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!
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…