At the end of Justice League 3000 #1, the Wonder Twins asked a simple question: “How bad can it get?” Following this was a little teaser for the next issue that said “Next: Exactly How Bad It Can Get!” It turns out bad is the understatement of the 31st century.
The newly created Justice League of the 31st century begins by making the Transversal—an intergalactic transport method—to Skorch 4, a barren planet on the fringes of commonwealth space and away from the watchful eyes of the Imperium. Their mission is to travel to Flatmas 12 and take out several garrisons of soldiers left there by The Five. This is all easier said than done when Teri and Terry, the Wonder Twins, learn that Locus, who we can assume is a member of The Five, is on Flatmas 12 as well. Locus is a blue skinned, purple haired, glowy eyed reality warper who has a bit of a thing for Hal. Despite her sexually charged and arrogant demeanor she’s a legitimate threat to the League and just about anyone who challenges her. CADMUS brought back the world’s greatest heroes to take on The Five, but the League just may not be ready for the task quite yet. Many readers will think they know how the story goes: a team of squabbling heroes comes together to take down a major threat, bonding and growing closer together as a team in the process. That’s not the case here as writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis remain eternally unpredictable, showing that the good guys might not always win.
Much like the previous issue, the pages of Justice League 3000 #2 are filled with constant bickering between just about everyone since, save for Hal and Barry, no one seems to be able to get along for more than a panel or two. The dialogue between them is fresh, snappy, well-balanced, and with certain charm that keeps their arguments both entertaining and endearing. At the same time, the dialogue very clearly defines and reinforces who these characters are. Giffen and DeMatteis have taken characters we know and love and they’ve shown them to us in a way we’ve never seen them before. This is a Justice League that was regenerated from samples of their DNA by CADMUS. The result is a Superman without being raised by the Kents, a Bruce Wayne without the motivation of his parents’ murder, a Wonder Woman who is too much an Amazon, a Green Lantern without a ring, and a Barry Allen who looks more like Wally West.
While each of them still carry some traits and memories of their 21st century counterparts, it’s resulted in resounding changes to their personalities and team dynamics. Superman is arrogant, brash, overconfident, short tempered, rushes in head (or fist) first, and looks down on Batman. Bruce Wayne is over-entitled, combative, and a bit of an instigator with Superman. Wonder Woman is a straight up warrior. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan are the level-headed voices of reason within the group. We’re also told that the regeneration process that created them also damaged them in some way. Some examples we’ve seen are that Superman can no longer fly and isn’t as invulnerable as he once was, and Flash must use a force field to protect himself from the friction caused by running at such high speeds. This has already resulted in some trouble for Superman who keeps forgetting that he can’t fly.
The incredible writing of Justice League 3000 #2 is only part of what makes this such a fantastic issue. Howard Porter’s art is so rich and lively that, when combined with Hi-Fi’s colors, it practically pops off the pages. Porter’s over exaggerated facial expressions lend a charming cartoon-ish vibe to the book that makes it fun to read.
Due to the regeneration process, Superman no longer has his ability to fly while in the last issue he seemed to be flying around quite well. This could be a plot point, or perhaps he’s using some sort of device to simulate flight, but until then it just comes across as a bit odd.
Justice League 3000 #2 fires on all cylinders. Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Howard Porter deliver in absolutely every aspect. The pacing and plotting in this issue are phenomenal, while the character work and dialogue are, as always with Giffen and DeMatteis, a treat. With many team books, some characters feel underused, but that’s not the case here. Each character has their place and they all have their time to shine in this perfectly balanced issue. Justice League 3000 #2 starts to peek behind the curtain as we learn more about The Five and the Imperium. This is everything you expect from the veteran creative team and more. Simply put, if you’re not reading Justice League 3000, you should be.