Even after a battle to the death with Galaxus copyright Peraxxus, the JLI can not afford to take a minor break in Justice League International #6, the epilogue to the series first story arc Signal Masters. The issue proves not to be the standard epilogue issue with a lot of twists, but the numerous conversations going on combined with out-of-no-where death threats, this issue of JLI does not feel coherent but does feel like a solid bookend to a mediocre first arc.
Batman and Booster take out the guys who blew up the JLI headquarters. Booster must make an appeal to the UN to keep the JLI around. And Godiva and August General... enjoy a hotdog.
Jurgens is all over the place in this issue with most characters on the team sharing scenes with one or two other members. It feels like a lot of the relationships came out of nowhere. Still, the conversations are all interesting and never drag because of Jurgens excellent use of dialogue. He never has to use narration but instead allows his dialogue to do all the talking.
And talk it does. The best example of dialogue helps characterize Godiva and August General. Their conversation, while coming a bit too early (especially for two characters who have never talked much before in the series and are now suddenly pretty close), does feel like a natural one. August General reveals his origin story, which was described well and did not require a lot of panel time. Godiva's character is also further explored, a past time writer Dan Jurgens has seemed to enjoy doing frequently and which has been working to Godiva's advantage, a character who I could have cared less about in the beginning of the series but now can't wait to see more of.
When the two take out a bomb, however (a plot point that seems to come out of nowhere to characterize Godiva), the scene takes away the feel of an epilogue and instead is going to expend into the next issue. But the final event in this comic is what really determines that this epilogue is nothing more than an attempt to lead into the next arc with a bang, making the first arc lack real closure before throwing us back into the fray again.
Another conversation between Tora, Guy, and Rocket Red is a confusing moment. Without back-story on Tora it is hard to understand and appreciate her and Guy's relationship, making all of their dialogue in this issue flawed for newer readers.
The conversations throughout this issue do feel real, but the relationships feels closer than they should be when featuring the new characters like Godiva and August General, who are suddenly the best of friends (a generous trade-in considering the solid scene between the two). The pace with character relationships still feels rushed like the actual story, anxious to drag us into the next arc.
Thankfully, Booster's hair doesn't look as floppy in this issue as it does on the cover. But that doesn't mean Marco Castiello's art isn't a huge step-down from previous issues. The bodies are proportioned correctly, but all of the faces look scruffy with too many lines marring them, especially on the more masculine faces of Booster Gold and Batman. One two-page spread does usefully have dialogue that works it's way well into the piece, especially since this spread is not very well-drawn. Without the dialogue, it's somewhat amateurish nature would be more recognizable.
A scene that is also dragged down because of this artwork involves the JLI pleading to stay active at the UN. The dialogue remains borderline boring, but what doesn't help the panels at all are their repetitious placement and the artwork within. Every panel is placed one after the other for two pages with only a slight variation on size with no creativity put into thinking about how their layout could be spiced up to give the scene something creative.
The only reason it is saved from being a terrible moment is because of how well-written Booster's speech is, which also helps readers take a liking to his character, who proves through this speech that he is not just an egotistical airhead who can be easily manipulated by the UN. The only improvements artistically have been to August General, who's design is much more fluid and looks less like an advanced suit of armor and more like actual skin sported by the likes of the Thing.
Being an epilogue, this is a bad jumping on point for new readers, and this final chapter makes it difficult for new readers to pick up the new arc because it has information vital to it while still being connected to the previous one. This is the issues biggest flaw and the story is not the only problem for new readers! The characterization also presents a problem. It means little if you have not been with the characters since the beginning of the series. If you have not been reading the series, I would recommended the first arc as a whole if you love team-oriented books, but if you want a more complex story, hopefully the next arc will have it and enough background to help readers understand what's going on without making them go through the first arc.
This epilogue is still unique, but at the expense of not behaving as an epilogue should – giving us a slow closing to ease us into the next arc. And despite the slightly disheveled pacing this series has had throughout with every previous issue having been so slow, this issue is very jarring. I like this feeling because it feels like the series is waking up from it's sleep-like pace, but now it needs to take it down a notch in the next issue.
But hey, at least now ongoing readers can rejoice – it may have taken six issues, but finally the characters names do not appear in the comic (something we definitely shouldn't be seeing in an 'epilogue').
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.