Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Justice #12 (August, 2007)

Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd were in the custody of the Super Friends Justice League. Martian Manhunter instructed, "Give Grodd the [Yellow Power] ring, Atom. If he tries anything, shrink him into nothingness. Grodd understands that his world will die, those he cares for will die, if he doesn't help." Grodd agreed, "This alliance is a necessary evil." Manhunter's mind was telepathically linked to Grodd's and Luthor's (though the Super-Gorilla protested "The idea of this is repulsive. He's a human.") Nuclear missiles were in the air all over the world, with its population looking to the skies hoping for salvation, "But there is no Superman." While Batman and the Atom looked on helplessly, "Luthor's knowledge of weaponry and cybernetic systems" and Grodd's wielding of a power ring redirected the missiles intercontinentally. Luthor then managed to teleport away, but Grodd remained in custody, his final act with the ring to wipe the heroes' secret identities from the minds of the legion of doom. The Green Lantern Corps showed up to collect all those missiles and throw them into the sun, which I guess was like their own take on Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. There's a fine line between homage and an utter lack of genuine creativity. Painted prestige format grim n' gritty Challenge of the Super Friends can't even see that line from where it's standing. It's Colorforms where a story should be.

Batman marveled at a world without nukes, hoping we had finally learned our lesson, but expecting rearmament. Still, what if? "I'm sure Superman wishes his world, and his people, were still alive. Manhunter has to feel the same about Mars. But how many times have these two men saved this world? Aquaman lost both his parents, yet still forges a new family. Wonder Woman's sisters were freed from slavery. Yet look at Paradise Island... We have all been changed by our tragedies... These challenges have given each of us a desire for justice. It has changed us. It could change anybody. Everybody."

"Chapter Twelve" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. For me, the bloom was off the rose long ago, but Martian Manhunter is a uniquely dour and yes, pretentious character well suited to Ross' inclinations. I liked that the two non-homo sapien telepaths were pitted against one another, offering contrasting perspectives on the humans surrounding them. J'Onn J'Onzz still lacked for an arc, and the creators only know the most common surface aspects of the character's Post-Crisis interpretation. However, the fact that he was included at all in a paean to '70s cartoons and the Satellite Era League to which the Alien Atlas was never invited indications an appreciation for the character I can respect.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

1 comment:

LissBirds said...

When the first image was loading on my screen, I thought I was looking at a photograph of a J'onn J'onzz action figure. (Must be the downward angle. Or overtiredness.)

I saw my own copy of this on my shelf the other day and now I think I need to re-read it, if only for the pictures. I do appreciate how Ross rendered Grodd, and I always liked how high Ross could make J'onn's collar. It's kind of jarring given how (grudgingly) familiar I am getting with the New 52 costume.