Review: Justice League of America #28

by

Or – “Superman Team Ups Weren’t Like This In The Old Days…”

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I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke. 
I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke. 
I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  
I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke. 
I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  I Will Not Make A “Kiss Me” Joke.  

JLA2.jpgPreviously, on Justice League of America:  The League has been thorugh the wringer recently (though the presence of a non-dead Batman kinda makes this a pre-Final Crisis tale, one presumes) and last issue things escalated a bit, as the heroes of the Milestone universe, last seen several years ago, arrived to steal the mortal remains of Doctor Light (transformed into a candle by the Spectre.)  The Shadow Cabinet managed to break into the Watchtower, but when confronted with the full might of the League, had to pull out the big guns, including Icon, a man whose physical might is on a par with Superman’s.  The question that remains unanswered, however, is exactly what these heroes need with the candle?  Moreover, what exactly have they been doing for the past decade or so ?

This issue opens with Payback knocking the crap out of Batman, only to be quickly stopped by Firestorm.  “We ALL want to slug Batman every once in a while, but you can’t just DO it, because…  Well, it would be WRONG, for some reason.”  Heh.  Batman, amazingly, has no idea who Payback and Starlight are, having never interacted with the Milestone universe before.  Meanwhile, up on the Watchtower, things are at a careful stalemate, as Icon and Superman warily stare each other down.  In an interesting moment, John Stewart explains his mandate as a Lantern, and Icon replies, “I am Arnus of Terminus, a full citizen of the Cooperative.  As such, I am not subject to the authority of the Guardians of the Universe, or their proxy.”  This sounds remarkably like the Guardians know about the Milestone heroes, doesn’t it?  Have the universes merged by the time of this story?  Hardware quickly steps forward with a red sun generator, but it’s shot down by Red Arrow (ugh.)  Superman mentions that he would have just melted it with heat vision, but Roy hilariously replies, “We’re a team.  You shouldn’t have to do everything yourself.”  Before they get too clever, though, Icon takes his shot, nailed Superman across the jaw and rocketing him out into space with the shot.

The teams square off quickly, with Donner leaping on Wonder Woman (“I just wanted to tell you before I bust you up, I’m a big fan.”  Heh…) and Red Arrow (ugh) matching Hardware shot for shot.  “This isn’t Dakota,” he says, and I think again that this sounds like they’re aware of the Milestone stories.  So why isn’t Batman???  Weird.  Hardware drops the former sidekick, Hawkgirl attacks Iron Butterfly, and Blitzen takes all Roy’s arrows.  She starts to snot about her speed, when another blur arrives, and grabs all the shafts back.  She goggles that NOBODY is that fast, and Arrow snorts.  “Actually, I know three or four people.”  Dwayne McDuffie’s dialogue is spot on this issue, I might add, with good bon mots all over the place.  While the fight goes on, Hardware wonders where Icon went, and we cut to Superman and Icon sitting on a rock in space.  “Do you think they bought it?” asks Superman, and Icon remarks that he tried as hard as possible to make it look like a good fight.  He remarks that if the League didn’t try to stop them from their objective, it would look suspicious, and Dharma (leader of the Shadow Cabinet) would investigate.  Superman reminds Icon that he’s trusting him, and Icon tells him that they need the weapon to stop a madman with the power of a god.  Hardware takes the candle, and races for an exit, only to get knocked back through te portal by Hawkman, who announces that Shadow Thief is about to destroy the Earth…

Man, this issue is full of stuff that’s interesting, but it feels like there’s a lack of focus going on.  Icon’s moment with Superman is intriguing, but it’s over too quickly, and the implication that, somehow, the city of Dakota is now part of New Earth is touched upon but never followed through with.  The art (by Jose Luis and JP Mayer, captures a lot of Ed Benes art, but mostly echoes the things that I don’t care for, such as his sketchy facial features and lack of pupils, but it gets the job done.  Icon, particulary, looks nice this time around.  McDuffie nails the characterization and dialogue, but the plot hasn’t quite coalesced for me.  Still, it’s an enjoyable if quick read, and for those who remember Milestone fondly, there’s nothing but love here.  Justice League of America #28 earns an above average 3 stars, in the hope that next issue’s plot doesn’t skimp on the what’s going on to give us more Hawkman fighty fighty…

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