Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Justice League: Cry For Justice #6

Talk about feast or famine. Last week, no super-title came out at all. This week there are 5 books! Supergirl, Superman, World's Finest, Superman Secret Origin, and Justice League: Cry For Justice all came out.

With Supergirl #49 being a bit spoiler-iffic, I figured I would wait a day to review that issue.

And so, let's start this review heavy week with Justice League:Cry for Justice #6. I can't believe there is only one more issue in this mini-series! It seems like it has been on the DC radar screen for almost 2 years. Delays have dogged this book.

Surprisingly, the significant delays haven't been significant enough to allow Mauro Cascioli the time to complete the series. This issue's art is done by Scott Clark. I simply don't know what to say anymore about creators and deadlines. As it was, this book's release was postponed for an inordinate amount of time to allow Cascioli time enough to get on top of the book. And yet, here we are with a guest artist. This storyline takes place before Blackest Night! And that book might finish before this one! Am I being too sour as a fan?

Clark's work is nice although not as polished as Cascioli's. In fact, when I read the book the first time, I thought it was still Cascioli ... just rushed. It looks a little rougher than the earlier work on this book. It was only on second look that I saw Clark's name on the cover.

From a writing point of view, I thought this was one of the stronger issues of the book. I don't know if that is faint praise. Mostly, I think Robinson did a good job of showing how cunning a foe Prometheus is.

Remember last issue ended with Supergirl squaring off against Captain Marvel. The book opens with Supergirl showing how she figured out who was the real villain here.

First off, Supergirl realizes that the 'shield made from magic lightning' Freddy made to deflect Prometheus' Clayface bomb (a power I questioned when it happened) would have fried her if it was truly magical. Secondly, Captain Marvel figured out everything too quickly ... too neatly. And it always seemed to lead the group to one place, the JLA satellite.

But most importantly, Supergirl realized that somewhere along the way Freddy said the word 'Shazam' and didn't change. It all adds up to one thing, Freddy is Prometheus.

I like that Robinson had Supergirl be the one to figure the whole thing out (albeit a little too late). I also thought that Supergirl falling for someone who turns out to be the villain played off of many similar stories from the Silver Age. At least this time she realized it before the reveal. She even sounds confident as she asks how Prometheus plans to eliminate her.

It turns out he is prepared for dealing with a Kryptonian. He has a 'magic bullet', a casing forged from Olympian metals. It might only be a shoulder wound, but it dispatches Supergirl for the rest of the issue.

I don't know off the top of my head if Olympian metals alone resonate enough magic to do this. But it shows some advanced planning on Prometheus' part.

In fact the next several pages show exactly how prepared Prometheus is as he wades through pretty much every JLA member.

It is a decent sequence showing how his computer analyzes the threat and then feeds him the best option. He takes out Zatanna's ability to speak, Plastic Man's ability to control his molecules, etc.

And it isn't only having the right weapon for the right hero, it's also having the battle technique. Here I like how he deflected Dr. Light's beam the appropriate angle to eliminate the Guardian. He does something similar to take out Hawkgirl.

He takes out Hal Jordan by weakening his will enough to grenade him.

He even turns the table on the Atom.

When Palmer tries the 'sinus headache' attack, Prometheus' nanobyte defenses turns the table.

I thought this was a pretty gripping panel with parts of the Atom shrunk and other expanded. That just looks painful.

Hawkman, Starman, Firestorm, Starfire, Green Arrow, Jay Garrick, The Shade ... they all fall.

So it is clear that Prometheus is prepared. This really reminded me of the Prometheus we saw in Morrison's JLA, the Prometheus who almost took out the JLA singlehandedly.

He didn't do enough to take out Donna Troy though however.

He had crucified her to a wall earlier but she has the resolve to pull herself off the wall and go after him. She then viciously batters him, coming close to killing him. I would say this was absolutely gratuitously bloody but this is nothing compared to the Red Arrow maiming panel from last issue.

I do like that it is Donna who ultimately defeats him. It would be too easy to have one of the big names be the hero. I always like it when one of the less famous heroes in team books gets some attention. I think it would be less interesting to have someone like Green Lantern save the day. We have seen that so many times already.

Shackled to a chair, Prometheus begins to monologue about his plan.

Rather than destroy the heroes' home cities, he would teleport the cities into other times, spaces, dimensions. In this way, he did not kill the citizens, merely displaced them. The heroes would be perplexed and devastated that they could never find their people.

It is an interesting plan, focusing on the mental weakness of the heroes. But it seemed kind of flat after all the build up over the title. This was his plan? To cause the heroes mental anguish? I know there would be millions of lost people ... but he wants to hurt the heroes feelings?

This was his master stroke? Wouldn't it be better to just kill the heroes?

I did like that his monologue was only buying him time to have his master stroke actually commence. This panel reminded me a bit of Ozymandias telling Nite Owl that he wouldn't tell his master plan if he hadn't already triggered it. I know ... how could I mention Watchmen in the same sentence as Cry For Justice.

With the plan in play, Prometheus starts to bargain for his freedom. He'll turn off the device if the League lets him free.

Will the League make a deal with a terrorist? Remember, this was the team that tortured people for information earlier on in the book. Will they simply let him free? Green Arrow, often the liberal voice of the JLA, demands that they not free him. It will be interesting to see where the political pendulum of this group swings.

But Prometheus has one more surprise ...

To prove that his device is active, Star City has started to be teleported away. I like the picture here with skyscrapers being ripped apart. Looks like something from a disaster movie.

I think just about everything that can be said about this title has already been said. At times the dialogue is stiff. The art can be beautiful. The action is good but can veer towards the gruesome. The book is late and now had a guest artist. A guest artist in a 7 issue miniseries!?

But as a fan of Prometheus, I did enjoy this issue's portrayal of him as he casually walked through the gauntlet of the League. Even if the plan seemed a little off, he did seem cool and calculated here.

Lastly, I was hoping that some of the text piece in this issue would be about Supergirl. Instead Robinson talks about Jay Garrick and Batwoman. I think Batwoman appeared in a handful of panels in this book.

One more issue in this series which I will have to sift into the DCU timeline. How outrageous will it be?

Overall grade: C+


Saranga said...

I thought the artist did a very pretty Kara and I was veyr happy that Donna took Promethues out. the writing was better this issue. I was amused that Robinson commented on everyone yelling 'justice!' in the blurb in the back.
i hope the last issue will end on an ok note..

Saranga said...

Off topic, but i thought you;d like to see this:

Unknown said...

how dissapointing Supergirl was out so soon and so quickly... what happened with 'faster than a speeding bullet'?

mathematicscore said...

Basic lazy writing from Robinson. Prometheus doesn't seem badass. He seems like a writer not only gave him outrageous methods to defeat every hero, but wrote every hero being defeated by them. Just improbable and impossible, even in the improbable and impossible world of comicbooks.

mathematicscore said...

Oh, and I forgot to comment, you were right to mention Watchmen... it's out and out theft. Poor man's Alan Moore, thy name is James Robinson.

TalOs said...

*shakes head in disgust* Even if an Olympian cased bullet had wounded Supergirl instead of her just rolling over from the sheer pain of it all I'd imagine Kara would be getting her teeth, dusting herself off and trying to get back in to the game asap and not let something like a magic bullet wound sting (which her accelerated super healing ability would be trying to heal as soon as the bullet passed through her) keep her from wanting to bring Prometheus to Justice.

So sad to see Cascioli leave on the 2nd last issue regardless of how good of a job Clark did as a fill in here.

Anj said...

I thought the artist did a very pretty Kara and I was veyr happy that Donna took Promethues out. the writing was better this issue.

I was glad to see Donna take him out as well.

Interesting, since she wasn't plugged as even being in this book.

Anj said...

how dissapointing Supergirl was out so soon and so quickly... what happened with 'faster than a speeding bullet'?

I suppose fans of GL, Starfire, Firestorm, the Atom, the Flash etc all have the same complaint.

Prometheus defeated them all.

Anj said...

He seems like a writer not only gave him outrageous methods to defeat every hero, but wrote every hero being defeated by them. Just improbable and impossible, even in the improbable and impossible world of comicbooks.

I suppose you can say that Prometheus knew he was entering the satellite and would be prepared.

But it still seems odd that the heroes didn't simply swarm him.