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Justice League International continues to be boring in their latest installment. The storyline has progressively moved forward, but after suffering through the paper-thin plot the storyline has long overstayed it’s welcome, if it was ever welcome at all. The characters on the JLI continue to be interesting, and the artwork goes from stiff to good, but none of these elements become as great as they should be.
Peraxxus’s goal to decimate the Earth is finally coming to a close. His Signal Men are ready to destroy everything unless the JLI can stop them. Unfortunately, they are under a pile of magma with no confidence coming from their creators. All hope may be lost if the team does not come together and think of a plan to save the world – and themselves!
This issue was mostly a mixed bag of good and bad, with the exception of the first six terribly presented pages that will make all readers want to put the book down. It starts with multiple reporters finishing each other’s sentences to tell the viewer what previous readers already know. This recap allows for new readers to jump into the story, but the way it is presented is reminiscent to the useless way Spawn #1 was introduced. That did not work there, and it does not work here.
Peraxxus’s method of destroying the earth is also explained, another great opportunity for new readers to catch up on the series – but it is presented in the most nonsensical of ways: to Peraxxus by his sentient ship. Peraxxus has clearly been around the block a couple of times destroying worlds. Why would his ship have to tell him how it’s done?
The idea that the opening recaps everything is not a bad one. It is actually endearing that the writers went to so much trouble to make their series accessible to everyone. But the way it was done was extremely boring for new readers to the point where it would not convince them to read the rest of the story after six pages of blandness, and a huge monotonous recap that alienates the older readers.
The recap in the opening is enough for readers to understand (but not get invested in) the plot. The character’s names in every issue are shown to the reader when that character first appears. Newbies can easily jump into the JLI with this issue, but I would still bypass it and wait until this arc blows over. It was long, lacked creativity, and the second arc will probably have a much more interesting storyline. The only redeeming factors to reading this issue, and the entire first arc as a whole, are because of the characters, and even they aren’t as great as they should be.
Dan Jurgens has clearly created a cohesive and distinctive team. There are various conflicts between team members, making their interactions more varied and interesting, and the conflicts make sense based on the character’s traits. Guy hates Booster because of his authoritative position, with the two constantly clashing. Rocket Red and August General in Iron hate each other because of their nations mistrust of each other. But in this conflict in particular, there is a brief moment of reconciliation between the two during this issue that comes out of nowhere and needed to be paced better.
Another entire conflict that comes out of nowhere is between Batman and Vixen, who argue about Batman’s serious outlook of the world ending (what other way would you take it?). This seems like Jurgen’s excuse to pick a fight between his characters, unlike the legitimate conflicts he has clearly created among characters before.
The hate/hate relationship between Guy and Godiva is also brought up for the first time in this issue. This flows well into the issue and feels natural. It is not only entertaining, but could hint at a great love/hate relationship in the future that I would very much like to see progress in future issues. Godiva started out in this series just (as Guy points out quite eloquently) a “Diva,” but, while not developing, a lot more of her character traits have slowly crept through and she has become not only an interesting character but a likable one who puts herself at risk for her teammates’ sake – definitely breaking through the self-absorbed stage.
The pacing is one of the major issues this series has. Like Static Shock, this series has suffered from a slow build-up that has not paid off. After four issues, I am tired of the storyline, which was not too thrilling anyway. It is your usual “end of the world” type of story, and the villain continually fails to be compelling.
In Justice League International #3, I flamed Peraxxus for being a knock-off of Galactus. After reading through this issue and hoping for a surprise that would mutilate my thoughts, I have surmised that Peraxxus is not only still exactly like Galactus, but is also reminiscent of Brainiac. He is a genuine threat to the JLI, and his dialogue always holds a very superior tone that does characterize the copyright well. Except for one scene, which I found very strange. When Peraxxus discovers while he is fighting Godiva that her weapon is her hair (still a very unique, if at times unruly, power), he freaks out on her to the point of saying he’ll wear her head as a necklace. Calm down, Peraxxus - I’m sure you can find the same shampoo before you blow up the Earth at the nearest bad-guy beauty salon. The end of this issue does suggest a new and powerful foe is in the wings, and I hope he (or she) can be a more creative character than our Galactus/Brainiac troller.
The question where the Justice League is was also brought up in this issue, a question many ongoing readers were asking. Surely the world could be more easily saved with the help of the JLA? Well, despite being presented to readers, this question is never answered in this issue. It may have been mentioned in Justice League America, but since I do not read that I would not know. Regardless, the answers should be exclusive to this series so the ongoing readers do not continue to ask the same question, only to never be answered.
The artwork seen in this issue from Aaron Lopresti is never amazing, but starts off on a particularly bad note. At first, everyone looks rather stiff in this issue. I know the world’s about to end so I don’t expect a smile, but some facial expression acknowledging the coming apocalypse would be a bit better. Then, when Godiva and Guy start talking there are some great expressions exchanged between the two which spread throughout the team for the rest of the issue. There are also multiple team shots which get old rather quickly, but do give the team a very uniform look despite each teammate looking so drastically different from the others.
Despite the huge flaws this series has, I intend to stick with it for a while longer. Feel free to blame it on temporary insanity, but I do have a logically reason for my continued allegiance to the series: I like the characters. Is this issue good enough to keep people reading? No – this issue, barely disregarding the last issue, is the weakest so far in the series. But does the rest of the series have the potential to be good? Definitely – Jurgens can clearly create come interesting personalities, and has great character interactions. I would love to see how he creates more depth in these characters. The artwork and storyline have not been working well, but hopefully the storyline problems can be rectified in the next arc (or even do a 180 in the final part of this arc next issue – yes this arc STILL isn’t done).
I hold out hope for the JLI. But I don’t expect the casual or new readers to. Wait until the new story arc. You’ll be waiting a while.