::looks at byline::
::looks in mirror::
::is decidedly not Cat::
Two years ago, when auditions were open for the Batman News writing team, one of the titles that piqued my interest was Justice League 3000. So, I went and read all of the issues up to that point and wrote about the strange dichotomies of the series: simultaneously silly and thought-provoking, it was just as much about questions of identity and individuality as it was about irreverence and goofiness. It wasn’t a book that became a part of my reviewing slate, but I enjoyed it enough to read it through its final issues.
Fast forward two years and a new series, I’d let JL3001 slip by and put it in my “I’ll catch up later” pile. With so many comics to keep up with and new things to read, an out of continuity (inasmuch as we can tell) book just kind of fell on the wayside, as much as I’d enjoyed it.
Then, I get a text from Cat, asking if I’d cover the final issue for her while she’s on vacation. So what do I do? What I did before, of course:
I marathoned all 12 issues in one day to play catch up. And guys, let me tell you, this book is nuts.
Like I said before, the cloning aspect this title began with presented some really interesting ideas regarding the ethics of the bodies used in the process and the idea of identity the new Leaguers had. There was a Superman who was powerful, yet lacked humility; a Wonder Woman who thirsted for battle but didn’t have any of Diana’s grace and compassion; and an apathetic Batman, brilliant and tactically-minded as ever without the driving motivation to put his skills to good use. Fascinating ideas there, with Giffen and DeMatteis’ trademark wit and storytelling prowess on display along with some appropriately impressive artwork from Howard Porter. The book is heavy with dialogue, but it’s snappy, funny, and explores the broader themes the writers present.
Then, everything just went bonkers and this pretty much became Justice League International in the Future and I couldn’t have loved it more. If you aren’t familiar with that series, then surely you at least know this:
Yes, these are the guys who wrote the infamous “one punch” scene, where Batman knocks out Guy Gardner, the Greatest of Green Lanterns™, with… you know. That spirit carried on in miniseries like Formerly Known as the Justice League, and JL3001 is essentially a direct follow-up with elements like the Super Buddies and L-Ron the android being carried over.
That’s not even mentioning Starro and his devotion to filing appropriate paperwork, a psychotic Lois Lane, or Bane’s penchant for tea parties. It… things get a little weird, yeah.
The downside to such a weird book is that it’s remarkably niche, playing on gags and storylines from Giffen and DeMatteis’ earlier works, so unless you’ve read a lot of their stuff (and I’ve really only read a handful of it myself), it’s easy to miss out on what they’re going for. And naturally, the book has been cancelled, as the tongue-in-cheek title of this issue states.
As for the issue itself, not an awful lot happens. It’s mostly a battle between the now all-female Justice League and the Injustice League, with a few revelations and flashbacks thrown in for good measure.
The breakthrough star of the book has been Teri, one half of the Project Cadmus Wonder Twins, now imbued with the powers of the Flash. Even when this title got ultraviolent or just outright bananas in its plot, Teri provided a nice reference point for the reader with her insecurities: being thrust headfirst into superheroics for one, and the guilt she feels over her twin brother Terry’s homicidal tendencies. With Terry back as Eclipso, working under the League’s nemesis Lady Styx, it’s Teri’s conflict that keeps both the final battle and subsequent revelations grounded.
Colleen Doran and Timothy Green II do adequate work with their pencils. There wasn’t anything that really grabbed me as truly stunning or amazing, but nothing was outright bad either. It’s competent, adequate artwork, and given that the series was abruptly cancelled it’s no doubt they were brought in “just to finish the book.” That shouldn’t be taken derisively, though, as both artists do a fine job with what was essentially a thankless task.
So how does the series end? Well, frankly, it doesn’t. There really isn’t any closure, and things are actually left open for future installments.
It’s a shame, too, because a lot of the characters had actually grown into their roles, and the idea of an all-female League is intriguing, yet barely explored. Besides that, entire plot threads like the inclusion of Larfleeze the Orange Lantern and G’nort, the 48th Best Green Lantern are almost entirely forgotten.
Everything is presented with tongue planted firmly in cheek and with the writers’ trademark self-effacing humor, though, so even if this “ending” isn’t remarkably satisfying it’s at the very least entertaining.
No sign of an Ambush Bug cameo, though. Bummer.
- You’re a fan of the Giffen and DeMatteis writing team.
- You like your comics quirky and weird.
- You don’t like closure.
- You’re a fan of Guy Gardner, the best Green Lantern, and/or G’nort, the 48th best Green Lantern.
Overall: It’s not really an ending, and the book is well aware of that. If you’re already on board, this will give you at least something to enjoy; if not, you aren’t going to be won over. There are a few twists that, if given a chance to be explored in the future, could provide some great storytelling opportunities. As it is, the final issue of Justice League 3000 is an incomplete chapter that knows it’s incomplete and uses that to its storytelling advantage. It’s pretty much the comic book equivalent of the “S.O.B.s” episode of Arrested Development, which is maybe the greatest compliment you can give anything.