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.
Not as strong as the new series’ opening zero issue, Justice League United #1 features the newly constituted Justice League Canadian team taking on a giant monster who is more than a match for Green Arrow, Animal Man, Stargirl, and the Martian Manhunter. While offering the same humor of last month’s issue, and wasting no time to get Adam Strange into a New 52 version of his trademark costume, things get a little bloodier this time around (particularly in the B-story involving Hawkman‘s battle with pseudo-Lobo in space).
While I still think this group of heroes can work, I’m having some doubts about the initial set-up here as it looks like it’s going to take at least a couple more issues to bring the full team together and make sense of things. A more straightforward first story, more centered on establishing the dynamics of the group and how the team works together would probably have worked better rather than throwing us into a pair of separate stories light years apart which are likely only to get more complicated as the Canadian group is transported to Rann. For fans.
Although there are certainly some oddities here, Justice League United launches with a zero issue rather than a #1, the timing of the book is a bit nebulous (taking place sometime after DC’s still running Forever Evil crossover event and with a non-Red Lantern Supergirl), I’ve got to say DC’s grouping of a Canadian-based Justice League team written by Jeff Lemire with art by Mike McKone is better (and funnier) than expected and could be the New 52‘s best new title since Worlds’ Finest.
Offering an Adam Strange (apparently) before his time on Rann, Lemire and McKone populate the team with a nice collection of B-list and C-list heroes which one would assume would allow the creative team a little more leeway in terms of storylines compared to the major Justice League title. The comic puts together Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, Strange, Supergirl (who only appears on the cover), Green Arrow, and Hawkman (who apparently with take on pseudo-Lobo next month) for a first issue that delivers some fun interactions and plenty of action. I’m interested to see where things go from here. Worth a look.
- Title: Justice League: War
- IMDB: link
Based on DC Comics’ New 52 reboot and the first arc of the current Justice League series by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, Justice League: War isn’t as awful as I suspected. It’s not actually a good movie, but most of the issues here have to do with the source material itself rather than any mistakes in the adaptation into the film.
Replacing the missing Aquaman with Captain Marvel (Sean Astin), who I still refuse to call him Shazam, the storyline is basically intact as the various heroes of the Justice League come together to defeat Darkseid (Steve Blum) and the invading armies of Apokolips. As with Lee’s original designs, everything looks and feels too muted including the super-hero costumes, particularly those of Superman (Alan Tudyk) and Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), that lack any pop. And although (thankfully) the film chooses to stay away from that awful yellow piping on the Flash‘s (Christopher Gorham) costume we saw at the end of The Flashpoint Paradox, Green Lantern (Justin Kirk) is still stuck with the unnecessary light-up pieces of his costume.
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- Title: JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
- IMDB: link
Aimed more to a kid-friendly all-ages audience than the much more publicized Justice League: War release, and available only at Target (as a tie-in to the store’s JLA toy line), JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time proves to be a hell of a lot of fun. Rather than adapting an existing mini-series or comic arc (which seems all that DC has been interested in lately), Trapped in Time offers an original adventure from screenwriter Michael Ryan and director Giancarlo Volpe that’s a bit of a throwback to the old Super Friends days.
The straight-to-DVD adventure begins with the Legion of Doom‘s latest plan of world conquest by expanding the polar ice caps which leaves Lex Luthor (Fred Tatasciore) stuck in ice for hundreds of years before his frozen remains are eventually discovered. Accidentally released by two junior members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Lex uses the knowledge and technology of the future to return to the past with a plan to stop the Justice League from ever forming by attacking Superman while he was still an infant.
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- Title: Justice League: War
- IMDB: link
We now have our first trailer for DC’s next animated straight-to-DVD movie. Adapted from the opening Justice League arc used to launch the New 52, Justice League: War features Superman (Alan Tudyk), Batman (Jason O’Mara), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), the Flash (Christopher Gorham), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Cyborg (Shemar Moore), and Shazam! (Sean Astin) (taking the place of Aquaman) fighting off Darkseid‘s (Steve Blum) invasion of Earth. Although I like many of the actors, I’m a little skeptical about some of the casting decisions as well as seeing DC move forward with the decision to make their animated movie franchise mirror the current New 52 landscape. The movie will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 4th.
DC Comics regrettable reboot of Captain Marvel‘s origin concludes her with the new dickish and rather dim (seriously, where’s the wisdom of Solomon when you need it?) Captain Marvel, I’m still not calling him Shazam, fighting it out with Black Adam and evil of the Seven Deadly Sins possessing a guy who was once mean to Billy (who, let’s face it, this a-hole version of the beloved character who defined purity, grace, honesty, and wonder for more than 70 years probably deserved it).
The issue is only really memorable for the introduction of the Marvel Family. Wait, are we supposed to call the the Shazam Family now? Can anyone really say Mary Shazam or Shazam Jr. with a straight face? Anyway, Black Adam (being the dullard that he is) teaches Billy to share his powers and give them to his adopted foster family and Tawky Tawny (sadly transforming him into the Battle Cat Flashpoint version (the alternate reality so gritty it had to be destroyed… insert your own ironic joke here), not the classic awesomeness of a talking tiger in a well-tailored suit). Also, no Hoppy. Sigh.
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With the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline complete the Justice League puts together a recruiting drive aboard the Watchtower to expand their ranks. Although the group invites a dozen or so heroes including Old DCU JLA standouts Black Canary, Vixen, Firestorm, and Zatanna, along with Nightwing, Black Lightning, Blue Devil, Element Woman and others, only three make the final cut (and not really the ones I’d have chosen).
The gathering is interrupted by Platinum, the new android by Dr. Magnus (who in the Old DCU created the Metal Men) who runs amok and begins tossing heroes around the space station. Despite the main Leaguers being present, it’s two relative newcomers in Firestorm and a female Atom (who certainly isn’t Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi) who save the day.
The back-up story continues Billy Batson acting like a spineless prick and his continued unwillingness to be a hero despite the power granted to him and Black Adam‘s rampage and gathering of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man to his side to unleash his evil on the wizard and his new champion. Hit-and-Miss.
There’s certainly some improvement here over the atrociously bad first issue. As Green Arrow fights for his life in the medical bay the rest of the team comes together to fight the mysterious threat of the Secret Society of Super-Villains even though, as Steve Trevor points out to Amanda Waller, the team has never worked together, has almost no intel on the threat, and will probably get their asses kicked.
Aside from Waller’s irrational expectations, the second issue of the new Justice League of America has a few other problems as well. The opening shot of the Scarecrow‘s recruitment runs far too long while at the same time being unnecessarily obscure. It’s also unclear why, despite his injuries, why Green Arrow isn’t offered a spot on this team (after risking his life for them).
Issue #2 does have some fun moments, my favorite being the sequence involving Vibe and Hawkman meeting for the first time. Although it’s pretty forced, I also liked the idea of setting up a relationship between Trevor and Catwoman. Hit-and-Miss.