Current Reviews


Formerly Known As The Justice League #6

Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Kevin Maguire (p), Joe Rubinstein (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

With an army of killer robots gathered outside, and Manga Khan inside threatening to destroy the planet if Max doesn't take part in his negotiations for the return of his beloved L-Ron, we see the JLA have gathered on the sidelines to make sure things don't get out of hand. However, this being the Blue and Gold League, we see the situation quickly goes off the rails, and while the chaos ensues, so does the highly comedic resolution to this perfectly avoidable crisis.

This issue isn't exactly an action packed affair as even when the group is facing certain death at the hands of a sizable army of killer robots the characters are too busy fighting among themselves to do much else. However big scale action is not what I enter these issues looking for, as this is first and foremost a comedy title, and in the department this book is a raging success. I mean one has to love how the book explains away the plot summary dialogue that Ralph and Sue engage in, and the guest appearance by the JLA stands up as one of the funniest sequences of the entire miniseries, with Batman uncharacteristically providing a couple of the issue's funniest lines. However, the real heart of this issue is the fight between Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, as I was truly surprised how effective this exchange managed to erase the decade that has passed since these two characters were last together. Now the issue leaves the tensions largely unresolved, as while the killer robots pretty much bring an end to their fighting, and we see they revert back to form during the fight, there's still a lot of water under the bridge. However, I suspect the sequel will pick up on this thread, and as it stands their fighting made for the most engaging sections of the issue, so I guess I shouldn't be in a rush to see it resolved. The material involving Max's negotiations with Manga Khan were also a lot of fun, with his punch heard in the immediate vicinity being the highlight of this sequence.

As for the art, Kevin Maguire continues to make this miniseries into a lesson to every artist working in comics of how the facial expressions and body language of the characters can tell the story just as effectively as the dialogue. In fact in some instances the art is what sells the scene, as the expressions of Sue & Fire when G'Nort issues his warning to them was priceless, as was Max's expression when the robots outside start falling over. There's also a great moment of visual comedy where the art manages to sell the idea that Max attempted to punch out Manga Khan, without showing the punch, and Mary Marvel's little finger antenna's when she first meets J'Onn were very cute. My only concern with the art was the massive 1980s hairstyle that he gave Wonder Woman, as if it wasn't for the costume, I'd never have guessed that was Wonder Woman. Great looking cover image though.

Final Word:
On one hand it's a bit sad because it's the final issue, and even with the promise of a sequel arriving in shops in a couple months I'd feel much better if the rumored regular series was a reality, as the knowledge that there is definite ending in sight is a bit distressing. Still, this issue is as much fun as the previous issues, and the guest appearance by the JLA stands up as one of the more enjoyable events on the miniseries, as J'Onn's unwillingness to get pulled back into the insanity has me hoping that the JLA loan the character out for the next miniseries, as I'd forgotten how well the character works within the confines of this group. In fact the one thing this miniseries has done exceptionally well is show how a team book should be done, as the relationships between the members of this group feel genuine, with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle's fight being a shining example of how to stage a difference of opinion between two characters without it feeling contrived. I also love the running commentary that the JLA provide on the situation, and the way that J'Onn attempts to ignore his former teammates when they notice he's on scene.

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