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Eye see what you did there, Jeff Parker. If you think that eye am not watching everything DC Comics does, then Paul Pelletier will suffer the same fate. But then again Rob Hunter always gives me just what eye want because that's how he rolls. Jeromy Cox, however, eye don't know what's up with him, he does not compute. But eye do know that it's November, 2015, and eye see that this story has reached its conclusion.

TO QUOTE Friedrich Nietzsche: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Well, JLU #15 certainly was chaotic, and it certainly wasn't the ending I was expecting either. But it's the conclusion to “War Zone”, the second arc of the new Jeff Parker flavored Justice League United, and it is good. I wouldn't say spectacular, but firmly set safely beyond the “good” line.

On the whole I'd say the Pelletier / Hunter / Cox team continues to impress on the art front. There's a little bit of vaguely squishy drawing going on in some of the characters in mid-shot range, but a vast majority of the characters manage to get beautifully focused close-up shots despite the vast sweeping battle scenes. The art in this issue feels like a class in how to compose complex scenes. At its heart, it's a cross-breed of straight up superhero smash-bang-pow fight comic with a classic war comic full of dogfights and explosions. But despite the potentially complex work load, the art team manages to give every character a chance to shine without overwhelming, simplifying, or ignoring the background scenery.

Well, almost every character. If memory serves, Little Sure Shot has been seen tagging along with Easy Company through all three issues of this arc, but has always been in the background. I believe he gets his first and only line in the arc set half in shadows around the campfire. He certainly hasn't been addressed by name. Hmm? I wonder why?

That said, the background isn't a bad place to be in this issue. When Enemy Ace swoops down to separate the armies before they take out the JLU squad in crossfire, I got a little bit lost in the background art of soldiers and vehicles from contradictory eras that aren't part of our primary plot. I'm glad someone on horseback made it in to the story. If this were a movie, I like to think there'd be enough screen time for a little cut scene with him coming across the dudes with jetpacks and expressing confused terror in French.

Unfortunately, as great as the art is, there's really just not a whole lot going on with the story. It just sort of... wraps up. Much the way you'd assume it will wrap up based on the set up. And that's my concern with this new format. While it did break away from the formula I was fearing would become the standard, the way a solution manifests and neatly ends the breaker (and in this case tidily sends everyone back to the appropriate war) feels a little empty. The complaints I had a couple of issues ago with too much time given to the ongoing “what's up with Adam Strange” plot-line are now reversed. This issue lacked the touch-point with that piece of plot and some acknowledgment of how his approach isn't wholly heroic. On the flip side, Batgirl pointing out her respect for the results certainly serves as a good counterpoint to the first breaker arc.

As expected, the appearance of OMAC at the tail end of the prior issue led to a quick wrap up of the wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey battle royal version of the classic “Heroes Must Fight” trope. We get some validation on what version of the characters we have and which characters are... not part of any continuity we've seen thus far. It feels a little messy depending on how recently you've read Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., O.M.A.C., and Suicide Squad, but from what I've gone back and re-checked, I think it all was actually handled really well. I feel like Kevin Kho should maybe have remembered Frankenstein, but he didn't overtly say anything to contradict that he did, plus OMAC brains are fuzzy things, correct?

It's a little odd that Frankenstein recognizes Steel as part of the Justice League (considering he was a member briefly in the late 90s, early 2000, years before Franks reemergence as a character) yet Medusa (who we've not seen elsewhere in post-Flashpoint continuity) has never seen a Bat-themed vigilante before. And Vandal Savage's phrasing of his surrender according to the Geneva Convention (as if there's just the one?) is a little awkward, what with article three being all about persons not taking part in the hostilities being treated humanely, rather than how hostilities are ceased.

But these are very minor points which are more than made up for with the cute little meta-joke of Bulldozer calling Courtney a “Star-Spangled Kid” (Which works perfectly well in modern continuity given that her step-dad was likely not born until the 60s, or even the early 70s, let alone running around with Sylvester Pemberton in the 40s).

My only other complaint was the casual way in which the assorted soldiers could suddenly see one another. In the opening of the arc, it was established that they all seemed to be locked in their own little war, yet once the JLU is on the scene they can suddenly see one another, and comment on how they had seen Enemy Ace's triplane on previous days. But given the time-bending nature of this particular breaker, I suppose we can forgive that. The twists and turns of the story, despite being mostly epic battle and conversational plotting, do still manage to surprise and give a moment's pause. The big question, for me, is... how exactly this grand finale will affect the character it appeared to affect in general continuity now that the breaker is defeated. But we'll just stop that speculation there lest you haven't read it yet.

“It's all right again.” (Hey, look! Little Sure Shot had a second line!) “As right as it can be when the whole world's at war”.  While I've done my best to keep the mechanism a surprise for you, it shouldn't have really spoiled anything for you when I mentioned that this issue delivers everyone back to the war from which they came. While the breaker is defeated, they obviously can't put an end to war. As this is the final battle in the breaker, with some (but not all) of the soldiers from different wars teaming-up to break through the individual battles to surmount the true target, I guess we need something bigger than a single song to tie it to. Something loud, angry, and cacophonous. Something like Ice-T and Slayer's team up of Disorder, which in itself is a collision of multiple battles, bringing together the then-decade-old Exploited punk tunes of War, UK-82, and Disorder in to one (modernized and Americanized) explosive pile of rage.

Yup, Parker gets to pull in characters from multiple teams across the DCU so I get to give you four songs for one issue. That should cover your full reading experience. Enjoy!

If you haven't read this issue yet, then let the comparison I'm making of it being like the King of the Hill board game from 1960, be all about the futility we've seen in past issues of the soldiers fighting the same battle every day only to end up back where they started the next morning with their rations replenished and their enemies resurrected. If you've already read this issue, well then, the comparison is a bit more literal now, isn't it?

And there you have it, kids. Two breakers down with an unknown number left to go. And that's about it. Unfortunately, it looks like the next issue, #16, will be the last in the series. So it looks like Jeff Parker's great new plan for the series will not get a chance to shine nor fail. The idea has great merit, and I hope he didn't have to lob off too much of the greater arc in order to conclude it in December. While I fear the concept of the breakers will be abandoned by the other creators at DC, I'm sure we'll see our remaining heroes again. But where? 

  • Alanna Strange gets a new job teaching Alien Science at Gotham Academy. (Maps figures out how to save Adam).
  • Stargirl decides to do what many American kids her age do and backpacks across Europe, finding herself in a bit of a jam in the pages of Batman: Europa.
  • Animal Man returns home and spends time with his family as part of a new reality show “Red Thunder: Life Without Cliff” - it's as bad as it sounds, but Harley Quinn records every episode and makes all her employees watch it together and then have a pot-luck discussion group.
  • Adam Strange is still stuck in Zeta-space, but he doesn't mind because from there he can catch every Black Canary live show. Unfortunately, he also peeks on them in the dressing room because he's a creepy, creepy man.
  • In the aftermath of the Darkseid War, the Justice League starts a membership drive. Miiyahbin is first in line and first accepted. Oliver Queen is still rejected.
  • It turns out that “Mother” in Batman and Robin Eternal is really just a puppet of Adam Strange. It'll all work out just fine in the end.
  • Miiyahbin shows up in Doctor Fate and fixes all the flooding for Khalid. He thanks her and goes back to school.
  • Alanna hears about the problems that the Green Lantern Corps are having and uses her knowledge of Zeta-space, along with a little help from Adam and Sardath, to find her way to the Edge of Oblivion. Sardath brings cookies.
  • New series: Whitmore and Baker, Private Eyes.

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

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #15 JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #15 Reviewed by David Andrews on December 07, 2015 Rating: 5
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