- Title: Justice League: Gods and Monsters
- IMDb: link
I was ecstatic when I heard Bruce Timm was returning to DC for a new animated feature. One of the creators behind Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, the animated DCU just hasn’t been the same since his departure. When I heard the premise of the movie, however, I was more skeptical. It turns out I need not have feared that Bruce Timm might be corrupted by the grit of the New 52 that’s turned so much of DC’s comic and video output to shit. Timm certainly delivers a darker and more adult story than expected but it’s still grounded in a profound understanding and love for these characters that is far too often lacking in much of DC’s current output.
Although the word Elseworlds doesn’t appear in its title that’s exactly what Justice League: Gods and Monsters is: a story set in an alternate version of the DCU vastly different from the any we know. The result is as unexpected as it is enjoyable. It may not be classic Timm, but the man certainly hasn’t lost his knack for characters, design, or storytelling.
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The Infinitus Saga continues with Stargirl stepping up and talking some sense into both teams about the rather unheroic actions of killing a powerful child because of what he might one day turn into in one possible future timeline. The entire concept of the Legion of Super-Heroes heading backwards in time to commit murder has bothered me since the beginning of the arc rather than having the heroes struggle to find the more heroic thing to do, and I’m happy to see my favorite member of the current Canadian Justice League team be the one to step-up here as the cheap out of snapping someone’s neck appears to be off the table.
With all that settled there’s still plenty of action to be had as the two super-hero groups will combine resources to stop Byth from turning Ultra into a creature of mass destruction eventually responsible for the death of millions. With my need to cut back a bit on my monthly comic bills, Justice League United continues to straddle the line of worth picking up although this month’s beautiful Darwyn Cooke variant cover made the choice a little easier. For fans.
Continuing the events from Justice League United Annual #1 half the League faces off against both the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Cadre who want to get their hands on Ultra the Multi-Alien. And if that isn’t enough the other half of the league (Green Arrow, Animal Man, Supergirl, and Stargirl) has to deal with the villainous Byth and the brainwashed Hawkman before the mad scientist can transform young Ultra into a universe-destroying weapon.
The action allows the latest issue to highlight the powers and limitations of a questionable number of characters all in one book (and I’m always okay with Stargirl getting to kick a little ass). Starting the second-half of the Ultra arc in the annual was a bit of a dick move on DC’s part as those who missed picking up the issue may struggle a bit for why everyone (including heroes from the future) seems to be fighting over killing, controlling, or worshiping an awkward alien kid, but even for as messy as it is the story still holds together (although I have doubts whether it can continue to do so for three more issues). For fans.
Following up the events of the series’ first arc involving the rescue of a bizarre alien baby of immeasurable abilities, Justice League United Annual #1 bring the Legion of Super-Heroes back in time to destroy the fast-evolving child (already a teenager) before it grows into the monster of the 31st Century responsible for the destruction of countless worlds and billions of lives.
Opening with a battle between a distraught Mon-El and half the team including the Martian Manhunter, Equinox, and Adam Strange the comic is filled with quite a bit of action in a thinly-veiled tale about young Ultra growing into a Galactus-type monster capable of universal destruction.
The B-story involves Green Arrow, Animal Man, Supergirl, and Stargirl tracking down the villainous Bith and discovering that their dead teammate Hawkman isn’t so dead (although he’s apparently now working for the other side). For an annual the issue works well kicking off the next arc of the series which (even for someone who isn’t a bit Legion fan) should get interesting with the number of characters making appearances before all is said and done. Worth a look.
- Title: LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Batman: Be-Leaguered
- wiki: link
Despite refusing to join the Justice League, Batman is forced to investigate when the various core members begin mysteriously disappearing beginning with Superman. Much like the LEGO Batman games LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Batman: Be-Leaguered features the same humor and LEGO-style action fans have come to love. And I was also pleased to discover the classic take on all members of the Justice League rather than the New 52 versions which apparently be making their first appearance in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
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ComingSoon.net and Machinima are reporting that DC has a new Justice League animated series planned to coincide with the theatrical release of Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Although I’m not excited for the new series adopting the darker tone of the recent DC movies, the news that Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett will produce the series certainly makes me feel better about the chances of the show than the upcoming film.
The comic’s five-issue opening arc comes to a close with the team’s return from Rann, but two members don’t make the trip. I was surprised to see Hawkman‘s death not quickly reversed, and given his new connection to Alanna and the Zeta Beam the safest place for Adam Strange is Rann meaning the comic has lost two of its core members before ever getting started.
The Animal Man/Green Arrow relationship remains the best part of the book, but I am disappointed with writer Jeff Lemire’s choice in Supergirl‘s adversarial relationship with the team, particularly Stargirl. As the comic has already lost two of its major selling points (in favor of far-less interesting stand-ins like Miiyahbin), the only way for it to succeed is to build relationships among the group which aside from Ollie and are sorely lacking.
Although Justice League United #4 wraps up the arc it doesn’t do much to sell me to continue reading the title past this so-so issue which leaves the team and comic with holes to fill. For fans.
The latest issue of Justice League United finds the team on Rann where they must not only save the young child from being corrupted into something true monstrous by Byth but also fix a damaged Zeta-Beam which threatens the lives of thousands. Although Martian Manhunter is able to reason with the child, Byth manages to escape capture and one member of the team will sacrifice himself to stop the Zeta Beam from destroying the city.
Much like the issues which have preceding it, Justice League United #3 works best when playing with the relationships of the new team – particularly the bickering between Animal Man and Green Arrow. The crazy alien space baby storyline hasn’t been as effective but that part of the tale seems to be concluded here.
The death of a major character seems a bit odd, especially as the title hadn’t even had time to properly work Hawkman into the group dymnamic (as nearly all of his storyline was separate from that of the League). I expect him to miraculously return next month (like his severed arm did earlier in the series). Worth a look.
With the Justice League team transported to Rann the comic explains how the Ultra Project, meant to bring a group of constantly warring worlds together in peace, has been usurped by a madman who plans to use the product of the genetic experimentation and transform it into the ultimate weapon.
Introducing Supergirl to the team for the first time (but making no effort to explain why she’s not wearing a Red Lantern ring as she has been in her own comic for the past several months), Justice League United #2 gives us the still-not-quite fully-assembled team with more of the Green Arrow and Animal Man banter that so far has been one of its biggest strengths. With Supergirl’s arrival I’m hoping writer Jeff Lemire has plans to develop strong dynamic between the two younger female members as well as Kara may finally find the friend she’s been seeking in Stargirl.
The genetic plot is pretty goofy, but I’m willing to let this opening arc play out and see if Lemire and artist Mike McKone can make it work. Worth a look.