Justice League: Gods and Monsters #3: “Genesis”

Story by J. M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm

Written by J. M. DeMatteis

Illustrated by Thony Silas

Colored by Tony Aviña

Lettered by Saida Temofonte

Or, “Where Things Get Absolutely Crazy-Bonkers.”

If last week was mostly action, this week is even more so, as everything gets ramped up to a pretty insane degree.

The Justice League, reluctant defenders of the world, finally confront Jackson Alpert, he of the “mad scientist” persuasion, and he… well…

...sure.
sure.

Dude skipped straight to final boss form.

Even more so than last week, this issue is almost completely wall-to-wall action.  It’s fun in its ridiculousness, but since it’s one big fight with the same guy it kind of outstays its welcome.

On the other hand, it is a crazy fight with a giant purple robot scientist, and I think we can all agree that comics could definitely use more of that.

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Lois Lane is once again our narrator, just as cynical and filled with reservations towards the heroes as ever.  While it is an interesting take to have people be more leery of these “gods and monsters” than we’re used to, after so long it gets kind of hard to root for them.  There’s a point where Imperiex takes hold of the heroes’ minds and uses them to attack Zurich, and Lois wonders if they were even under his control at all.  What if his desire to enslave and subjugate mankind lined up with their own, and they joined willingly?  I’ve appreciated this approach and enjoyed most of the work DeMatteis has been doing with the narrative, but at some point it just becomes too much.  If anything, it makes it to where you can’t really identify with Lois either, and as our “point of view” narrator that’s not really something you want.  It could have been tightened up a bit, is what I’m getting at.

Anyway, each Leaguer gets their own moment to shine in the battle.  Bekka goes into a berserker rage when her Mother Box is destroyed, laying out Imperiex with a single punch.  Superman, driven by hubris and pride more than anything, tries to defeat Alpert by sheer force of will and show of strength, being almost comicly stubborn in his refusal to go down.  Batman uses his vampiric powers to feed on the armor’s power source, eventually leading to the villain’s defeat.

Credit should go to Thony Silas and Tony Aviña, as they do the best with what they have.  An issue-long battle can be tiring and confusing, and there aren’t any vibrant colors or locations that they can use to break up the imagery, but everything is still coherent and easy to look at.  Imperiex’s design is absolutely crazy, and I love it, and the bigger moments where each of the League hits hard really jump off the page.

Naturally, the three when through the power of teamwork, which verges on the edge of corniness but is actually quite effective, especially as Superman recalls that he may have given up had he been alone, but he wasn’t.  It’s a really great moment, and Alpert’s end is actually pretty brutal, but then Lois says that Langstrom’s account was “crafted by one of President Waller’s speechwriters” and dismisses it.  I’d chalk this up to her distrust of the heroes, and while they is a part of it, it adds another interesting layer to the story, especially considering that the League effectively becomes a government sponsored agency.

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Waller earned the nickname “the Wall” for a reason, and having her serve as their PR rep while also using them to serve her own purposes adds a neat spin on the League.

This series wasn’t great, but it’s a good, entertaining start.  Hopefully this is a success and there are more tales to come, as the dynamic of the group could easily change and be taken in interesting directions with the addition of more members of the Justice League.

Recommended if:

  • You enjoyed the movie.
  • You like Elseworlds and alternate universe takes on characters.
  • You’ve read the other books.
  • You like giant purple robot scientists.

Overall: The negativity towards the heroes, while realistic, weighs everything down a bit too much and makes it less fun than it should be, but it’s a solid enough ending for this story.  Hopefully, as Josh has said, this lays the groundwork for future stories and more characters in this universe, as it’s a good start, imperfect as it is.

SCORE: 6.5/10