Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Justice League 3001 #11

You can't have a Rebirth without some death I suppose.

And unfortunately Justice League 3001 has been cancelled. This doesn't really surprise me given the sales result. But it does sadden me. This book (and its predecessor JL3000) was a nice melange of all the crazy corners of the DCU.

Justice League 3001 #11 came out last week and is the penultimate issue of the series. Writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis are unfortunately faced with something of an impossible task. They have to try to wrap up this pretty complex, multi-layered comic in 40 pages. And as a result, this issue felt somewhat rushed. There are a lot of questions that I am hoping will be answered. There are a lot of questions I think won't be answered. And there is a ton of backstory, explaining everything about this universe and these characters, that I don't think I will ever get. And that is a shame.

Scott Kolins does an admirable job on the art bringing the grime of this flawed future. I also like the design of the heroes here as well as the corrupted Legion and the other aliens. Kolins' look definitely fits the title perfectly.

I promise not to curse the darkness here. I got 2+ years over two titles to read these characters. That's a light I should celebrate. On to the issue.

Last issue, the away team of Supergirl, Fire, and Ice discovered Larfleeze and his scavengers picking over the scraps of planet Bodhi. Bodhi had been razed by Lady Styx and her forces.

The team isn't quite sure how to deal with Larfleeze. He isn't necessarily the bad guy here. But he isn't good either.

I have really liked Supergirl in this book. She is the leader here. She has been playing it quiet while the team researched Styx but it is clear that she has reached the end of her patience. This is a fiery Kara who admits she has a temper.

I was hoping we'd get some history about this Supergirl. How did she get here? What was the threat Superman sent her to find? I'll miss this incarnation.

Rather than bash Larfleeze, Ice decides to use some slick words to try to convince him to join their cause.

She talks of how similar they are, eternal 'gods' walking through time alone. Larfleeze deserves better. Why should he pick the leftovers when he should eat at the table Styx is feasting from.

No surprise, the Fire/Ice relationship is another strong point of this book. Contrasting their personalities while seeing them interact, Giffen and DeMatteis really shine. Fire wants to always attack. Ice is more calculating.

Meanwhile, on Takron-Galtos, the other team of Diana, Flash, and Batgirl have discovered that the Convert has been working with Lady Styx. In fact, he has always been working with her. And her plans and plots are pretty enigmatic, including keeping the League around as toys to play with.

With no where else to go, the team returns to Themyscira. Unfortunately, they have been tailed all along by Styx's Legion. Here it is some version of Invisible Kid.

This is one of the concerns I have. We have heard about Styx's complex machinations. How she wants the League around. How she is both taking over planets to rule but later demolishing them. Will we ever learn the why? Will we find out why she was sending Eclipso and this Legion to fight the League if she wants them around?

Remember, we only have 20 more pages ....

Styx turned Terry Magnus into Eclipso and has charged him with destroying the League. He is rather excited about this job, especially killing his sister Teri/Flash.

Again, there is a wrinkle. Styx demands that Flash be kept alive. Styx compliments Teri a lot. Maybe too much?

My guess? Styx is actually Teri, some time-jumped version of her. Maybe from another universe?

The Supergirl team also returns to Themyscira with Larfleeze in tow. Ice promised him Green Lantern's ring. Of course, there is no ring. Guy/Shiryalla has the green energy imbued in his/her body.

Again, the interaction between the League members is a high point of the series. This has never been a well-oiled machine. They have never been on the same page. And here Supergirl again questions Ice's decision to bring the maniac Larfleeze to their base.

As for plotlines, the Guy/Shiryalla personality plot needs to wrap up as well. In this issue, the being acts as both Guy and Shiryalla. Will there be an ending? I would have liked to see this particular thread play out a bit longer as it is novel.

The Wonder Woman team returns to Themyscira bringing the whole team together. Unfortunately, it also opens the door for Eclipso and his demon Legion to follow. It results in a complete throwdown.

I do like these twisted Legion designs. I see Colossal Boy, Timber Wolf, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Timber Wolf. I guess the purple clad woman is probably Night Girl? And the black monster one? Maybe Blok?

Finally, we get a face off between the Magnus twins. We have come a long long way from Teri and Terry from Justice League 3000.

But, apparently, Styx's corruption isn't 100%. Terry seems to be breaking through his conditioning.

The truth is, Terry was a villain. He was one of 'The Five'. He wanted to dominate the universe. He isn't a nice guy. So even if he isn't totally Eclipso, that doesn't make him innocent.

The battle rages and the Legion outnumbers the League. There is a brief discussion about retreating. But Fire, as she has always demanded, says it is time to make a stand. Supergirl isn't quite sure what the right thing to do is.

Again, nice friction between team members.

Eye beams from the purple Legionnaire makes Night Girl unlikely. Of course, it could be a reconstructed Night Girl.

But again, I have questions. If Styx wants the League alive, why send the Legion to destroy them? And if she wants them destroyed, why not send a million Scullion robots in right behind the Legion?

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

And it needs to be finished in 20 pages.

But that isn't the only thread that needs to be resolved. Remember, Lois and Ariel are also trying to save the universe. On the run and staying a half step ahead of Styx's forces has frustrated the Scullions to the point that the robot armada states they'll destroy the planet to kill them.

I doubt we'll get Lois' back story. I hope these two link up with the League. I wish we got to see more of them in general.

But we only have 20 more pages.

I have to say, as I was reading the issue, the main thought I had was 'how are they going to wrap this up in one more issue?' It was so dominant a thought that it pulled me out of the book a bit. So not only was I thinking about the short future of the book but I also perceived this issue as rushed. Everything is happening fast to get us to a point that a conclusion of any sort if possible.

I still love the book. I like this issue. The members and their personalities and interactions are wonderful. The ideas are big and deep and fun. The villains are interesting. It is a wonderful omelet of a book, bringing in great DC bits of continuity.

But it is running down the road, a bit out of control, to get to the finish line.

What I wouldn't give for three more issues and a little more time.

Overall grade: B


Martin Gray said...

I do wonder how long ago Giffen knew this book was being cancelled, because he's been introducing sooooo many elements over the final issues. It's a bit of a headscratcher.

Anyway, very good issue, if we discount the elephant in the room. I'm surprised this version of Kara didn't comment on the Legion of Super-Analogues.

Anonymous said...

I love this book too, and I doubt that the last issue will even begin to tie up all the plot threads. Its a helluva shame the book is being canceled because who knew Giffen had such a natural affinity for Kara Zor El?
I mean this is one of the few times I've seen ANY incarnation of Supergirl assuming her special mantle of leadership, that part has been particularly gratifying.
As long as they don't do anything stupid like kill her off or send her back to be barbequed in the COIEs then I'm all "GoodBye, Farewell and Amen" for a fine book.