Feel like doing a review for a change.
Justice League: Justice, Crying, More Justice. JUSTICE!
There's so much justice in this book, you just can't move for the justice. Everywhere you look there's justice. Justice, justice, justice. If justice was an action film, this book would be a twelve hour masterpiece where every character is a clone of Jason Statham fitted with a device that makes a paedophile explode if his heartrate drops below a million BPM. And the only line of dialogue in the entire film would be the word, 'justice' repeated over and over.
But what is justice, anyway? It's never really explained, which is odd given how riddled with justice this book is. Seems like it might be one of those things that varies from person to person and hence not the sort of thing that a self-appointed group of vigilantes with more power than Jesus should be imposing on the rest of the world. In any case, apparently Superman's not got enough of it for the two guys with green in their names, so they go off to find some more, the horny little sluts. Not content with just waiting around with their legs open for justice to come thrusting in, Arrow and Lantern have decided to actively seek it out wherever it is like some kind of viagra-soaked Columbos. I don't know where Justice goes when it's not in a league. Justice Land, probably. I expect that's where they're headed and, oh boy, will there be some justice when they get there. In a few issues time. After the rest of the cast have had a chance to say 'justice.'
The cast, then. It sounds great on paper. There's a gorilla guy, for instance. The problems arise when writer James Robinson attempts to characterise them. He takes the Good, the Bad and the Ugly approach of giving each a scene to show them off but the scenes are simply not up to the task. For example, the Atom is introduced in some kind of bar room brawl alongside another Atom guy, one of which will presumably be a member of the team in a few months time. But what does this tell us about the Atom? He, like every other superhero in the history of the medium, has at some point beaten up some thugs in a bar. Not a huge revelation, is it? Robinson tells us plenty about the Atom, not just with his over-worked caption boxes that could have been cut and pasted from an early Vertigo book but also at some length in the back matter of the comic, too. The back matter was good. I liked that. The action of the story, on the other hand, really should be able to speak for itself but was here reduced to holding up its hand and asking old Mr Robinson if it could go to the bathroom only to be ignored and develop crippling kidney problems in later life. And the narrative was buried beneath so many caption boxes that even if it were not feeble, uninspired and trite, few readers would attempt to dig their way down to find the fabled the comic book underneath without first taking a canary with them as an early warning sign for the inevitable death by sheer, asphyxiating 'meh.'
This book set itself two tasks: to introduce the concept and then do the same for the cast. The first is not nearly as interesting as the writer - who unwisely assumes that we will instinctively know what he's going on about - seems to believe and the second could have been handled worse only if the artist had meticulously etched a biography and list of appearances onto each of their foreheads. I can't really judge it as a success in either of those respects.
The art is gorgeous, however, and a good fit for a story about people who might meet each other one day. You need something nice to look at out of the corner of your eye while you're reading endless purple prattle about a gorilla's internal musings on hypothetical concepts, after all. But in some ways the quality of the artwork just exarcerbates the impression that you're reading a picturebook designed to persuade children to buy a new chocolate bar called, 'Justice.' This is not a story told with pictures, it's a story and some pictures forcibly crammed naked into a cell with bags over their heads and commanded to make bitter love while a woman laughs at their genitals. Good, if you like that sort of thing.
Story and art together: 5