Or – “JUUUUSTIIIIICE!   Whar Is Thet Dang Ol’ Boy, Anywho?”

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Um…  I know that Hal Jordan is the next big thing in the DC Universe.  I know that he and Ollie are the manly-man core of this proactive Force Works Outsiders JL Task Force Justice League splinter group.  I know that Supergirl is a cute teen hottie in a skimpy little spandex costume.  But why is the most powerful member of this team slinking around on her bulletproof knees like she’s on the hood of a Camaro in a David Coverdale video?

JL2.jpgPreviously, on Justice League – Cry For Justice:  The first issues of this series contained heroes behaving somewhat badly.  Hal Jordan turned on his partners in the League.  Oliver Queen sided with his bromantic partner Hal rather than his wife, Black Canary.  (That’s a rookie mistake, there, you hate to see that…)  Supergirl arrived and cried for no reason.  Ray Palmer, The Atom engaged in torture of captured prisoners in clear violation of the Geneva convention.  Starman engaged in destruction of public property out of grief.  Congorilla threw feces with a mighty arm.  The artist formerly known as Captain Marvel, Junior did… stuff.  Matthew may have made one of those bits up.  As these individuals fall into one another’s orbits (you can’t really call it a team) each of them is acting very oddly in their quests for personal justice.  Last issue ended on a cliffhanger, as Supergirl, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, The Atom and Shazam were blown to smithereens by a Prometheus engineered explosion.  I would also like to point out that these individuals are, in that same order: invulnerable; possessed of an alien super-weapon that makes force-fields; recently returned from the dead after being blown to smithereens; previously shown to be able to shrink away from explosions; and invulnerable.  Wanna play the odds that anybody’s actually dead?

Of course you don’t.  The first page does have a wonderful joke where somebody asks Oliver if this is what heaven is like, but immediately takes it too far by having him earnestly explain the rules of coming back from the dead.  Luckily, Shazam has saved the day with his magical powers, and the team quickly finds out that the bomb was explicitly designed to kill Supergirl and Green Lantern (or a least a Kryptonian and Green Lantern) and Freddy Freeman’s presence was the only wild card that saved the day.  As the heroes regroup, we’re treated to Jay Garrick seemingly recruiting heroes, and the team of Bill and Mikaal (whom the creators are very careful NOT to refer to as Starman or Congorilla) fight two minor villains from the super-team called Helix.  Turns out that the bad guys were hired by Prometheus to wipe out Bill’s troupe of Gorillas, trying to kill an outcast of Gorilla City.  The villains are both killed (Arak by his partner, and his partner by Mikaal) before Bill and Mik realize they’ve lost the trail.  Jay continues his travels, and we get a glimpse of future Leaguers Mon-El and Guardian, reminding me that this book will dovetail back into the regular JLA series soon. 

Back in Gotham, Ray Palmer continues to be all dark and gritty (TM Wayne Industries) and tortures more villains for information before Green Arrow steps in and says what we’re all thinking.  “Torture is WRONG.  Torture is what THEY do, not us,” says Green Arrow as Hal and Ray try to strong-arm him along.  Green Arrow quickly takes them both down with a sonic arrow, and forces his pals to regroup and they all begin bickering again.  Shazam points out that this sort of reverse-psychology is Prometheus’ whole modus operandi, and forces them to think about it all.  Using the wisdom of Solomon, Shazam convinces the Green Team to get help, while Supergirl crushes so hard on him that everyone recognizes it.  Jay Garrick returns home from his long run to find The Shade (from Robinson’s Starman run) at his house with a proposition of some sort.  As for the rest of the team, they return to the Watchtower to find the League waiting for them, and the composition of said League makes it clear that this series IS set pre-Blackest Night, or else somebody just spoilered a lot of things.  Vixen, Zatanna, Red Arrow (ugh), Wally West, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Red Tornado, Firestorm and Plastic Man await them.  Oddly enough, Zatanna’s outfit is seriously strippery, and Firestorm seems to be the Ronnie Raymond version rather than the current Jason Rusch incarnation of things…  Either way, says the Flash, Hal and Ollie have a few questions to answer before the League will help.

I’ll tell you straight:  this issue is more consistent than the previous few, but still feels like it takes place on some alternate Earth somewhere.  Green Lantern is acting weird, Supergirl is acting weird, The Atom is flat-out nasty, and even those characters who are on their game seem to be oddly out of phase.  The presence of Plastic Man and Zatanna in a League that seems to pre-date the breakup of the team in the JLA home title is odd, and the Hawks are a very odd addition to this team.  With cameo appearances by members of the JSA, of the Teen Titans, as well as Mon-El (who is wearing his old-school costume, placing this issue in HIS past as well, at least in theory) it finally gives the story a wider-scale feel than before.  A one-panel cameo of Batwoman (whom Robinson’s early interviews on this limited identify as one of the members of the team) confuses me, making me wonder if the book hasn’t been re-dialogued and rejiggered due to the changes in the DCU status quo.  Actually, wonder isn’t the right word.  It makes me CERTAIN that we’re seeing creative editing in action, reworking the story after the book has been painted.  Speaking of painting, the art is wonderful throughout, as Mauro Cascioli hits his stride here.  The splash page of the weird League lineup was so breathtakingly well-done that it almost overcame the questions of why these particular heroes were together in one shot.  Shazam is the star of this issue, though Mikaal and Bill’s sequence is lovely as well, and the return of the Shade gives me that nostalgic feeling, reminding me of Robinson’s wonderful Starman series of yore.  I find that this issue is the strongest JLA:CFJ to date, giving the Atom’s odd experiences some background, and showing off the skills and abilities of the less-blockbuster members of the lineup, but that still doesn’t save the issue from feeling like a lame duck entry.  After all, if you’ve seen any comic hype recently, you know that DC is hyping the hell out of their new-and-improved JLA lineup, and that this story is just prelude to all of that…  Justice League: Cry For Justice #4 works overall, though, earning a respectable 2.5 out of 5 stars overall, as even the parts that I didn’t entirely understand were beautifully rendered…

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. Navarre
    October 12, 2009 at 7:52 am — Reply

    “But why is the most powerful member of this team slinking around on her bulletproof knees like she’s on the hood of a Camaro in a David Coverdale video?”

    Gender-bias?

  2. lifeisaglitch
    October 12, 2009 at 8:09 am — Reply

    At least shes not clutching Hals leg… O__o

  3. Navarre
    October 12, 2009 at 8:29 am — Reply

    For real. I feel like I’m looking at a Boris Vellejo painting.

    All we need is Kara in a chain mail bikini and a dragon flying overhead.

  4. oraclebop
    October 12, 2009 at 9:18 am — Reply

    I always thought the cover was after explosion, and since it was intended to kill her…

    I wanna see more of this Teen Romance going on in the Supergirl book itself.

  5. Jeff
    October 12, 2009 at 11:48 am — Reply

    “But why is the most powerful member of this team slinking around on her bulletproof knees like she’s on the hood of a Camaro in a David Coverdale video?”

    At what point was Captain Marvel Jr. doing this?

    • Navarre
      October 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm — Reply

      Zing!!

  6. nu
    October 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    “Zatanna’s outfit is seriously strippery”
    I thought it looked like they drew Black Canary but forgot she was a blonde and gave her black hair.

    • October 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm — Reply

      Well, that’s a better explanation than anything else…. That Zatanna costume is hideous! With the earlier Wonder Woman crotch shot from the preview, and with Kara’s prominently foregrounded breasts in the last issue, I’m really worried about the artist’s attitude towards his female characters.

      Speaking of Canary, why is she not in Robinson’s lineup? If anything, she’s the one person I think you have to have in the JLA — she best represents the team’s ability to help heroes achieve levels of greatness beyond what they can do alone. I understand from Robinson that Vixen and Light are absent for a reason, but why not bring Dinah back?

      McDuffie has every right to be upset over the way he was taken off the book before he could complete his story arc for her….

      • websnap
        October 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm — Reply

        I think they left out Canary because they needed this to be a “outsiders” version of the JLA… going against what superman told them to do – which was to do nothing. That’s fitting for Hal and Ollie, but not in character for Dinah since she was appointed chair of the JLA. Plus, that adds more tension between Her and Ollie… like they need more.

  7. Ben
    October 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm — Reply

    This series does nothing for me. The characters seem so different to what we are used to. When i first learned that Hal Jordan was going to be a main character in this book, it peaked my interest(been a huge GL fan), however when i read the preview, i was instantly turned off. It reads nothing like the Hal Jordan that Geoff Johns has crafted over the past 4-5 years.

    I will be skiping this and the justice league book for quite sometime. Might just hold out till the rumored GJ justice league book comes out.

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