In Review: Justice League 3001 #8

The Justice League's new roster makes a plan to stop a despot.

The cover: Emerging from one of their transporters, the new roster of the Justice League emerges: Batman, Fire, Guy Gardner, Ice, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and the Flash. It’s an all female team and I can’t wait to see what they’re up to. Artist Scott Kolins has captured the personalities of the characters well, with all upset, as the levels of their rage show how heated they can become under pressure. The colors are by Hi-Fi and this is the most colorful cover I’ve seen in months. I especially like the red and yellow used for the Flash’s speed. Overall grade: A

The story: The prison planet Takron-Galtos finds the team working there under assumed names. They’re trying to get leads as to how to take down Lady Styx, who now rules the planet, taking it over in just one day. How each character reacts to working under such terrible conditions tells a lot about each: Wonder Woman is frustrated, barely able to contain her rage; Teri (the Flash) is in a constant state of panic, afraid she’ll be caught; Guy finds Teri and tells her it’ll be okay once they get back home; Ice tries to buck up Fire’s feelings, since she feels they’ll never be able to solve the world’s problems; and Supergirl is depressed that their mission is taking so long. Reunited in another location, they began to hash out a plan, only to notice that Batman is missing. Where she is and what she’s doing is a spectacular reveal to new readers, showing them exactly what level the robotic caped crusader is operating at. Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis are really putting the characters through the emotional wringer; there’s humor, to be sure, but their lack of a solution is slowly driving them all crazy. The final three pages are absolutely humorless as one villain from early in this series’ history is shown to be receiving a fate worse than death…If only it was revealed what that fate is. Grim reading, with absolutely engaging characters about to do battle with an unbeatable foe. I like those odds and I want to read more. Overall grade: A

The art: Scott Kolins enters as penciller with this issue and he’s doing an okay job. I admit to not being fond of his run on Legion of Super-Heroes, but I really enjoyed his work on Larfleeze, so I was looking forward to seeing what he could bring to this title when I heard he was coming aboard. The issue opens with a shot of the planet Takron-Galtos from space. Its orbit is littered with space debris, and Kolins puts a fun image in the upper left hand corner — this is the type of humor I was hoping Kolins would insert. The story, however, doesn’t give many opportunities to do so. The next four pages show life on the streets of this terrible world and it’s rendered to look like an industrial nightmare. It’s got much more tech than the novel 1984, but it’s got the same mood of subjugation by its ruler. The city is drawn in a continual state of decay and people are visually paranoid on the streets. The Scullions are the enforcers on this world, and they’re very simply designed, but effective; they remind me of classic Space Ghost villains. The settings are passable throughout (though there are several panels where lines suggest an environment, rather than create one), while the characters are very loosely rendered. This is not the ultra highly detailed look of previous artist Howard Porter, but it works. This is most apparent when the League comes together in their new headquarters. The characters look good, the emotion on their faces fine (with Tina being the best), and the layout excellent. My favorite page is actually a two-thirds double-paged spread that shows a shot of the city with Lady Styx looking down upon the populace from several screens. If this type of detail had been in more of the book, the visuals would probably be looked at more favorably by others. Kolins’s style is one that I enjoy, but I would like to see him be more consistent with packing his panels with details that he’s capable of. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Whenever the scene is on Takron-Galtos, the colors are very oppressive: browns, tans, muted greens, and burnt violets. When the setting moves to the League’s HQ, the colors are bold and bright. In doing the colors like this, Hi-Fi is accentuating that the League is the only hope to bringing any color — any life — back to the planet. Even if they’re fighting among themselves, their bright colors bring a sense of optimism to the proceedings, and that’s exactly what the world is missing. Hi-Fi really shines on Pages 13 and 16 – 17. The more details there are in the art, the better they can make the page come to life. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Scene settings, narration, story title, credits, screen text, sounds, transmissions, yells, Batman dialogue, and next issue’s tease are all crafted by Rob Leigh. I’m always happy to see a letterer distinguish dialogue from narration and Leigh does this. I’m also really impressed with the variety of sounds on this book. Sounds in a sci-fi setting can really enhance the reading experience of a book, and there are several sounds in this book that make this fiction real. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The Justice League’s new roster makes a plan to stop a despot. The story is great and the art good. Worth checking out. 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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