Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: Cry For Justice #5


It was a very busy week for the Super-titles with four books coming out on Wednesday. World's Finest, Superman, Superman Secret Origin, and Justice League Cry For Justice all came out. It was a difficult choice deciding which title to review first. And while I feel that Superman Secret Origin was the best of the lot, Cry For Justice #5 had a couple of big moments which made me decide to review it first.

Of course, as a Supergirl fan, I have been interested in reading about her growing relationship with Captain Marvel. It has been a while since Kara had a legitimate love interest and Freddy seems like a natural fit. So when I saw the cover for this issue, I thought that their relationship would go from one of coy flirting to something more significant.

Unfortunately, this is the classic "tease cover" since this kiss does not happen within the book.

As has been the case throughout this miniseries, James Robinson's script has a few odd and off-putting moments in it. It is as though he feels that some moments that could be played in a quiet manner need to be exploded into something super-dramatic.

And, as has also been the case throughout, Mauro Cascioli's artwork is unbelievably spectacular. One thing that bothers me somewhat is that he seems to favor two body types: overly muscular men and very sexy women. Almost every man has 20 inch biceps. And while his artwork nears cheesecake at times, it is lovely to look at.



The issue opens with Congorilla and Starman visiting Animal Man's house. Congorilla had teamed with Buddy in the past when they were part of the Forgotten Heroes. Knowing that Prometheus is planning something so huge and realizing that his trail had gone cold, Bill turns to Animal Man to see if he and Starman can get some help.

As luck would have it, they arrive at the house on the same day that Starfire and Donna Troy are visiting and frolicking by the pool. I do like that Robinson is acknowledging the fact that Starfire and Buddy have a special relationship given the time they were alone together in space in 52.

The poolside scene seems like a convenient excuse to let Cascioli paint the two Titans in their bathing suits. That said, there was nothing overly sexual or prurient in their positioning or this scene. They look the way two beautiful women would look at the beach. I applaud Cascioli for this. I can only imagine how this scene would have looked if someone like Ed Benes did this book.

When Congorilla explains what he has uncovered, the decision is made to go straight to the JLA.


Hal and Ollie also realize that their group needs help with this Prometheus plot. So they decide to go to the JLA for help. The current JLA agree to helps this splinter group.

Supergirl is definitely painted quite lovely in this miniseries. But her dialogue is so wooden. Remember in an earlier issue she said "I'm not bad. I'm good." Here she gets to say the awful line "Yeah, plus he's gotten his hands on weaponry and science." Supergirl being in this book is the dreaded double-edged sword. I am glad that Supergirl is represented here as it exposes her to new readers. And from an action point of view, she actually has been shown to be quite strong. But that dialogue... yeesh.

Anyways, the actual JLA has also noted that something isn't quite right. They have noted that some super villains are acting strangely. They are attacking different cities and different heroes. The Justice League has wondered if there is an underlying pattern.


During this discussion, we finally get a Batwoman sighting. I had forgotten that she was supposed to be featured in this miniseries.

She joins the discussion saying that she stopped a super villain named Endless Winter in Gotham. Unfortunately, before this 'Killer Frost wannabe' could answer any questions, she was killed from afar with a Suicide Squad embedded brain bomb.

I guess that Batwoman telling Supergirl that she saw the Cry For Justice group in Gotham but was not seen gives her a little bit of street credibility. She is that good.



As reports of B-list superheroes fighting C-list super villains pour into the satellite, one catches everybody's attention.

The Guardian has stopped a villain named Plunder from setting up a device in Metropolis. As this whole plot involves super-technology, the JLA decides to bring the machine on board for further study.

The League's scientists decide that the machine is a massive teleporter that could dump a large area, even city sized, anywhere in time, space, or other dimensions. But it would require a massive amount of energy and computer power to work.

Hmmmm ....

Where do you think Prometheus will find that amount of energy and computer technology? Maybe on the JLA satellite? It seemed to me almost immediately that the Justice league are getting played here. They are bringing the big weapon to the only place it would work ... their own headquarters.

And as if to pick at a scab that was just healing, we get to see another headless Supergirl body shot.



While this huge conspiracy of super villains is being uncovered, Robinson decides to show us the more human side of being a superhero.

He shows that Black Canary is still hurt by the fact that Green Arrow left with Hal. She feels betrayed by him.

He retorts by telling her how productive his group was. His group actually caught a number of villains. Still, she seems stung by the whole incident, even more so when he reveals that he would not have come back if not for the Prometheus plot.

It does seem like an odd time to begin this discussion but I suppose that if Dinah is hurting that much, she would bring it up then.

Before the conversation can continue however, Animal Man arrives with Congorilla, Starman, Starfire, and Donna Troy. Almost immediately, Congorilla smells something he doesn't like it goes off. At the same time, Supergirl has gone off looking for Captain Marvel who has gone missing.

Unfortunately, while Supergirl noted Freddy's disappearance a few pages earlier, he is shown in the middle of a group shot right after animal Man arrives with his comrades. It is those small gaffes that bother me.




Supergirl and Congorilla meet up in the hallway and join together in their hunt.

There was really no reason to post to this panel other than to show how fantastic Cascioli's Supergirl is.



Unfortunately, before they find Captain Marvel or whoever Congorilla sensed, they come across Red Arrow whose arm has been ripped off!!!

Well I have to say that this was a big surprise. Grisly. Shocking. Almost unbelievable. And I suppose that is what Robinson was hoping for. It certainly grabbed my attention.

Of course after that initial shock, the continuity nerd in me took over. I am trying to figure out exactly where this miniseries takes place. It is after Final Crisis. It is obviously before Blackest Night as multiple people who have been killed there are present in this story. So now I'm trying to remember if I have seen Red Arrow with a robot arm or no arm in Blackest Night. I know... I know... I shouldn't be so hung up on things like that.

Still, it was a shocking moment ... a good moment in this book.



Congorilla makes sure that the two heroes stabilize Roy before tracking down whoever did this to him. Kara quickly cauterizes his arm with her heat vision.

Bill lets out a loud battle cry and that you take off. His scream alerts the rest of the League that something has happened. They go to investigate and come across Roy's body.



This is where one of those odd moments really took away from the issue.

When Ollie discovers the body, he is obviously distraught. He clutches the body and initially he states that he won't leave it. Dinah convinces him that they need to find the person responsible.

So that part I can understand. Roy has been like a son to Green Arrow. Of course, seeing him like this would stun anyone. I can understand why he would momentarily pause before taking action.
But would the rest of the heroes just stand there while Ollie dealt with his grief? Wouldn't they continue on to find whoever dismembered Red Arrow? And as if to hammer home the point, we actually see a shot of Starman, Starfire, Hal, and Donna standing there with their arms crossed. Wouldn't that group be fanning out looking for the villain? Even if that moment was only 5 seconds, isn't that 5 seconds too many?

These are veteran heroes who I think would realize that while Dinah and Ollie should stop, that they should move on.


The issue ends with a great cliffhanger.

It looks as though the villain is Captain Marvel! Or at least someone who is disguised as him.

I love this shot of the Supergirl about to engage with Freddy, Congorilla and The Flash battered behind them. Supergirl looks furious, eyes glowing. I love it! I can't believe it's actually Captain Marvel. So is it Prometheus? Or one of his agents... someone like Black Adam or maybe another shape shifter?

There is something almost nostalgic about this ending. Here was Supergirl's love interest who suddenly turns out to be the villain. As someone who has read a lot of Silver Age Supergirl stories, that was an ongoing theme. If she fell in love with someone he usually was some space criminal.

Too bad, I was actually looking forward to a Freddy/Kara relationship.

So we are nearing the end of this miniseries and the overall technology plot has been moved forward a bit here. There are some dramatic moments. There are some overly dramatic moments. Supergirl plays an important part in this issue. She also has some pretty lousy dialogue.

And, the artwork is just stunning. I can understand why DC would be willing to wait for Mauro Cascioli to complete the artwork here. The finished work is wonderful.

So I guess this is another up and down issue in an up-and-down miniseries. But I think this one was more up than down.

Overall grade: B

18 comments:

Nikki said...

Kara is also a suspect, she went off just before Roy got attacked and was only met by congorilla afterwards. The Flash and congorilla look charred and I far as I know freddy can't do that.

Mauricio said...

I wonder if it was Marvel... mostly because of the way the arm is cut off, thinking a bit realistic of course, if an arm is pulled oof by just strenght then is at the limbs where it'll come off, like the shoulders, or the elbow. Supergirl would probably use heat vision to cut it off so I know (and hope) it's not her. the wounds on the others look like claws while Marvel would either punch or throw them against walls.. it may be not Marvel, it was someone with blade weapons. I think..

But sine this issue does have several art-mistakes...

Jason said...

Is it just me or does the picture of Roy look like it's the blacked out profile on the Cry For Justice #7 solicit? Also, I thought Freddy was going by Shazam now, and not Captain Marvel.

Brainy Pirate said...

I'm with Nikki and Mauricio -- I can't figure out when Freddy would have left, found Roy, attacked him, returned to the main group (of the world's GREATEST HEROES) without being noticed by anyone, and then left again to attack Congorilla and Flash (where was he the entire issue?).

On the other hand, look again at that frame of Kara supposedly cauterizing Roy's arm -- it looks a lot more as though she attacked Bill than healed Roy. And wouldn't she have heard a fight between Roy and Freddy? (Or at least heard Roy yelling in pain.)

However, it's doubtful Roy would not have mentioned to Bill that she attacked him, so Kara's probably only a suspect due to bad artwork.

My money's on Hawkman. He vanished from the issue when Roy left the room, and he has motive. He may be the only plausible suspect, given what we're shown about which characters on in the main room on each page....

Anj said...

Kara is also a suspect, she went off just before Roy got attacked and was only met by congorilla afterwards. The Flash and congorilla look charred and I far as I know freddy can't do that.

Interesting point and one I hadn't picked up on.

Anj said...

the wounds on the others look like claws while Marvel would either punch or throw them against walls.. it may be not Marvel, it was someone with blade weapons. I think..

I also saw that but assumed that since it really isn't Freddy that those claws/burns could be made by whoever it really is. My guess is he is Prometheus.

Anj said...

Is it just me or does the picture of Roy look like it's the blacked out profile on the Cry For Justice #7 solicit? Also, I thought Freddy was going by Shazam now, and not Captain Marvel.

Yeah it is the solicit. Weird.

And you are probably right about Shazam. I don't know him that well.

Anj said...

My money's on Hawkman. He vanished from the issue when Roy left the room, and he has motive. He may be the only plausible suspect, given what we're shown about which characters on in the main room on each page....

Thanks for the post.

Hmmm ... a third guess. That wouldn't explain Supergirl and Freddy fighting at the end. But a shapeshifter could be anybody.

I still think "Freddy" is the bad guy.

Mauricio said...

Shazam/Marvel Family fans are very pissed off...

Can't blame them.. back when there was only the 'fake Supergirl' aka Matrix, other publishers took advantage of that and made their 'supergirl': Suprema, Tomorrow Girl and I think there were others but these two are the one that are still around.

Anonymous said...

Mauro Cascioli doesn't seem to have much of a range when it comes to facial expressions...The bodywork so to speak, is spectacular but for the most part Kara seems to strike poses with lips slightly parted.
on the other hand I like the fact that SG is clearly the group's "Legacy Muscle", this is a good role for her I think.
If she ever gets a full time team membership the editors/writers thereon should remember her status in "Cry for Justice".
The de-arming appalled me quite frankly it was gratuitous and un-necessarily nasty.
My main hope for this mini is that Supergirl distinguishes herself in battle, because as our host points out, her dialogue won't win any awards.
Assuming this was ever Supergirl to begin with, with Kara on and off world so ubiquitously, who is to say she hasn't been a villainous sleeper agent all along? After all who could keep track of the real Supergirl's movements?

John Feer

Nikki said...

It will probably be neither of them and they'll kiss and make up (hence the cover). Silver Age storytelling at its finest LOL

Marc Burkhardt said...

I'm betting the bad guy is (yet another) Kara impersonator. In that Freddy vs. Supergirl splash, she's got the "evil look" more than Captain Marvel ... unless it's just poor artwork.

And I refuse to call Captain Marvel "Shazam."

Mart said...

I'm impressed by Ollie's super-drip dry uniform - not a drop of blood stuck.

I think Brainy Pirate is right - despite their longterm friendship, Hawkman seemed a bit creepy when he was being sweet about Ray.

Daveym said...

Despite its numerous problems this, like Robinsons other current work, is a very addictive read.
I still am bemused at the idea of another 'Dark JLA' treatment after the failure of JLA:Elite and Extreme Justice and I am undecided about Prometheus' actual plausibility as a villain still stuck using Hard discs to bone up on his opponents in this Wi-Fi/Bluetooth age, but let's face it this is a much better book than the main JLA title right now!

I myself suspect poor Red Arrow stumbled across somebody doing something they shouldn't have and I suspect the real culprit here migh actually be Miss Martian - introduced a couple of issues back and who has the perfect infiltration abilities to both fool the league and mimic either Supergirl of Captain Marvel....

It would be a shame as I really like Meggan but no way would DC sanction Freddy or Supergirl as culpable for maiming Roy like thaat.

TalOs said...

Hmm could it be 'Dark Kara' split off from Kara proper who managed to tear in to Roy, Congrilla and Barry that we're seeing going up against Freddy now too here? :/

Dark Kara has shown to have red glowing eyes instead of blue every time she appears, remember.

Anj said...

on the other hand I like the fact that SG is clearly the group's "Legacy Muscle", this is a good role for her I think.
If she ever gets a full time team membership the editors/writers thereon should remember her status in "Cry for Justice".


Thanks for the post.

I do like the fact that Kara has acted as the 'strong guy' on this team so far.

Anj said...

I myself suspect poor Red Arrow stumbled across somebody doing something they shouldn't have and I suspect the real culprit here migh actually be Miss Martian - introduced a couple of issues back and who has the perfect infiltration abilities to both fool the league and mimic either Supergirl of Captain Marvel....

Hmmm ... another interesting theory.

Thanks!

Saranga said...

This is a difficult one. Some of the dialogue seemed to indicate that Robinson had taken more effort, but then Batwoman's dialogue was really stiff and cliched (maybe my view will change on a second reading I don't yet know).
I am very disspaointed that we don't see Freddie and Kara ge together, the cover is a beautiful image and it seems a shame to waste it.

Anj said: "I can only imagine how this scene would have looked if someone like Ed Benes did this book."
That's a fair point. I still found the bikini scenes gratuitous and they did cause me to roll my eyes.
I've worked out why I don't like Kara's suit in this - it would ride up, crease and crinkle. This would make it very annoying to wear. For it not to ride up it needs to be a little baggier, but as it's skin tight it would move around as Kara moves her arms and runs, (unless her breasts are completely solid and don't move, which I don't buy).