Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Comic Book Review: Justice League #43

Book Information
Written by James Robinson
Art by Mark Bagley

Questions arise in each JLA members mind as to how the team is doing as a whole, and individually.  The newly appointed Justice League find themselves in a state of uncertainty while a new found menace confronts the team and challenges them on a whole new level.  Can the League come to terms with their inner demons with time enough to save an old ally?

My Thoughts
As Cry for Justice came to a close, Mr. Robinson was put in between a rock and a hard place.  First he has to deal with the fact that Green Arrow has fallen victim to uncertainty and feels his place might not be with the League, and second, we have Starfire who decided to leave rather suddenly and without explanation.  Two characters of which I’m sure was not of Robinson choosing to have leave the league.  With that being said, the quality of this particular issue was less than satisfying.

Like most writers, Robinson’s ability to use poetic language is quite good.  In fact, you could say this about most writers in the industry; they have the natural ability to write beautiful dialogue, a poetic prose, and emotional highlights in a story.  But one thing you have to do in making a story at least somewhat interesting to your readers is at least know what is going on in your own story.

I understand the connection between the different events going on, but the transitions make the story seem more confusing than it actually is.  While the team is still under going some uncertainty within the ranks, the heroes seem to jump from one battle to the next without any concrete reason why.  Plus, the constant toggle between one inner monologue to the next is a bit jolting.  I’m never sure who the protagonist is; whether it is Green Arrow, Donna Troy, Batman, etc., it is unclear who our central focus should be on.  And as we learned from the Tim Burtonized and Joel Schumacherized Batman films, having one too many character focused plots in one story can cause MAJOR problems.

I’m not entirely clear as to why The JSA was brought into the story on that very last page, huddling around a dying Alan Scott, especially since he’s died in an issue of JSA already.  Another reason why this issue didn’t make any sense from start to finish, continuity is key.

And can anyone tell me why Red Tornado is still in the pages of the JLA?  Over half of his time has been spent in pieces!
Rating: 2

While the writing of the overarching story was severely lacking, the thematic scenery was a tad more enjoyable.  The title of the arc, ‘Team History,’ gives a hint that their will be a nostalgic approach in the telling of this story.  The first three pages give us a nicely faded ‘in the past’ tint.  The past is painted as a much happier time for the League due to the smiling and smirking heroes as they bring down their foe, which quickly turns into a green, yellow, and violet light show as an indicator that we have moved into the present.  It’s obvious through Green Arrow’s face that something doesn’t feel quite right; that or he’s still conflicted with the devastating event that occurred in his home town of Star City weeks ago.  Either way, the connection should be made that he currently doesn’t feel right.

The cover is actually quite interesting.  The spilt down the middle, showing two contrasting, yet comparable images of the past and present League, is a clear depiction of the story contained within.  I rather enjoy it when the cover forces readers to call upon their analytical skills to deduce what a story might be about.

As stated above, the heroes’ inner monologues continually jog to us from one person to the next faster than the Road Runner in Looney Tunes.  Batman questions if Bruce Wayne would have approved of this new Leagues crime fighting methods, Donna Troy is satisfied and enjoying how things are going but conflicted with Starfire’s sudden departure, Starman can’t seem to decide what he’s feeling, and Congorilla Bill is allowing his emotions to get the better of him.  An interesting take, despite its unfocused literary organization.
Rating: 6

Once again, Mark Bagley produces some amazing art.  I did feel a bit jolted by the extreme overdose on color, but then again, Ivan Reis’ art in Blackest Night was quite enjoyable for me, so I don’t see why I should be distracted by this similar approach.  I think the chaotic intervals between panels is what got to me the most.  Bagley is amazing, but I feel he went a little too far with the essence, he was TOO good.

Despite that, he did present some really great pin-up worthy images.  My favorite would most definitely have to be of Starfire flaming out of the old JLA headquarters orbiting Earth.  In and of itself, the art is amazing, it just didn’t integrate well into the story as it should have.
Rating: 6

If Robinson had written a better story, this issue could have received an above average rating, but his script truly did kill the story.  That is a pity too; last month was so good that I was ecstatic for this one.

Rating: 4.67 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming April 21, 2010
A BRIGHTEST DAY tie-in! Following the events of BLACKEST NIGHT, the brand new Justice League of America enters into BRIGHTEST DAY with an arc featuring the Justice Society of America. The epic team-up begins with a character from the end of BLACKEST NIGHT joining the JLA. But when the storyline's over, what mysterious villain will be revealed – and which hero will switch teams?

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