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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Justice #11 - June 2007

Comics Weekend "Justice Chapter Eleven"

Hey there everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here with my review of Justice Chapter Eleven, by our good friends Jim Krueger, Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite! 
When we last left our story, the tide was beginning to turn for the Legion of Doom. While upstairs the armored Justice League fought determinedly within the Legion's headquarters; downstairs Green Arrow, Black Canary and the Elongated Man accomplished their mission of returning John Stewart's Green Lantern ring to him. With his ring back, John used it to destroy Braniac's mind control on the League's fellow heroes and loved ones, before joining the battle upstairs.

As we pick up with this issue, we find the Joker dancing in the rubble as he blows up one of the Legion of Doom's cities (the Joker's role in this story reminds me of Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne on Community; in the way he overreacts to being left out of a group). Back inside the LOD's headquarters, the Parasite tries once again to take Superman's powers, only to run afoul of Captain Marvel instead. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan surprises Sinestro by revealing a blue ring; which turns out to be the second yellow ring disguised by a chunk of blue kryptonite from Superman's Fortress. In one fell swoop, the League uses the blue kryptonite to weaken Bizarro and also destroys the green kryptonite that powers Metallo, allowing Superman to move more freely.

Captain Marvel attacks Black Adam, forcing him to shout "Shazam!" to release himself. John Stewart brings in the cavalry, scouring Braniac's worms from the League and allowing their armors to be shed. He also cures the villains from Braniac's touch, causing many of them to wonder what they are doing before they are incapacitated by the might of the rebuilt Justice League. Finally, the battle is ended, and the heroes can reunite with their friends and family. But all is not over, as Gorilla Grodd tells J'onn J'onzz that Braniac has armed the weapons systems of the world to bring about the promised apocalypse!

The heroes secure their loved ones at Superman's Fortress before following the fleeing Braniac. But Aquaman is already leading the charge, chasing the android into Toyman's city, only to run up against another trick:

Meanwhile, Hal beats Sinestro to a standstill, overcoming him as they use the last of both yellow rings' charges. All of the heroes follow Braniac into Toyman's city, and begin weeding through the crowd of Braniac drones to find Arthur Jr. Zatanna tells them that the original Braniac has escaped the city with Arthur Jr. The heroes pursue him into The Scarecrow's city, only to be confronted by the straw-laced fashioner of fear. He attacks by sending the entire fear toxin-filled population of his kingdom after the heroes, who cannot fight them as they did the Braniac drones. How will the League triumph?

Lots of well-rendered action in this issue, as we see most of the Leaguers get their groove fully back, whether it be Superman triumphing over his foes (and having Metallo's Kryptonite heart destroyed), or Hal Jordan winning a hard-fought physical and moral victory over Sinestro.

However, there is no resolution for Aquaman this issue, as he continues to doggedly pursue his kidnapped son in what is undoubtedly the most emotional hardship faced by any of the League throughout this series. The scenes of Arthur screaming his frustration out towards the robotic captor of his child is heart-tugging and reveals much about Aquaman's determination and strength of will. Next issue there will be a reckoning delivered by a father and a King rather than by a superhero.

As always, the art of each panel is stellar, and the color palette is expertly crafted to each story beat; whether it be the different hues of the Lantern rings, the blue Kryptonite, or the gold of Captain Marvel's emblem shining in the sun. We also get a chance this issue to see interesting skirmishes going on in the back of the large battle scenes, such as the armored Wonder Woman trashing three Braniac clones at once, or J'onn J'onnz, Red Tornado and Metamorpho teaming up to knock down Giganta. 

My only actual criticism of the series continues to be how certain story beats are introduced. So much is going on at times that it can seem like important information is sprung on the reader with less of a "cool, spontaneous reveal" feeling and more of a "Huh? Did I miss a mention of that before?" type of question. Take for example the revelation that Hal has been using Superman's sample of blue Kryptonite to disguise the other yellow Qwardian ring he was using. It's an inventive idea; the yellow and blue energies making green. But for myself as a reader, I would have felt the impact of Sinestro's surprise (and Hal's cleverness) more effectively if we had seen Hal set up the ploy earlier. I applaud Krueger and Ross' eagerness to throw in exciting new details, but at times I feel that the complexity of Justice's plot affects the pacing negatively.

Next issue wraps it all up with more action and more thrills, so be here to see the dastardly plans of Braniac come crashing down upon his green artificial head in Justice #12!

And, as always, here are Batman's Batcave files for Hal Jordan and Sinestro. See you next time!

1 comment:

Russell said...

Andy, I totally agree with you about the story points and the overall "plotting." This is definitely one of those series that reads better all in one sitting than stretched over a year. There was a lot of "did I miss that before?" for me, too the first time I read it. When I re-read it recently (due to your reviews!) I think I "caught" a lot more of the minor details.

And at the time I didn't like that Arthur Jr was still a prisoner here, but eventually I saw how Ross "book-ended" the series with Aquaman, which was kind of cool.