Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Justice League United #7

Justice League United #7 came out this week, the middle chapter of The Infinitus Saga. This arc is re-re-introducing the Legion into the New 52 DCU and so far I have little to complain about. This is a great League. And this is a Legion I wouldn't mind reading on a monthly basis (hint hint to DC).

Writer Jeff Lemire has done a great job since the inception of the JLU title to give it both modern storytelling sensibilities while infusing it with a more classic feel. It is one of the things I like the most about the book. Whether it is banter between Green Arrow and Animal Man or the inclusion of Silver Age characters like Byth and Ultra, Lemire has walked that fine line with great results. In this arc, we get a team crossover that has the feel of the old JLA-JSA crossovers, with the teams joining together to defeat a common enemy, meeting and mingling. And, frankly, after the last Legion series which ended roughly and abruptly, it is great to see Lemire bring back a familiar LSH.

Neil Edwards continues on art here and is bringing his A-game. I don't think he has a choice. With around a score of heroes and a handful of villains, he has to! There is action sequences and some character moments that are great.

Does anything say 'classic team-up' like the head-shot roll call! This reminds me not only of the JLA-JSA crossovers but even some Legion books were we saw this on the opening page.

And there is my second favorite character, Wildfire, blasting into action!

One thing of the many things that confused me about the last Legion was the placement of the Legion Lost on the main DC world while the Legion itself was hinted to be on Earth 2. I am glad the Lemire seems to settle that question, putting the team on Prime Earth.

The book starts with a brawl. The JLU and Legion are fighting Byth, his Cadre, and the energy Wraiths flying out of the rift that Ultra has opened in the vicinity of Thanagar.

What is the rift? What are these wraiths? Why did Ultra do it? How will Infinitus manifest in Ultra? I can't answer any of those questions.

I have always been a fan of Dawnstar. Nice to see her in action again and Edwards' take on her is great.

Byth grabs Ultra and takes off in his ship, trying to get Ultra into the rift. And before they are overwhelmed by Wraiths, Sardath and Brainiac 5 teleport the heroes back to Earth.

Wraiths? Dire wraiths like in Rom?

As I have said, Lemire brings some nice light moments in the book. Usually it is some friendly ribbing between Buddy and Ollie.

But I laughed at this moment. With 20 heroes stuffed in the League's headquarters, the place is crammed. And Phantom Girl tells Animal Man he should be happy that Duplicate Girl isn't there.

Again, things have been dark in the DCU over the last couple of years. So some fun moments are welcomed.

Now I am used to seeing Byth simply as a sleazy shapeshifter. But in this book he has stood up to Supergirl in battle. That says he is something more and we see that again here.

J'Onn tries to telepathically find Ultra and calm him. But there, on the telepathic landscape, is Byth. And Byth is able to fight off J'Onn, kicking the Manhunter out of Ultra's mind.

I liked this panel with Ultra literally being pulled in opposite directions.

So what is Byth?

I will stick by my guess that he somehow gets stuck in a timeloop, destined to relive this arc over and over.

This is my second favorite moment of the book.

One thing I haven't liked in this storyline is the Legion coming back in time to kill Ultra, trying to undo a galactic cataclysm. A little too bloodthirsty for me.

Here Courtney states the obvious. No one in the League thinks killing Ultra is the way to go. Settled! Lemire has said from the beginning that Courtney represents brightness and optimism. I am not surprised that she is the one who lays it on the line here.

Hurray for heroism!!!

This ends up becoming a multi-front battle. The team has to fight these energy wraiths pouring out of the rift. But they also need to stop Byth from getting Ultra to the rift where he will ascend to Infinitus.

Again, we have a funny GA/Animal Man fun here. But I liked the bestowing of the flight rings to the League. Welcome to the Legion!

Now you might be wondering what could be better than that Courtney moment.

Well you know Supergirl is my favorite character. And you know Wildfire is my second favorite character. So seeing them fly into battle together? That's like chocolate and peanut butter!

This is my favorite moment, a sort of comic dream come true for me!

Lemire has called Supergirl 'bull-headed' in the past. He does like her as the 'punch first, ask questions later' muscle of the team. When Mon-El says the team needs to be on the defensive, she ignores him and flies into the fray, hoping to stop Byth directly. And Wildfire, always a bit of a hothead, likes her style. In this instance, I agree with Supergirl. Stopping Byth from getting Ultra to the rift has to be the primary goal.

Can you name the last time Mon-El, Wildfire, and Supergirl streaked into battle together???

That's right! As part of the assault team going to the Anti-Monitor's fortress in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7!

The two teams try to mesh as much as possible as they fight the wraiths. Some gel easier than others.

'Space wolf pack'? I hope this Sabretooth form isn't one we keep seeing in Buddy.

But this sort of stuff is fun! A rare commodity these days.

Byth is streaking to the rift in a ship piloted by the brainwashed Hawkman. Ultra is closer to becoming Infinitus. (Is it possession? Evolution?)

Despite her physicality, it is nice to hear Supergirl say part of this mission is keeping Ultra safe. The heroes can't just blow the ship out of the sky.

While they can't, someone else can. A Thanagarian in hawk-armor blasts the ship from the sky with some sort of rifle.

Nice cliffhanger in a mostly action issue. The overall plot wasn't moved forward too much in this issue. Instead we have a lot of battles and a lot of small moments. But this feels like the right pace for this story. We know enough to feel like this can be wrapped up satisfactorily in 2 more issues.

While the action scenes are fine, it is the character moments that I like in this issue most of all. The humor. The team's interacting. The courage of Courtney to state the obvious. All great.

I would love for Lemire to write a new Legion book!

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Yet there is one BIG glaring omission from this issue: a reunion moment when the Legion Lost team first interacts with their fellow teammates. Lemire could have taken at least one panel to let the team celebrate that they're back together with a comment from Gates or Timber Wolf asking either "What took so long?" or "Why were they given up for dead?" (Legion Lost #10).

Also, what's with the duplicates of Tyroc and Chameleon Girl on the splash pages? Is this an artistic error or a plot thread that we have both Legion Lost and LoSH vol. 6 versions of those two characters on the same pages?

Martin Gray said...

The duplication was just a simple booboo, the super-hardworking Neil Edwards said sorry - unnecessarily, in my opinion - on Facebook.

Great review, Anj, and excellent spot as regards the link to COIE. Gold star!

Bartiemus said...

I was initially worried about there' being to many characters on screen but Jeff Lemire is making it work.

In the Futures End issue Dawnstar was still around I wonder if that means she's going to stay and join the team?

Otherwise great issue and arc I can not wait for his book to come back after convergence

Anj said...

Thanks for comments. It felt like that reunion scene happened already. Maybe an untold tale for future series?

Dawnstar in the League would be cool.