In Review: Justice League 3000 #1
The cover: The Justice League leaps out of a portal miles above a futuristic cityscape. From clockwise we can clearly see Batman, Superman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern. Awesome artwork by interior artist Howard Porter and interior colorist Hi-Fi. I’m hoping that future covers, or variants, focus on individual characters, Porter’s work is so good! A beautiful and strong introduction for this team. Overall grade: A
The story: Welcome to the 31st century, ten years after the arrival of “The Five.” “Billions died…as implants failed, life-support systems crashed. Governments toppled. Entire armies were exterminated. The power went out across a thousand worlds…” A resistance rose up of heroes, created by Ariel Masters, who triggers her H-suit, camouflaging her as Project Cadmus members burst into her room. She’s momentarily safe in a crowd, thinking she should blame the twins, but she can’t. Who and where are the twins? They’re on mobile planet Cadmusworld, sunbathing. Teri and Terry live a life of obvious luxury, though they’re not getting along presently, arguing about their mentor on the run and the questionability of sending out their team, the Justice League. Plotter Keith Giffen and dialoguer J.M. DeMatteis then move the story to the JL in action, battling a huge group of alien foes. The dialogue caught my attention immediately since they were saying things the JL I was used to would never say to each other. Their personalities and their abilities are not what I’m used to either. Who they are fighting is soon revealed, faster than you can say Starro or the Black Circle. When the fighting is over they return to their base where their origins are revealed as is their relationship to the twins. I’ve always been a fan of every pairing of Giffen and DeMatteis, but this issue left me mixed. The book weaved back and forth between the expected grand adventure and comedy, but I found it hard to root for this team because of their personalities. I also wasn’t keen on the twins, though I did like what Terry decided they should be called. True, this is an introductory issue intended to set up basic plot and the characters, but I didn’t have any fun while reading it. Instead I got a lot of shock with the characters’ interactions. Ariel came off as the most sympathetic, though she only appears on two pages. I like the narration that gives the state of the universe, I like the idea of “The Five,” though they’re nowhere to be found, but I don’t care for the leads acting like 8th graders. A very disappointing debut. Overall grade: C-
The art: The exact opposite of the story is the art. This is breathtakingly lavish artwork from Howard Porter. I want my science fiction worlds to look as alien as possible. Howard has created a highly detailed fallen society and an Eden of a planet in Cadmusworld. His characters are stunning, be they human or alien. The action of the characters is completely fluid for a “frozen” image on a page; witness the fleeing Ariel Masters for a terrific example of this. The heroes look incredible. Superman is perfection in form and always looks as though every action is a pose, and it very well could be. Wonder Woman is downright frightening. The Flash is a furious frenzy, with the discharge from his ankles so cool. Green Lantern looks more like the Spectre than a lantern, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Batman is a powerful “normal” whose actions are quick and vicious. Pages 16 and 17 reminded me of Giffen’s layout to the “5 Years Later” relaunch of the Legion of Super-Heroes, though Howard makes it his own. This entire book just overflows with details in the background, the foreground, and on the characters. Just amazing to look at. I took a long time swimming in the details, and I’m sure I still didn’t see them all. Overall grade: A+
The colors: What a nightmare of a book for Hi-Fi to color! Howard set the bar high for them to be as good as his art, and they did it! The first page is gorgeous in its decay, the next two in its noir tones, and Cadmusworld sharp and clean in colors. The double-paged splash introducing the team in action is poster quality in its colors. I loved the bright orange coming of the Flash and the red speed coming off Superman’s cape. Hi-Fi also puts tremendous depth into the characters’ flesh, as evidenced by the twins in their final appearance. Like the art, every page is a winner of coloring. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Narration, sound effects, and a ton of dialogue all provided by Sal Cipriano. Normally I like to see my sounds colored brightly, but with such detailed art, Cipriano rightfully makes the majority of sounds clear so that the art isn’t overshadowed. Overall grade: A
The final line: Maybe my hopes were too high, but I felt really let down by the story. The visuals were everything I’d hoped for and more. I’ll come back next month to see where this is going, but if the story doesn’t improve, the visuals alone can’t support my support my patronage. Overall grade: B-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking for Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.