JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #7 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Howard Porter is a comic I should like a whole lot more than I actually do.
I mean, it’s got a lot of the things I love in comics. It’s familiar characters divorced from standard continuity, DeMatteis is one of my absolute favorite comic book writers, it’s a mostly alien sci-fi setting where Howard Porter’s art at the best of times reminds me of Farel Dalrymple, and recently a character was introduced that looks like he walked straight out of a Moebius comic. It’s just not quite working yet though. Last issue ended with what I assumed was the set up for a big throw down battle, so I was pretty excited to see how this issue was going to play out.
Howard Porter’s art continues to be the main draw for me. He doesn’t get to do a splash page of a weird alien city in this issue like he does in some of the others, but there is a pretty neat splash of our heroes posing on a cliff overlooking an alien multi-tiered waterfall. There’s also a really cool panel of some Moebius-hatted fellows climbing a ladder in the background onto this sort of techno plank bridge in the foreground. The perspective is kind of weird but pleasurable. I really dug it!
A couple of issues ago Green Lantern was separated from the group and shrunk down to a tiny size, and now that the whole team is back together, that has turned out to pretty much be the best decision this comic has made so far. He’s always zipping around with a green energy trail behind him, flying around his teammates, often circling one member once or twice.
It brings a much needed dose of lightness, energy, and fun and is a great, dynamic visual for all of the endless scenes of the big beefcake characters standing around talking. It makes me wish that all super teams had a six inch tall person constantly flying around.
Also in this issue Batman finally took a backseat and some of the other characters started to develop some personality. At first I was put off by Superman being less of dumb, arrogant jerk since that had pretty much been the only reliable source of humor up until now, but then Wonder Woman also started acting like less of a jerk. The scientists in the comic speculated that maybe their original personalities are starting to assert themselves. Later, they are acting more like their usual JL3000 selves, and I think this could be an interesting direction for the series to go if the characters start being torn between their original personalities and the ones we’ve seen so far in this comic.
With this issue it has also started taking the steps to use the set up of these Justice League members being revivable to make a South Park Kenny joke, which is kind of funny. Actually, two deaths occur in this issue, and one is an incredibly dark twist I didn’t see coming. The stakes have been majorly upped, and perhaps the plot will now finally start actually going somewhere.
I thought last issue was going to lead into some big action scene, but it ended up just being more people standing around talking about what’s been going on. I said up at the top that DeMatteis is one of my favorite comic book writers, but his scripting just is kind of dragging the whole thing down. There is none of the BWAHAHA you expect out of a Giffen/DeMatteis co-production and none of the heavier, high minded ideas you get out of his best comics.
Characters stand around each issue having the exact same conversation over and over again. I was already thinking this when one of the characters points it out! Just because you hang a lampshade on it doesn’t make the problem go away. Writing so first time readers can understand what’s going on is a fine enough thing, but this is done with no brevity or wit.
Word balloons fill almost every panel of any page. Don’t think I have anything against reading! I just think this comic has a serious problem with telling, not showing. An issue or two ago it was revealed that the Justice League are basically genetic templates grafted onto living people who are then basically completely wiped away to make room for these ancient heroes.
Since the reveal they keep bringing it up and how terrible it is, but not once have they actually shown the people that this is happening to. So these people that were sacrificed to revive the Justice League are not real to me. They are abstractions, and harder to sympathize with.
I also have some problems with the portrayal of the women in this. Of the super smart scientist twins, the lady is the “overly emotional one,” one of the main bad guy women is said to have the mind set of a boy-crazy 19 year old girl, and Wonder Woman tends to be seen and not heard. These weren’t as big of issues this issue as they have been previously, but it’s something the series should probably work on.
I thought last issue was also setting up for Firestorm to betray the team, which I thought would have been a good use of the “Justice League, but kind of messed up and crazy” concept. That didn’t happen in this issue. I can’t really fault the comic for not doing exactly what I wanted it to do plot-wise, so I don’t feel right about putting this in the Negatives. I still kind of wish it had happened though.
Justice League 3000 continues to lumber along under the weight of a script that needs some serious trimming. The art is still great though, and with the actual plot twist that happened this issue, perhaps the series will pick up and becoming something that I can start enjoying unreservedly. Which is what I thought at the end of the last issue too.
Buy this comic if you like alien worlds with cool art, familiar characters free of the bonds of continuity, or overly expository scripts.