The cover: The cover proclaims “First Fight, Last Rites!” as the Five lord over their destroying of the League. Kali holds Wonder Woman’s hair and head, Convert holds Batman’s head as he steps on Superman’s neck, and Locus gleeful holds tiny Green Lantern like a deviant child holds a butterfly before it tears off its wings. Fantastic image from Howard Porter with coloring by Hi-Fi. There’s a bezillion little details in everything, including the background. Porter didn’t slack off in the setting behind the characters: there’s tons of details in there! Plus Hi-Fi did their superior work with the characters in the foreground being more vivid than the background, but even they didn’t get lazy. The color scheme of everything seems completely appropriate, it’s just that the characters in the front have moved away from the light source. Brilliant! Overall grade: A+
The story: “The Camelot War” by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis begins on Camelot Nine, the world run by King Arthur. The League and Ariel have gone there to escape the Five, but Arthur doesn’t want the villains to come to his world as they are already engaged in a war with demons. Wise words from his wife give Arthur a new perspective and things change. The heroes make a plan to set a trap for the villains, who are enduring Terry’s outrage at the League’s escape. A trap is hatched and the villains end up on the wrong side of a gate, encountering Arthur’s foes, the demons, led by DC supernatural star Etrigan. Eventually the villains find their way to the heroes and readers get to see the League working as a team. It took ten issues, but they are a team and they are awesome! They square off against their opposites, with Locus and Green Lantern being the rematch I was looking most forward to. There’s the expected dialogue from Batman and Superman, but they’re a team and it made me so happy! Even with this ending, things are still tough for our protagonists. The galaxy is not so vast a space anymore and danger, or the Five, could appear around corner. Knowing this, it made Ariel’s final suggestion super. I loved every panel of this book. Overall grade: A+
The art: When I read my weekly supply of comics, I always save JL3000 for last because it’s the dessert of my comic meal (Yeah, I’m using a food analogy for a comic book reading…Write your own fanboy joke here…). Artists are few and far between that can leave me gasping at the epic scale they bring to their books. Howard Porter is always filling every panel with an ungodly amount of detail. Look at the amazing structures he has on the first page: a tremendous shot in space with amazing tech, an ancient town that seems incapable of supporting anything technological, only to pull back and reveal the “castle” of King Arthur. If that didn’t wow a reader, the double-paged splash of 2 and 3 will, showing the throne room. Other “wow” pages include 8, 10, 14 (FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!), 16 (YES!), and 18. Porter makes this book an epic. The characters’ expressions tell readers exactly how they are feeling or what they are thinking. Superman’s every smirk and snarl was beautiful. This book is amazing. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Hi-Fi is ready for anything that Porter throws their way. The coloring on this is just as spectacular as the art. Look at how beautiful the “castle” on Page 1 looks. It’s steampunk perfection in gold and steel. Pages 2 and 3 have bright colors for all the heroes, but look at the details done: the mortar for the bricks, the stained glass windows, the guards in the foreground. On Page 3 Ariel has hair gorgeously streaked to show her highlights. Green Lantern’s construct is a brilliantly ghostly glowing green throughout. Wonder Woman’s lasso is gloriously glowing in gold. Kali’s skin is stunning in violet, while Locus’s is beautifully blue. What can’t Hi-Fi do? Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, titles and credits, sounds, scene setting, screams, Demon speak, and teases for next month’s issue all come courtesy of Rob Leigh. The sound effects make the fighting all the more impressive. Leigh is working magic. Overall grade: A+
The final line: This is what you show someone if they say, “Comics are for kids.” This has iconic characters with a twist in a highly entertaining story with stunning visuals. This is the apex of super hero books. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.