Or – “Is It An Ending, Or A New Beginning?”

Justice League International has been a strange title since the inception of the “international” squad in 1988 or so.  This book has lived in the shadow of the Big Seven (or, as some call it “Big Six plus Cyborg”) title in the New 52, and now the team has suffered a major setback and a team death.  Can they pull it together, or is there no hope for a real U.N. super-team?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #12
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Justice League International:  Bwaah ha ha haaaa!  No, wait, wrong JLI.  Led by Booster Gold, the new Justice League International has had a few issues since the beginning.  A headstrong Guy Gardner, a contentious relationship between Rocket Red and The August General In Iron, the strange shenanigans about the girl on the cover for #1.  But now that they’ve lost a man in combat, it seems that the party is over for the JLI, but even they didn’t foresee being attacked at a funeral!

A FAREWELL TO ROCKET…

When the Hall of Justice was bombed out of existence (nearly six issues ago, now) the membership of Justice League International took a severe hit, with Fire, Ice and Vixen hospitalized and Rocket Red killed.  The team has been runnin’ and runnin’ and runnin’ like a constipated weiner dog since then, taking on new members Batwing and O.M.A.C. and dealing with the dictates of the United Nations.  The art this issue is appropriately moody, starting with Batman fighting in a dark Russian cemetery against an unknown opponent, then circling back to show us how it all began.  I love Aaron Lopresti’s work here, with everyone looking phenomenal (although I still sincerely and completely hate Booster’s new costume design, it still looks good in the issue) and Batman’s choreography during the battle pretty inspired overall.  When we get to the point where the “villain” of the piece reveals himself, it ends up spiraling organically out of a previous issue (something Jurgens excels at) and leads us into a firefight at Rocket Red’s graveside.

…A FAREWELL TO THE JLI?

Though the battle between Malik (brother of a villain named Lightweaver, who died earlier in the series run) and the JLI is the bulk of the issue, the real conflict comes in whether or not the JLI is done for after losing their U.N. backing and funding.  Booster Gold seems ready to give up, but it’s interesting to see Guy Gardner and the August General on the same side of ANYTHING, much less this argument.  The battle ends quickly, thanks to The Batman, who gives Booster a surprise as the issue comes to a close.  (It rhymes with “Blue Nedquarters” and leads directly into the upcoming JLI Annual.)  I have to say that I really enjoy the unexpectedly upbeat ending of the issue, as the remaining Leaguers (minus both our Bat-guys, who have other business in Court Of Owls, I’m sure) decide on the fate of their team, with the story ending with a big ad for the annual.  Normally, I might be down on a book that gets cancelled with loose ends, but I have a suspicious that the loss of their title does not mean the end of our Justice League pals, and I was even a little touched as Guy Gardner and Booster Gold made peace in this issue.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  WHY DID THEY CANCEL THIS, AGAIN?

The New 52 being an ongoing project, I’m sure that there is a method to the madness behind cancellations and changes, but I’m a little bit confused as to why THIS book got the axe while lower-selling titles are still an active concern.  (I’m looking at YOU, Grifter.)  Justice League International was a pleasant enough comic, with nice art overall, and only occasional issues with dialogue/character, reminding me a bit of the old Superfriends cartoon and accompanying comic.  My initial estimation of the book was that it was aimed at a younger reading group, and while that never really went away, I found myself engaged in what Jurgens and Lopresti were doing with this book, and the international cast of characters, once a staple of comics, is somewhat rarer these days.  Justice League International #12 wraps the series up well, promising that this isn’t the end (though there’s no telling what happens after the annual), and earns 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  There are enough good characters here, including the late, lamented O.M.A.C., that I don’t want to see the book just disappear off the face of the planet…

Rating: ★★★½☆

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.

Previous post

MARVEL NOW! Iron Man creative team officially announced

Next post

REVIEW: The Lone Ranger #8

6 Comments

  1. August 7, 2012 at 3:10 am — Reply

    I really hate to see this book go. I’m actually a fairly new comic reader, and this is my first time seeing one of my favorite books canceled.

    Sure, I was reading and enjoying Static when they canceled it. And I was enjoying Deathstroke, which was not canceled, but instead given to Rob Liefeld (which is a fate far far worse and significantly more cruel than cancellation). But I wouldn’t have counted either of them among my favorites.

    But JLI, on the other hand, was one of those titles that I always anticipated and looked forward to the new issue each month. One of those books that are the highlight of my Wednesdays and the main contributors to making Wednesday the highlight of my work week.

    I’m going to miss this book and hope that all the characters manage to find homes in other titles the way Mr. Terrific did with Earth-2. At the very least I hope to see Booster elsewhere.

  2. Oldcomicfan
    August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am — Reply

    A dead character? Is this a dead character who will come back as soon as some editor or writer decides he likes Red Rocket better than the surviving characters, or a dead character who is only pretending to be dead for nefarious purposes, or a dead character who was created merely for the dramatic purpose of killing him off?
    As for cancelling J.L.A. International, can’t hazard a guess why unless it’s low sales numbers. Either that or DC finally learned, though Marvel has yet to learn the lesson with The Avengers or the X-men, that diluting your properties across too many titles is a bad idea. But since DC used to have sixteen bat books coming out every month I find it hard to believe that this is the case.

    • August 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm — Reply

      Either that or DC finally learned, though Marvel has yet to learn the lesson with The Avengers or the X-men, that diluting your properties across too many titles is a bad idea.

      Sales figures don’t really support this theorem, by the way…

      • ~wyntermute~
        August 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm — Reply

        But I’ve noticed that OCF never lets “facts” get in the way of “a good angry rant about how Things Used To Be Better”, so… This? Par for the course.

        Oh, and I’m terribly sad that this book is being … well, “pruned” from the New((52-14+12)^2)Verse when others are allowed to have time to find their niche (“Grifter” is a good example, as you pointed out) and potentially flourish with new creative teams or changes in “artistic direction” *coughLiefeldcough* …

  3. TaZ
    August 7, 2012 at 8:21 am — Reply

    Mistake dropping this and keeping Stormwatch, which has proven to be extremely confusing to follow and the characters extremely shallow.

  4. Noobian74
    August 10, 2012 at 10:46 am — Reply

    ‘…all I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us.”

    —Michael Jackson.

    This title gone, but Grifter stays. Static Shock canceled at 6 issues, but Voodoo lived on for a full year. Resurrection Man got sent to an early grave (again), but Hawkman is still flying high with Rob “How Does This Guy Keep Getting Work” Liefeld plotting. Wow. I’m not seeing any justice here.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section