The cover: The Injustice League 3000 make their first appearances on this cover by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi. Sinestro, Bane, Lois Lane, Zeus, and Mirror Master all stare into a holographic display of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Wonder Woman, who look upon their foes from the past now brought to life by the evil technology of Cadmusworld. I’m stunned to see Lois among these villains, but the addition of the scar going across her face is nice touch. If readers though Bane was a monster before, look out! He looks as if he could rumble with the Hulk. I love the blue coloring that draws the reader into the JL at the bottom center. An excellent introductory cover. Overall grade: A
The story: “A New Beginning” is a minor pause in the action after the last few issues, as the League has taken out Terry and the rest of the Five. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have Terry returning from Camelot Nine in quite a snit, as he’s lost all the Five, save Convert, and he was humiliated by his reborn sister Teri, who now has the powers of the Flash. The story flashbacks to 48 hours earlier when Ariel Masters gave him his freedom after he removed the micro-mines inside the Justice League. Fighting back tears of rage he exclaims, “I killed Teri once…and I swear to God–I’ll do it again.” Meanwhile, on Camelot Nine, the League surveys that the captured members of the Five are being correctly held in stasis, and then begin to relax, each in their own unique way. This lead to some nice character development, with Bruce and Ariel having a moment, as does Superman (Don’t call him “Kent”!), Hal, and Teri. The book’s first ending has Terry standing before his newly made Injustice League, and the second ending features the return of two original, non-clone Justice Leaguers. If you’ve been online, you know who this pair is, and if you don’t you’ll be jumping for joy when you see them. A fun pause in the action before the fighting renews. Overall grade: A
The art: Howard Porter is making this book epic. The arrival of Terry back to Cadmusworld is impressive (it’s reflected in the floor!), as is the cool way that Porter does the two page flashback, but turn to Page 7 for a visual experience that will make your head explode. Once you’re done picking your jaw off the floor, go back and look at all the excellence being placed in every panel. Highlights include the emotional pull on Teri on Page 4, the electrical prison on 5, the devious look on Terry’s face on 8 (very Jack Kirby-esque), the setting on 10, the wailing mother on 11, the introduction of each character on 15, the whole gang on 16, and the reveal on 20. There’s something cool to see in every panel because Porter is insane with his details. Would the story still be told if he didn’t do so? Absolutely, but there’s something that just makes the visuals all the cooler because he puts in something unexpected everywhere. The perfect example can be found on the final page. Look at the ground. Did all that line work really need to be there? Absolutely not, but in having it there Porter makes this panel–this universe–real. To put it simply, Howard Porter is the real deal when it comes to artists. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Also hitting 11 on the insane scale is what Hi-Fi does for this book. I don’t know how long it took just to do the first page but there’s a ton of work in it: the cool, blended hues of Cadmusworld, the warm yellows coming out of Terry’s transport, the reflection in the floor, the blues and purples in the characters on the second level, and the bright colors of the characters watching his return. Now it might just be the coloring, but is that Ambush Bug off on the left? When the flashback occurs, dulled yellows constitute the background to appropriately age the story. The shading on characters’ faces is impressive, especially when shown in close-up. Colors are also used to add depth to the art, such a with the many layered scene with the splash on Page 7. And that green behind Terry on 8 is wicked. I just can’t help but think Hi-Fi isn’t charging enough for what they’re doing. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Scene setting, opening title and credits, dialogue, Ronald dialogue, yelling, puffing, and sounds are all provided by Taylor Esposito and they’re great. I love that when one of the characters is out of breath the dialogue becomes smaller because that character’s volume would obviously be diminished. A great job. Overall grade: A
The final line: A fantastic pause before fisticuffs resume with the creation of a new team of villains. 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.