Let me illustrate, for like the third time this month, that I hate time-skips. Between Earth 2: Society and Justice League 3001, pretty much half of the books I review are going through some kind of time-jump vortex. I imagine there’s entire warehouses filled with the issues that were supposed to exist and offer some kind of context for missing story arcs, dusted and rotting away as a man with a non-descript grey jumpsuit wheels in a wooden box that is locked suspiciously tight. Here is where interest goes to die, where the plans of writing teams throughout DC fester and wither until they are nothing but forgotten footnotes to unfinished books. What I’m saying is, no matter how good the writing is or how well the artwork delivers, I have this sinking feeling that this book does not have long for this world.
Get ready for some one-on-one character interactions and expositional dialogue, something I’m a fan of, though readers looking for off-the-wall action will be disappointed this time around. The League members mostly talk their way through this issue, whether it’s about the recent Starro conflict, the irrational behavior of Ariel Masters, or what it’s like to be a roommate for the first time. It’s a lot to take in, but I was glad to see that Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were able to pull it off without the dialogue coming away as dense or dull. There is purpose behind these conversations that lends itself to the story and will help unravel the plot going forward. It also brings to light many of the things that have happened the last year, which is always welcome.
This issue also checks in with the Takron-Galtos B-Squad, whose roster has grown since we last saw them barely cobbled together in Justice League 3000. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle have joined up with Fire and Ice, while the group is being overseen by a re-re-re-revived Barry Allen and a soon-to-be-dying Hal Jordan. Things on the prison planet have calmed down since the defeat of The Five, only to be replaced with something substantially weirder – a giant turtle rampaging through the city. After dealing with the creature, the B-Squad realizes that the turtle is none other than Jimmy Olsen, which raises way more questions than I think I want answered. Giffen and DeMatteis have this ability to incorporate references from Golden and Silver Age comics which acts almost as an educational tool in a way.
I have trouble seeing this title really kicking off mainly because of the interference of the time-skip and the passing over of so many important details that will have to be shoddily filled in later down the line. Which sucks, because unlike so many other books that are published today, this one has a genuine, frequently-cheesy sense of humor about it. There are times where the book feels like a sitcom pretending to be a superhero comic, an idea further emphasized by the fact that the driving force behind this book lies largely with the character interactions and development. Look no further than the fact that so time is spent on things like Supergirl’s roommate situation, Guy’s adjustment to life as a girl, and Clark and Bruce’s rendezvous on Takron-Galtos. These moments parse the personalities and struggles that these superhumans are going through and manages to make them thoughtful and funny at the same time. What really takes away from these moments is the fact that most of these scenes are undercut by the veil of ignorance, as most of the key plot points are lost in the haze of an editor-enforced jump.
As always, the artwork team does an excellent job of bringing the world of Justice League 3001 to life. Of the few complaints I’ve had about Porter and Hi-Fi’s work on the title has been the character design of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, who looked nearly identical for most of their run’s beginning. This time around, Bruce looks like a knock-off of Wolverine with the sides of his hair turned up in these weird curls that reminded me of the not-funny Ace Ventura movie. Undoubtedly this artistic choice was made for the sake of a one-panel shot of Bruce walking down an alley and having his silhouette be very Batman-shaped. It felt like a bad idea for such a small payoff.
- So obviously I was incredibly confused when Jimmy Olsen turned into a giant turtle. But apparently this is something of a recurring theme for young James. In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #53 Jimmy was transformed into “The Giant Turtle Man” because of some bizarre experiment. He has also turned into Elastic Man, Bizarro Jimmy, a weird balloon thing, and a werewolf among other things. Please take a look below and admire:
- So Sheriff Tariq is still under the control of The Convert, one of the two members of The Five still at large. Ariel Lois knows this – of course, because she knows everything apparently – and has been keeping tabs on him as well.
- There’s someone on Tarkon-Galtos pretending to be Batman, and I love it. I’m a huge fan of Fake-Bat stories, especially ones like Battle for the Cowl, and I hope there’s some major payoff to this one.
- Maybe I missed something, but when Wonder Woman and Guy go to the bar, I have no idea what they did with the Starro girl. Did I not see what they did with her? It felt like a panel or two was just missing. If anyone knows what happened, feel free to let me know.
- Ariel seems at the end of her rope. Here’s to hoping that there will be real conflict in the next few issues.
- You like comic inside jokes.
- You don’t mind lots of dialogue.
- You’re a fan of Howard Porter and Hi-Fi.
Not Recommended If…
- You want the plot to advance a great deal.
- You want action.
Overall: While I have dwindling hopes for the future of this title, I find myself enjoying it consistently every month. Giffen and DeMatteis have a strong ability for dialogue and are paired up with one of the best art teams in the business. This line has been an easy sell for those who know a great deal about the history of comics and should continue to do well with a dedicated fan base. The score does not reflect their exceptional work, but the negligent behavior of their parent company in forcing along the story at an uncomfortable clip.