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Justice #4

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2006
By: Michael Bailey



"Justice Part Four"

Story: Jim Krueger and Alex Ross
Artists: Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: As Lex Luthor addresses the world regarding the selfless actions of his fellow villains, several of his compatriots take advantage of their newly attained knowledge of the private lives of the Justice League and attack.

Commentary: It occurs to me that I should be enjoying this series a lot more than I am. Justice has all of the ingredients that should produce a series that I can't wait to get the next issue of. I mean it's the freaking Challenge of Super Friends for adults, though I am guessing that these days the only people who would enjoy watching Challenge of Super Friends would be the adults who grew up with it. This is something that the fifteen year old adolescent parked in my skull wants to see; classic Justice League, the Legion of Doom, Alex Ross art. It should be a no-brainer, right?

So why am I having such a problem with it?

The pacing is one reason. Granted, there was a lot of action in this issue but the three previous chapters dragged on to the point that even though things are picking up now, I'm not sure I care. What makes the slow story movement so maddening is the fact that it is bi-monthly, so not only does it border on dull it also makes me wonder what I was waiting for in the first place. Combine these two problems together and my enjoyment of the book takes a screaming nose dive.

Despite these dilemmas, this was the best issue of the series thus far. While Lex's world address drags on a bit, it was an interesting read. The only hitch is that these questions have been brought up before in other books and formats, though not at this magnitude. I have to admit that watching the villains ambush the heroes was a lot of fun, especially the pile-on of Superman. You have to feel bad for Superman. His imperfect double rips him out of his apartment and then Solomon Grundy, the Parasite and Metallo start smacking him around like a red headed step-child. Add the montage of the heroes in peril and it makes for a very dramatic sequence.

The art is the only aspect of the series that I have consistently enjoyed. Outside of the fact that I dislike how Ross designs the S logo on Superman's chest (it doesn't look right to me, too long and the shield isn't balanced), the look of the book is impressive. This issue was no different, and I like the fact that Ross is painting over Doug Braithwaite's pencils. The action is intense, but there are smaller scenes, like Ollie and Dinah in their bedroom, that are equally as good, though you could argue that seeing Black Canary in lingerie might have something to do with it, but since my tastes are more three-dimensional (not to mention wanting the woman to be, you know, alive), this didn't sway my opinion one way or the other.

In The End: I could be wrong about this series, and if the story continues to pick up and get to the freaking point, I may end up enjoying it. I realize that this book needs the bi-monthly status so that Ross can keep a regular schedule but having to wait two months for the next installment is a bit frustrating. The writing was stronger this time around, but it is difficult for me to shake the feeling that this is just an amped up version of a cartoon I watched over twenty years ago. Hopefully the true motives behind what Luthor and crew are doing will be revealed soon, and Brainiac will return because so far he is the only character in the book that I've responded to.



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