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Justice League Unlimited #4

Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"Local Hero"

Writer: Adam Beechen
Artists: Carlo Barberi(p), Walden Wong(i), Heroic Age(c)
Publisher: DC

Adam Beechen asks a question I never thought to ask in Justice League Unlimited.  He asks why Adam Strange an earthman is hero to Rann.  Ergo, why are there no Rannian heroes? That made me stop and think.

Adam Strange rocketed from the mold of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter, Warlord of Mars and his lesser known Carson of Venus. Each planet seemed to be sorely lacking in a bona fide swashbuckling hero.  Certainly Alanna cuts a mean figure in Carmine Infantino fashion and can skillfully wield a ray gun, but she like Dejah Thoris was not the hero of the adventures.  This also made me stop and think.

The hero is always an outsider.  The Bat-Man worked outside the law, and even when he mellowed, he skirted the law.  Huntress his daughter was perhaps the ultimate outsider.  She worked outside her father's law.  The Justice League of the cartoon network operates as they should: an independent police body bound to no one country or politic.  They do what's right.

Adam Strange is definitely a hero.  An archaeologist by trade, he through the genius of his soon to be father in law Sardath became the rocket-packed, blaster toting hero of Rann.  Beechen though shows for every action there is an equal but opposite action.

Someone on Rann finds Strange's triumph over Kanjar Ro--great to see the little bug-eyed weasel again--a bitter pill to swallow, and he sets himself up to look like a hero only to discover that such a being does not follow a smooth road. 

Beechen's greatest accomplishment in the book is the capturing of the actors' voices for the cast.  I heard Kevin Conroy's voice when Batman spoke.  I heard Rene Auberjodois when Ro sneered.  The plot while nothing epic in scope takes a page from Legends, and the twist at the end celebrates heroes; something few comic books now do.

Artwork by Carlo Barberi and Walden Wong easily bring the look of the cartoon to the comic book.  Wong also uses a heavier line at times to emphasize a cel like look which while not present in the series helps to give the work depth.

If I have one complaint about this issue of Justice League Unlimited it's that Alanna simply doesn't have a lot of exciting things to do in the story.  It's still though pleasing to see she being part of Adam's life, and I'm happy that she's not raped, killed or having sex with Kanjar Ro.  Likewise for Adam's charming daughter Aleea.



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