my eye about this title. Travel Foreman has a knack for great facial expressions which are abundant in this issue. It really helps the feel of the book. The characters don’t appear as boring, static 2D models as it really brings them to life. Also, hats off to colorist Jeremy Cox. I’ve seen his work before and he does a terrific job. The story takes place mostly at night or dark settings, but Jeremy’s color light up the page. A particular favorite scene of mine was the recruitment of Ivy. I always pictured Ivy as one of the lower level criminals of Batman’s Rogue Gallery. Not diminishing her powers or the damage that she can inflict, but merely because she seemed more into self-interest rather than hellbent on domination and destruction. When she first appears in this issue, she’s pushing an experimental drug that she has concocted. The drug has immediate effects, though a bit more potent than she intended. Throw in Batgirl in hot pursuit of Ivy, and you have what was one of the best scenes in the book. Probably only second to Jason Blood’s (Etrigan) recruitment scene.

Poison Ivy, recreational drug pusher in her spare time
Poison Ivy, recreational drug pusher in her spare time

Recommended if:

  • You’re already following Justice League United
  • You’re interested in the vast array of characters involved
  • You enjoy when titles get otherworldly

Overall:

I really like this story simply for the different feel of a Justice League title. Obviously, there’s a threat big enough to summon a large team to respond, but the nature of the threat (and the personnel available) require a special kind of team. Everything comes together organically, and there’s a real sense of danger for the team. The artwork fits the surreal feel of the book perfectly, and is consistently detailed each panel. Justice League United is a fun title with a unique flare. The book had my curiosity, now it has my attention.

SCORE: 8 / 10