Friday, November 27, 2015

Review: Justice League 3001 #6

Justice League 3001 #6 came out this week and was, as usual, a very entertaining read. I am continually amazed at the way that writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis can weave multiple DC continuities into one book, pushing the envelope and readers' sanity. I dislike aloof depowered Superman in his main books. I dislike a warrior first Wonder Woman in the main DCU. And yet, I can accept them here because they are meant to be imperfect representations of those characters.

Now it also helps that this book has incorporated Supergirl into the team. And this is a very classic Supergirl, the pre-Crisis powerhouse who saw the good in everyone but could lose her temper in the face of injustice. Throw that idealism into the dingy future of this League and you get the sense she is irritated. How could the universe become such a terrible place?

We learned a while back that the team is shifting to an all female team so things happen fast and furious here. And it is all lushly drawn by guest artist Colleen Doran. Her Supergirl is just a delight.

Everyone should be reading this book and recommending it to others.

Last issue, Supergirl and Batgirl stopped the Takron-Galtos Batman from stomping on the inmates. Turns out it was a young girl in a Bat Mecha, Tina Sung.

The idea that Earth is now a prison planet is fascinating enough. But the thought that inmates might procreate, creating 'naturalized' citizens of the place is a wild concept. Her parents, 'lifers', were killed in Suicide Slum riots. That means her parents were killed, perhaps spurring her to don the cowl.

But seeing this school age girl growl out classic Batman lines is amusing, especially given the cat-ear head band and pink outfit. Her Bat-like persistence of crushing crime just rubs Supergirl the wrong way. I love how Kara is exasperated by the whole thing.

But let's really throw a spanner into the works.

Tina is a descendant of the original Batman. So she has some claim to the Bat legacy.

It also means that someone on the Wayne family tree was a criminal and thrown into jail. Wild!

Of course, in Dark Knight Returns, Bruce told Congress the heroes were criminals.

Last issue ended with Harley Quinn showing up. She looked outright vicious.

In this issue we learn that she was almost a play date for Tina. They would dress up and pretend Batman/Harley, fake fighting and imagining being somewhere better. It was only recently that Tina became more serious.

Alas, it doesn't look like Harley will be a recurring character. She stumbles on two androids, Scullions, who are Takron Galtos specifically to kill Batman. And anything in their way, including Harley, will be eliminated. I don't think she'll be coming back from this.

Scullion 1 and 2 had a sort of 'Alphonse and Gaston' feel to them, a trope Giffen has visited before.

The two spill into the Mayor's office to kill Batman and catch Supergirl off-guard. They toss her out into the night sky, forcing Batman to scramble for his life.

I love this Supergirl. She isn't going to let anyone hurt her friends. She isn't going to be bested. She isn't going to stand around.

This fierce look with the 'Now I am seriously mad!' feels like it is ripped from Paul Kupperberg's Daring New Adventures book.

I thought for sure this would be my favorite panel of the book.

But I was wrong.

Batman can barely stay alive against these things as they are able to regenerate from any damage.

Alas, this is a pre-Crisis Kryptonian. She crushes a third Scullion under her heels and smashes the original two to bits. What is Supergirl doing? Winning!

Now that is classic Supergirl. Don't get on her wrong side.

And Doran conveys that power, especially in that last panel!

Just fantastic.

Now these three Scullions are keeping this Supergirl pretty busy. Regenerating now matter how much damage she inflicts, they seem unbeatable. As a reader, I was struck that these things are tough.

Then you get this splash page showing us that an army of Scullions exists. And in case you didn't get a sense of their power, we see the world they are on in flames, buildings smashed, dead bodies piled on the ground. These aren't simple robots to smash. This is scary.

Now some might worry that this Supergirl is a bit angsty, edgy, and angry. But really, the pre-Crisis Supergirl could get this way if she felt that people were being wronged.

And Giffen and DeMatteis should assuage any fears. Here when she says that she is an alien, Batman tells her she was as human as anyone he knew. She never let the powers change her outlook.

For people looking for Supergirl in the comics, they should come here. This is a pretty classic Kara.

When a throng of Scullions arrive on Takron Galtos, Batman hits the emergency alert signal, bringing the entire League to the prison planet.

For the first time in a while, we actually get the whole League together.

Now one of the things I was looking forward since Supergirl arrived was her interactions with Superman. The Superman in this book is a far cry from the immutable, pure Superman of the Silver and Bronze age that this Kara would be familiar with. I wanted to see her be disgusted at him. I wanted to see him fume at her superior power set.

Alas I won't get that chance.

Superman blusters about tearing the Scullions apart. In turn, the Scullions vaporize his head. They kill him. In case the earlier battle wasn't enough, in case that splash page of the planet in ruins wasn't enough, we now see the Scullions powers. Superman is dead ...

Now maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise. As I said, we knew the book was heading towards an all female team. We knew Superman was leaving somehow.

Still. This was abrupt.

But that's the beauty of this book.

This book continues to be one of the most entertaining and complex books I read. It is something of a deep dive into DC continuities. Giffen and DeMatteis continue to grab me, steamrolling ahead with new characters, new threats, and now deaths. Plus, Silver Age Supergirl! Add Doran's clean art and this issue is a complete win.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Yep, everyone should be reading this. I was trying to recall where I'd seen polite killer androids in old LSH continuity. Was it the start of the Five Year Gap?

And while Tina had a jailed Wayne parent, it could have been a put-up job, given we know Sheriff Tariq is corrupt.

Anj said...

Way back in 5YL Legion of Super-heroes #2, Giffen had the polite killer androids. ('After you' 'No, after you')

Good point about Tariq. He could be lying about this whole thing!

Anonymous said...

I could do without the gratuitous decapitation of Pseudoman but then on the other hand this is the New DC we should be lucky they didn't do it slowly over three panels in close up.
I wonder though was Pseudoman snuffed in order to telegraph to Supergirl that these android might be a match for her after all?
Otherwise LOVE this depiction and version of Kara if this book fails she should be spun off into her own book immediately......