Or – “Understatement Time…”
James Robinson says in this issue’s text piece that this series is “maybe the darkest tale the JLA have ever been a part of,” and he’s absolutely right.Â There have been a number of seriously disturbing JLA stories (Identity Crisis for one, Professor Ivo’s murder of Vibe & Steel and attempted murder of Vixen & Gypsy for another) in the history of the group, but with last issue, this one started vying for #1 moment of “AIEEE!” in JLA history…Â Given that I’ve had some bad experiences with CFJ thus far, can this issue turn the tide?
Justice League – Cry For Justice #6
Written by James Robinson
Art by Scott Clark
Cover by Mauro Cascioli
Previously, on Justice League – Cry For Justice:Â A strange series of events has led a group of JLA veterans (Oliver Queen, Hal Jordan and Ray Palmer) to turn away from the main Justice League team in rage.Â At the same time, several other heroes (Freddy Freeman, Kara Zor-El, Mikaal Tomas, and Congo Bill/Congorilla) have been drawn into a web of deceit that has brought all of them together to oppose the schemes of Prometheus.Â Once the most feared villain on the planet, ‘Methy has been laid low in recent years, but now is poised to return to greatness by blowing up cities…Â or something.Â In a brilliant show of mind-changing, Hal and Ollie decide to bring their team to the Justice League satellite where their pals have been waiting.Â Something weird happened then, which SEEMED to be either Supergirl or Shazam turning on the Justice League, sabotaging the satellite and doing something eeeevil.Â Oh, and also, someone ripped off Red Arrow’s arm, which means that someone with super-strength (or with a big knife?) has gone rogue, which still leaves the question of whether it’s Freddy or Kara who have snapped.Â
We open with our caped couple circling one another warily, and Freddy finally lets the other shoe drop.Â “How did you work it out?”Â Kara explains that Kryptonians don’t do well with magic, and that if he used his magic lightning (as he claimed at the beginning of issue #4), she would have been badly messed up.Â Also, he said the word “Shazam,” something that only SHE caught, what with Hal and Ollie and Ray being consumed with dark and gritty JUUSTIIIICE!Â The League shows up, and Prometheus takes them all down: shooting Supergirl, taking out Zatanna’s voicebox, melting Plastic Man, blowing off Red Tornado’s head, and letting Black Canary and Mikaal Tomas take each other out.Â The Guardian, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl fall next, Vixen and Dr. Light are injured, and Donna Troy impaled by the wrists.Â In what I think is a setup for her leadership role in the core Justice League title, though, she rips herself free.Â Firestorm, Starfire, Donna and Green Arrow go down, and Ray Palmer gets a taste of his own obnoxious “Have you ever had a sinus headache?” routine.Â Jay Garrick and The Shade arrive, and get dropped just in time for a bloody, enraged Donna Troy to launch herself at Prometheus and beat him within an inche of his life.Â
The Shade gently stops Donna from murdering Prometheus (a move which I think everyone, especially Donna’s ex-boyfriend Red Arrow, will regret) and the heroes capture the big bad dummy.Â Hal, Oliver and Black Canary interrogate him, and Prometheus explains that his plan was about more than just beating the heroes or making a big score.Â His motive was larger than that, as he wanted revenge for all the years that the League had taken from him.Â Thus, instead of BLOWING UP cities, his device will protect them in an impenetrable forcefield, and move THE ENTIRE CITY out of space/time.Â Jay Garrick responds that everyone would live, but Prometheus is cool with that.Â “Yes,” he responds, “and you’d all know it.Â But with limitless possibilities of where they’d been sent, you’d NEVER find them.”Â Green Arrow isn’t interested in hearing this, claiming it’s all a bluff, but Prometheus steals a page from the Adrian Veidt playbook, explaining that Green Arrow’s home town of Star City was teleported away five minutes ago.Â The issue ends with a brief explanation of why Batwoman was supposed to be in this title, and why she ISN’T, as well as a quick Batwoman origin, a tale of his youth reading comics, and some discussion of what makes Cry For Justice what it is…
So, what IS Cry For Justice?Â I think, oddly enough, that it’s extreme darkness and depravity, with the maiming and the deaths and the nastiness, may be a precursor to good things for the League, at least if Robinson’s tone can be believed.Â This issue is nicely done, with beautiful art by
Mauro Cascioli (DC Comics official website has incorrect information, apparently) Scott Clark especially the first-page confrontation between Supergirl and Faux-zam and this issue is the first that doesn’t seem to have been reworked and jury-rigged to fit the shape of things to come.Â This actually kind of makes sense, in that the first issues were probably in the can by the time the series was down-graded to limited status.Â James Robinson is a good writer, albeit one with a host of peccadilloes that must be accepted to really love his work, and I’m glad to see that this issue is not only free of some of the silly angstiness that characterized the first two in the series.Â The Atom as a dark and gritty “GRRRR” avenger of the blah blah blah fishcakes simply doesn’t work for me.Â That’s the equivalent of saying that Bill Nigh the Science Guy should become the new Batman.Â All in all, I have to say that this issue is still flawed but is also the first issue of this series that works as written (Well, mostly works, actually…Â Prometheus’ evil plan is inordinately complex and goofy.)Â The biggest flaw of the book is that Justice League of America #41 came out the same day and revealed the ending of this story in it’s first few pages.Â Because I read my favorite books first, I read THAT tale before this one, and entered this issue a little irritated with the state of the world.Â It’s “Who Will Wield The Shield” all over again.Â There’s a lot of potential here that may feel less wasted as it folds into the main JLA title, but the final analysis is this:Â I liked this one best of all thus far, and it’s still pretty much average.Â Justice League – Cry For Justice #6 earns a middle of the road 2.5 out of 5 stars overall, but at least this issue was coherent.