Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Justice League 3001 #12

It is the end of a brief era.

The New 52 chapter of the DC Universe is coming to a close. There is a #Rebirth. There is a scrubbing away of the angst, hate, and dismal nature of the characters. There is a return to a more classic feel, leaning on legacy.

But such a change cannot happen with casualties. And Justice League 3001 has always been a fringe book. With sales dropping and a continuity shift happening, I'm not surprised that the book is ending. But I come to praise this book, not bury it.

Justice League 3001 #12 came out last week and was the final issue of this title. But I have to tell you, it didn't read like a final issue. And that pained me. Because I needed some closure for these characters who I have followed for 2 titles now. Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have had so many plot lines bubbling through this title while they played with all of DC continuities.  I wouldn't have minded the book closing in an open-ended way with a chance for more. But this book ends mid-battle ...

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. This title has broken all the rules. Why not how to end?

The art is split between Collen Doran who brings a smooth sensibility to her pages. Tim Green II also provides pages here. He recently did the Convergence:Matrix mini-series. His art is very stylized, every character gangly and stretched like taffy. And yet, it works.

But the bottom line is this title is ending. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And this book has burned so very brightly.

A fair amount of this issue is spent flashing back to the pre-Justice League 3000 days and seeing Teri and Terry as they are just starting the experiments to create a new League. We know now that Terry was part of the super-villain team The Five.

We finally get a peek behind the curtain to really get a sense of the differences between these two.

Teri is asking herself if they should continue to experiment. So many 'volunteers' have died as they try to resurrect the League. Do they have the right to play God like this? Terry continues to push, saying they have to. That last panel, his smirk, shows the darkness was there all along.

As this issue moved along, it became clear that Giffen and DeMatteis were pushing the Teri Flash as the character to hold on to.

Meanwhile, the League and Supergirl are fighing Eclipso and the Dark Legion on Themyscira.

Despite the dismal nature of this world, the darkness of Lady Styx's domination of the universe, and the death of their friends, Supergirl remains the inspiration for the team, its moral compass.

She won't allow Diana to kill the Legionnaires. They are the Justice League, not murderers. Even in the face of annihilation, Kara won't compromise.

I'm going to miss this Supergirl.

One of the many mysteries that we won't get an end to is the idea that Lady Styx could overrun the universe and easily crush the League but she likes to play games.

Last issue we learned that Styx didn't want the Flash harmed. Here she reiterates that to Eclipso. The League can be battered but not annihilated. Could her motivations truly be that she doesn't want the boredom of complete control?

But once more we get another clue that the Flash is important.

Flashing back, we see Terry and Teri again debating what they are doing. We meet this League's Superman again and are reminded what a conceited jerk he was. Teri can't believe that they are creating this warped group of 'heroes'. She believes that the League should inspire people, give hope, and help people.

But Terry thinks it is all about winning!

It once again distances Teri from Terry. We see how pure Teri's vision of heroes and the League is. She is something special.

But I also read this as a little bit of meta-commentary on comics. The League should be a team built on hope. But that doesn't always mean sales. If winning is important (winning the market share that is), then maybe you need a cruder version.

Back in the present, we get a couple of great Supergirl moments as the battle rages.

For one, sick of Eclipso's villainous rantings, she punches him and tells him to shut up.

These are Green's pages and again we see the willowy and svelte figures he draws. Supergirl looks like a reed.

The interaction between the Bat and Super characters have been a humorous constant in this book. Superman and Batman always sparred. Here, Supergirl is just frustrated by the insane Robin. I love that Robin call them World's Finest. But Kara won't have any part of it.

I would read a World's Finest book of these two. It would be hilarious.

Lady Styx monitors the battle from afar.

She comments on how special Teri is. Something much more than just the Flash. She is actually Styx;s daughter. Now that is a wrinkle which perhaps explains a lot of Styx's behavior. But why have Teri act as the Flash? Why not bring her into the fold? How did she get to be Teri and not be raised by the Lady? Lot's more questions.

And then there is the rather Kirby-esque character Scion standing behind her. There is so much super-symbolism in his costume I have to believe he is some descendant/clone/version of Superman. But this one is quite loyal to Lady Styx, willing to head into battle and end the League. But Styx wants nothing to do with that.

All she wants is to make sure Flash remains safe...

And so Styx teleports the Flash, and with her Robin, to the present day. Tucked away in time, Teri will live.

Now I don't know if I quite understand this. Styx, with her powers, lackeys, loyalty, and army of Scullions should be able to keep Teri safe in the future. But since we don't know what this all means, maybe the time travel makes sense. And with Giffen taking on Blue Beetle, maybe we will see more of these characters.

And that is the end of the book.

What about the battle with Eclipso?
How did Supergirl get to this time period?
What about Guy's personality issues?
What about Styx ruling the universe?
What about the missing Booster and Beetle?
What about the prison where Jimmy Olsen is held?
What about Ariel and Lois?
Why is Lois so upset with Superman? How did Lois survive?

And those are just the plots I can think of off the top of my head?

We get no final scene of these heroes victorious. We didn't get to say goodbye. We got no epilogue.

It kind of irks me.

But in the end, I got a year of fun and wild issues. I got a classic Supergirl leading a Justice League. I got strands of all the DC incarnations I have read in my time as a comic fan. This book has been a roller coaster ride of great characterizations looked through a funhouse mirror, recognizable but different, weird.

I'll miss this crazy future. I want more. And that is the highest praise I can give.

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

Yeah the lack of closure is highly irksome, but the writing on this book was so very very berserk (and I mean that in a Good Way) that it was clearly impossible to wrap it all up in a single issue in any satisfying manner.
Maybe DC will revisit somehow...but I doubt it.
Like Our Host I LOVED this version of Supergirl, basically the much put upon Silver Age Kara with a strong infusion of Leadership and Wit....keep in mind Supergirl gets shuttled thru endless team affiliations but she never ever functions as the Team Leader in Any Way...that and some many other big and small things made this book special.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

DC does have the LEGENDS OF TOMORROW comic, which runs full-length stories. DC only shoots itself in the foot, though. I'm chalking this up to another Earth in the multiverse.I've never understood why the new52 Legion comics had that Legion come from Earth-2 even though that world was destroyed.

I'll look forward to your reviews as I'm not buying any DC books in the foreseeable future. I might pick up Detective, since it seems to headline Batwoman. It will be a long wait for the Supergirl comic, and I'll be buying that. I'll rely on your reviews for any future purchases.

Are you going to review REBIRTH?

Anonymous said...

An interesting book, but the radical tonal shift, the abrupt ending, the excessively fast pace and the dozens of unresolved subplots and unexplained twists ruined it for me.

Of course, the best part was reading a Pre-Crisis Supergirl leading a Justice League incarnation. That single thing makes it a book worth of reading.