JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #2

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[ SLAPPING THAT SALE
Well, kids, it's June, 2014, which means it's time to follow Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone down the rabbit hole. They're not particularly late for any obvious date, but things around their neck of DC Comics certainly are getting curiouser and curiouser.

To QUOTE Theodore Roosevelt: “If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”.

THE STORY:
What would you do if you were a frustrated young Kryptonian girl who nobody understands and probably just recently got over your napalm vomiting problem through yet-to-be-divulged means? You'd probably wander the galaxy, aimlessly, right?

And what would you do if you then heard a creature unknown to you cry out from halfway across the galaxy? You'd almost certainly rush to the source of this cry and offer to hit it!

Yeah, so there's that hit. And a bunch of heroes standing around talking. And some Martian diplomacy, which, amongst other things, isn't particularly diplomatic. And eventually we all end up back where we started two issues ago. Back at the birth of this series . . . and an adorable little god of war that's not an Amazonian princess.

Oh yeah, and there's that Nth metal thing too.  That's pretty good stuff. Heals your injuries right up, including, apparently, regrowing severed limbs. Handy, that. *rimshot*

THE GOOD: 
If last issue was too much fist-fighting for you, then you're definitely going to love this issue. It's mostly just a whole lot of standing around and talking. Which is actually a great thing, story-wise. While it might not be the most action-packed adventure ever, this tale gives us a brief history of interplanetary war, providing this otherwise lighthearted romp through the cosmos with some much needed gravitas. Both we the readers and our beloved heroes finally get those annoying gaps between facts filled in.

Miiyahbin gets a real scene as well!  Just the one, mind you, as the action -- such as it is -- is now on Rann and Thalsalla while Miiyahbin is back in Moosonee. We get a little explanation of what we saw in issue zero, accompanied, of course, by the critical comic book cliffhanger trope.

Maiolo's colors are as bright and bold as ever. Plus the stylized color panels seem to be slowing and varying a bit more, so they're more effective in this issue than they have been in the past. 

While this issue was very story-dense, and while I had my issues with it, Lemire does propel us deeply forward. Thing are obviously coming to a head and now it suddenly matters.

THE BAD:
The obvious flip side to a story where the characters are mostly standing around talking is that there's not a whole lot to see. One could certainly argue the point of telling a story in a comic book form is that you get the visuals along with the text. Unfortunately, there's only so much Mike McKone can do to make exciting illustrations out of six costumed superheroes standing around talking with the locals. And to me, it really fell short of the mark.

There were no emotions expressed in anyone's face. While he did a great job of making Sardath look like a meek little chump, our heroes are all staring vapidly in to space. When they have an expression, it seems arbitrary and unrelated to what they're saying or hearing. Sometimes for three identical panels with only a slight head turn to indicate anything's happened. And Animal Man's eyes, man, I swear he's on something.

On the story side of things I'm pretty content, however, there's always that 'consistency thing' that nags me so. This time around, it's the nature of time. Adam Strange comments on how he recognizes the planet as the same one he, Animal Man, and Stargirl teleported to yesterday. Then we loop around to what appears to be where issue zero started. And issue zero established that Adam met them three days earlier. So yesterday is three days ago. Spacetime, man. Spacetime.

And then there's the fact that J'onn can identify a star system by the moons in the sky over a specific planet, but not what specific planet he's on. Martians must learn astronomy the same week as diplomacy.

THE MUSIC:
I'd have to say that The Shamen's 'Space Time' would be a pretty good fit, because yesterday is three days ago. Whoa.




Either that, or right after J'onn indicates that “there is no time to lose”, they all decide to spend two days seeing the sights around Rann.

THE COMPARISON:
You know how in football -- gridiron, not association -- right before the action starts, all the players gather around in a huddle to discuss the plan of action? Or maybe they just stand around in a vaguely huddle-like formation and stare off into space? This story is all about the no huddle huddle. No actual planning, but we're going to go do something!

THE CONCLUSION:
Overall, this was a great story that makes for a somewhat lame comic book. We at least end with seven of our eight team members in the same general vicinity and a great echo of the climax lead up to were we started from.

Plus we've got two questions answered! Buddy still has a daughter (presumably Maxine) and Ultra is grafted post-natally. Or maybe that's how one or more of his component species is born.

My underestimation of the healing powers of Nth metal reveals that we are not actually out of sync with 'Future's End' and could very well still be on the same timeline. Fancy.

Time will be the judge on how Justice League United will handle these dangling issues...

  1. Is Czarnia still involved in the war or is Lobo (and Lobo, and maybe Sheba) really the last one(s)? (Rob Liefield never really could decide during his recent DC run.)
  2. Who are the other two (non-Thanagarian) races that were involved in the Project Ultra discussion? They're clearly not Czarnian, Psion, Tamaranian, Dominator, or Daemonite.
  3. What did Sardath do that beeped when J'onn put him down after demonstrating his Martian diplomacy?
  4. Does the Thanagarian scientist we saw in the flashback have a name like “Jozev Stah-linn”? Because he's got the moustache for it.
  5. Does Thalsalla have an atmosphere? Because if not, things could suck real soon.

*** Just reading and writing and rambling in the back of the Joker's old Ho-Home-On-Wheels... Keath.