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Justice #9

Posted: Saturday, December 30, 2006
By: Ray Tate



Talents: Jim Krueger, Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite
Publisher: DC

This week the lightning from Justice strikes Captain Marvel. Krueger and Ross contribute remarkable narration for the good Captain. Ross and Braithwaite render the Captain in realistic pencils swathed in painted majesty.

The book opens with Captain Marvel's words, which summarize and emphasize the current state of "The World's Mightiest." The heroes uncover a new strategy to combat Mr. Mind's mind-taking mechanical worms, but before the League become metaphorical Knights of the Round Table, the heroes form strike teams to attack the Legion of Doom.

Captain Marvel joins the team consisting of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Zatanna, Red Tornado and the Green Arrow. Together they contend against Grodd, empowered by the consequences of a lie. It is in this battle that the creative team meets the potential of the cover.

In an emotional battle Captain Marvel must save Mary, who like all of the heroes' loved ones now fall under the influence of the Legion of Doom. Black Adam gives him a choice that thoroughly mirrors is evil personality. Soon, the Captain finds himself out of control.

Krueger, Ross and Braithwaite juxtapose these scenes with quieter moments in which Batman deduces the secret behind the Legion of Doom's gift. He brings Superman to Leslie Thompkins' foster home and uses him as his crime lab. The discovery exemplifies Brainiac's characterization and foreshadows the double-cross that Luthor plans.

The Legion of Doom direct a mind-controlled Captain Marvel at his former allies, but this is no predictable clash of the titans. Krueger, Ross and Braithwaite serve only the plot and the characters not their fanboy whims. Superman and Captain Marvel engage in only a one-panel battle, but the other heroes remove the mind-controlling worms smartly and quickly.

Following up on Batman's information, the Captain visits an old foe, and its his humanity that demands that he set his enemy free. The characterization for this scene rises above anything given to the Big Red Cheese previously. It's a wondrous moment that's pure perfection in dialogue, expression and narration. It even trumps the astonishing two penultimate pages depicting the League in a new form doing a hero's walk reminiscent of the Bruce Timm Justice League.



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