Thursday, December 18, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Yellow journalism at its finest."

Review Group Justice League: Cry for Justice #1

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, July 07 2009 and posted in Reviews
doombug had the pick for new comics shipping June 29th and he selected Justice League: Cry for Justice by James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli.

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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

Cry for Justice was a fitting title for the Review Group this week.  If you weren't one of the ones crying, you were crying about the crying or you were crying about the crying about the crying.  We did have some new faces this week however which is always welcome.  If you haven't posted a review with the Group up to this point, maybe next week's pick will provide you with ample motivation.  Check the bottom of this page for details on what we'll be reading this Wednesday.
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Review by Mr_Batman

This issue was basically an intro to some of the characters and what they're doing currently. It's simply a hunch, but I'm guessing they're seeking justice. Hal proves he can stand up to the entire JLA. (Kudos to James Robinson or Cascioli for having Plastic Man in there) Then he and Ollie leave. Then comes appearances by Ray Palmer, Mikaal, and Congorilla, who I'm starting to like. I don't know why, I just think he seems cool. I loved that last page. And then Robinson has some write ups and talks about stuff. He basically confirms Ray's going to be in the JLA when he starts writing it because he said he'd still be writing him during JLA. So that's cool. As for the art, I actually enjoyed it. I didn't think I would. His best parts were when he did the full body shots of the characters IMO. It gave him a chance to shine. Overall, a pretty solid issue. I liked it, but wanted more. We'll see

Story- 7
Art- 8
Overall- 8 (For Ray)
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Review by Zechs

I picked this up on a whim. Thank goodness I didn't waste $4 on this or I would seriously think I was robbed by DC. Talk about a cluster fuck of a book. Honestly, ooooh this is DC with its heroes going grim and dark. Like we didn't see this already with Batman and the Outsiders, JLElite, and the Winnick Outsiders. Though this time Hal means it by going all JUSTICE on super villains.

However the thing that bugs me the most is Hal's argument. It's the same frigging argument he had when he became Parallax in the first place. And what he says is a total slap in the face to the current JLA. I'm just surprised nobody said what needed to be said after Hal's whole big speech.

You know if Bruce where here he’d be all, "I heard this BS before Hal. The last time you wiped out the GLC." Yeah I know it's Bat-Dickery but now I can see WHY Batman had all those fucking plans to fuck up his friends because gee whiz we’re at the scenario with them taking a more pro active stance and doing things he would never approve of. As for Ollie's "Oh boy." God that was utterly pathetic and really another person who should be all, "Um Hal tone down the um Parallax-like thoughts. I really don't want to shoot another arrow into your chest." But nope that's forgotten.

The second thing I hated of this issue was Ray Palmer's use in it. Ray Palmer isn't Jack Bauer. Ray Palmer can never be Jack Bauer. Other than one tiny panel of him complimenting the Choi Atom. That's about all I enjoyed of the exchange. The moment he pulled a move straight out of Jean Loring's playbook (going inside Moth's head for a poke) just filled me with bile. As if that wasn't tacky enough we get two more added tacky moments of "JUSTICE!"

About the only positive is Prometheus is up to something, said exchange above with the two Atoms, and Killer Moth in his old costume. Though quite honestly if there is an ultra lame beat up on Prometheus this time I give up with the character. I'm already annoyed of the retcon with him in the one shot that was released earlier this year. I just got a feeling that it'll be wasted. I really pity anyone who bought this because it really was a waste of some good talent. I can see why this series is not a mini and not an ongoing. It's truly awful.

Story- 1 (just for the moment between Rays)
Art- 8
Overall- 3
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Review by starlord

If you look at what has been happening with the League since before Final Crisis I think you'll realize that a change was needed. Not that McDuffie hasn't done a good job for all the restrictions that he was given, but compared to this first issue, it shows just how pointless and wandering the League has become.

Hal is THE Green Lantern, and Robinson proved that in the first three pages of the book. Loved the interaction between the two Atoms, but my favorite scene had to be with the little known Starman.

Still, this book wasn't great by any means. I'm a big fan of Robinson so I was a bit disappointed that he felt he needed to throw the word "Justice" at us after the introduction of every character... yeah, we get it.

The art was phenomenal! I love this style and it really works. Especially the shot of Hal and Ollie standing side by side as they leave the League. I'd love a framed copy of that for my man-cave!

This was an introduction issue, I realize, and I think it has huge potential; the art is nearly perfect, and the simple story has a Marvel feel that I'm ready to see DC play with, but at the same time, I don't need to be written down to, either.

Story: 6
Art: 9
My Score: 7.25
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Review by doombug

So whenever you usually hear James Robinson's name his brilliant work on Starman comes to mind and honestly after reading up to almost 40, I'd definitely say the man get's a lot of credit. Everyone was excited for this when it was first announced and I was looking heavily forward to the ongoing.

Here James sets up the characters and relays the theme of justice throughout. I thought the strongest moments came from the meeting of the Ray's, Mikaal and Congorilla. Obviously the team itself won’t start forming until next issue and this was mostly set up. But James had everyone's voices correct to a great level referencing small little tidbits like Neal Adams classic GL/GA road trip stories and Starman.

We even get a 2 page back up from one of comic books legends, Len Wein. The art was surprisingly spectacular and I truly wish he could keep up a monthly schedule.

Then there was the back matter...so good to see actual back matter back in a dc comic book. James definitely enjoys talking and giving his readers some great behind the scenes material.

All in all this was a great read and felt just as strong as Justice and Brad's reboot of the league.

Story: 9
Art: 10
Overall grade: 9.5

Line of the book: "He's a hero, I'm Ray Palmer. Welcome to PAIN."
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Review by MrBlack

Despite being a setup issue, this was a really fantastic comic. While the idea of a proactive League has been done before, the setup in this case is much more personal. Each of the team members has suffered a major loss, and they're out seeking justice, rather than vengeance. I love the fact that Robinson played up Hal's roll as a Green Lantern rather than just a superhero. As Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi has emphasized in the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comics, the Lanterns are a police force, and it makes sense for Hal to step up and take more initiative with the League. I also love the fact that Ollie is willing to back up his friend, even though he doesn't necessarily agree with him. I look forward to Ollie, the old liberal, being the conscious of the team.

The moments between Ray and Ryan were quite nice, and I'm glad to see Ryan get some support from his mentor. The All-New Atom series under Gail Simone was excellent, and I don't want to see Ryan Choi shuffled off into the background, only to end up as cannon fodder in a summer crossover five years from now.

I too thought that the strongest character moments involved Mikaal and Bill. Mikaal's kept a low profile since Robinson ended his Starman series, and I'm glad to see him finally stepping back into the superhero role. Bill is an interesting character, and I can see shades of Alan Moore's "Twilight of the Superheroes" in the quandary that Bill finds himself in. I'm very interested in seeing where Robinson takes these two characters.

The text piece in the back of the issue was great fun. I always find it fascinating to peek behind the curtain, as it were, and see what the writer was thinking about as he wrote the story. I am also very eager to see some of the guest stars that will be showing up during this series. Robinson always does well by Jay Garrick, and the thought of him writing the Shade again fills me with glee!

The art was stellar. Not much more to say than that. As we can see from the text piece, Cascioli's pencils are very detailed, and, unlike some other painters in the industry, his colors are crisp and vibrant. Really excellent stuff.

Overall, I thought this was a great issue. Sure, it's all setup, but it was done so well that I can't help but think that this may go down as one of the all-time classic Justice League stories even going by the first issue. I'm dying to read issue #2, and you can't ask for more than that from a comic.

Story: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10
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Review by Punchy

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 defense, 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 realizing 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 a 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 exaggerated 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.

8/10
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Review by 48THRiLLS

I am very unfamiliar with these characters so this comic had a disadvantage from page one. It did start off quite well but once the Green Lantern and Green Arrow bail it all gets fuzzy with me. There were a bunch of moments that were probably meant to be powerful but were lost upon me. The overuse of the word JUSTICE! was just silly... this was definitely for DC readers as it should be, I had a hard time caring about any of these characters It would have been much more interesting if it had the big 3 as the spotlight characters, that is who I think of when I think of the Justice League. I did however like the art, very beautiful to look at. One of the things I like about the group is reading books that are foreign to me and I base a lot on how easy a book is to read and enjoy with little or no prior knowledge... that is where this book fails, I have said it once and will say it again... I should not have to wiki a book to enjoy it.

STORY - 3
ART - 9
OVERALL - 4
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Review by thefourthman

The Justice League has been through some rough times lately, what with final crises, charter member’s deaths and some guy named McDuffie. Fortunately, James Robinson is here to save the day, whipping up on his type writer like he had a big “S” on his t-shirt.

The book starts out with Hal giving the Justice League a speech about Justice. He never quite spells out what his particular concept of Justice is all about, but the reader can see the he is clearly looking at law, righteousness and fairness.

He, as others, are disturbed by the state of the DC Universe after the events of Final Crisis. More than any other story sitting on your local comic shop’s shelves right now, this one actually feels like Final Crisis not only happened, but mattered. Sure Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman’s stories are happening in a darker world, but those tales could have happened with out the events of Morrison’s channel surfing epic. This book embraces Libra’s mysterious mechanics and the tone has been set for a world that is surviving after Evil won.

At its core, this issue is all set up. The reader is given four expert portrayals of characters that cut a wide swath across the DCU. Robinson takes characters as big as Hal and Ray alongside characters as obscure as Congo Bill and Mikaal and shows how they react to the deaths of people that matter to them. The reader gets to crawl in their heads for a moment and then see them quite literally “Cry for Justice.” It’s just a little much. The saccharineness of the conceit may be meant to lighten the tone, but it comes off all a bit Creative Writing 101-ish.

It would be great to report that this is the single flaw of the book. To an extent it is. Often Robinson gets too clever for his own good and this is no clearer then during the Atom sequence of the book. Having two little blue and red guys is confusing enough, but the inner monologue gets muddled when he tries to give it a call and response feel. Between trying to capture the panache of Simone’s characterization of Choi and the clumsy handling of a common comic book trope (even Superman/Batman has employed the back and forth narration more effectively making it all the sadder that the scribe behind Starman Secret Files #1 misses it so badly here), it gets confusing.

The two slight missteps are forgiven as Robinson pretty much knocks the rest out of the park. He reestablishes the comradery of O’Neil’s green buddies. Ray Palmer becomes a fierce beast. The crazy blue alien Starman makes an interesting debut and then just to make the hardcore fanboys forget themselves and squeal for joy, he throws in Congo Bill. The stories are compelling and as half the proposed team for the book, the readers should be given a delightful romp through comic book nirvana.

Cascioli provides his incredible painted art. The character designs are iconic, his action crisp, and the storytelling and emotional resonance is superb.

The artist’s only misstep comes during Robinson’s biggest area of weakness. When he first bursts onto the pages of this comic, Ray is tiny and in costume, but when he grows back to normal size, he is in street clothes. Ryan is in costume at both molecular aspects. It is easy to assume that this was to make the two characters easily distinguishable, however there is no explanation for it. Surely, the internet’s wrath will fall upon me for not knowing the history of the Atom and knowing that issue 324 of Amazingly Tiny Guy’s Adventures showed that he does this, but there needs to be an acknowledgment on the page. Otherwise, the reader, like myself is ripped out of the book, hurting his suspension of disbelief. Given the less then clear script at this point, it only further exacerbates a problem.

Making it all up though is the back matter. Robinson provides an essay showing not only his vast knowledge of comic history, but also his intense love for it. When I read his reflections on the medium, I always wonder what it would be like if he had become a historian instead of a mere comic writer. His passion bursts in his prose in a way that only The Golden Age (hey DC, Absolute this already) and, of course, Starman have done in his comic scripting. As an added bonus we get Wein and Syaf on the “Origin of Congorilla”, a competent way to catch newbies up to speed.

An interesting start to a Justice League story has been long overdue. Here’s to hoping the spark of the writer ignites this story like his best work - his essay certainly shows the necessary enthusiasm.

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Anyhow as far as scoring goes, the story gets a 7 - because the Cry for Justice crap is way heavy handed and the Atom sense is muddled as hell.

The art gets a 9, it would get a 10, but that muddled Atom scene seeps into the art and the artist should have told Robinson to figure some way around it - why the hell does Ray grow big into street clothes?

Overall 8

JLA worth reading again. Thanks Robinson.
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Review by guitarsmashley

Where to begin when discussing Cry for Justice, I'll go with Hal. I'm not a Hal fan, I read through Rebirth and the first 8 or so issues of the GL title it's currently on. Maybe my limited experience is where I just don't get Hal, but he's never seemed to me that he's the kick ass take no prisoners guy he was set up to be in the first 4-6 pages. In fact it felt forced lets start a comic with this guy and he's being pushy and he doesn't care what people are saying what Batman is dead? Ok let's make him Hal Jordan. Really I feel like Robinson put the wrong second word on his script really it should have been Arrow not Lantern giving this diatribe instead. On a side note if I say something before the character says it, it's really not that great a writing job. It would have been nice for Ollie not to say "Oh boy" and be almost his entire dialogue but because this is something he actually agrees with and Hal is let’s face it a buffoon goes with him. Thus ends the appearance of the more "interesting" characters of the book.

I turn the page and I see an Atom, I think it's probably Ray Palmer. I was glad to see Ryan who I liked during Remender’s couple of issues but the first couple panels of Ryan and Ray were a bit confusing. Now we get to the moment all us Starman nerds are waiting for, Mikaal Thomas. It was lame. Thanks for nothing James. And then we see the same set up over and over again. No villains no team-ups, no plot. There is a little set up but right now our heroes are interested in one thing completely separate from each other, JUSTICE and you just know they'll find each other at the end of next issue so they can take down this justice fellow.

Ah the art, I didn't know comics were being colored with crayons these days.

3
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Review by young neil

James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli’s first issue of Justice League: Cry for Justice was released this week. Initial interviews with Robinson stated bluntly that this series will be about “justice and seeking justice, rather than responding to emergencies, letting the problems come to them and being almost entirely reactive.” In this first issue we see Hal Jordan putting Superman in his place and stepping up to be the law enforcement officer he id supposed to be. Although in this first issue I just found myself getting sick of the word ‘justice’.

In the second part of this issue we see Ray Palmer and the new atom in for lack of a better term, a bar fight, with a D-list Batman villain. We see Robinson attempt to do a back-and-forth inner dialogue the likes we’ve seen in Superman and Batman. It didn’t quite hit home and was just a tad annoying to read the same text from both characters. And to be honest I’ve never read anything involving the new atom and after his unmemorable portrayal here, I could care less if he’s around in five years.

Next the readers are introduced to Mikaal Thomas, from Robinson’s Starman series. And although this had the same feel as the rest of this poorly narrated book, you felt like this scene was a bit easier for Robinson to write, it flowed a lot better than the rest of the scenes. And finally; Congo Bill/ Congorilla, I have no idea who this character is, and I have a hard time imagining that a man in a gorilla’s body is going to be able to keep up with the strength of a Green Lantern. It made it even more obvious that Robinson knew that no one knew who this character was, when they threw in a last minute origin at the end of the issue. As for the back matter I really liked it, not only did we get to see some of the unfinished pencil’s for the book but we get to hear Robinson’s take on this book and what’s going to be coming from it.

I understand that in a first issue there has to be a certain amount of set-up, but this is only a 7 issue mini and after the first issue we’ve only seen five members of a team that hasn’t even formed yet. The price tag with this mini seemed a bit steep too. Sure the back-matter was great but it was only what, a 22 page comic.

I’m new to James Robinson, but from what I’ve read so far of Starman, and also to a lesser extent his work on Superman, he is a phenomenal writer. But I can’t help feel some of his grandeur is behind him with his “Justice” one-liners just getting lazier as the issue progressed. In fact a lot of the dialogue felt off from the aforementioned Atom scene to Green Arrow being stuck on an “oh boy” loop. It really felt like he knew that fans were going to love this team because of the characters and just phoned-in the rest.

The premise of the story itself is interesting enough, Green Lantern feels that the Justice League doesn’t actually do anything except wait around get attacked all the time. He wants them to actually go out and stop the villains instead of just reacting to attacks like they are currently. And when Superman doesn’t listen he takes Ollie and leaves the tower. I always love Green Arrow and Green Lantern together and this was no exception, it’s great to see a character that has the other’s back no matter what.
Mauro Cascioli is an outstanding artist and this is my first encounter. His attention to detail and his Iconic designs of the characters were engrossing. I found myself drawn to the art; I have a monumental flaw of breezing through a comic in five minutes and not appreciating the art, not the case in this issue. The flashback panels of the deaths of Batman and the Martian Manhunter were notably some of the best work I’ve seen recently. The red over-tones separated these panels from the rest of the page and spoke volumes for the emotional depth they were trying to convey. We don’t see much on the scale of what Cascioli is capable of as this first issue is a lot of basic talking scenes, and is lacking in any sort of action. I’m interested to see what else this fantastic artist is capable of.

Despite my many criticisms of this fist issue, this book has major potential and is light years ahead of what McDuffie has been producing in his recent tenure on the book. I really felt this could have just been the start of Robinson’s run on JLA rather than just a mini, but as it stands DC has managed to make me pick up another title of theirs for the time being at least. It’s unfortunate this book didn’t live up to my expectations, but thanks to the hype and the high standard I hold Robinson’s writing I don’t think it could have. Justice League: Cry for Justice, is an average step in the right direction, but it might be enough to make me care about the justice league again.

Art 8.5
Story 6
Overall - 7.25
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Review by Chubbles

I'll jump on the "this issue sucked" bandwagon. The writing felt so clichéd and just run of the mill which made it boring. This should have been one of those issues given out on FCBD as basically this entire issue was set-up and nothing meaningful happened. The first 8 or so pages have been in solicits for it feels like months now so I had already read half the book it felt like before opening the damn thing. I have no attachment to any of the characters so any hidden stuff for DC fans went over my head and did nothing for me. This is a one and done for me on this series as I care less about the book than I did before picking it up and reading. The art however was very nice and gave the book a unique feel at the very least. I’d like to see different styles and this was very unique at least as far as compared to anything I buy regularly.

Story 2
Art 8
Overall 5
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Review by amlah6

I wasn't really expecting much from this but much to my surprise I actually enjoyed it. Sure it's 100% setup with probably even more setup to follow but as a collection of character pieces I was rather intrigued. Of course Hal was being the douche that Hal is, but wanting him to make a Justice League that is more like the Avengers totally makes sense seeing as the Avengers have always been superior to the Justice League. Even with my Hal dislike I really enjoyed his interactions with Ollie. I haven't read any of those old comics where they team-up together but this book made me want to. That's always been one of James Robinson's biggest strengths, his comics make me want to read old DC comics and I can't think of any other writer that has that effect on me. Also, it was awesome to see Mikaal again.

I had thought from the previews that were released that this was going to be on a Utopia level of fugliness, but Cascioli's art works much better on the printed page... well for the second half of the book it does anyway. His coloring in the Satellite portion of the book was god awful. I'm sure it was intentional, but the costumes being that brightly colored was more of a distraction than anything. Hopefully going forward he will stick with the darker pallets he used in the rest of the book.

Story: 8.5
Art: 7.5
Overall: 8
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Review by King Impulse

Hal Jordan sucks.

There, it's out of my system, on to the review.

JL:CFJ is an odd book. Every flaw that everyone has commented on exists, and I can see them. Hal sounds very petulant at the start. The dueling narration of the Atoms is confusing. The random shouting of 'JUSTICE!' is plain awful. Objectively, this is a bad comic, I am aware of this, but damn if this isn't my very own Rulk. I did enjoy this a lot.

Hal Jordan is a damn sight more bearable when Ollie's around. I love that as soon as they were out of the earshot of the other Leaguers, Ollie's first reaction was to go "Err... Why didn't we use the teleporters dumbass?" It was a very genuine moment between two friends and the first time in ages Hal Jordan has felt like an actual person. Next up, The Atoms. I fucking love, love LOVE Ryan Choi. All-New Atom was one of the most F-U-N comics of this decade until Remender raped the life out of it in a short amount of time and it was great to see that Ray is not only fine with Ryan being the Atom, but he's damn proud of him. I was a bit perturbed by Ray's new methods, but the dude's been through a lot, it's not a stretch to see him being a little more hardcore. Also, Killer Moth rules!

Next on the roll call, Mikaal Thomas. I've just started a big reread of Starman, mainly due to this issue, so I'm reacquainting myself with Mikaal, I'd argue that he seemed slightly out of character but when it's James Robinson writing, the guy who gave Mikaal his character, it's hard to argue. Lastly, Congorilla, or as Robinson points out in the back-matter, just Bill. It's a bit of a hackneyed plot device for any jungle based character (Catman had this recently, and I'm sure something similar has happened to Ka-Zar) but it does its job I guess. I'm not happy with the death of Freedom Beast because it served no purpose, the sole reason for his death was to motivate another character, and Robinson effectively shoved him into the metaphorical fridge.

This wasn't really a story, more a series of vignettes. The story is forming, but it's not there yet, I would have like to see at least some link between the characters' crys for Justice, like maybe it was Prometheus who attacked S.T.A.R labs resulting in Mikaal's boyfriend's death, etc. My main grievance is the character I'm buying this for hasn't shown up yet, and according to solicits, Freddy Freeman won't be showing up until #3. It's a personal annoyance though and doesn't affect the quality of the book or my review of it.

Now... Mauro Cascioli... The guy's good. Damn good. My favourite sequence is probably the Atoms sequence, he has a great sense of kinetic movement that other painted artists (Alex Ross, Dell'Otto) sometimes lack, and look at the colour in it. The Atoms' costumes! The blood! Killer Moth! It's all beautifully done. He also does one of the best apes since Art Adams and

Overall this was a flawed, flawed comic, but one that rewards DC nuts like myself, so much so that I can look past those faults and enjoy it anyway, which I did. Oodles.

Story - 8
Art - 9
Overall - 8

Best line: "You are all I thought you'd be and everything I hoped for"
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Review by PDH

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 pedophile explode if his heart rate 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 characterize 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 exacerbates the impression that you're reading a picture book 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: 6
Art: 9
Story and art together: 5
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That gives Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 a group score of 6.71. I blame the low score on Hal Jordan. 

For further discussion about this issue and other assorted whining, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25552) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.
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Chubbles has the pick for July 8th and he has selected Wednesday Comics #1 from DC Comics.  Look for the new newspaper sized thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun. 

Wednesday Comics #1

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today!

WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28" x 20" tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14" x 20" page.

Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK and WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including:

• BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS' weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso
• ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100)
• METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with Art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman)
• THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with Art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze
• DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, Art by Dave Bullock
• KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with Art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)
• SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with Art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER)
• WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives)
• GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with Art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!)
• TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with Art by Sean Galloway
• SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with Art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL)
• HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces)
• SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), illustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert
• THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl
• METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with Art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL)

WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7" x 10", with the first issue set to reach stores on July 8.

DC Universe | 16pg. | Color | $3.99 US

 


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