Or – “How To Do The Unthinkable…”

CFJ1.jpg

Prometheus went from incredibly dangerous uber-villain to just another joke in a funny helmet (see also: Doctor Polaris, Sonar, the Shining and Silent Knights, Kang, Ultimate Captain America, and the current iteration of Iron Man’s armor) in record time without the guidance of creator Grant Morrison.  If it does nothing else, this series will be remembered as the one which returned him to prominence and menace in the DC Universe…  And yet, the greatest atrocities are yet to come, folks, and if you know me, you probably know where that thought process lies.

Justice League – Cry For Justice #7

CFJ2.jpgWritten by James Robinson
Art by Mauro Cascioli, Scott Clark and Ibraim Roberson
Cover by Mauro Cascioli

Previously, on Justice League – Cry For Justice:  Green Arrow and Green Lantern’s big day out turned out to be pretty much a red herring, as their missions led them straight back to the JLA.  The team came together with members new, members old, and members from the future (which, due to the vagaries of comic publishing, actually started about two months ago) as well as one giant gorilla to take on the menace of Prometheus.  Having returned to the satellite, the team was surprised to ralize that the villain they had been seeking was actually onboard the satellite, disguised as one of their own.  In the chaos, Red Arrow (ugh) lost an arm, Green Arrow lost his cool, and the heroes were barely able to capture their prey.  But Prometheus had taken a play from the Adrian Veidt handbook and set up his master plan in advance.  While the heroes interrogated him, Prometheus triggered his ultimate weapon: a series of bombs that would destroy major cities in the DC Universe, starting with Green Arrow’s home of Star City. 

Green Arrow’s rage is barely able to be contained by Jay Garrick and Hal Jordan as he roars at the trussed-up villain to tell him how to stop the bombs.  The injury to his adoptive son has pretty much pushed Oliver to the edge, but Prometheus just smiles quietly to himself.  “Killing me won’t save Star City…  Star City is lost.  The team mobilizes at maximum velocity, and teleports in to the Star to try and save as many innocents as possible.  I’m very disappointed in the art here, as there don’t seem to be any people in the entire metropolitan area save for the heroes and one villain (the Electrocutioner, who is working for Prometheus.)  The team hits the streets looking for survivors, but only find Speedy fighting against the villain.  She realizes that she’s left Lian (Red Arrow ((UGH))’s daughter by the villain Cheshire) alone at the house.  Donna Troy grabs her and they fly across the identical brown piles of what I can only assume are rubble to find…  Green Arrow kneeling over the body of his fallen grandchild.

The fact that there are about 20 heroes in this issue works against it, as we see Animal Man, Starfire, The Atom and more, as well as JSA member Doctor Mid-Nite tending to the fallen heroes.  Green Arrow isn’t the only hero who is in danger of losing his home, as Central City, Keystone City, Opal City, Fawcett City and St. Roch are likewise collapsing.  The team mobilizes, and a dozen more heroes show up, including Bulleteer (who was a Justice League member for about ten minutes during the events chronicled in ’52’) who has a missing piece of the puzzle:  Freddy Freeman.  Prometheus has WIRED HIS LIPS SHUT (ewww) to keep him out of trouble, but the heroes are still in danger of losing millions more innocent lives.  Promethus clearly lays out his terms:  If they set him free, the other cities will live.  The Justice League debates it all before Green Arrow makes the swing vote.  “We have to think of those lives we CAN save.”  Prometheus is set free, and the heroes are left to clean up the mess.  A bit later, we see Prometheus in his hideout, monologuing to the mindless shell of I.Q., when he is suddenly surprised by footsteps.  “How did you–” he asks, just as an arrow bisects a line between his pupils.  “Justice,” says Green Arrow, as the slain villain’s blood pools on the stone floor…

So, here’s the problem that I have with this entire series:  It was initially set up as a second ongoing JLA book.  As such, it was fine telling an offbeat story with unusual characters, because there would have been another book to counterbalance it’s darkness.  After this first arc, it might have gone anywhere.  With the timing of things being what they are, this book was delayed until the main JLA title was essentially meaningless, and it’s dark storyline was promoted to “big event” status and used to relaunch the Justice League’s new era.  What could have worked in a short arc didn’t work for me in a self-contained mini, and Mauro Cascioli’s art, while beautiful, was stiff and took forever.  Last issue was actually an improvement over previous ones, but this one just depressed me.  With Roy Harper maimed, I cannot imagine the thought process that went into murdering his daughter, adding insult to injury.  Certainly, Lian isn’t a major character in the DCU, and there is a precedent for this sort of thing (Arthur Curry, Junior ring any bells?) but I keep remembering the cute moments in the Kevin Smith Green Arrow series or in the Devin Grayson Titans book wherein Lian was such a nice bit of characterization in the midst of all the angsty hero blah blah blah fishcakes.  The art in this issue seems to be another jam session, and the figure work is looser and less posed than previously, but the story leaves me cold.  Green Arrow is now an unequivocal murderer, and the ramifications of that worry me.  It’s a less than satisfying conclusion to a less-than-satisfying comic series, and Justice League – Cry For Justice #7 earns a very disappointed 1 out of 5 stars overall.  I just can’t get past the thought that this horrifying series of developments was created to somehow make Roy and Ollie more Punisher-esque, and we’ve been down that road before.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerites Question Of The Day:  I’ve made no secret of my aversion to endangering/injuring/killing a child for drama, and how it immediately drags me out of the narrative EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Is there any particular plot twist or development that ruins a story for you?

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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14 Comments

  1. Jacin B
    March 9, 2010 at 12:02 am — Reply

    I’m half with you on the endangering, injuring or killing of children. In some books, though, and in some situations, it works alright.

    Robert Kirkman’s use of Carl Grimes in The Walking Dead is a great example: He’s a kid, yes, but he’s also a fantastic, well-developed character in his own right and I really feel what Rick (Carl’s father) is feeling when Carl is endangered.

    However, that same book also provides a great example of what you’re talking about in the arc that featured the death of Rick’s wife and infant daughter. The death of his wife was shocking. The death of his infant daughter (who was being held by his wife at the time of her demise), though, sucked me right out of the story and I thought it was entirely senseless. She was introduced not a dozen issues before, never fully developed (how much characterization can there truly be for an infant?), and killed as a plot device. And I hated it.

    Which brings me to my other ‘suck me out of the story’ moments: The instant you realize that a character isn’t there to actually be a character, but only as a plot device (and there is a distinct, discernible difference between the two). That kills a story for me every time.

  2. FattyJoe
    March 9, 2010 at 12:50 am — Reply

    I agree. This comic was a pretty bad ending to what could have been a good story.

    But, I have another bone to pick. Why is this review three paragraphs of plot summary with one paragraph of actual review? I usually don’t read comic reviews because most are like this. You guys should mark actual reviews with “Review” and then mark the rest with “Didn’t Want To Read This? Well We Read It For You!” Reviews should assume that either we’ve read the comic already and want to enter into a conversation about it, in which case no summary is necessary. Or, that we’re wondering if we should read it, in which case this much of a detailed summary now makes reading the comic unnecessary.

    Just an opinion, sirs!

    • March 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm — Reply

      But, I have another bone to pick. Why is this review three paragraphs of plot summary with one paragraph of actual review? I usually don’t read comic reviews because most are like this. You guys should mark actual reviews with “Review” and then mark the rest with “Didn’t Want To Read This? Well We Read It For You!” Reviews should assume that either we’ve read the comic already and want to enter into a conversation about it, in which case no summary is necessary. Or, that we’re wondering if we should read it, in which case this much of a detailed summary now makes reading the comic unnecessary.

      Welcome to Major Spoilers, Joe… It’s a fair question. And the fair answer is: because that’s how I do it. There are a number of reasons why I do recap alongside the review, but the primary one is that I loathe when I try to read a review where the writer is being so evasive and precious about what actually happened in the book that the opinions are meaningless. I’m sure that sometimes there’s more recap than review, but I take umbrage with your assertion that this doesn’t constitute an “actual review.” My review is as valid as any opinion, which is to say, subjective.

      If anyone reads my review and decides that reading the actual comic is unnecessary, they’re missing the entire point of Major Spoilers, and indeed, our mission statement: “We love comics, and we know you do too…” As always, your mileage may vary.

  3. Thelastavenger
    March 9, 2010 at 3:01 am — Reply

    Didnt Green Arrow kill Black Canary’s kidnappers/torturers in Green Arrow LongBow Hunters?

  4. Thelastavenger
    March 9, 2010 at 3:02 am — Reply

    As for Red Arrow(which if you think about is no worse than Green Arrow your just use to G.A.’s codename) i think Dc should have just let him retire and rise his daughter in (relitive) peace, while having Green Arrow take his place on the JLA’s roster.

  5. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 3:15 am — Reply

    Apparently today’s writers can’t let characters retire. They just kill them. Too many writers/publishers think that because they don’t like or can’t see the promise of the character they should just kill them. That way they can leave their impact. Heck if somebody doesn’t like it they can just resurrect them later. This series started out on the wrong foot as far as I was concerned with the killing of “B” characters such as Tasmanian Wolf. Heck they had Prometheus make him in to a carpet. That’s just cheesy and disrespectful of these characters that chose to be heroes. The only real impact they have is for people who’ve actually read some of the stories they’ve been involved with. You’ve made them in to a joke and their deaths aren’t shocking here.Those memories you have just make you feel a bit robbed. They just leave you with an empty feeling. That’s not what I want out of my comics. This whole approach is the wrong one to take in my opinion. It’s lazy storytelling, and it’s all too rampant.

  6. Brian
    March 9, 2010 at 7:23 am — Reply

    I really enjoyed this comic in the first 3 issues. I stopped pickin it up at that point and said that i’ll buy the trade when it comes out… so it makes me sad to hear that this final issue scored so low.

    About your question. I don’t think i’ve had anything pull me out of the comic except for when we’re supposed to root for a hero who is clearly a villian himself. Much like Dante’s Inferno for PS3/Xbox is now. I can’t feel sorry for someone who is a scum bag. But with that said … i’ll always be in Black Adams corner.

  7. Salieri
    March 9, 2010 at 7:45 am — Reply

    I really hate it when a character’s principles are reversed for the sake of the story. Take Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars…”Well, despite my previous nine incarnations expressly forbidding it across various places and eras, I think I can alter history just this once and nothing will…OH GOD, WHAT HAVE I DOOONE?!?”

  8. astrodinosaurus
    March 9, 2010 at 7:57 am — Reply

    Matthew have you read The Boys 40 yet … O__o

    THAT threw me off.
    And it takes a lot to throw me off the narrative.

  9. arcee
    March 9, 2010 at 10:38 am — Reply

    I don’t want to invalidate a person’s reaction to the story. If they felt that the violence was senseless or it took them out of the story, that’s their right. For example: I was totally turned off by Hank’s beat down on Janet in Millar’s The Ultimates. It totally disgusted me. However, since then, I made an effort to see both side of the equation. Point is: it was supposed to disgust me.

    Anybody remember the outrage and accusations of misogyny over Doctor Light’s rape of Sue Dibny? Wasn’t there recently a controversy over an imposter posing as Peter Parker getting some snoo-snoo with a girl that liked him (Peter)?

    Fact is: violence really can be senseless and villains do ‘evil’ things (although many of them don’t consider themselves evil). Now you can call these types of scenes in comics ‘sensationalism’ or “shock for shock’s sake” but if we didn’t have them where would be the drama or a sense of peril in these stories?

    Honestly? A ‘regular’ human being going up against people with super strength, regardless of how talented or athletic skill, is gonna get hurt sooner or later. You push someone emotionally or psychologically to the brink they might snap. Even a superhuman.

    Once again I’m not trying to invalidate a person’s reaction to the work and I’m not saying Roy’s situation didn’t make me go ‘Whoa, that was a bit too much’.

    That is totally valid; it may be too much of a dose of reality for one’s taste BUT still within the realm of possibility if we’re to take the whole fighting against evil on a constant basis, seriously.

  10. Brother129
    March 9, 2010 at 11:39 am — Reply

    This book didn’t even deserve one star. This was like reading a bad Image book from the ’90s….at least the characters there couldn’t be accused of acting out of character. At this point, I am not really sure what DC sees in James Robinson, as his JLA and Superman have left me very flat. Finally, killing children is usually pointless and unnecessarily dark, but to add true to insult injury….Red Arrow is maimed and made suffer the worst loss imaginable and he doesn’t even get any decent screen time in the book. These characters and their respective continuity weren’t treated with any respect. I blame editorial more than I blame the writer.

  11. brainypirate
    March 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm — Reply

    The ending made no sense, if only in terms of: How did Ollie sneak up on Prommy so easily? This guy was prepared for mind-readers and magic and GL’s DNA, he took out the entire league in 20 seconds — and GA just walks in and shoots him (and that helmet must have been worthless!)????? WTF??? That could have been a 4-issue arc just following Ollie as he figures out where Prommy was and how to infiltrate his lair. Bad, bad ending….

    Also, why Star City? Wouldn’t Metropolis make more sense? Was that explained somewhere and I’ve forgotten it? Or is it a reference back to the original story, which I haven’t read?

  12. Bob
    March 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    I actually loved it. Villains are supposed to be evil and do bad things. It’s not like they glorified Lian’s death, I thought it was tastefully done. Where was the outrage when Robert Troy died in an off panel car crash? And its Tasmanian Devil not Wolf.

    Also its not like Green Arrow hasn’t killed before….both in the sevenities and eighties if memory serves me, and who could blame him on this one. I think Justice League has been unreadable since Metzler left a couple of years ago, so I needed a good story like this. As for the art, since I am so used to looking at Bagley’s JLA, it seemed pretty good. But I really hate Bagley on JLA.

    I think he chose to Star City instead of Metropolis due to the high population of Metropolis over Star City. Remember it was a threat of what would happen to other cities.

  13. Supergirl & the Legion Lass
    March 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm — Reply

    I stopped reading Cry for Justice after issue number three, where Supergirl cried after Green Lantern called her a ‘bad guy’. Ugh, bad writing. Too bad this whole thing went to hell because the art is beautiful, truly great. I want to see Mauro Cascioli come and do some Legion issues, that would be great.

    I did read this issue however and I have to say I was strongly disappointed with the death of Lian. Couldn’t they have done something else than put Red Arrow through that? When he wakes up he’s going to be pissed. Though I guess Arsenal is going to be back so that might be cool.

    And does Green Arrow really need to kill people to be cool? No. Just get him a good writer and creative team who can move him in the right direction and we’ll be golden. Why does that have to happen to my favorite characters? Why can’t people leave the good things alone?

    Alright, I’ll stop my rant and let you guys go back to what you do best.

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