In Review: Justice League 3001 #5

I always look forward to this book and am never disappointed.

The covers: The cover is by interior artist Howard Porter and interior colorist Hi-Fi. This features Batman meeting Batman, and it’s not going according to plan. The character that’s become familiar to fans has heard a noise behind him and turns slightly to see the gigantic caped crusader. Batman is dwarfed by a gigantic robotic Batman whose fists are clenched, signaling it’s ready for battle. Nice effect with the lightning behind the behemoth and the rain coming down on both characters. The coloring really sets off both well, with the familiar character standing out with the crimson on his costume, while the new Batman is dark against the teal rainstorm. Very well done, but everything is always consistently well done by this pair. Overall grade: A

The story: Guy Gardner is having a rough morning. She starts her day waiting to use the restroom because her roommate, one of the Starros, doesn’t know how to use a toilet. Once that problem is solved, they go in to the dinning room and find that someone has set places for four to eat. Neither of them set the table. On Cadmusworld, Guy speaks with Firestorm about her not remembering things and she’s also been having emotional moments when she cries for no reason. She can’t understand why this is happening. Firestorm explains that since he took over Cadmus he’s been trying to save the company money, so a different “cheaper” procedure was used in resurrecting Guy, which is causing “psychic bleed-through”, allowing the host’s original memories to reassert themselves, probably resulting in Guy’s personality being completely overwritten by her. To stop this, Firestorm has cleared his schedule to run some tests on Guy to stop this. Meanwhile, Fire and Ice are transporting Jimmy Olsen’s descendant into Area 13 of Takron-Galtos’ prison. Another character causes one of them great consternation and foreshadows some possible troubles there. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have created another fun issue where drama is running strong (Guy, Fire, and Ice) and comedy is present (Superman, Batman, and Supergirl). I won’t spoil what happens with these latter three characters, but it’s fun, with Superman getting the mother of all spoilers, and Batman versus Batman being entertaining. The issue ends with the monstrous Batman’s identity being revealed, as is a future version of a very popular super villain. Absolutely entertaining. Overall grade: A 

The art: Howard Porter perfectly captures the humor and drama of the story, while inserting his characters in some of the most complex futuristic settings scene since the classic runs of Giffen on Legion of Super-Heroes or Perez on The New Teen Titans. The first panel of the book is a beautiful establishment shot of the castle where several of the League’s members live. The interiors look like something found in an modern day residence, until closer scrutiny shows it to be slightly off. On Page 2 there’s a distinct change up as Guy is with Firestorm before several computer monitors, ending with Guy flying off, seen from the interior of a building with a familiar looking man who should be shouting, “Excelsior!” Area 13 looks great, with the individual on the bottom left similar to a famous wall-crawler. Page 8 is a conversation between Fire and Ice, with each emoting fantastically. The new Batman first appears on 9 and he’s striking familiar poses of his 20th century counterpart. 11 is a full page splash of Batman meeting Batman, with one at a distinct disadvantage. The fight between the two characters is brief, with another interjecting herself into the proceedings, and the looks on her face perfectly suit her mood and dialogue. Readers can also play “Find Ambush Bug” this issue. Two pages set on Melancholia Twelve look awesome, but also contain several hilarious visual moments, mostly from the larger character. This book looks amazing and contains so much detail one could get lost in it. Overall grade: A+

The colors: It’s so nice to read a book set in the future that actually has colors. Not every version of the future has to have the tones of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and, thankfully, Hi-Fi makes every setting glorious. Working with detailed art allows Hi-Fi to make the colors of this book varied, and they do. Look again at the book’s first panel: it looks like something out of a history book with that palette. The colors on the Starro character are bright and make the character pop in every panel she appears. The teal used in Cadamusworld instantly creates a technological feel to the surroundings. A more eerie shade of blue is used for the cells (overgrown test tubes?) of Area 13, and the motley colors on Miasma suit her name to perfection. When Fire and Ice return to the surface, the sky is a burnt red which highlights the dark knight high above them. The violet used for the skies of Melancholia Twelve are luscious. Everything is just so much more stunning with Hi-Fi on the job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, opening title and credits, yells, giant Batman speech, robotic speech, and next issue’s tease are created by Rob Leigh. I’m always impressed when a letterer is able to compose their text on the page without stepping on key elements of the art. With all the details in Porter’s work, it takes a lot of talent to place each bit of dialogue and sound without covering the visuals. Overall grade: A

The final line: Action, drama, and comedy with amazing visuals. I always look forward to this book and am never disappointed. 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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