Any day that I get to read something new by Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis is a good day. The iconic creators that brought us the “bwa-ha-ha” era of Justice League stories have returned to tell a new League tale, one one that’s just about as comic-book bonkers as they come. That doesn’t mean it’s always good, but it does mean I’ll be buying the next issue.
JL3K tells the story of the League of the 31st century, a team created from the original League’s genetic material. This group doesn’t have all the powers of the originals, and only spotty memories (when in fact, they shouldn’t have any memories because DNA doesn’t work like that, but HA HA COMICS EVERYBODY). Thus, Superman is an egotistical douche, Wonder Woman solves everything with violence and proudly says so, Hal Jordan is a thoughtful and contemplative Green Lantern, and so on. It’s a neat way to shake up the relationships between established characters.
Tell the truth, though, I’m way more interested in the return of Camelot 3000, where the League is hanging out, because the sheer concept of the Round Table in the 31st century is glorious. Lancelot rides a hover-horse. (But is still kind of a prick because he’s Lancelot.)
But this issue is more about the villains than the heroes. While Superman comes to terms with the fact that he’s slower than the Flash and Batman finds a new headquarters, evil Wonder Twin/Jack Frost in Rise of the Guardians-clone Terry is back at his eeeeevil lab making a new Injustice League. His old gang having failed spectacularly to kill the JL3K, Terry now has souped-up future versions of Bane, Mirror Master, Sinestro, Zeus, and–in the issue’s weirdest turn–Lois Lane, whose scarred face and cruel demeanor is a startling heel turn that suggests her time as a psychic antagonist in the Superman books has not yet reached its climax (even though it really, really looked like that story was totally over). Also puzzling: why is Zeus evil? What is going on? I get that we’re supposed to be shocked and intrigued, but I just feel like I missed something.
Giffen and DeMatteis suffer a bit from telling, rather than showing; the exposition can get more than a little clunky, with characters asking where each off-panel member of the League is in turn and holding awkward conversations about why construction projects are taking place on Camelot. Still, it’s nice to have a comedy-action team back in the DC lineup, even if the comedy isn’t all that hilarious.
Howard Porter, another League veteran, is here to do pencils, and while I’m not in love with all of his lineart–his anatomy is mighty wonky throughout–I have to continually give him props for his nonsexualized female costume designs. Female Flash in a full bodysuit? No gratuitous Wonder Woman cleavage? Buff supervillain Lois? All these are delightful to see in a DC team book. Hell, the only butt-shot in the book is of Terry’s rear, and it’s…not sexy at all.
Still, while refreshing in some ways, JL3K #11 isn’t exciting–though, to be fair, it’s an interlude between fights. But–spoilers ahead, folks–the big reveal at the issue’s end was more than enough to recapture my flagging interest: Blue Beetle and Booster Gold have been awoken from cryogenic sleep, and next issue promises to begin what I hope will be a brand new era of Giffen-DeMatteis Blue & Gold hijinks. And if that’s not a ringing endorsement to pick up the next issue, then you and I just aren’t reading the same cape comics.
NEXT MONTH: Ted and Booster run away from a literal blue beetle. I pray to all the dark gods that they make friends with it and ride around Camelot.
Image courtesy of DC Comics
Sam Riedel is a freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn, NY. He’s been a comics fan since he was old enough to read, and he has too many opinions about them to possibly be healthy. His work has appeared in Publishers Weekly, as well as on Tor.com, The Mary Sue, and the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. He met Warren Ellis once. It was marvelous.