Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Justice League Cry for Justice #1 – A Review

Justice League Cry for Justice #1 (of 7)

Publisher DC Comics

Writer James Robinson

Art Mauro Cascioli

This book gives me some hope that the Justice League book can again become one of DC’s corner stone books again. The reason I say this is regardless of some incredible hokey dialogue and some moments that made me wonder if there will ever be a story told in seven issues, the book had a sense of gravitas and coolness that has been lacking in the JLA.

I have to give a lot of credit for this book to the artist. Mauro Cascioli first came to my attention in the Captain Marvel re-launch (that has since almost been ignored). He came onto the book after Howard Porter dropped off the book and was really wowing me with his photorealistic type style. The painted artwork just made the book have a strong and unique look. In fact if I was running DC I would have Mauro doing covers. Not that his interior work is bad as his page design and panel layouts are fine and his story telling ability is also very good, it is the dynamic nature of his work would lend itself to great covers. I mean DC has been using Andrew Robinson whose covers are not dynamic and Mauro could sell some books with his work. His cover on this book was a stand out on the racks at my comic store.

I know first issues have to be a lot of set-up, but we are reading a seven issue series and after the first issue we have only introduced five members of the group and they have not even gotten together yet. Plus we got a 22 page comic with some nice background material written by James Robinson and a 2 page Congorilla origin, but this was a $4 book. Marvel starts to give us extra pages for our buck and DC does what Marvel was doing and gives us trade extras and charges us an extra buck.

James Robinson is a good writer and I will give him some rope, but the “I want justice” line just got hokier and hokier every time it was used by a character at the end of their introduction. There was the “oh boy” line by Green Arrow which just rang hollow and untrue and a few other bits that harkened back to when comics were written like comic books. We have moved past the time when characters talk like they know they are in a comic book and overacting as though on stage and this book had way too much of that type of dialogue.

The actual crux of the story was interesting. Green Lantern feels the Justice League is too reactive and he wants to move the League forward into addressing the villains before they attack them. He gets pissed off and leaves the JLA and Ollie joins him. The bit about Ollie backing him was great and it builds on the relationship that has been between the two for years. Then we cut away to Ray Palmer, the blue Starman and Congorilla (such an odd choice, but I love it) and get a five page introduction of each character and reasons why they want justice also.

Based on the structure issue #2, will introduce the rest of the group and then they have some reason to get together. The next five issues will resolve some crisis. I can see the huge potential for this book to be an ongoing series and if James was not taking over JLA I would have said it was a mistake to make this a mini-series. I was glad to read that this series is looking to build into plans for 2010 and the series is promised to have an ongoing impact in the DCU. It is nice to see that the overall continuity is still a concern for DC. Overall continuity is one reason for following episodic adventures of super heroes.

Overall Grade – B. The one thing that made me want Justice was paying $4 for 22 pages of story and art related to the actual story. Great art, some good introductions to the characters, some over the top corny dialogue, but a book I’m happy to have on my list.

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