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Justice League of America #27 [Review]

Be Careful What You Wish For…

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inkers: Ed Benes, Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund & Drew Geraci
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Benes w/Hi-Fi
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue shows the Shadow Cabinet in action, attempting to do their thing without bringing down the wrath of the Justice League…unfortunately for them, their acting with (the female) Dr. Light doesn’t go smoothly, and the Justice League is pulled into things. Meanwhile, other interactions are going on between certain characters, apparently moving their stories forward; particularly an awkward moment between Red Arrow and Hawkgirl, as well as Black Canary confronting the “Big Three” about their upper-level clique compared to the rest of the League.

I really can’t complain about the art. Benes has a certain style that really works for me, with plenty of detail and not too much in the way of being ‘stylistic’–the visuals are straight-forward and clear, easy to follow and nice to look at (though there’s a bit of gratuitousness I could definitey do without). Visually, this is a high-quality book.

I’m fairly mixed on the story. It’s been a couple years since I’ve read an issue of this title, so I’m understanably outta the loop–there are things going on here that either pass me by or just come outta the blue, I’m sure, given my not being “up” on the book. I really don’t get a sense who any of these Shadow Cabinet characters are, though. I know that this is apparently their introduction into the DCU and that the Milestone characters are being integrated as if they’ve always been present–all that meta-textual stuff I’m clear on. I just don’t feel that in-story there was much of anything to give a good sense of the characters’ individuality; for all I’d otherwise know, they’re generic charcters made up to throw some conflict at the Justice League. At the same time, this is an issue that’s gotta focus on the title characters–the existing members of the Justice League involved in the ongoing story arcs; we’re also introduced to the members (I count seven) of the Shadow Cabinet…making for a huge cast of characters.

I bought this issue for the Milestone characters. I remember picking up some of the Milestone books back in the day, particularly the Worlds Collide crossover with the Superman books at the time (I don’t recall if they crossed with other DC books or not). My expectations are probably higher than could really be reasonably delivered by a standard-sized single issue; I was excited, though, to learn this past summer that the Milestone characters would be returning, integrated as part of the DCU, and have looked forward to this since.

Not having followed this title, I can’t speak to the issue in context of the overarching ongoing stuff; but I was definitely left underwhelmed having picked this up to see the Milestone characters interacting with the DC characters–looks like that’ll come next issue, with this more as a bit of setup.

Worthwhile if you’re following the title, but if you’re picking this up for the Milestone stuff, it looks like you’d be better off waiting til issue 28 to really see the characters interact.

Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7/10

Superman: New Krypton Special #1 [Review]

New Krypton

Writers: Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates
Penciller: Pete Woods, Gary Frank, Renato Guedes
Inker: Pete Woods, Jon Sibal, Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Steve Wands
Assoc. Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Gary Frank (variant by Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalhaes)

This is the way “events” should be done. And with the (temporary, at least for this storyline?) return of the “triangle-numbers,” this issue immediately feels like “classic” 90s Superman–in its highest quality.

The issue opens with the fairly immediate aftermath of Action Comics #870 with a particularly powerful “silent” sequence–if you’ve ever been to a funeral, if you’ve ever lost a loved one or seen someone else having lost someone they loved–you know that there ARE no words…and what words there are, tend often to be private and unique to those involved. The way this sequence comes off, one can fill in their own words, their own feelings–and it is that much more touching. Any words the writer could put on the page would not measure up to what I, as the reader, can imagine…which makes the scene that much more personal. Even when we get to the flashbacks and words, the scene is still very effective…I was almost in tears at the full-page of Clark in the barn.

After the funeral, we see that the story of Brainiac is actually far from being “over,” as the military has a certain interest in our alien friend. And as is cliche…they don’t quite know what they’re getting themselves into. Meanwhile, after a moment with his mother–Martha Kent–Superman visits Kandor where he gets some time with his Uncle and Aunt–actual living, breathing, genuine blood-relatives. He also has the honor of reintroducing them to their daughter Kara–and the Family of El gets to have their first dinner together in many years.

Lois and Lucy have a sisterly reunion at their father’s grave, and later at the Planet, Jimmy returns with information he needs to share about what he found out on his recent leave of absence. Finally, we’re introduced to the folks pulling the strings behind the scenes in a cliffhanger with the potential for major ongoing ramifications for the entire Superman family.

We have three creative teams collaborating on this book. Where often I don’t notice much difference in sequences, here I felt there were several distinct pieces. The “Action Comics Sequence” seems obvious–dealing with Jonathan’s death. The “Supergirl Sequence,” too, seems obvious with the reuniting of daughter and parents. The “Superman Sequence” stood out for me more for the art. As such, this issue felt a bit like it contained several mini-issues of the regular ongoing books, probably largely for the differing art to go with their respective writers.

Despite that, the overall story works quite well, and on assumption that the entire story will be told in this fashion–one overarching story with individual creative teams going “deeper” into certain characters/interactions–this is some good, solid stuf.

There were a number of great “moments” in this issue, stuff that sets up elements for all three of the “core” Superman books as well as setting the foundation for this specific New Krypton event.

As a reader who remembers and enjoyed the days of the triangle numbering–when all the Super-books were essentially a massive ongoing weekly story, with the quarterly special often starting or bookending particular arcs–this feels like a return to form. Though the Brainiac arc worked really well for me in terms of the writing and art–this special issue has me actually excited for the first time in nearly a decade for the multiple Super-books as a whole.

While you’ll almost certainly “appreciate” things a bit more if you’ve been reading the books for awhile, this is also a strong jumping-on point if you’ve been curious about the Superman family of books. And if you’ve any interest at all…I’d recommend jumping in now–this story/event looks to be for Superman what the Sinestro Corps. War was for Green Lantern…and well worth getting in at the start!

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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