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    Review: Justice League International #6

    By | February 3rd, 2012
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written by Dan Jurgens
    Illustrated by Marco Castiello

    The JLI managed to survive their first mission on a wing and a prayer. Now, in the aftermath of Peraxxus’s near destruction of the planet Earth, our heroes gather together to decide the fate of their team.

    One arc down and, with this epilogue, the future of the team is set in motion.

    Hit the jump for whether or not this team is worthy of your $2.99 a month.

    I don’t understand why this book exists in this capacity. Justice League International, the name, has a certain pedigree to it that occupies a unique place in the DC Universe. It isn’t the place to find the biggest threats on Earth (or elsewhere) being tackled by the mightiest heroes; that’s for the regular Justice League book. It isn’t for heroes just learning their craft; that is for Teen Titans. No, the role of the JLI is to be the lighthearted cousin in the team book family tree. Even when it isn’t “Bwahaha-ing,” the team’s dynamic is simply different than any other team in comics.

    And yet, the first arc of this book was a huge, global threat, being handled by a team that could barely function together. And not “barely functioning” in that Booster’s ego and Guy’s ego were clashing — it was more like powers not working out the way they were supposed to, and people being overmatched. Gone was any hint of self-awareness, any ounce of joy, any of the charm that the JLI is famous for. Instead, we are getting a Justice League with less recognizable characters, written slightly less Michael Bay-ish. However, issue #6 is the first one to give me hope for things to come.

    One pleasant surprise is the art by fill-in artist Marco Castiello. His art was just about the only thing that salvaged the Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing mini and, despite not loving fill in artists as a general practice, he fits this book really well. His style and that of Aaron Lopresti are actually pretty similar, with Castiello having that classic-DC vibe down pat with this issue. In fact, of all the New 52, JLI might be the most “classic” looking (besides the soon to be departed O.M.A.C.) and, besides for a few costume updates, fits in well with classic JLI stories, visually.

    Plot wise, there are a few hopeful passages here that would also fit in well with older JLI stories. We get to see some actual characterization for Godiva and August General in Iron, the two characters that would be most foreign (pardon the pun) to most readers. Rocket Red continues to be the comic relief that he was in last year’s Justice League: Generation Lost without so much of the Yakov Smirnoff shtick that was getting old by the end of the series. There is also some nice Guy Gardner work here — we see why he hates Booster, not just that he hates him. However, Booster himself is still chronically underwritten here. Dan Jurgens created him, and so has no excuse for this. Booster feels like a stock character without any real personality here, and that is just insane; Booster should be one of the, if not the, most unique characters on the page in any book he is in, and this is really just a shame. It isn’t that he seems out of character, I just don’t see any character at all.

    The only person that seems out of character here is Batman. Sure, Batman has a vested interest in Booster and his team doing well, but I don’t understand why Batman being such a Booster booster (couldn’t resist that pun, sorry world!) makes sense. This hero who classically lets very few people in is trying to be a mentor to Booster Gold? Doesn’t he already have a whole cadre of people he’s supposed to be mentoring? Hopefully this is a plot point that will be resolved, and not just a lazy way to get Batman involved with yet another book.

    Continued below

    The nice thing about this issue is that, now that the big bad has been defeated (until the last page, that is), the characters can move to the forefront and be the focus of the book, not some newly created villain to which no one has a real connection. However, with next month’s adventure, there is no guarantee that this will newfound characterization will continue. This book has been floating on the fringe of my pull list since the start, but I will let it stay there a little longer, to see if the unique properties that can make it great do.

    Final Verdict: 6.0 – Browse

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).