JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #10

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[ TIME TO GRAB A BARGAIN
How exactly is it March, 2015 already? Jeff Lemire just started his epic tale of deep space high jinks with Neil Edwards, Jay Leisten, and Keith Champagne. But sadly, our great adventure came to a close this month, and DC Comics will make us wait three months before we get to find out what's next for our intrepid team of heroes.

To QUOTE Albert Einstein: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”.

THE STORY:
When last we left our unreasonably large quantity of heroes, the smartest of them had created a black hole directly above the planet of Thanagar.  Will they save the people of Thanagar?  Will they stop the vile villain Byth?  Will they awkwardly announce their super powers out loud as they try to prevent calamity?  Will they become BFFs and Super-Bros?  There's only one way to find out!

Yes, that's right!  You – yes, you, dear reader – must dutifully tune in to the next and final chapter of... *duhn*duhn*duhn*... The Infinitus Saga!

Okay, I suppose you could just read this review and probably figure most of those things out.  But you'd really be missing out on all the fun.  And you wouldn't find out the mysterious twist at the end!  Haha!

THE GOOD:
Despite sort of being an “aftermath” chapter to close out the Infinitus Saga and tie the loose ends up in a little bow, it's still got three distinct parts.  And for the first time in this saga everything feels really well balanced story-wise.

In part 1, our heroes save one another from the black hole that Brainiac-5 created, overtly don't save their arch nemesis, and make some wisecracks at one another.  The dialog is fairly horrible, but the art is beautiful and the action had to happen.

In part 2, Brainiac-5 escalates his panic attack as it is learned that Thanagar is about to breach the event horizon of the said black hole.  In this part, though, we still have too many characters and can't keep track of who's been sent where, we finally get to see our heroes prove what makes them heroes.  Despite his Dexter Douglas antics, we see Brainy prove his worth.  We see a rare moment of humanity from Hawkman.  (Or, I suppose, it would be thanagarity?)  And, for the first time, our visitors from the future execute a plan as a well-oiled team.

Finally, part 3, as you might expect, is ye olde fare thee wells and team post-mission pow wow.  That's the proper literary term for when the action is done and the characters all sit around discussing the story you just read.  In this case, we bid a fond adieu to our future folks and let our core team declare their stereotypes for easy reader identification.

That is, for those of you keeping track, the trio of teenage best friends forever, the marvelous Super-Bros (Married Bro and Ain't-Got-No-Powers Bro), the newlyweds, the alien loner, and the other alien loner.  I really wanted to fit them in to the Gilligan's Island theme song, but couldn't quite make it mesh.  (Can you help me out?)

The whole Infinitus Saga arc has been pretty solid, despite the unnecessary bonus issue and plethora of extra characters.  But this issue, with the focus finally moving back to our core team, is a marvelous change of pace.  We got little hints of our characters along the way, and this wrap up gives us a great baseline for a series that hopefully has a lot of future issues in it.

The artwork in this issue is the best it's been since Edwards, Leisten, and Champagne took over for this arc.  They've been strong all along, but there's always been that one odd face here or overly simplified long shot there that takes you out of the story.  This issue found the perfect balance of simplicity and detail.  And it's magnificent.  If they're still our art team and continue to deliver the way they have been when we return from the subscription interruption that is Convergence, I will be a very happy fan indeed.

Oh, and let's not forget; this issue provides some not-so-subtly-implied happily married Strange sexytimes.   And getting to type Strange sexytimes makes for a great review.  Strange sexytimes.

THE BAD:
You might think that with all this gushing praise there's nothing wrong with this issue, right?  WRONG.  Yeah yeah yeah, there's too many characters.  But there's a handful of jarring moments that screw up the flow.  Let's hit the minor ones first, as they are most likely the results of last minute editing or changes in setting. 

Miiyahbin's “Look, up in the sky...” gag when she and Courtney are saved by Supergirl is a cute hat tip to classic Superman and a nice way to kick off their new BFFship, but saying “up in the sky” when you're floating in space is awkward at best and makes the moment feel more forced than it should have.  The peril could have happened elsewhere just a few pages later on Thanagar. 

Immediately following that she quips “Trust me, I'm not letting go” in response to Supergirl's instructions to “Hold on!,” despite the fact that Kara's holding her, and Miiyahbin isn't holding anything.

When Hawkman is seen on the surface of Thanagar with his people he appears to be clutching Ultra (or some other small blue object) in his arms, with no explanation as to what it is or why he has it.  Assuming it is Ultra the unconscious lobotomy patient, he's got some mad hind brain teleportation skills, as he's seen in J'onn J'onzz's arms both before and after the Thanagar moment.

There's also a moment of Alanna randomly shouting “--weeks!” as if she was finishing a sentence she started before she got Zeta Beamed to Earth.  And only a handful of Legionnaires actually get in the time bubble to leave this time compared to the backhoe full that arrived.  But the only problems with this issue that really nagged at me where the three things that weren't there.
  1. Nobody seems too concerned about Wildfire's knockout punch from last issue. This one's borderline as far as problems go, as Edwards worked in to the background of a couple frames Alanna carrying Wildfire's limp body around and what appears to be Dawnstar healing him. But is magic healing touch even one of her powers? 
  2. None of the Legionnaires seemed at all concerned with the well being of Shadow Lass, who's severe injury at Infinitus' hand was ostensibly the impetus for their time traveling ways. (Despite her appearance in the present two issues prior.) Does she still need to heal? Will their actions in this time period make it so that she was never injured? Doesn't Mon-El even wonder? 
  3. And, of course, nobody seems the least bit concerned about J'onn J'onzz's psychic lobotomy of Ultra. His behavior upon their return to Earth could be interpreted as needing some time alone for him to come to terms with what he did, but it's really subtle for a superhero comic. From Brainiac-5's comment we know that he hasn't kept his actions a secret, but nobody seems bothered by it in the least bit.
Perhaps we'll see some of these issues dealt with in the next installment of Justice League United.  Maybe not the first two, as they're really a Legion of Superheroes matter, and, hopefully, we'll be leaving them behind in the future.  (Can you leave someone behind in the future?)  But hopefully the Martian lobotomy will be dealt with in some manner.

THE MUSIC:
The official Comic Book and Movie Reviews theme song to this issue of Justice League United is going to have to be The Misfits' Forbidden ZoneWhy?  Well, frankly because I couldn't find a decent song about sending all the freeloaders who showed up to your party on their damned way so you can go about having your bromance, girls' night, private brooding time, or Strange sexytimes, as you will.  There might be one out there, but you'll have to help me out.  So we'll stick with Forbidden Zone, because we can pick out any lyric individually and make it work for us out of context, even if it's nonsense all together. 

“Some say that's where man began...”




THE COMPARISON:
For this issue we're going to go with a comparison to a good ol' fashioned mop and bucket.  Not just because J'onn mentions at the end of the issue that he's going to stick around “clean up the mess” after giving the Stranges some time.  (Let's hope he was talking about the big hole in the wall of the underground bunker and not any fresh mess that Adam and Alanna may be making!)  But because this issue is pretty much mopping up the loose ends of the arc.  But, like most of us, there's always those one or two spots that are missed.

THE CONCLUSION:
We've got kisses, fistbumps, and Thanagarian diplomacy.  This issue has really got it all.  And despite all I've spoiled for you, there's still a great story of pretty epic proportions left for you to discover.  Plus that twist ending I told you all about.  But we're going to have to wait three damn months to see if that ending is going anywhere or is just a tease for other writers to pick up in the future.

In the meantime, perhaps we can contemplate what the next DC Collectibles action figures will be?

  • Power Teen Trio Super BFFs. 
  • The Super Bros, Single Bro and Married Bro, who save the day with their Super Bro Powers. (Activate!) 
  • Fully articulated Strange Lovers. 
  • The Lonely Martian and his sad bookstore mop. 
  • Super Spiky Byth Balls. 
  • The Brainiac-5 Freak Face Mask Collection. 
  • The Polaris System Executive Desktop Model. (Pieces of Odym sold separately.) 
  • Lobotmized Multi-Alien In A Box.

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