JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1
Writer: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Howard Porter
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
This is definitely one for the generation that could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and went to our first school dances in Z. Cavariccis. The original peddlers of Bwahahahaha are back with a JUSTICE LEAGUE that wafts of a time long ago even though the story events take place in a time yet to come.
The post CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS DeMaGiffen JUSTICE LEAGUE still stands as one of the boldest and most revered periods for DC’s top crime fighters. The DC universe had just gone through a very dark time and needed a serious dose of irreverence to refill the depleted well of optimism left in the Anti-Monitor’s wake. Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and eventually a whole group of Europeans showed us that heroes always won and they had a damn good time doing it. The danger DC ran with this direction was the book traversing into unadulterated silliness, but the boys were able to keep the action and danger cranked to 11, so instead of being simply immature our heroes were cavalier and thus inspiring in the face of adversity. The success of this iteration was also imbedded in the fact that the JUSTICE LEAGUE were real flesh and blood characters as opposed to caricatures of heroics. They were also, after some growth, a family, complete with the same emotional turmoil as your own. The JUSTICE LEAGUE simply had to go fight crime after petty squabbles over bathroom time or after a date.
DC tried to recapture some of this magic when the New 52 was launched, but sadly the new JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL simply didn’t resonate. For the longest time I blamed the creators, thinking they had somehow “lost it” between the Reagan and Obama administrations. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 confirms that nothing was lost by the creators, merely DC decided to launch with too many JL teams before defining their respective purposes in the universe. One needs to introduce a team before they introduce a clandestine team to manage that other unknown team. The formula has been working now in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA because the universe had time to establish itself and the book also skips the snark.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 is not only a salvation for Bwahahaha, but also the 31st century. LEGION was another book that tried to splinter too soon and thus left even the most imbedded DC fans with a collective WTF response to its happenings.
Clones, damn dirty clones. It’s a Sci-Fi truism from Star Wars to now DC. This is not some future generation picking up the mantle of the famed five; Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 are facsimiles of Hal Jordan, Diana Prince, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bruce Wayne and of course Clark Kent. What I found immediately intriguing was the fact they all know they’re clones and kind of despise themselves for it. DeMaGiffen also settle the old debate of nature versus nurture – Clark is lecherous, Diana is rage incarnate, Barry and Hal are whiners, only Bruce still holds to his present day douchiness (though he does it with much less gravel and remorse). Created on planet CADMUS, these five are created to help the universe rebuild from a great cataclysm and fight an ethereal five whoa re mentioned, but never seen. Of course they need to stop tugging at each other’s capes first.
Created on the planet CADMUS, JUSTICE LEAGUE’S creators are as much a part of the story as the Fab Five themselves. Ariel Masters is a scientist on the run from CADMUS and her creations. We don’t know why just yet, but this was probably the most intriguing part of the story. Ariel is the only one who has her shit together and acts like an adult. The clones get a pass, whether you give a pass to the petulant lab assistants that ran Ariel out of the program will depend on how well nostalgia melts the cold cockles of your heart. Terry and Terri are super teen scientists who clearly picked up Ariel’s worked and botched the living shit out of it as we can see from the less than perfect imprinting of the JUSTICE LEAGUE members’ personalities. In fact, they screwed up so badly they have been sarcastically been dubbed the Wonder Twins by the elder scientists (yes, I laughed at this). To correct their mistake it’s now T&T’s job to keep this team in line by acting as their handlers, while they also try to figure out how half of the team’s memories were scrambled during creation.
Humor and a deep imbedding of current lore make it easy to keep turning the pages. I’ll admit the first half of the book left me wondering at times what I was reading since nary a cape appears during the introduction of the scientists, but DeMaGiffen brings it all together quite wonderfully half way through. For anyone adverse to talky books, take a few deep breaths and no that the action is right around the corner. There are also clues for the clever eye to discern about the current fate of the DC universe in these pages. Hal Jordan doesn’t have a ring, just a shitty cloak that kind of emulates the Lantern’s power. Apparently, the Green Lantern Corps is one the most reviled teams in history. Clark Kent is seen as a vile fiction that should never be uttered (especially not around this new of so Broski Superman). There are other little nuggets, but I don’t want to be the jerk that fills out Highlights magazine and puts it back on the rack. Go have your own fun.
Porter’s art takes a little getting used to since he’s a Scott Kollins light. I like it, but then I tend to lean towards either the utter realistic or utterly avant-garde.
I laughed quite a few times in this book, which is what I expected. I hate to say it, but that’s the brand DeMaGiffen have created for them selves (sorry guys). I’m also wondering what kind of staying power this book will have. As I said earlier, the 31st has been problematic for DC, as have any titles that stray to far from the core of happenings in JUSTICE LEAGUE proper. I’m a fan so far, I just hope there’s enough out there that join me.