Friday, July 3, 2009

Review: Cry For Justice #1

After over a year of waiting, Justice League:Cry For Justice #1 came out this week. Written by James Robinson and lusciously painted by Mauro Cascioli, it served as a fine opening chapter to the series ... looking in on the characters we know will eventually form Hal's league and identifying their motivations.

It is clear that almost all these characters have suffered a recent loss at the hands of evil doers and therefore desire harsh justice. Given what we see here, my guess is that Zor-El's death by Reactron is the impetus for Kara to sign up.

Much of the opening part of the issue has been seen in previews but the art is so good I couldn't help reposting.


The issue starts with Hal lamenting the fact that Bruce and J'Onn have been killed and the villains seemingly get off scot free.


His diatribe is in stark contrast to Superman who toes the party line that the heroes need to 'do the right thing' and 'stay together for the good.'

It is a tense moment on the satellite. Superman is clearly the role model here, the hero everyone strives to be more like. He lays down his beliefs and seems befuddled at Hal's rage. After all, isn't doing the right thing what heroes do?

The moment is all the more tense given Hal's silence afterwards. It is clear that isn't what Hal thinks they should do.

I don't know how often Supergirl hangs out on the JLA satellite, so her being there seems to be a simple way for her to know Hal's plan. We know she won't join until the third issue.

Hal decides to not back down to Superman. He wonders where the justice is in Justice League. Super-heroes holding themselves up and pure and good isn't enough with today's caliber of super-villain. It didn't save Batman and it didn't save the Martian Manhunter.

It comes off a little Parallax-ian and that worries me a bit. We have seen this Hal before and it didn't end well. Hopefully that part of his history is explored in this series before it is over and not simply glossed over. It sounds like Green Lantern is looking down the slippery slope.


And perhaps my favorite scene where Hal says that many of the JLA-ers just kowtow to the 'big three', losing their own perspective in the process.

If Hal Jordan feels that way, how does Red Arrow feel?

I also think it is interesting that Diana is seemingly put on a pedestal when just a couple of years ago she snapped Maxwell Lord's neck on international television. If anyone should understand harsh justice it should be the Amazon princess.

In the end Hal declares himself as law in sector 2814 and leaves stating he will stop evil before it has the chance to blossom. Unexpectedly, Green Arrow decides to join him.

Hal is pretty blunt with the heroes present. He says that they want a league while he want justice.

So I really liked this scene. It seems natural that in a group as large as the JLA that there will be differences of opinion. But this wasn't an 'agree to disagree' conversation. Superman tells Hal he can't let him leave and Hal goads him to try to stop him. There is an undercurrent of anger here ... as if Hal blames himself a little for letting his friends die.

I hope that both leagues do end up interacting with each other again. I really hope that the difference in philosophy does not result in a cliched 'friend fighting friend' scene (like Civil War).

One thing I did like is this panel with Supergirl in it. Superman, the Red Tornado, and the Flash all have frowns on their faces. Supergirl expression is slightly different, her mouth almost a half-smile ... maybe she has some begrudging respect for Green Lantern.


This was another part of the book I liked with Ollie reminiscing about the classic GL/GA 'finding America' stories by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. There is a sense of history between the two and a strong sense of continuity.

In the end, I think Ollie remembers Parallax all too well. I don't think he is going along to help Green Lantern trash villains as much as to make sure that Hal doesn't descend into madness.


But Green Lantern and Green Arrow are just two of the heroes we know are starring in this book and crying out for justice.

The next scene involves both the Atoms - Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi. I have never been a huge fan of the Atom but this is an interesting scene. Both Atoms feel inferior to the other. Choi thinks that Ray is the once and future Atom, using the powers with aplomb. Palmer thinks Choi is simply better. DC is built on legacy heroes so it was a nifty scene to read how both sides of the name Atom view the other.

The two tear through Killer Moth and his gang. The Moth stole some technology and in the process killed Palmer's friend Mike Dalton. Palmer is livid about this. Knowing that Killer Moth is an underlying, he threatens to torture Moth to find out who the mastermind is.

When Killer Moth calls the Atom's bluff, Palmer climbs into Moths head and starts to grow. It is an ugly scene as shown above with a hero using unsavory techniques. But he gets the information he wanted ... Prometheus is behind the time pool tech robbery. Palmer justifies his means by pointing to the ends ... justice.
While the scene read like something from a 1970s horror comic, I think it lost some of its impact because I don't know who Mike Dalton is. Is he a close enough friend to the Atom to warrant such a response?
I also thought it odd that the Atom would resort to that method for obtaining info, especially given that his wife killed Sue Dibny by also shrinking and causing brain damage. Chilling ...

The Mikaal Tomas Starman is also a character in the book who we look in on.

Turns out his friend Tony was a nearby casualty in a supervillain raid to S.T.A.R. labs in Opal city.

Overcome with rage and craving justice, he simply explodes in the street destroying a nearby car. He demands justice.

Again, I know nothing of this Starman's backstory so I don't know the significance of the death of this man Tony. A little more exposition would have been greatly appreciated here.

And the same desire for justice burns in the heart of Congorilla.

He finds his tribe of apes slaughtered including what is implied to be his gorilla child. As he mourns, another friend Freedom Beast stumbles to him and subsequently dies.

Pushed to the limit and violently enraged, he screams for justice.

Okay, so all these heroes have suffered a loss and all desire justice. But their losses have clearly made them unhinged. Now how they all up fighting together is still a mystery.

So in the end there was tremendous art and a really great scene on the JLA satellite. Other repeating characters now have a simple backstory of tragedy leading to anger. There were some decent hooks here but this felt more like prologue to me, setting the stage for bigger doings.

One other good thing about the book was a short written piece by James Robinson in the back pages. It points out his ideas behind the book and why he chose the characters he did. He only mentions Supergirl but sounds like he wants the best for her character. He has written her well in Superman and World of New Krypton so I look forward to seeing her here. The back section also included the pencil sketches of some of the painted pages. Really wonderful stuff here.

So overall a decent set-up for the rest of the series. The fantastic art really helped prop this issue up.

Overall grade: B+/B

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since this is a mini, I doubt we will get any reference to Supergirl's earlier team up with GL in the pages of "The Brave and the Bold".
It'd be nice...but I doubt we will get it.

John Feer

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Tony was Mikaal's boyfriend. Not entirely sure, but I seem to remember it.

Anj said...

Since this is a mini, I doubt we will get any reference to Supergirl's earlier team up with GL in the pages of "The Brave and the Bold".
It'd be nice...but I doubt we will get it.


Thanks for the post.

I hope they do reference it too. Those were some funny scenes. And Waid wrote such a great Supergirl.

Anj said...

I'm pretty sure that Tony was Mikaal's boyfriend. Not entirely sure, but I seem to remember it.

Thanks for the post and info.

If that is true, I can understand Starman's angry response.

Marc (The Former Fortress Keeper) said...

I feel sorry for whoever owns the car that got blown up by Starman. Shouldn't he or she get some justice as well?

TalOs said...

Man I just truly loved the set up for this team in the making and can't wait to see Hal and Ollie recruit Supergirl come #3 but what I really wish was that Wonder Woman had left along with Hal and Ollie because given her past she'd fit right in to this all new splintered pro-strike League real nicely.

Oh, and I really hope Kara ends up actually KILLING Reactron in this! So I hope she goes all 'Wonder Woman' on him and snaps his neck real good!

Just sick of seeing the Supervillians being allowed to go wild and offing any Superhero as they say fit and the Superhero community just slaps 'em on the wrist where really they should be out there putting down these evil rabid dogs instead for the sake of all humanity! GO JL!!!

Anj said...

I feel sorry for whoever owns the car that got blown up by Starman. Shouldn't he or she get some justice as well?

Thanks for the post.

Yeah ... it's always the little people who suffer in these dramas.

Glad you are still kicking around the web. The Fortress will be missed.

Anj said...

Oh, and I really hope Kara ends up actually KILLING Reactron in this! So I hope she goes all 'Wonder Woman' on him and snaps his neck real good!

Thanks for the post.

I agree that it would make some sense for Diana to echo Hal's feelings.

But I don't want a murdering Supergirl. And think Reactron will remain an interesting arch-enemy for Supergirl.

TalOs said...

Fair enough. :) I think it's more an 'eye for an eye' myself.

Mart said...

Lovely review, hated the book! I want poor Kara kept away from it, they'll unbalance the poor girl again! http://dangermart.blogspot.com/2009/07/justice-league-cry-for-justice-1.html

Anj said...

Lovely review, hated the book! I want poor Kara kept away from it, they'll unbalance the poor girl again! http://dangermart.blogspot.com/2009/07/justice-league-cry-for-justice-1.html

Thanks for the post.

I understand your feelings. On rereading the issue you could replace the word 'justice' in the heroes dialogue with 'revenge' without any problems. I don't know if the heroes are going into this adventure in the right state of mind.

I'll post about this issue again some time this week.

Thanks again and great review on your part too!