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Justice #5

Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2006
By: Michael Aronson



Writers: Jim Krueger, Alex Ross
Artists: Doug Braithwaite, Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics


Itís strange, youíd think Justice would be my favorite comic right now. Earth X remains one of my favorite stories of all time, and while Universe X and Paradise X werenít as strong, I still followed them enthusiastically. I own all of Rossí DC tabloid-size work and even hunted down Kruegerís Foot Soldiers and his Nighthawk miniseries. Yet, five issues in, and I just donít understand what all the fuss over Justice is about.

Itís certainly beautiful, if nothing else. Iím incredibly grateful that the pairing of Braithwaite and Ross allows some semblance of Rossí painted work to be released on a bimonthly schedule. Their pairing breaks Rossí habit of rendering his characters too stiff and iconic, and instead grants a better flow for the story itself. The splash pages remain as gorgeous as ever, and with 27 pages (and extras) in which to tell the story, thereís certainly room for artistic indulgence. However, there are a few confusing panels that hamper the story, such as the Green Arrow scene or the way Cheetah untied herself from Dianaís lasso. Iím not sure whether these are faults of the scripts or of Braithwaiteís layouts.

As for the script, the characterization is all fine and dandy, with Luthor, Brainiac, Martian Manhunter and a surprise guest getting some choice lines. The real problem lies in the plotting. Some good bits include Supermanís battle with his rogues, Luthorís plans and Green Lanternís predicament, but the rest feels lacking. There are a couple awkward nods to concepts from Kingdom Come which stand out as such Ė maybe as the series progresses theyíll turn out to be entirely different ideas, but right now they feel like fan fiction elements inspired by Kingdom Come. The conflict depicted on the cover, between Wonder Woman and Cheetah, feels neither dynamic nor suspenseful in the least. But more importantly, if the villains are trying to take the heroes out of the picture, and Sinestro had the most success in his attempt, why didnít he simply do the same with all the heroes rather than let pushovers like the Scarecrow and Cheetah get involved? In this regard, the stakes just ring hollow.

Despite the problems with its internal logic, Justice still remains a compelling read, as itís currently the only Justice League-centric book on the stands representing all the core characters engaged in an explosive struggle. The production values are fantastic and itís a great deal for the price tag. But like the fanciest poodle, thereís not nearly enough meat on its bones.



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