In Review: Justice League 3001 #4

A fun read that serves as a good entry point for new readers.

The cover: “Fast Friends? Faster Enemies?” is the text for this cover by Howard Porter and Hi-Fi. Four computer screens are before the Mirror Master as he watches the 31st century’s Flash try to evade being eaten by some giant white furred beasts. He has a smile on his face as the Scarlet Speedster is in distress, mirroring his reactions from watching Barry Allen do the same things ages ago. As always, an excellent illustration from Porter and superior coloring from Hi-Fi, using their considerable talents to make the computer screens look like actual transmissions. Overall grade: A+

The story: Somewhere in a bar on Camelot Nine, the Flash and Wonder Woman are having a girls’ night out, with Diana already feeling the impact of the alcohol she’s consumed, while Teri feels nothing, as her body burns off the effects at an accelerated pace. Diana wants to hear a story from Teri that will “help while away the ale-soaked hours.” So begins an Untold Tale of Justice League 3001 written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. Teri is sent to the planet Nirvana, a snow covered desolate world to find the source of a distress signal. Overjoyed to be out and about on her own, Teri speeds off, unaware that it’s a ruse by Ariel and Bruce Wayne to get her to test herself without hurting anyone. Before Batman leaves the room he gives a funny line about his past, and if he had stayed long enough he would have heard Ariel admit that she’s actually Lois Lane who’s possessed Ariel’s body to make the Justice League’s lives a living hell. Clued in to the premise, the story returns to Nirvana where Teri accidentally creates a massive landslide because of her super speed. She sees a structure she hopes can keep her safe from the destruction, only to find it occupied by the Mirror Master who says her “Justice League pals aren’t the only twenty-first century leftovers running around the universe.” What follows is a fun tale of this mismatched pair of powered individuals trying to survive their environment in different ways. The dialogue between the pair is on a par with the best of classic Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. I especially liked what’s encountered on Page 10 and what it eventually results in (which are given the bestest name on Page 19). “It’s All Done With Mirrors!” also has one of the best exits ever for a supervillain. This is just fun. Remember when comics used to be this way all the time? Overall grade: A

The art: Scott Kolins comes aboard the “Justice League express” this issue as artist. The first page is very rough, with the setting and the characters being more sketches than finished work. In fact, the colors define more of the first panel than the art. Thankfully, things improve dramatically on the second page which is a full page splash of Teri arriving on Nirvana. Kolins gives the setting an ominous tone by having the mountains bend like claws, foreshadowing the danger that she’s soon to be involved in. When Teri takes off running in the third panel on Page 3 it’s got an excellent element of speed and instantly justifies her being called the Flash. Headquarters look a little more lived in than previously seen before, and I like that. There’s some good line work that scuffs up the setting which makes it believable. I was a little disappointed that Bruce’s face is never seen; granted, it’s not important to the story, but even Batman can’t be in the shadows in the daytime. The landslide is excellently rendered as is Teri’s entrance to MM’s dwelling. I like the design of this Mirror Master, who comes off as futuristic but not like the omnipotent threats that have thwarted the title team. I understand Kolins’ choice for having the characters’ faces in silhouette on Pages 8 and 9 as it visually shows readers the power is out, but it also came off as a way to avoid drawing faces as well. Once out of the building, both characters’ faces were nicely drawn as was the greatest alien life form this side of Hukka (Go on, Google him!). Also looking nice are the aliens in the bar on the final page. I want my aliens to look alien, and Kolins has nailed that. In fact, if the regular artist were to move on to, I don’t know, a Superman title, I’d be more than welcome to having Kolins come on as the regular penciller. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Beautiful work by Hi-Fi on this issue, starting out with a gorgeous purple and violet setting for the night time exterior of the bar. I also like how objects in the foreground are given brighter colors to make them stand out and make the reader think that they’re closer to him or her. The cool colors in the bar allow the reader’s eyes to fall on the pair of heroes drinking. Nirvana is a snow colored world, which doesn’t sound like Hi-Fi will be able to have much variation with any color beyond white, but there are plenty of colors to be found in this setting; blues and whites for the snow, and spectacular burnt violets for the skies. Having the Flash and Mirror Master in bright costumes makes them pop in this environment, as do the colorful creatures they encounter. Hi-Fi has created another winning book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue has Rob Leigh creating scene settings, dialogue, drunk dialogue, the issue’s title and credits, a special font for Superman’s creators and some commentary from the writers, transmissions, sounds, an “Uh-oh,” yells, and next issue’s tease. I love Diana’s drunk dialogue with the lettering just being slightly askew to suggest her state, and the sounds are gloriously strong in landslides and creature noises. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A fun read that serves as a good entry point for new readers. This has me wishing that all comics could be this fun, rather than the constant multi-part end-of-the-world epics. 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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