In Review: Justice League United #8

This continues to sadden me that this brings the entire Legion into the New 52.

The covers: A trio this time out, with one being beautiful. The Main cover is by Andrew Robinson and it has a gigantic figure of Hawkman towering over some ships fleeing from him. They’re shooting their guns at some unseen foe against the brown and rust backdrop of deep space. Excellent image with the red of Hawkman’s eyes being great. The Variant cover is by Rod Reis and it, too, focuses on Hawkman, but this time he’s flying forward to confront some starships, accompanied by several energy characters that remind me of Aku from Samurai Jack. The ships remind me of Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica. Hawkman looks okay, but what’s surrounding him is too familiar from other sources. The final cover is the Flash 75th Anniversary Variant and it’s a stunner. Karl Kerschl and Dave McCaig have created a cover based on the work of Carmine Infantino, with Adam Strange being held captive by some huge alien creature, as the Flash rushes to save him. It’s the image I used in this review and it’s my favorite of all the Flash Variants I’ve seen. Brillaint art and spectacular coloring. Pink has never been more alien. Overall grades: Main B+, Variant C, and Flash 75th A+

The story: The fourth part of “The Infinitus Saga” by Jeff Lemire opens with Dream Girl pondering the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century. It grew and grew, until it ended in a nightmare. She’s shown flying above the bodies of several of her fallen peers. She’s snapped out of this funk by Starboy, who wants her to focus on the Infinity Wraiths who’ve reached Earth. The Legionnaires are trying to help out as many citizens as they can before the big villain appears, but they are too late–Infinitus has arrived and he is too strong for them. She makes a decision and she and the rest of the Legionnaires have somewhere to go. The story moves to the present in the Polaris System to show how the Justice League and some of the other Legionnaires are dealing with the brainwashed Hawkman. Something traumatic happens to the character that this story has been focused on, causing Supergirl to do something that has a major repercussion on the final page. When the story moves back to the present there are too many characters and not enough for them to do. Only J’onn and Kara have anything to do for the League, as the others are seen floating about but that’s it, and there are so many Legionnaires tooling about I’m surprised a ship didn’t mow some of them over. I’m a die hard Legion fan, but fewer Legionnaires would have been better. Overall grade: C+

The art: I really do not like the art on this book. Neil Edwards is the penciller and Jay Leisten & Keith Champagne are the inkers. Right out of the gate, I’m not liking the way Dreamy is looking in the second panel on Page 1. Her hair is really heavily inked, and her face looks odd. The second page looks good, with the Legionnaires in action against several of their famous villains. Page 3 is okay, but I couldn’t tell you whom they’re attacking. The double-page splash of 4 and 5 is too darkly colored to tell who’s in the wreckage. It’s just a blob of brown. The Legionnaire head shots are good, except for Shrinking Violet, who’s put on a lot of weight, and Quislet, who looks like a helmet more than a ship. Page 7 unsuccessfully uses a photograph for the background, and it sticks out as being a photo. Most of the book has weird perspective shots, such as the first panel on 10. The second panel on that page has an odd spread of characters, looking as though they were inserted to fill in space. Why wouldn’t Element Lad or Matter-Eater Lad be closer to the group? The cosmic swirl that begins on Page 20 is so awkward even the colorist didn’t know what to do with what was drawn. This is just a mess. Overall grade: C-

The colors: The art is lost because of the dark coloring on this book. Pages 4 and 5 are the perfect example of this. I had no emotional reaction to seeing the dead bodies, because I couldn’t see if they were Legionnaires or civilians! Even if they were civilians, a reader should have an emotional reaction to seeing them, but I can’t because I can’t tell what’s a person or debris. This blobby brown coloring returns on the second half of Page 6. Why? Page 10 is the arrival of Infinitus, but, once again, he’s not discernible because of the dark coloring. I might have liked this better if Jeromy Cox had brightened things up. Overall grade: D

The letters: Narration, Legion role call, title and opening credits, scene setting, sounds, Ultra dialogue, and closing tease are done by Travis Lanham. I want the narration to be a different style of font from the dialogue as it’s a different form of communication, otherwise a reader might think it’s telepathic thought coming from Dream Girl, and that’s Saturn Girl’s domain. Overall grade: A-

The final line: This continues to sadden me that this brings the entire Legion into the New 52. I’d rather there be no Legion stories if it’s going to be like this. Only for hard core fans. Overall grade: C

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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