With hearts filled with love, Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone joyfully announce the birth of their son. 'Ultra' is his name, and he joined the Lemire and McKone clan this July, 2014, and instantly brought happiness to all he encountered. More or less. The birth was witnessed by his godfather, DC Comics, and a handful of confused Rannian citizens.

To QUOTE Stabbing Westward: “You can not save me. You can't even save yourself. I can not save you. I can't even save myself. Save yourself. So just save yourself”.

If you've been following Justice League United since issue zero, you're certainly aware that somebody busted a hole in the side of a space station. Also, you know that our heroes had just beamed in to that space station, and discovered how a shapeshifting ne'er-do-well has spliced together a multitude of different species into one adorable little bundle of joy -- as you do -- with which he plans to conquer -- or perhaps destroy -- the universe. And he will love him, and kiss him, and occasionally electrocute him, and name him Ultra.

Right. Up to speed? Good. This sounds like a job for . . . Dr. Sardath?

Regrettably, that's certainly not going to go so well. If you thought Sardath was a competent man, please go back and re-read issue 2 before you proceed. Sure, maybe it's not all his fault, but I'm pretty certain that popping people all over creation is not the ideal implementation of Zeta beam technology. You can maybe save some folks who are on a satellite that's about to explode, but can you really guarantee things won't get any worse?

No. You can't. It gets worse. Much worse. And fairly chaotic, to boot. Seriously, save yourself. Get out while you can.

So now we've burned the prior issue filling in the back story, we can finally get right down to it. We start with a little more reveal on Miiyahbin's mystery. Awesome stuff. But she's still on Earth. And before we can worry about why she won't shout “Keewahtin,” our story returns to Rann where my concerns about Thalsalla's atmosphere -- or lack thereof -- are promptly proven moot.

This issue is all over the place. Literally. We don't want to over-spoil the superhero pudding here, but rest assured that they have minimal control over where they're going and what bad guys come along for the ride. Plus all of this is a marvelous 'storytelling hook' to force their hand on whether they are a team or not and who's in charge.

Of course we've got one more issue to go in this story arc, so we're not going to lay all the smack down right here -- but -- there's some significant smack laying before the dust settles. Jeff Lemire has steered us well and brought us to right where we should be on this penultimate issue of an arc . . . begging for the finale.

Oh, and Sardath comes across significantly less like Droopy Dog than he did last issue, which is probably a good thing, unless he's supposed to come across as Droopy Dog.

McKone's artwork is the same as it's always been. Nothing fantastic, nothing terrible, but at least this issue wasn't filled with creepy vacant stares. Maiolo was also assisted on the colors this month by Andrew Dalhouse -- and it's not really clear when we're seeing one versus the other, but collectively the number of stylized panels is picking up again, thus softening their effectiveness. I really think McKone's artwork would be better suited to a more traditional coloring. It's hard to tell where the blame lies, such as it is.

I'll also toss in a minor complaint about Byth's lab being defined on Thalsalla in the datelines -- and then turning out to be on a satellite. Are we talking about a natural satellite, and the whole moon of Thalsalla has gone boom-boom? Or are we saying that the lab was in an artificial satellite, presumably rotating around the moon of Thalsalla, and thus the moon is okay? I'm really worried about Thalsalla. It seems unloved.

Of course, there's also the Nth metal elephant in the room. Hawkman -- yeah-yeah, woe is Hawkman -- who is prone to losing body parts and getting blown up. But I'm talking about his logic, which has yet to be well explained by any of the four -- five? -- authors who've given him speech bubbles since the New 52 kicked off. He looks at Adam and Alanna's relationship, Buddy's family, and proclaims “I have no one!”  Which is completely a problem of his own making. Maybe you shouldn't have ditched your Earth girlfriend to serve the JLA, jerk-face.

With all the 'Zeta beaming' here, there, and everywhere (sometimes appearing in mid-air!), Kryptonians flying off half-cocked, Czarnian bounty hunters playing the part of the bully's wacky sidekick in an 80s teen movie, and Green Arrow being uncharacteristically helpful, the best summary of the issue is that hell is breaking loose. Which of course brings to mind the Misfits circle pit classic -- “All Hell Breaks Loose” -- and this issue certainly wears like a mosh pit glove.

Evil is as evil does.

Once I got 'the pit' in my head I couldn't let it go, could I?  So this issue is a mosh pit, plain and simple. Please dance nice, kids.

This issue was pretty strong. It wasn't the greatest issue ever written, and I think Jeff Lemire is still finding his stride with Justice League United -- yet it's certainly growing on me. This is definitely the breaking-point for this story arc -- hopefully we'll get a powerful finale and an engaging hook for the next arc.

Part of the challenge with JLU is that Lemire has assembled a fairly large team and thrown in a lot of juvenile humor for cheap laughs, so it's going to be tough to really grow the characters. Right now we've got a generic superhero comic with some generic characters, which is fun, but not great. I know this series can be great.

He's clearly biding his time with Miiyahbin. And I'd guess we're not going to dig in to Supergirl too deeply until we find out how she removed her ring. Fair. But there are definitely some transitional issues that need to be addressed with J'onn and Katar's current state of mind versus their prior incarnations. Stargirl and Animal Man barely speak in this issue and are arguably the characters most in need of . . . characterization. And Green Arrow is just apparently along for the ride. It's still really unclear where his JLU time fits in with the current “Broken” arc over on his self titled series.

So, yeah --  nobody was expecting him to hash all this stuff out in the first issue, and we certainly don't want another issue of the team standing around and talking. But for this series to become really great we need to give these characters a chance and not just be a haphazard group of strays that were given the executive nod to appear in one book.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed that the seven who “live inside all of our people” are the Council of Eternity and we're not just building a carbon copy of Shazam in a teenage Cree girl.

Oh, and don't worry about Hawkman. He can walk that off, bro.

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

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #3 JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #3 Reviewed by David Andrews on July 22, 2014 Rating: 5
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