Thursday, December 13, 2012

Justice League #4


Geoff Johns Writer
Jim Lee Penciller
Scott Williams Inker
Alex Sinclair with Gabe Eltaeb Colorists
Patrick Brosseau Letterer
Darren Shan Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Editor

This is a very well-done cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair, and it is a rather iconic image — Aquaman standing triumphant over a defeated Green Lantern and Batman, and if you look closely, you can see Superman and Wonder Woman in the water. However, I have one major problem with this cover — it doesn't happen in the story! The goal here obviously was to get people to say, "Holy cow, Aquaman beat the Justice League?! How did this happen?" But Aquaman never really fights the Justice League as we'll see in a few moments. I hate when covers do that. And what happened to the Flash? Did he run away before Aquaman kicked everybody's butts?

The good news is I actually like this black-and-white cover. For once, Jim Lee didn't put in way too many details that confuse me and pull me away from the main action. This issue, like the other in Justice League, also had several other versions of this same cover, only with slightly different coloring. I never post those because I think that's being too redundant (maybe even showing the black-and-white is redundant), but I mention this here because one of these alternate colorings had them all completely underwater, which I thought was kind of a cool idea (minus the fact that nothing like it at all happened in the book).

The variant cover was done by Andy Kubert and Alex Sinclair. Kubert has a style very similar to Jim Lee's, which is also enhanced by having the same colorist. I really like this cover, but I have to say: Five there are, yet six there were. Tell me, where is the Flash, for I would very much like to see him on a cover of Justice League.

Our story starts in Detroit, where young Victor Stone wakes up and begins to realize that he has been turned into a robot. He is quite upset with this and runs away from his dad.

Back in Metropolis, our heroes are introduced to Aquaman. Batman knows who he is, but Green Lantern thought he was just a sketch on Conan O'Brien, and Flash reminds him to be polite. Aquaman tells them he'd been fighting the aliens in the water, and says, "You've obviously gathered together to fight them." Flash says, "I guess we ... kinda did?" Noting there's no leader among them, Aquaman takes charge, suggesting they assault the tower where the aliens are taking all the people to. Seeing Green Lantern is bright and shiny, Aquaman tells him to lure the aliens away. Green Lantern doesn't like being bossed around like this, and starts to argue and complain. Flash tries to calm him down by saying, "Set the attitude aside, Lantern. It's the end of the world." But that doesn't work, and Green Lantern demands of Aquaman, "What can you do that we can't?" Right on cue, a bunch of aliens swoop in on them from over the water and Aquaman summons a group of great white sharks to eat them. While the heroes begin to fight more aliens, they're also attacked by military helicopters with strict orders to engage with "any non-humans, demons, super-people, whatever."

Meanwhile, Victor gets into a fight with an alien and inadvertently hacks into its system and learns that these parademons are following Darkseid's orders to go from planet to planet and gather up the inhabitants to turn them into more parademons. Victor wonders where the sounds in his head are coming from and he accidentally opens up a boom tube he falls through.

Back to the fight, Superman tells Flash they need to take down the helicopters. Flash says they're U.S. soldiers only doing their job, but Superman says, "You seem like someone who wants to do the right thing, but the same can't always be said for everyone in positions of authority." So Flash reluctantly joins Superman by creating a tidal wave and running up it to reach the choppers. (I decided I can't have a post without a picture of the Flash, so I threw this one in.)

Victor then falls out of a boom tube and tells the heroes, "He's coming ... right here ..." Batman asks who, but before Victor can answer, a very large boom tube opens and out comes a very large alien, who creates some kind of shockwave that knocks out all the heroes. In case you didn't already know who he was, he introduces himself:

The backup story is some employee files on the doctors we met at S.T.A.R. labs. And to fill up the last few pages (as in other Justice League issues), there is concept art for main characters' new costumes. Today we have the Flash, drawn by Francis Manapul, based on designs by Jim Lee. There really wasn't a whole lot of information here, just basic things, like his boots are thick rubber, like sneakers, his belt and forearms are V-shaped lightning, his earpieces are curved metal objects and his chest emblem is slightly raised off his costume. The most interesting tidbit from this was an explanation of the seams in his suit, which are normally thin black lines, but glow with electricity when he runs at super speed.

The Good:

The art. Once again, and always with Jim Lee, I recommend picking up this issue if for nothing else, just to look at the pictures. This story was all about Aquaman, and the most joked-about superhero actually came across as pretty cool here. But the best part definitely was the arrival of Darkseid. As a Flash story, there is very little reason to pick up this book. Yes, his conversation with Superman was interesting, but very brief, and the only cool thing Flash did here was to run up a wave of water, which really wasn't that amazing. So, just like the other issues of Justice League, I'll leave this with a slightly above average score.

Final score: 6

Next time: Justice League Part Five

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