Thursday, July 02, 2009

Justice League: Cry For Justice

I was kind of hesitant to talk about this issue, because I bagged on James Robinson pretty hard at the start of his run on the Superman titles. He has since gone on to do much better work.

Justice League: Cry For Justice is not that better work. Reading Jamie Trecker's similar feelings about the issue encouraged me to express my thoughts about it.

This first issue is so formulaic and mechanical. I have a feeling it may have been written before Robinson got his comic book legs back under him. With the painted art and how long ago this project was announced, Robinson may have written this before he had shaken all the dust and cobwebs off.

The way he starts introducing the team's characters would fit better in an 80s book, not just an ongoing series as some have noted. It's, dare I say, hack. I mean, to have all of the characters come around to saying something about justice is just really bad paint-by-numbers stuff. The concept of being proactive (as this Justice League was billed as being when the project was announced) and wanting to focus on meeting out punishment on the criminals and villais of the world doesn't have to be summed up as JUSTICE! by everyone. It feels a bit lazy to do that...and a little too "on the nose" for the book.

The dialogue is really rough, too. I think, to some extent, James forced himself into this situation with some bad choices. He to quickly differentiate the members of this new league being more EXTREME! than the members they were ditching. Green Lantern's tirade seems to, continuity-wise, come from no where. I'm referring to his level of anger with his teammates. It, also, stems from a false premise. That he brings up finding Libra and his gang for what they did to J'Onn does NOT ring true as something that the rest of the league would be against.

It, also, is not "being proactive". In fact, none of the setups show heroes taking the initiative. They're ALL responding to somewhat fresh crimes. This is, of course, not something that makes the story bad. It is a neutral element by itself. But when compared to what the series was advertised to be and how we're to believe the main team wouldn't support going after these people, it stands out in a negative way.

All the heroes seem to be demonstrating is that they're going to be like a 90s "extreme" team. In fact, you might as well have named this Extreme Justice II: Electric Boogaloo. It would make more sense than "Justice League", when you have the leader of the team ridiculing the "League" and "Society" part of team names.

Look, I'm not saying this is how Robinson is going to write the whole mini. I do have some concerns, like others, that the pacing here is off for a seven issue mini. Two issues out of a seven to just introduce the team? Ugh. But if the meat of the story was written or updated after James Robinson got back into the swing of things, I'm virtually certain that the rest of the series will be much better.

These first issues might read better when they're part of a trade, but it won't improve the tactics Robinson has chosen to use. Hopefully, there will be something to demonstrate a believable reason as to why the same bad guys everyone else is going after would want to slaughter Congorilla's tribe...and that it won't just mimic what Gail Simone did with Catman for the Villains United mini.

The artwork is neither great or terrible to me. It is more than servicable to the story. Aside from maybe one panel of Superman, there's no point during the reading where I sit up and take notice. So...all you get about it is the preceding three sentences.

If I wasn't starved for some kind of Justice League story allowed to breathe better than they've let McDuffie or hadn't seen improvement from Robinson on other titles, this issue would NOT lead me to purchase the next. In all honesty, I still might not buy the next issue, but just wait for the trade. If the second issue is like the first, I can just see myself not enjoying it and then looking at $8 paid for misery, all in an act of faith that #3-#7 will be much better.

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