The cover: Two different Leagues on this cover thanks to it being a 3D Motion Cover. The familiar lineup can be seen when viewed from a particular angle: Cyborg, Batman, Captain Marvel, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor. When moved slightly the lineup changes to become Cyborg, Vostok, Flash, and Wildfire. Where did the others go? It’s unstated. Something must have happened within five years. This is an okay illustration by Mike McKone and Gabe Eltaeb. There’s a nice use of stars to denote where certain League members used to be, but the 3D effect makes it really difficult to make out Batman way in the background. Overall grade: C+
The story: This is the continuation and finale to “Homeworld” that was begun in Justice League United: Futures End. On Mars the Justice League has arrived to help the Martian Manhunter who sent a mental SOS to all members. It’s revealed he’s the warden of a secret jail on the red planet keeping all its occupants subdued with his mental powers. Someone has gotten loose however: Captain Atom. It’s revealed he killed millions of lives to save billions. He had no problem with doing this, but the League thinks otherwise. Equinox tries to stop him from leaving, but he transforms himself into a giant, causing the facility to crumble around him. The arrival of Wildstar saves a team member, though he can do nothing to stop the all-powerful Atom. This uber-hero urges the freed villains to battle the heroes because he can do nothing until the force field they’re using to hold them in must be turned off for him, and the others, to escape. Cue several pages of mindless battles that stop only because of a telegraphed ending. This book seems like it was possessed by Marvel Comics: battles for battles’ sake. Jeff Lemire does nothing new in this story, with the exception of teasing what Atom did to end up in this cosmic prison. The worst part of the book is Captain Atom pulling a Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, which is completely ironic because he’s the character that Alan Moore was going to use for Watchmen originally. This was just awful, with the ending having no emotional impact on any of the players. Just a snoozer. Overall grade: D
The art: This isn’t much better. Jed Dougherty’s artwork goes from acceptable to poor depending on the page. His close-ups of characters are very good, and, thankfully, there are several in this book. However, when showing a group of characters things look bad. For example, Page 1 shows both clearly. The first panel relies on the colorist to provide any depth to the surface of Mars, the second panel is a closer shot of the prison with stick figures of characters outside it, the third panel has no motion in the figures–they look like stills, but the final panel, which is a close-up of Captain Atom looks great. Notice that with the exception on the first panel on Page 2, it’s bust shots of heroes. The third page is also head shots, save the final two panels. I think Dougherty is aware of his limitations and is working his best toward his strengths. The bottom of Page 5 is awful: the Flash has lost 30 pounds, the shine off of Cyborg is too much, leaving him undefined for the reader, and Vostok’s head is at an incredibly awkward angle. There’s a lot of awkwardness in this one-shot. Having seen Dougherty on two books, I’m going to be avoiding everything he illustrates. Overall grade: D+
The colors: With art like this, Gabe Eltaeb has his work cut out for him. He’s creating much of the dimension to the illustrations with his coloring (See Mars, Page 1). However, the cool blue of Captain Atom is very unearthly, and makes the character a focus point wherever he appears. This crazed hero should capture readers’ attention and the coloring is key in doing so. He fades colors in the background to keep readers glued to the foreground, and he also uses colors around dialogue balloons to hint at the ending. Overall grade: B
The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, title and credits, and sounds are fine. Nothing stands out, but nothing looks horrible. All are created by Taylor Esposito. Overall grade: B
The final line: I can’t recommend this unless you’re a completist. I loved Lemire’s work on Justice League Dark, but this was like he was just going through the motions to fill space. I bought this for Dawnstar and Wildstar, and I wish I hadn’t. Overall grade: D+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.