In Review: Justice League 3001 #3

This series requires 3001 adjectives to say how good it is, but I'll be succinct: it's wonderful. Recommended.

The covers: There are two covers to this issue and I’m having a heck of time trying to figure out who did which. Both are outstanding, but I’m going to have to punt on the imagery. The Main cover is by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi, the interior artist and colorist for this issue. This cover features Lois Lane, still within the body of Ariel Masters, looking down upon the Justice League as if she’s trapped them within an energy force field. Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Batman, and Guy Gardner are ready to bust heads to get out of this situation. I like the focus being on the villain and how she’s split down the middle to show her dual nature. Also good is the coloring, which is also split to emphasize Lois’ true nature. A very cool cover.  The Variant cover is by Dale Eaglesham and Hi-Fi. This has a gigantic turtle-man coming out of the city’s sewers to battle Green Lantern, Fire, Ice, and a different Flash, while Booster Gold and Blue Beetle watch. To the left are circles containing various members of the JL, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman, and Guy Gardner. Having their heads covered by a Starro starfish provides some great visual humor: Supes looks pleased, Flash tormented, Batman thoughtful, and WW and Guy okay with the situation. A fun cover with lots of detail. Overall grades: Both A

The story: On the planet Wodin Twelve, Batman is questioning a human sized starfish Starro about what’s wrong with the humanoid before them. It’s revealed that nothing is; he’s a primitive that’s been uplifted by Starro because the warring tribes on the planet would have wiped each other out had they not intervened. Slavery is allowed because of the paperwork the Starros have filed, given the fallout of the League defeating the Five. So, in a nutshell, it’s the League’s fault the beings of this world are in distress. After Batman finishes face palming, the League leaves for Camelot Nine. They’re accompanied by returning member Supergirl who has questions about what’s going on for the Flash, first being why Superman is such a jackass. This upsets Clark, and Bruce tries to bring him down, but, as long time readers know, Clark has got issues, thinking being one of them. Also with the league is a short blue skinned female wearing a costume and sporting a Starro. Her purpose is not revealed until the penultimate page. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have created the strongest character issue yet. Bruce is trying to form a friendship with Clark that he remembers them having in the past, Lois is having issues being trapped in Ariel’s body for over a year, and Guy and Diana have an interesting conversation. I was surprised to see so much genuine drama this issue. Now don’t worry, there are still plenty of laughs, Booster, Beetle, Clark, and Ronald ensure that there are plenty of yuks, but Bruce’s scenes were the closest to actually drama I’ve ever seen in this series, and its prequel book, since it’s gone BWAH-HA-HA silly. I liked how Lois was revealed to have had her hands in a deal with a former member of the Five and the discovery that Bruce finds on Page 17. A pleasant dramatic turn with the expected funnies make this entertainment to be sought out. Overall grade: A+

The art: Howard “Insecure” Porter does another spectacular job on this issue. The first page has six panels and Porter is able to expertly squeeze in clear shots of the locals, three heroes, the Starro spokesperson–er, spokesthing, and a lot of setting, including buildings and crowds. The second page is a full page splash with the heroes returning to their castle. All are sweetly shown, as well as little details, such as background cats and brooms. And take a look at the sensational stonework he does with the ground and walls. Another spectacular setting is in Page 5’s first panel: Ariel’s private quarters, featuring a bar that would do the Rat Pack proud. Two pages of the book are devoted to Clark and Bruce trying to share a meal and conversation. This could have been visual death, since neither character can move too much, but Porter obviously doesn’t see this as an obstacle as the pair are shown from various angles, keeping these pages interesting and giving lots of time for them to emote, which Clark excels at on these pages. The turtle-man is impressive as he rolls about the street, and the shot on Page 8 is fantastic for showing his size and how Fire and Ice are moving around him. I love Porter’s version of Hal Jordan, equally awesome from a distance and sad (for the reality of the situation) in close-ups. Lois’ scene before the mirror was also neat; I half expected her to go Gollum in that shot. The emotions are terrific on the characters and the details in the settings are jaw dropping. It’s Howard Porter, he’s got nothing to be insecure about ever. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Brilliant colors come to life from Hi-Fi. Look at the smart choice made with the background in the very first panel: olive green for an industrial complex. This allows the purple Starros on the faces of the crowd to stand out and for the pink skin of the native to draw readers’ eyes. The second page is an explosion of costumes’ colors against a super orange-yellow sound that matches the interior of the gateway. So cool! And the colors of the credits are dark and bright green, which stand out strongly against the lit up stones. I love the panel that features Ariel’s bar: all the bottles and stonework and lights are amazing. Hal Jordan is an instant scene stealer every time he appears in luminescent green. The highlights on Ice are great, as are the reflections in character’s goggles, such as Booster and Beetle’s. If the people at Hi-Fi ever weep at all the work they have to do to color Porter’s work, they should know their efforts are so appreciated! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, native ramblings, sounds, story title, credits, Ronald talk, Flash’s hilarious fast speech, and the tease for next issue. The sounds at the top of Page 16 would have been the highlight of the issue from Rob Leigh, had the final page not had Flash’s dialogue. Her excitement is exemplified by her movements, but sent into the stratosphere by their italicizing and lack of spaces — it’s just really funny. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Serious, beautiful, funny, stupid, exciting, and one never to miss. This series requires 3001 adjectives to say how good it is, but I’ll be succinct: it’s wonderful. Recommended. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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