Saturday, November 10, 2012

Justice #3 - Feb. 2006

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Comics Weekend "Justice Chapter Three"

Hey there everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here again with my review of Justice #3, by the esteemed creative team of Jim Krueger, Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite. Last issue, Batman defeated The Riddler but could not decipher his plan, while Aquaman faced his captor Braniac, and the Legion of Doom continued their tour of goodwill across the world. All is not as it seems, of course, as we pick up this issue with Aquaman still trapped by Braniac, who monologues about his appreciation for the Sea King:

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Meanwhile, the Martian Manhunter takes up the search for Aquaman (who has been missing for weeks by this point) by diving under the ocean and taking on the form of a dolphin-like creature adapted to the depths. He soon finds traces of Aquaman at the site of his defeat and follows them. He is watched by Gorilla Grodd, monitoring the Legion's interests from one of the cities created by the villainous cabal. One of the scenes being monitored by Grodd is a medical tent in a war-torn country, where the Toyman outfits war victims with new limbs created by his technology. A news broadcast by Jack Ryder sums up the current situation: it seems as though the former supervillains are succeeding in creating a better world:
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Under the sea, the Martian Manhunter discovers the sunken city where Aquaman was taken. After slipping inside, he becomes intangible to avoid being spotted and tours the as-yet-unpopulated city, marveling at its construction. Suddenly J'onn is psychically attacked by Grodd, whose thoughts are powerful enough to knock him into a building. Meanwhile, Priscilla Rich (aka the Cheetah) arrives at a woman's conference where Wonder Woman is speaking, and is somehow able to walk through the lobby with two full-grown cheetahs on leashes:
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Back in Braniac's "clinic", Aquaman makes sure Braniac knows that the League will stop him, as they always have. But Braniac takes the opportunity to speak about humanity's pathetic existence and uselessness, before brandishing another instrument:
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Meanwhile, Priscilla Rich undergoes a very creepy ceremony, taking the lives of her two pets in order to mystically create her Cheetah persona. And under the ocean, Martian Manhunter tries his hardest to fight off Grodd's mental assault, but it is in vain as Grodd introduces a simulation of the destruction of Mars, and J'onn is in deep trouble.

In Arkham Asylum, the Joker argues with Edward Nygma in an attempt to be part of the Legion's greater plan. But Luthor teleports in and leaves with Edward, at which point Joker vows that he will escape. Back at the women's conference, Wonder Woman gives her speech as she is stalked from the shadows by the newly reawakened Cheetah. And back at Braniac's lab, Aquaman steels himself as Braniac performs exploratory brain surgery while saying, "You're my hero, Aquaman, you really are". At his last moment of consciousness, Aquaman sends out a telepathic command that Braniac doesn't notice:
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J'onn J'onzz continues to resist Grodd's psychic barrage until finally succumbing. And up on the JLA Satellite, Red Tornado loses J'onn's comm-link before noticing something strange around South America. Looking closer, he sees a cross formed by thousands of sea creatures, marking the coordinates of Aquaman's location! "You're a clever man, Arthur", Tornado states, before adding, "Must be nice to have a psychic rapport with two-thirds of all life on Earth." Just then Tornado notices a new presence and expects to see a fellow Justice Leaguer, but instead begins to pull himself apart. The new arrival is forcing the android to destroy himself. As the issue ends, we see that the Legion of Doom has decoded all of the JLA's secrets and is moving to attack each member in their civilian identities! Dun-dun-DUUUUUH!:
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To be continued!


Three issues in, and the pieces are beginning to fall together. While the Legion of Doom continues their benevolent displays for the public, they begin a campaign of destruction against the League, armed with sensitive information. It's a bold step for Krueger and Ross to have the villains gain such powerful leverage so early in the story.

As for this issue's plot, the concept of J'onn J'onzz exploring the ocean searching for Aquaman is interesting because it showcases his diverse powers that rival and even eclipse Superman's in some aspects. The visual of J'onn shape-shifting into a dolphin and then a hybrid man/dolphin creature is impressively handled.

Unfortunately for Aquaman, he is still in the victim role this issue, with Braniac finally making good on his brain surgery threat. At least Krueger and Ross allow Braniac to praise Aquaman's uniqueness, which makes the current storyline a bit easier to take. Luckily we know there is much Aqua-goodness to come as Arthur rages against the machine later in the narrative.

The art is again fantastic, but that's to be expected. The composition and staging of panels is engaging and allows the eye to trace a dynamic path, consistently allowing the action to flourish, the menace to drip, and the fear to build. Next time, it all hits the fan for our heroes, as the Legion comes out swinging. See you then! As before, here are the Batcave file sheets for Martian Manhunter and Gorilla Grodd. Collect the whole set!
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