Justice League: Cry For Justice #1(of 7) - 'The Beginning' - Robinson and Cascioli
Story - I've never been a big fan of the Justice League, I mean, I like a lot of the individual characters and there have been good stories told with the team, mostly by Grant Morrison, Mark Waid in the 90s and Giffen and DeMatteis back in the 80s. Perhaps it's the fact that most of the League have their own ongoing series and as such, not much can really happen that's of any importance, and is often trapped by what happens elsewhere in the DCU. I certainly feel that way about DC's current JLA book, which is just a mess of epic proportions, we all know how Dwayne McDuffie was screwed, I won't go into it, but yeah, not a JLA fan.
But I am a James Robinson fan, almost solely because of his 90s opus Starman, which I am currently loving in Omnibus Hardbacks, but also for his current work on Superman, which is lyrical and interesting, last week's #689, where Mon-El traveled the World was beautiful. So what happens when James Robinson meets the Justice League, and a team made up of mainly C-Listers where interesting things can actually happen? The answer: Good things, this was a very solid comic, with a good grasp of character, and some beautiful artwork, but I can't help but feel that this initial chapter was a bit lacking, and the story will work much better as a whole.
The premise of this book is that Hal Jordan, the DCU's most infantile hero is annoyed that Martian Manhunter and Batman are dead, and the current JLA aren't doing anything about this. He is seemingly unaware that a pro-active JLA has happened about 15 times in the last decade, although in his defence, he was dead at the time. I am famous for not liking the Hal Jordan character, he is bone-headed, ignorant and a luddite, but I will concede that he has some legitimate gripes here, but why does it have to come at the expense of making Superman look like a pussy? I did like how Robinson immediately undercuts Hal and Green Arrow's grand gesture by them realising they are stuck in space and should have used the teleporter, it was a good move, and also allowed for a strong character scene between Hal and Ollie, I hope that Green Arrow will be a bit of a calming voice for Hal here, stop him being too much of a dick.
We are then introduced to a few of the characters who will be joining this particular incarnation of the Justice League. First up, Ray Palmer, who is kind of sort of the Atom. We see him teaming up with Ryan Choi, the new Atom, to take down Killer Moth, this was a good scene, good to show respect between Legacies, but I did feel it was a bit indulgent, Robinson loves his flowery, experimental captions, and he has them here. The lovefest was a bit too Meltzer as well. But I liked the edge Ray showed here, he's normally a bit characterless, but here... he's dangerous.
Then it's Mikaal Tomas, aka Starman, but not the Starman, as he's quick to remind us. I must admit I liked this scene a lot more than I probably should have objectively, it was fairly generic, but damn, was it good to see Opal City again, and have James Robinson back with a Starman, Jack gets a mention, as does Bobo Benetti. Yes it's Fan-service, but it works.
The next character is, uh, Congorilla. He's a man trapped in the body of a giant Golden Gorilla. How is that not awesome? I love that concept. Robinson indulges himself again with some flowery narration, but it's really not necessary, Cascioli draws a damn good monkey. This character is such a bizarre choice for a member of the JLA, I mean Marvel has Gorilla Man, but he's only on Agents Of Atlas, not the Avengers! I can't wait to see what Robinson does with him. It's a shame B'Wana Beast (sorry, Freedom Beast) is dead though, he has an awesome helmet.
We don't actually see these characters join the team, but they are linked by a common theme, a literal cry for Justice (it's like the title see?), this may seem a bit on the nose, but it works.
Overall, this was a good opening issue, but there didn't seem to be enough, we are only introduced to 5 of our characters, and from the covers, there appear to be a few other members (Batwoman, Captain Marvel and Supergirl) and we have no real idea of what this team are actually going to do, there are hints at Prometheus, but that's it. I think we could have done with a double-sized opener which introduces everyone and gives us a better idea of where things are going. But on the whole this was an good start, and the kind of JLA book we should expect, and should dovetail nicely when James Robinson takes over the main series with Mark Bagley.
Plus, there's more than just story! We get a text piece from James Robinson (the man loves to talk) and also an origin of Congorilla by Len Wein and Ardian Syaf, all of which is a nice supplemental, and makes this a good package.
Art - Mauro Cascioli is amazing, amazing. I'm normally not a fan of painted comics, particularly Alex Ross, but Cascioli is something else, he's a talented penciler, as we see in the supplemental materials, but his paints add something else, it adds energy, rather than taking it away like most. This is some of the best art I've seen in a DC book for a while, up there with Frank Quitely, yet completely different. I also liked how at times he brought a more exagerrated european style to the book, like with the Funeral Attendant's long face. Plus, he draws an awesome Gorilla. Can't wait to see the rest of this book, it's going to be beautiful, that's for sure.
Best Line - 'I WANT JUSTICE!', yeah, Ray's line was good, but Doombug already said it, and this came from a fucking gorilla.
Last edited by Punchy
on Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.