If Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal is any indication, DC these days best resembles that photo of the Alliance of Magicians from Arrested Development--a group of ridiculous looking people (including a wizard and a party clown) posing with sign that reads, “We demand to be taken seriously.” Except, y’know, Arrested Development is intentionally hilarious. Rise of Arsenal may prove the best comedy book anybody puts out this year, and I read Tales Designed to Thrizzle, so I know what I’m talking about. The silent two page spread where Roy Harper’s, “Where’s my daughter?” is met with tearful silence save for Donna Troy, who’s apparently having an orgasm? Had me in stitches.
And it shouldn’t.
The setup of the book is this. Remember when lots of bad things happened to Roy Harper/Arsenal/Speedy/Red Arrow in Justice League: Cry for Justice? Well, let’s follow his journey as he copes with the loss of both an arm and a daughter, beats up looters in Star City, and develops another drug addiction.
In other words, this comic is almost like a parody of the grim ‘n’ gritty comics movement that showed how many people missed the point of Watchmen. I don’t know who asked for a comic where Speedy gets mad and reminds Black Canary that she can’t bear children, but I hope I never, ever meet this person.
J.T. Krul’s script is serviceable enough, I suppose. He writes lots of bad comic book dialogue, but somehow knows when to shut up and let the images do the talking. There’s even an expertly written, almost cinematic page (mostly silent, natch)--four panels looking through a window into Roy Harper’s hospital room. He thrashes about, knocks a Donna Troy over: A) Green Lantern catches her while Black Canary appeals to the anguished Harper; B) Black Canary ducks while Harper he throws a tray/bedpan/generic medical device towards the window; C); finally, we get to hear what’s going on inside as the object (whatever it is) breaks through the glass. Dare I say (save the “NOOOOOOO!”) it’s actually a great page.
The art by Geraldo Borges and Marlo Alquiza perfectly reflects the over-the-top script, i.e. lots of teeth-gritting and clenched fists. That’s all I will say about the art considering what they had to work with.
Internet, before you shell out money for comics like this, you need to think to yourselves, “Is this what you want your superhero books to be? Horrible, maudlin and full of faux-gritty ugliness?” DC Comics will think so if you keep buying it. Please, do not buy this book. I beg you.
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